Dwayne Proctor, PhD, director and senior adviser, believes that the Foundation’s work presents a unique opportunity to lead the way in fostering an inclusive and equitable Culture of Health in America. In his roles, he provides leadership for internal teams as well as for the Foundation’s diverse grantees toward achieving specific strategic interests.
Proctor focuses on the Foundation’s efforts to reverse the rise in childhood obesity rates by effecting public policies and industry practices that will promote healthy eating and physical activity for children nationwide. With its concentration on reaching children at greatest risk—African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian/Pacific Islander children and others living in lower income communities—his team builds evidence on programs that work well, tests innovative approaches, educates leaders, and invests in advocacy strategies. Proctor notes that multiple municipalities and states are reporting signs of progress around the country and that tackling the childhood obesity disparities gap and building demand for needed changes are still major challenges. He also works toward initiating strategies that will secure an equal opportunity for good health across the country.
Proctor came to RWJF in 2002 as a senior communications and program officer, providing strategic guidance and resources for several child health and risk-prevention initiatives like the Nurse-Family Partnership, Free to Grow, Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol-Free, Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy. Previously, he served as an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, teaching health communications and health marketing to reach multicultural populations. Prior to that, he was a Fulbright Fellow in Senegal, West Africa, charged with investigating the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS risk messages in raising awareness of AIDS as a national health problem.
Proctor received his doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in communication science from the University of Connecticut. He is the former chairman of the Board of Directors for the Association of Black Foundation Executives and currently is the chairman of the Board of Trustees for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.