A resident in endodontics, Angelique Ford, DDS (center) confers with colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Pipeline, Profession and Practice: Community Based Dental Education
Learning and Evaluation

The Foundation is committed to applying a cycle of research, evaluation, and learning to create opportunities that improve health equity.

Our formal evaluation activities fall into two categories: third-party evaluations that assess the impact of our funding and real-time monitoring of national and local system changes which relate to our grant programs—so we can adjust, as needed. We also support a range of learning activities that inform our decision-making and capture lessons learned from grantmaking. 

Equitable Evaluation

Our goal of promoting health equity requires us to take an equitable approach to our research, evaluation, and learning efforts.

This means thinking critically about who is doing the research and designing the questions, how the data are gathered and reported, who is visible and included in the research process, who interprets the results, and how findings are owned by the community. Since 2019, RWJF has been a practice and investment partner in the Equitable Evaluation Initiative. What we have learned through this partnership has deepened our commitment to centering equity in evaluation and we are doing the work to ensure that these principles guide every aspect of our programs, practices, and projects. From how we design proposals to the innovative methods we support, we are committed to diversifying our research, authentically engaging communities, and building evidence for solutions that will make a bigger difference.

Necessary Conversations cover version.


Necessary Conversations: Understanding Racism as a Barrier to Achieving Health Equity

This e-book published by Oxford University Press describes the need for authentic conversations about racial inequities as essential, difficult, and urgent.

Discovering & Implementing New Ideas

A Culture of Health is a bold vision, demanding equally bold ideas to help us bring it to life. We look far and wide, to the cutting edge and abroad, to discover new ways to improve our nation's health.

Colleagues standing together in group talking.

Pioneering Ideas

The equitable future we all deserve won’t simply arrive—we must create it. We investigate emerging trends and cutting-edge ideas to help anticipate how new technologies, scientific discoveries, cultural shifts, and unforeseen events may shape our lives. We also support pioneering ideas that can lead to a healthier future for all. 

Businesswoman writing on whiteboard in meeting

Global Ideas

Knowing that good ideas have no borders, we identify promising applications to improve health equity here at home. We explore innovations taking root across the globe, learning from these accomplishments to urge action in the United States.

Reporting & Assessment

Across our funding interest areas, we support program evaluations that assess the impact of our individual grants and long-term investments, and capture key insights and lessons learned. We also support the evaluation of national and local systems that relate to our grant programs.

Our evaluations, conducted by independent evaluators, are designed to offer insight into both our successes and failures and help us refine our current funding strategies and identify new opportunities moving forward. In addition to informing our grantmaking, our evaluations also are designed to support broader health policy and practice, by contributing to the evidence base about what works when it comes to improving the nation's health. As they are completed, we share our evaluation findings to foster learning that can help advance positive change nationwide.

Another form of evaluation is retrospective reports, which look back over an entire body of work—for example, two decades tackling tobacco addiction as a public health concern. Looking back helps us find better ways forward.