Jeanette Elstein, program officer, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2017. She works toward the goal of ensuring that children and families attain optimal physical, social, and emotional development and well-being. In particular, she focuses on promoting healthy environments in schools to support children’s social and emotional development and learning.
With her background in positive psychology, which emphasizes the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive, Elstein was drawn to the Foundation’s work in addressing the major obstacles that might impede a family’s pursuit of better health and quality of life. She believes that “health isn’t just merely the absence of disease; rather, it’s a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. And that’s what the Foundation strives to achieve through a Culture of Health.”
Previously, she served as project manager for the Positive Psychology Center in Philadelphia, where she oversaw three grant-funded research initiatives: the World-Well Being Project, the Prospective Psychology Project, and the Positive Soldier Health Project. In addition, she collaborated on several research studies about post traumatic growth, and the link between creativity and well-being. She also served as a program evaluation intern with Get Healthy Philly, a community-based Philadelphia Department of Public Health public health initiative that helps Philadelphians enjoy lives free from disease, disability, and premature death.
Elstein holds an MPH in public health, and a BA in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. In her MPH studies, she focused on nutrition and food policy. She volunteered at the Psychology of Eating and Consumer Health (PEACH) lab, based out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, doing research on menu labeling. She also performed independent research on the framing of the sugar-sweetened beverage tax in Philadelphia.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., she now resides in Philadelphia. In her free time, she enjoys teaching Les Mills BODYCOMBAT© classes, travel, and the theater.