Since our inception, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been driven by a continuous cycle of research, evaluation and learning. In connection with our focus areas, we work to expand our nation's evidence base on the many factors which shape health, and what types of policy and system changes have greatest potential for impact.
Research, Evaluation and Learning
RWJF Research Programs
RWJF's signature research programs are helping to identify the root causes of health disparities in America, and potential solutions to improve health, equity and wellbeing. Visit the websites below for more information, or use our Program Finder to find your ideal RWJF program opportunity.
4Action Nonpartisan Research
With support from RWJF, Evidence for Action, Policies for Action, and Systems for Action fund research evaluating the real-world implications of policies and other interventions on health, equity, and wellbeing.
These programs worked together to create the 4Action Nonpartisan Research Analysis, a synopsis of research conducted by 4Action grantees on topics that include Housing and Neighborhoods, Economic Security and Employment, Education and Early Childhood Care and Development, and others. While this synopsis doesn’t constitute the full breadth of research on these topics, it does contribute to our understanding of how these policies operate in the real world and the impacts they’re having on communities.
Check out the 4Action Nonpartisan Research Analysis to learn more about the policies and related research findings.
Through our research programs, we fund a range of types of research projects, including:
- Targeted Research—solicited and often rapid-cycle projects to address key gaps in knowledge and inform efforts to improve health, health equity and wellbeing.
- Policy and Systems Research—exploratory and advanced studies seeking a deeper understanding about potential benefits and implications of alternative approaches.
- Research-Driven Demonstrations—projects that address particular research questions which may have broad ramifications both for our grantmaking and broader health policy and practice.
Evaluation and Learning
Evaluation is a cornerstone of our approach to philanthropy. We believe deeply in the value of sharing key insights from our grantmaking—what worked, what didn’t, and why.
Generally, our formal evaluation activities fall into two major categories: Third-party evaluations assessing the impact of our funding, and real-time monitoring of national and local system changes which relate to our grant programs, so we can make adjustments as needed. We also support a range of activities to embed learning throughout our decision-making, and capture lessons learned from our grantmaking.
Evidence for Policy and Practice
When it comes to addressing our nation's critical health challenges, the greatest opportunity for lasting change often lives within public policies that affect health, equity and wellbeing.
Across our work, RWJF leverages decades of research to assist policymakers at the federal, state and local level in their efforts to safeguard and improve health in the communities they serve:
- We support research—We fund researchers across academic disciplines whose work can inform efforts to build healthier and more equitable communities.
- We provide resources—We publish evidence-based, nonpartisan analyses to help guide the development and implementation of public policies, and assess policy impact.
- We collaborate—We fund and participate in convenings, coalitions, and briefings with leaders across sectors to facilitate the exchange of ideas on state and national policy issues.
Evaluations assessing the impact of our grants and grant programs, and sharing insights from our grantmaking.Browse Program Evaluations
Comprehensive looks back at groups of RWJF programs that worked together to achieve and leverage big changes.Browse Retrospectives