Newly released: Recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities calls for action on early childhood, healthy communities, and bridging health and health care. Read the report and explore the charts, infographics, and videos at


  • The Commission worked closely with a diverse team of policy, research and communications experts throughout the duration of its work to seek solutions, identify partners and develop actionable recommendations. Please note partner bios reflect positions as of December 2009.

    David R. Williams, Ph.D.
    David R. Williams, Ph.D., served as Commission staff director, guiding and coordinating its research, policy and communications activities, and working closely with Commissioners. Williams is the Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and a Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University. He is an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health. His research has focused on the trends and determinants of socioeconomic and racial disparities in health, the effects of racism on health and the ways in which religious involvement can affect health.  He is the author of more than 150 scholarly papers in scientific journals and edited collections. He was ranked as one of the Top 10 Most Cited Researchers in the Social Sciences during the decade 1995 to 2005. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
    The George Washington University Department of Health Policy is the Commission’s organizational home, and the Department’s faculty served as the Commission’s immediate staff.

    Wilhelmine Miller, M.S., Ph.D., served as associate staff director of the Commission.  Miller has extensive experience in health financing and public health policy, with national policy commissions and with scientific consensus committees at the Institute of Medicine.

    Sara Rosenbaum, J.D., chair of the Department of Health Policy, and associate research professor Marsha Lillie-Blanton, Dr.PH., served as senior advisors to the Commission. Rosenbaum has had major roles in the design of federal and state health legislation and regulatory policies, including Medicaid, maternal and child health, civil rights, and public health. Lillie-Blanton is a nationally recognized expert on racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. Previously a vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, where she directed policy research on access to care for vulnerable populations, Lillie-Blanton now serves as senior advisor on race, ethnicity and health care.

    More information is available at .

    University of California, San Francisco, Department of Family and Community Medicine  and Center on Social Disparities in Health

    Paula Braveman, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), directed a team of leading scholars from around the U.S. with expertise in public health, epidemiology, demography, economics, sociology, public policy, and health policy. Braveman heads the UCSF Center on Social Disparities in Health where she conducts policy-oriented research on socioeconomic and racial or ethnic inequalities in health. She is nationally and internationally recognized for her research and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002. During the 1990s, Braveman worked with World Health Organization (WHO) staff to develop and direct a WHO global initiative on equity in health and health care.

    Susan Egerter, Ph.D., who co-directed the research team, has focused her career on policy-oriented epidemiologic research related to social disparities in maternal and infant health. Throughout their careers, Egerter and Braveman have collaborated with local, state, national and international health agencies. The multidisciplinary research group is the backbone of the Commission’s exploratory process, in place to provide Commission members with the most current research available for an in-depth understanding of the complex mosaic of socioeconomic influences on health. Collaborating with other Commission staff, the research team plays a lead role in preparing the data analysis and literature reviews that underpin the Commission’s reports and briefing documents.

    More information is available at and

    Burness Communications  and Health360Strategies
    Burness Communications and Health360Strategies, a joint partnership of Chandler Chicco Agency and Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, provided communications and policy expertise and support to the Commission. The firms offer extensive experience in health policy and public health communications. Working together, these firms created national visibility for the Commission's work and provided a dedicated level of support to each individual Commission member.

    With more than 20 years of experience in working with more than 350 nonprofit organizations, Burness Communications has worked extensively with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has substantial expertise in managing communications-related responsibilities for national commissions. Founder Andy Burness was the Public Information Officer for the President’s Commission on Medical Ethics in both the Carter and Clinton Administrations. He has also advised numerous foundation heads, national advisory bodies, and world-renowned scientists and researchers.

    Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti (MVC), a premier bipartisan government affairs firm, and Chandler Chicco Agency (CCA), a strategic health care public relations agency, formed Health360Strategies to provide its clients a full-circle view of the health care business, media and policy environment. MVC offers its clients a full range of public affairs services including strategic counseling, legislative and executive branch lobbying and guidance for bipartisan political activities. A pure-play healthcare agency, CCA brings in-depth perspective and understanding to health and healthcare communications, with ideas and actions that change the way people think about and interact with healthcare.

    You can go to and for more info.

    Supporting Partners

    Tyrone Turner
    Tyrone Turner is a photojournalist based in Arlington, Va. As a staff photographer for the Times Picayune newspaper in his native New Orleans, he documented that city’s gun violence and gang culture. As an Institute of Current World Affairs fellow he documented youth issue in Brazil, producing an award-winning photo essay on glue-addicted street children. Recently, he has photographed stories for National Geographic Magazine on the disappearing wetlands of Louisiana (October, 2004) and the power of hurricanes (August, 2005), the coast of the United States (July, 2006), and the future of New Orleans (August, 2007).

    Ideas on Purpose
    Ideas On Purpose (IOP) is a group of talented individuals who are experts at identifying and delivering clients’ unique stories. IOP helps clients define their strategies and visually distinguish themselves. They study the specifics of each organization and explore the individuality of each culture, then apply that knowledge across the board—from the biggest conceptual thinking to the smallest design details. The result? IOP connects with targeted audiences through exceptional work products that are as dynamic and diverse as the clients they represent. More information and samples from their portfolio are online at

    AW Systems
    AW Systems specializes in web development with a strong focus on information architecture and usability design. They offer a full array of support services including infrastructure planning, help-desk support, network administration, and hosting. They are the technology partner for a diverse array of clients from the financial industry, to the U.S. Government to major not-for-profits. You can go to for more info.

    DeSantis Breindel
    DeSantis Breindel is a branding and design firm that helps organizations communicate with the audiences most important to their success. We partner with our clients to define their positioning and messaging strategies and express them through naming and identity, marketing literature, multimedia storytelling, Web sites, annual reports and advertising. You can go to for more info.