Jori Fortson, program associate, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2021. Her work supports the Foundation’s strategies and grantmaking that promote the well-being of all families, caregivers, and children. She views her role as “an opportunity to address health disparities and achieve health equity by advancing systems-level change related to the social determinants of health.” She praises the Foundation’s overarching vision to move the nation toward a Culture of Health that ensures everyone has the opportunity to lead longer, healthier lives.
Previously, Fortson served as research associate for the International Center for Research on Women, where she conducted research on the impact of exposure to gender-based cyberviolence during the COVID-19 lockdown. Earlier, as an evaluation intern, she conducted formative and process evaluation for the Teen and Tot Centering Parenting program at Boston Medical Center. Fortson also worked as a writing fellow with the Boston University School of Public Health Public Health Post, which features the work of policymakers, journalists, academics, and practitioners in the areas of health and social justice. In this role, she authored 35 articles on such public health topics as adolescent health, reproductive health, and health disparities. She also served as a fellow with the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases RISE Fellowship, studying reproductive coercion and intimate partner violence, and an intern with The Green Scheme, which promoted community-based nutrition programs.
Fortson earned her BA in Strategic, Legal and Management Communications from Howard University. She was a Graduate Student-at-Large at the University of Chicago and received her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health. In 2018, she was awarded the Whitney Young, Jr. Fellowship by Boston University. The scholarship is presented to entering or continuing graduate students who have shown a proficiency and commitment to a future career in social justice, race relations, and urban problems—topics that defined the life work of Whitney Young, Jr.
In her spare time, she enjoys exploring nature and enjoying good food and music.