RWJF Fellow Named White House "Champion of Change"

Jul 15, 2013, 12:00 PM

Laura Anderko, an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program (2005-2008), received a prestigious honor from the White House last week for her work to protect health in a changing climate.

The Robert and Kathleen Scanlon Endowed Chair in Values Based Health Care at the School of Nursing & Health Studies at Georgetown University, Anderko was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House. On July 9, she and 10 other “champions” who work at the intersection of the climate and public health attended an event with top government officials to discuss their work.

Anderko, PhD, RN, said in an interview that she was “honored, thrilled, and surprised” to receive the recognition and added that the honor will help raise awareness of the health implications of climate change. My hope, she said, is that this award helps this issue gain “more prominence in the minds of society, not just in America, but globally.”

The ENF program had a “huge impact” on my career, she added. It allowed me to “really immerse myself in environmental health” and taught me to “think big and consider unusual and unlikely partners”—a theme she addressed during the July 9 event at the White House.

“Champions of Change” are recognized by the White House for their work in a wide range of fields. The program was created as an opportunity for the administration to recognize American individuals, businesses and organizations that are “doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.”

“Laura Anderko is making strong efforts to change her community’s ways on treating the environment and is leading the way on climate and health,” a White House release stated.

Learn more about Champions of Change.

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