Shaping Public Policy as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Approach

In this chapter of the Anthology, James Marks, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s senior vice president for health, and Joseph Alper, a freelance journalist specializing in health and environmental issues, examine the Foundation’s efforts to affect policy, especially those policies that can influence healthy behavior and lifestyle choices and the environments in which those choices are made. They explain the rationale for the Foundation’s emphasis on policy; explore policy initiatives of the 1990s to reduce smoking and underage and binge drinking and current ones to reverse obesity trends; and analyze the opportunities and challenges presented by a policy approach. Their emphasis reflects a perception among the Foundation’s leadership that lasting social change can be most effectively brought about by policy reforms.