Change Leaders: A New Network, Engaging Every Sector, to Build a Culture of Health

Feb 12, 2016, 10:00 AM, Posted by Pam S. Dickson

RWJF is opening applications for new programs that support the development of diverse health care leaders as well as leaders from other sectors who can help build health into our communities and the nation as a whole.

Attendees sit in the audience at The Science of Placebo conference.

Few things inspire me like the challenge to build a Culture of Health in America. But success depends on the skills and creativity of our leaders—their ability to influence, inspire and lead in a rapidly changing world. Many of these leaders must also be part of those communities with limited resources and opportunities, if we are to tackle the pernicious effects of racism, poverty and inequity. They must represent every sector and discipline, recognizing that health is influenced by complex social factors beyond health care. These leaders have to abandon status quo, silos and their assumptions, and create a new reality.

This is the opportunity before us as we open applications for new Advancing Change Leadership programs on February 22. It continues our decades of work to support the development and diversity of health care leaders, and expands our investment to leaders from other sectors who have the passion, ingenuity and influence required to build health into our communities and nation as a whole. We are profoundly excited by the idea of a diverse network of dedicated leaders committed to equity and better health. Imagine how they will approach their work, cultivate the next generations of leaders, and accelerate the journey toward a Culture of Health!

These national programs will be led by esteemed academic institutions and organizations. Individuals and teams who participate will be prepared to translate their work into building healthy communities, influencing public opinion and policy, and contributing significantly to building a Culture of Health. They will come from health and health care, architecture and transportation, education and faith, community organizing and policy change, and many other perspectives. Collaborating across sectors and backgrounds, they will build bridges between health care and other factors that shape people’s lives and health where they live, learn, work and play.

This is change leadership—preparing leaders to adapt and innovate in a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex landscape—and it is a crucial step in building a Culture of Health.

If you continuously seek out ways to increase the health and equity of your community, seek systemic solutions, and refuse to accept problems as intractable, we need you. Please consider applying for one of these new programs. And if you know people who fit this description, please encourage them to apply.

  • Health Policy Research Scholars is for first- and second-year doctoral scholars from underrepresented communities. They will receive dissertation support, research training and skill building in health policy, health equity and population health; participate in leadership development trainings; and establish and strengthen professional ties to public health and industry leaders. The program is led by Johns Hopkins University.

  • Interdisciplinary Research Leaders will apply research to spur on-the-ground change. Twenty research teams of at least three people, including two researchers from different disciplines and backgrounds plus a community leader or organization, will collaborate on solutions to entrenched problems. The program is led by the University of Minnesota.

  • Culture of Health Leaders will engage professionals to create cross-discipline, collaborative solutions to health inequities. The program will place particular emphasis on cooperation, inspiring communities, and influencing local and national conversations. Participants will represent diverse disciplines such as education, transportation, technology, public health and public policy, business, health care, community development and urban planning. The program is led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity.

  • Clinical Scholars participants will be clinically active health care providers who have attained the highest possible degree in their field. Most will work in inter-professional teams of three to five members—for example, nurses, physicians, pharmacists and more. The program will also accept several individual applicants. The program is led by the University of North Carolina.

Each program includes leadership training; advanced curriculum in health policy, community engagement, health equity and other topics; interdisciplinary collaboration, networking and mentoring; and funding through stipends and grants. All have a guiding commitment to diversity and equity, inviting participants and projects that represent a mix of race, ethnicity, gender identity, ability, age and socioeconomic status. Participants do not need to relocate; they will work and learn from their home community, collaborating via a few in-person convenings and a robust virtual learning system.

Get ready for a new generation of leaders who are willing to think, work and collaborate in unconventional ways to take their influence and impact to new levels. Get ready for a Culture of Health! 

Learn more about the programs and apply!

Pam Dickson

Pamela S. Dickson, MBA is an associate vice president for program staff at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who is using the Foundation's unique vantage point to leverage resources that can improve health and health care nationwide. Read her full bio.