Meet the RWJF Community Health Leaders

Oct 15, 2012, 9:00 AM

This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio.


Each year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Award honors 10 of America’s best―unsung heroes who have forged their own solutions to the shortcomings and challenges facing our nation’s health care system.

On Wednesday, RWJF will announce its selection of the 2012 Community Health Leaders, who have surmounted significant challenges to improve health and health care in their communities.

Community Health Leaders see unmet health needs in their neighborhoods and communities, and they move tirelessly to fill those gaps. They have taken matters into their own hands and accomplished what others may have believed was impossible. And often, they have overcome daunting personal obstacles in their quest to serve others. 

Community Health Leaders are nurses, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, clergy, attorneys and judges, school officials, activists and advocates. The problems they tackle are varied and complex: promoting statewide policies to improve and expand access to health care services, providing HIV/AIDS education and breast cancer detection, helping low-income people control their children’s asthma, establishing accessible health centers and clinics, and much more.

Now in its 19th year, the Community Health Leaders Award raises awareness of the leaders’ extraordinary contributions through a $125,000 award, national visibility, and networking opportunities. RWJF has honored more than 200 outstanding Community Health Leaders from nearly all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

In the coming weeks, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will hear from the 2011 Community Health Leaders about what they’ve experienced during their first year as Leaders.

For details on how to submit a nomination, including eligibility requirements and selection criteria, visit

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.