Program Associate, Transforming Health and Health Care Systems



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF; the Foundation), located in Princeton, N.J., is the largest philanthropy in America dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, we have been providing funding, assistance, and research for projects and programs to help people, their families, and their communities be as healthy as possible. RWJF is committed to working alongside others to build a Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. This requires removing obstacles to health, such as poverty, powerlessness, and discrimination, and their harmful consequences.

We take seriously our responsibilities, and we pledge to work in ways that reflect our Guiding Principles. These are rooted in equity and influence everything we do at RWJF. Equity, diversity, inclusion, and collaboration allow our staff’s wide range of experiences, passions, and perspectives to enrich our work and strengthen our ability to address our nation’s most pressing health issues. The Foundation offers a collaborative, collegial, and creative work environment. With a career at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, you will make a difference.

About the Opportunity

Program associates are professional staff responsible for facilitating and supporting the execution of work in their unit/theme and perform a wide range of activities specific to their role. Reporting to the deputy director, the program associate for Transforming Health and Health Care Systems (THHCS) will work with members of this program theme to facilitate, support, and potentially lead collective efforts with partners and grantees to advance public and private investments in systems change efforts. The program associate plays an important role supporting the theme’s equitable and efficient functioning, grantmaking, contributions to the Foundation and the field, and learning and dissemination. This includes activities such as: assisting in the effective facilitation of the theme; conducting project and related research; work with experts, grantees, and applicants to develop strategies and action plans to fulfill the theme’s objectives; helping design and implement new initiatives; evaluating proposals; and monitoring programs and grants.  Associates are based in the Foundation’s Princeton, N.J., office.

The THHCS theme is focused on addressing the policies, practices, and norms in health and health care systems that perpetuate racial inequities in health. For example, the theme works to address structural barriers to health care access and affordability, and to improve the public health system and its capacity to advance health equity. The THHCS theme strives for its work to reflect the input and priorities of the people most affected by inequitable policy decisions, and works to advance community-led approaches to drive change.   

All staff are expected to demonstrate a passionate commitment to equity and the Foundation’s vision, values, and Guiding Principles.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Program Operations:

Assist in overall theme/unit coordination and activities, including administrative, operational, and facilitation tasks as needed, including:

  • Prepare reports and materials for Board of Trustees, senior leadership, and strategy meetings.
  • Assist and support theme/unit with activities, as assigned.
  • Maintain shared folders and workspaces.
  • Track progress on the theme/unit’s equity plan.
  • Participate in theme/unit activities and improving theme/unit functioning.
  • Support grantee engagement and planning meetings with grantees and other partners.

Program Development and Monitoring:

  • Gather, synthesize, and analyze background information relevant to theme/unit strategy and the development of programs.
  • Participate in site visits and review proposals.
  • Coordinate external reviews for proposals and concept papers.
  • Assist theme/unit members in program and project development; monitor, track, and report on initiatives and programs, as assigned.
  • Work with theme/unit members to develop strategies and action plans that consider input and reporting from experts and grantees.
  • Center equity in all work, including identifying consultants, partners and grantees.

Grantmaking Processes:

  • Develop calls for proposals and evaluate proposals from applicants.
  • Implement the grantmaking processes and policies of the Foundation.
  • Represent the Foundation publicly; respond to public inquiries.

Foundation and Field Contributions:

  • Work with staff and consultants to harvest “learnings” from previous and current grantmaking, and actively disseminate results and “learnings” to other staff, grantees, and the field.
  • Attend external meetings and conferences; prepare trip reports.

Minimum Requirements

  • Commitment to racial and health equity and the Foundation’s vision, values, and Guiding Principles.
  • Two (2) years of related work experience in health or a related field including the social determinants of health, preferably in the nonprofit or government sector; knowledge of philanthropy helpful.
  • Experience fostering an inclusive environment working as part of a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in the use of Microsoft Office Suite and experience with file sharing systems (Dropbox, Salesforce, Google docs).
  • Commitment to and interest in addressing structural racism built into these systems as part of advancing racial and health equity.
  • Can work and think independently with confidence, and in teams, to think imaginatively about opportunities; to create and respond to new approaches to addressing an issue; to inspire others to work toward achieving team goals; and to be tolerant of ambiguity and differences in grantmaking approaches. Approach work with humility, self-reflection, and bravery.
  • Intellectually curious; able to apply learning to work responsibilities.
  • Collaborative, team-oriented, and energetic; able to develop relationships with colleagues, grantees, consultants, external funders, etc.
  • Skills in time, project, and people management; ability to balance multiple priorities.
  • Able to read, analyze, and interpret professional journals and periodicals, technical procedures, and governmental regulations. Able to synthesize and translate complicated material into clear and simple language.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Able to make decisions and justify recommendations.
  • Able to travel as required.

Education and experience equivalent to a master’s degree (e.g., Master of Public Health or Public Policy), or a bachelor’s degree and two (2) years of related experience or training, especially in public health, public policy, or a related health, behavioral, or social science field. Experience or education relevant to health and health care system structures, policy and advocacy preferred.

Physical Requirements/Working Conditions

This position is located in Princeton, N.J. If you are hired, you will be required to work from our Princeton office when our facilities re-open.

The associate will perform job duties in a typical business office environment. Specific physical abilities required by this job include operating basic office equipment. Will be required to attend meetings, potentially both on-site and off-site, via phone or videoconference.

How to Apply

Submit your resume and letter of interest.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented applicants.

How to Apply

Submit your resume and letter of interest.

Application Deadline:
September 26, 2021

Post Date: August 2, 2021

This position is located in Princeton, N.J. If hired, you would be required to work from our Princeton office when our facilities re-open.

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