A Bold New Direction for Leadership Programs


Watch: RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey discusses the Foundation’s new direction for leadership programs.

Our President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey discusses how RWJF will work across professions and sectors to create a culture of health in America by updating how it invests in leaders and scholars.

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

For more than a year, the staff and Trustees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have been engaged in a strategic planning process. We conducted a thorough analysis of all our work, including our Human Capital Portfolio investments, which include programs that date back to the foundation’s beginning more than four decades ago.

After careful analysis and deliberation, Foundation leaders have agreed that the current and evolving landscape demands new approaches to the challenges we face. As we look to the future, our goal is to create a culture of health that makes it possible for everyone to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come. We intend to do all we can to build demand for healthy options, healthy places, and health-focused policies.

Recognizing the critical role leaders play in advancing social change, we have concluded that now is the time to develop new health-focused leadership programs that connect people across sectors as well as disciplines, capitalize on technology to promote networking and mentoring, and reach and help many more individuals. To achieve our vision, we need to produce even more well-prepared and well-connected scholars and leaders more efficiently. The following principles will guide us as we design new initiatives in Human Capital. We will:

  • Significantly expand the number of leaders and scholars we support
  • Use advances in technology to create networks and increase the flow of ideas
  • Include interdisciplinary and team-based approaches
  • Nurture more leaders and scholars who reflect our country’s rich diversity
  • Incorporate more deliberate leadership development
  • Connect and support leaders who are building a culture of health in America

In order to devote our finite resources to our new vision, we have made the difficult decision to wind down and conclude ten Human Capital programs. The affected programs and their closing dates are:

  • 2016 RWJF Health & Society Scholars
  • 2016 RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research
  • 2017 New Careers in Nursing
  • 2017 RWJF Clinical Scholars
  • 2017 RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows
  • 2017 RWJF Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research
  • 2017 RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars
  • 2018 RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College
  • 2018 RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico
  • 2018 RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico

Choosing this new direction was not easy—because the programs we are closing are first rate, as evidenced by the impact, influence, and contributions of the more than 3,000 scholars, researchers and leaders who are their alumni. We will honor our commitments to current and newly selected participants. The programs will end as strong as they started.

We intend to harness what we have learned from our investments over the past 40 years as we create a new generation of Human Capital programs. There will be opportunities for our partners and other stakeholders to advise us during this process. For information on how to engage, check the rwjf.org website and the newly launched RWJF Leadership Network on LinkedIn, an exclusive, online network to bring together all of the people who have shared RWJF's mission for over 40 years.


Video and letter to the field

Click here to see RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey discuss the Foundation’s new direction in Human Capital programming.

Read Risa Lavizzo-Mourey's letter to the nursing field about the Foundation's new direction.