Program Officer, Transforming Health and Health Care Systems

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), 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.

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. 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. With a career at RWJF, you will make a difference.

The Opportunity

Program officers are professional staff responsible for developing, implementing, and managing RWJF’s strategic initiatives to build a Culture of Health and advance health equity. Their primary responsibilities include providing intellectual and organizational leadership in designing and implementing new initiatives; assessing proposals; monitoring programs and grants; learning from program investments and activities; and creating internal and external impact through dissemination of knowledge.

This program officer will have an assignment with the Foundation’s Transforming Health and Health Care Systems (THHCS) focus area, or theme. The THHCS theme is focused on changing the systems of health care, public health, and social services—so that these systems can more easily and effectively work together to meet the goals and needs of the people they serve. This includes identifying evidence-based ways of ensuring that health-related policy decisions, initiatives, and care models reflect the input and priorities of the people most affected by these decisions and that community-led approaches drive the changes we are seeking to achieve.

Candidate Profile

All program officers at the Foundation are expected to have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and vision and alignment with our values.
  • Demonstrated personal and professional commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion—including approaching these ideas with humility, continuous self-reflection and bravery.
  • Experience and leadership potential in health and health care systems, including but not limited to health care delivery organization and financing; access to care and services; public health systems; and community engagement and influence in health and health care systems change.
  • Successful 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 self-awareness and sound judgment; able to make decisions, justify recommendations; and be responsive and clear.
  • Experience handling multiple priorities effectively; must be adept at organizing time efficiently; able to understand and work effectively with others in a matrixed reporting structure.
  • Strong project and interpersonal skills, as well as a proven ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy—both individually and as part of a team effort with a diverse group of colleagues, grantees, consultants, external funders, and others who contribute to RWJF's work.
  • Personal and professional integrity; an independent and confident thinker; a sense of humor; and able to work effectively with ambiguity at times.
  • Able to think creatively about opportunities to create and respond to novel and innovative approaches and to inspire others to work toward achieving Foundation goals.
  • Able to synthesize material, focus quickly, and identify opportunities while continuing to see the big picture.
  • Understanding of strategic communications tactics; strong written and verbal skills; demonstrated persuasive and respectful presentation skills for communications with internal leadership, external high-level stakeholders, and people from the communities we are working to reach on a range of complex issues. This also includes a sense of how and when to employ communications tactics strategically.
  • Comfort with using social networking tools to further RWJF’s work.
  • Able to travel, including grantee or applicant site visits and representing the Foundation at outside meetings.
  • Education and experience equivalent to an advanced degree (masters) and three (3) or more years of relevant experience.

Job Responsibilities

Program Development and Monitoring

  • Initiates and contributes to the design and implementation of new team initiatives in a way that advances health equity and addresses structural racism. May lead and will participate in sub-team committees and workgroups to design and manage program areas to achieve key team objectives. Serves as a partner with the director and other staff in identifying strategic direction.
  • Works with others, including colleagues and external partners, who may include consultants and other funders to plan and implement projects that execute on strategy. This may include soliciting and screening proposals and working with applicants to iterate plans and project budgets.
  • Provides high-quality written and verbal summaries and recommendations about potential projects to fellow Foundation colleagues, senior management, and, in some cases, the Board of Trustees.
  • May oversee the work of interns related to grant-monitoring activities, as assigned by the director.
  • Monitors the programmatic aspects of funded projects and programs, including providing connections between grantees to learn from each other and amplify work. Keeps director and team apprised of grant developments and occurrences in the field that are likely to affect team decision-making, group strategies, or grants decision-making.
  • Works in collaboration with Program Finance staff and the legal team throughout the evolution and monitoring of a project in compliance with RWJF policies.
  • Centers equity in all work, including identifying consultants, partners and grantees.

Learning and Dissemination

  • Works with colleagues and consultants to assess, evaluate, synthesize, and disseminate results of and learning from programs and projects to other staff, grantees, and the field.
  • Works with other key units across the Foundation involved with communications, particularly in dissemination through the websites, social media, policy, research, evaluation, and learning.

Team and Program Department Functioning

  • Actively participates in team activities and improving team functioning, including following team norms and providing support and backup for team members.
  • Collaborates with director and team to provide insight and guidance on programmatic strategies, grantmaking and grant management.
  • Works collaboratively and effectively with members of other teams, themes, and units at the Foundation, especially with other colleagues working in thematic areas across the program unit.

Foundation and Field Contributions

  • Represents the Foundation publicly regarding advancing equity, program direction, program funding, and grantmaking results. Responds to public inquiries about the application process.
  • Participates in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities to maintain and enhance expertise and professional status.
  • Collaborates with administrative management to supervise, support, and manage the administrative staff with whom program officer works.
  • Participates in Foundation-wide projects related to focus and program areas, and as assigned by senior staff.

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RWJF is an Equal Opportunity Employer.               

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

How to Apply

RWJF has engaged Koya Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume.

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Application Deadline: Open

(Post Date: Jan. 25, 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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