RWJF Names Avenel Joseph as Vice President for Policy

    • March 16, 2020

Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced today that Avenel Joseph, MS, PhD, has been named vice president for Policy. In this new position, she will lead the Policy unit, and as a key member of the Foundation’s senior leadership team, will be responsible for guiding, motivating, and inspiring the Foundation’s commitment to our policy and government engagement work. She will join the Foundation on March 23, and will be based in our D.C. office.

RWJF is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health and is working alongside others to build a Culture of Health where everyone has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

Joseph comes to the Foundation with more than 10 years of legislative, management, and political experience in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. She began her career on Capitol Hill in 2009 in the U.S. House of Representatives where she worked in both a personal office and on the Natural Resources Committee focusing on the policy intersection of public health and the environment. Since July 2013, she has served in the office of Senator Edward J. Markey, first as his chief health advisor managing a comprehensive health care portfolio and most recently as the director of Policy and Oversight.

“We are proud to have Avenel join our team,” said RWJF executive vice president Julie Morita. “Coming to us from an impressive career in Washington, her background as a scientist turned health policy professional has given her a significant appreciation for the use of science, data, and evidence to drive policy. Her leadership, experience, and accomplishments demonstrate her commitment to improving health through policy.”

Throughout her career in policy, Joseph applied years of research and discovery in the biological sciences to inform her work crafting bipartisan proposals to improve health for all. In her positions serving the House and Senate she developed and advanced proposals to improve the safety of drugs and food, bolster treatment and resources to address the opioid epidemic, secure funding for flu vaccine and Alzheimer’s disease research, promote better chemical regulation and cleaner drinking water, and incentivize cleanup of contaiminated lands for beneficial reuse.

Joseph completed her PhD research in Cell and Molecular Biology at Emory University; graduated with her MS in Developmental Toxicology from the University of Illinois, Urbana‐Champaign; and earned her BS in Animal Sciences from the Pennsylvania State University.


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 Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937