2019 RWJF Health Equity Award Winners Announced

Recognizing individuals changing systems and policies to improve opportunities for all.

    • December 3, 2019

Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced nine winners of the 2019 Award for Health Equity, which celebrates individuals who have changed systems and policies at a local level to increase the chance that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. The winners receive a cash prize and will be honored at an awards presentation on December 11, 2019, at the Foundation’s headquarters in Princeton, N.J.

The RWJF Award for Health Equity was launched in 2015, supporting national membership organizations from public health, health care, social justice, civic leadership, community development, education, planning, and philanthropy in recognition of their important work in the field. Those organizations find and select changemakers in their community who are improving well-being for the people they serve.

This year’s honorees include a primary care doctor who developed the most widely disseminated community health worker program in the United States; two community leaders who helped implement the first set of health and wellness standards for a park and recreation agency in their state; and a CEO working to break the cycle of discrimination and social stigma experienced by transgender people and other marginalized communities. 

“The 2019 Award for Health Equity winners show us the types of real, community-driven efforts our nation needs to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being,” said Richard Besser, RWJF president and CEO. “The variety of solutions we are seeing put into practice is matched only by the diversity and passion of our winners."  

Below are the names and organizations of this year’s winners:

Shreya Kangovi of the Penn Center for Community Health Worker—Selected by the National Civic League

Mary Wirshup of Community Volunteers in Medicine—Selected by the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics

Michael Klein and Gabriel Sanders of Kavod Senior Life—Selected by LeadingAge

Maria Gomez of Mary’s Center—Selected by Hispanics in Philanthropy

Tina Fleming and Lindsey Jorstad of Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation—Selected by the National Recreation and Park Association

Jose "Che-Che" Turrubiartez of Youth MOVE—Selected by Youth MOVE National

Arianna Lint of Arianna's Center—Selected by AIDS United

Edward Tepporn of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum—Selected by the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health

Kevin Williams and Sarah Cusworth Walker of the Pierce County Juvenile Court; University of Washington School of Medicine—Selected by Community-Campus Partnerships for Health



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity recognizes and celebrates individuals who have successfully changed systems and policies that help reduce health disparities and move the nation toward health equity.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.  

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

RWJF Award for Health Equity

Honoring leaders who are changing systems and showing us that solutions at the community level can lead to health equity.

Learn more