Donald Schwarz, senior vice president, Program, is guiding the Foundation's strategies and working closely with colleagues, external partners and community leaders to build a Culture of Health in America, enabling everyone to live the healthiest life possible.
Schwarz, a nationally-recognized leader in public health and children’s health care, is formerly deputy mayor for Health and Opportunity and health commissioner for the City of Philadelphia where he oversaw the Departments of Human Services, Behavioral Health, and Intellectual Disability Services, and the Office of Supportive Housing. Most recently, he was a Foundation director, leading efforts to catalyze public demand for healthier people and the places in which they live, work, learn, and play.
Schwarz currently leads the Foundation’s efforts to promote healthier, more equitable communities, healthy children and healthy weight.
During his tenure as deputy mayor in Philadelphia, the city experienced a 5 percent reduction in childhood obesity, and a decline in adult obesity rates. The city also had more than a 50 percent increase in permanent housing for homeless individuals and families, and a 24 percent reduction in the rate of dependent children being removed from their families. Under his leadership, access to the behavioral health system (including the County of Philadelphia’s Medicaid program) increased, and the number of those with serious mental illness who moved to independent, community-based living increased substantially.
As health commissioner, Schwarz worked to initiate successful anti-obesity and smoking cessation programs, introduced electronic health records to the city’s eight federally-qualified health centers, and established a unique public-private partnership to construct a new health center, recreation center, and library complex to serve the needs of the highly diverse South Philadelphia community. Rates of HIV also declined in Philadelphia, the city has reached its lowest rates of infant mortality, and Philadelphia had the highest rates of childhood immunization of America’s large cities.
Before entering government service, Schwarz was vice chairman of the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and deputy physician-in-chief and Craig-Dalsimer Division chief of Adolescent Medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He was professor of Pediatrics in the University of Pennsylvania Schools of Medicine and Nursing and a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics at Penn. Earlier in his career Schwarz was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar.
An active researcher in the area of adolescent risk behaviors, Schwarz received both public and private funding for work that examined the issues of injury and its prevention in urban, minority communities, public policy approaches to adolescent violence, and physician- and nurse-practice-based interventions to improve outcomes for high-risk infants.
Schwarz, a board-certified pediatrician, holds a Master of Business Administration in health care administration from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He received his MD and MPH from Johns Hopkins University, and earned his BA in biology from Brown University.