Katie Wehr, program officer, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2010. Wehr focuses on discovering and investing in what works to promote and protect the nation’s health and to achieve the Foundation’s vision where we, as a nation, strive together to build a Culture of Health enabling all in our diverse society to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come.
Since joining RWJF, Wehr has worked to increase the visibility and impact of solutions that advance health and that incorporate emerging research, practice and policy tools to put evidence into action and create policy and system changes that enable all people lead healthy, productive lives. As she puts it: “It takes all of us to improve the quality of people’s lives, prevent illness, and make our communities vibrant, healthy places—no matter where people live, learn, work and play.” To that end, Wehr’s interests range from identifying innovations occurring across the country to developing new collaborations and solutions to improve the nation’s health—especially those that nurture and strengthen early childhood development and health across the life course.
Wehr’s parents shaped her interest in health. As she notes, “My mom, who is a pastor and former nurse practitioner, and my dad, who is a family physician, showed me what it means to create and support a holistic sense of well-being and what it means to heal, that is to be of service to the emotionally, spiritually, or physically sick and to build on their individual strengths to create wholeness.” Wehr also credits her parents with instilling in her an appreciation for working closely with others toward a common purpose.
Previously, Wehr was a graduate research assistant at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill Sheps Center for Health Services Research. Her work involved analyzing and evaluating data from perinatal residential substance abuse treatment centers in the state. She has also served as Community Projects Coordinator for the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition and as an AmeriCorps Member of the North Florida Health Corps.
Raised in Iowa, Wehr received an MPH, Maternal & Child Health, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in Sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University. If she is not running or swimming, you can find her cooking with friends, traveling the globe, or exploring New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia, especially art, theatre, and music events.