Human Capital Connections at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting

RWJF scholars share advice on building a nationwide culture of health.

    • July 1, 2013

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital team sponsored an RWJF Health Leaders Reception at the 30th annual AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in June. There, researchers, health providers, clinicians, and graduate students—all dedicated to improving Americans’ health and health care—made and built on the crucial professional connections that RWJF facilitates.

A Culture of Health: In Their Own Words

During an RWJF-sponsored reception at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in Baltimore, MD, we asked several RWJF grantees and alumni to tell us in their own words, “What is a culture of health? What does it take to get there?”

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Nearly 150 RWJF grantees, alumni, and program staff representing 15 RWJF programs joined with colleagues and friends of the Foundation for the reception at the Baltimore Convention Center. Several attendees were interviewed on camera, answering two questions that reflect the Foundation’s strategic vision:

  • What is a culture of health?
  • How do we make it happen?

“A culture of health is a call for action for collaborative efforts to instill a sense of appreciation, effective understanding, and adherence to healthy behaviors,” said Sue No, RN, BSN, an alumna of the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Program and a new fellow at the RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico.

In order to create and advance a culture of health, Project L/EARN alumnus David Fakunle (2008) said the nation needs “an environment that contains all of the necessary resources to assure the mental, physical, emotional…and in some cases spiritual well-being of individuals.”

A number of respondents also mentioned the importance of connecting Americans’ attitudes about health to their actions and working together across disciplines and political differences.

A culture of health would be an environment in which “the health care system and providers were fully on board…and accountable to patients,” added Vincent Mor, PhD, a 1996 recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

New HC Network on the Way

Many young scholars were attending AcademyHealth for the first time. They talked about the sessions they led, their poster presentations, and their current research with old friends from their RWJF programs and new colleagues they’ve met as program alumni.

AcademyHealth president and CEO Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, a member of the national advisory committee (NAC) for the RWJF Clinical Scholars program, greeted guests at the reception. Simpson was joined by David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, a 2002 recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research who was the founding chair of AcademyHealth. Among the grantees, alumni, faculty, and NAC members in attendance was RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program alumna and MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH. 

Foundation staff at the gathering included Human Capital Team Director Nancy Wieler Fishman, MPH, Senior Communications Officer Linda Wright Moore, MS, and Vice President for Communications Charles “Robin” Hogen, who provided an update on RWJF plans for facilitating networking and connections.

Hogen updated the group on the development of the Human Capital Network (HCN), which will launch this fall on LinkedIn. The HCN will foster new opportunities for collaboration and engagement across the Human Capital programs, grantees, alumni, and the Foundation. Hogen described those connections as a way to increase the reach—the “surface area”—of each member’s work.

Ultimately, the Human Capital Network will be part of a larger RWJF Leadership Network on LinkedIn, where grantees and alumni can convene from across all of the Foundation’s program teams.

For an overview of RWJF scholar and fellow opportunities, visit

5David Fakunle and PL intern

Project L/EARN alumnus David Fakunle at the AcademyHealth reception

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