Alonzo Plough joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as chief science officer and vice president, Research-Evaluation-Learning in January 2014. He is responsible for aligning all of the Foundation’s work with the best evidence from research and practice and incorporating program evaluations into organizational learning. He also oversees the two grantmaking portfolios focused on innovation and emerging issues: Pioneer and Global Ideas for U.S. solutions.
Plough has been a national leader in public health practice for over 25 years. He came to the Foundation from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where he served as director of emergency preparedness and response from 2009–2013. In that role, he was responsible for the leadership and management of activities protecting the 10 million residents of Los Angeles County from natural disasters and threats related to disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies. He coordinated activities in emergency operations, infectious disease control, risk communication, planning, and community engagement.
Prior to this position, Plough served as vice president of strategy, planning and evaluation for The California Endowment from 2005–2009. Before this, he served 10 years as director and health officer for the Seattle and King County Department of Public Health and previously served as director of public health in Boston for eight years.
Plough earned his PhD and MA at Cornell University, and his MPH at Yale University School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. He has held academic appointments at Harvard University School of Public Health, Tufts University Department of Community Medicine, and Boston University School of Management. He is currently clinical professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for public service and leadership and is the author of an extensive body of scholarly articles, books, and book chapters.
Plough lives in Princeton and Los Angeles, and is married with two adult sons and two granddaughters. He is a jazz guitarist and vocalist.