The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is working to build a Culture of Health.


America is designed to have a housing crisis: Opinion

RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser and CEO of Habitat for Humanity International Jonathan T.M. Reckford describe housing in America as a case study in structural inequality. Widespread segregation by race and income has resulted in disenfranchised communities lacking access to quality education, well-paying jobs, and adequate transit. We need policies that support people of different races and income levels while empowering them with better choices about where to call home.

School meals should remain free for all children—today and always

School meals are often the difference between whether or not children have enough to eat on any given day. All schools will be permitted to serve free meals to all students—also known as universal school meals—for the 2021–2022 school year, a product and recognition of the economic and social upheaval caused by COVID-19. But the value of good nutrition to children, families, and schools is long-term and profound. RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser and Senior Program Officer Jamie Bussel explain why universal school meals should be permanent.

To end America's maternal mortality crisis, dismantle the racism that fuels it

March of Dimes President and CEO Stacey Stewart and RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser write that we must dismantle structural racism and address health inequities to ensure that all pregnant people—regardless of skin color, income, or zip code—can have healthy pregnancies, healthy babies and the ability to thrive. That's birth justice. By prioritizing critical federal and state policy changes and centering the voices and experiences of Black, Indigenous and other people of color, we can save lives and end suffering now.



It's time for FDA to end the tobacco epidemic

Tobacco is responsible for more than 1,000 deaths per day and disproportionately affects people in communities of color and those with low incomes. When it comes to achieving health equity, there is no substitute for federal action. The FDA has the authority and evidence base to ban menthol cigarettes and sharply reduce nicotine levels in all cigarettes. Let's hope it has found the will to do so.

To defeat COVID-19, remember the children and don't let down your guard

As both parents and pediatricians, RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser and Executive Vice President Julie Morita stress the need to redouble our efforts to keep children safe and offer three fundamental steps to mitigate the pandemic’s effects on children.

Conservatives and liberals should rally around equity

In politics today, language is often weaponized in an attempt to end the discussion and blunt any policy changes. We cannot let this happen with the concept of a more equitable nation, pens RWJF Executive Vice President Julie Morita. We need health equity in America in the same way that we need clean water, nutritious foods, safe streets and good schools.

Drs. Besser & Morita: COVID vaccine questions – It's normal to have them. We did, too. Here's what we learned.

President and CEO Richard Besser and Executive Vice President Julie Morita, like many people across the country, had questions before recently getting their first COVID-19 shots. They needed answers before rolling up their own sleeves and recommending COVID-19 vaccines to family and friends. We need to give every person in this country the space, and grace, to make up their minds. After all, they write, trust must be earned.

American Rescue Plan is a down payment on an equitable America

The American Rescue Plan Act provides hope for more than 100 million people, yet if we believe in an America in which everyone has opportunity and every person has equal value, our work is far from complete, pens RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser. Even if the pandemic were to end this year, the people for whom the legislation’s provisions are a lifeline still will be living in a nation steeped in inequities that cannot be eliminated with a single act of Congress, no matter how vast.

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