The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced that Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, its president and CEO since 2003, will step down once a successor is in place.
Lavizzo-Mourey, the first woman and first African American to head the nation's largest philanthropy devoted to health, has worked to advance the foundation's vision of a Culture of Health, which emphasizes the idea that health is an essential building block for personal fulfillment, thriving communities, equity, and a strong, competitive nation. During her tenure, Lavizzo-Mourey has spearheaded the foundation's efforts to reverse the nation's childhood obesity epidemic, help individuals obtain healthcare coverage, develop strategies to simplify enrollment in the Children's Health Insurance Program, and bolster leadership training in the health field.
In 2008, RWJF created the Commission to Build a Healthier America, an independent, nonpartisan body of leaders that examined what factors outside of the medical care arena influence health. After collecting data and holding listening sessions across the nation, the commission issued Beyond Health Care, which underscored the finding that good health depends more on where people live, learn, work, and play rather than medical care alone, and issued a list of recommendations aimed at improving health at the local, state, and federal levels. The report subsequently led the foundation to launch its Culture of Health initiative in 2014.
"Risa's commitment to improving the health of this nation during her tenure as CEO is simply unparalleled, and she has led this foundation with an extraordinary sense of purpose and passion," said RWJF board chair Roger Fine. "It is difficult to see her leave, but we are fortunate that she will remain at the helm until a successor is in place."