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Powerful Commitment

Community Health Leaders are an extraordinary group of creative, health care service providers, health advocates and authentic leaders whose work often serves as the catalyst for changes in communities across the U.S.

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Celebrating Community Health Leaders

Remarks from Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, at the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Community Health Leaders. 


"Welcome, everyone.


I am delighted to be with you today to honor and celebrate the achievements of our Community Health Leaders at our final annual meeting together. This year’s meeting is really special. In addition to recognizing our Leaders today, we are celebrating a milestone:  20 remarkable years of the Community Health Leaders Awards"...

Deborah A. Jastrebski – (CHL 2011)

Deborah A. Jastrebski is the founder and chief executive officer of Practice Without Pressure in Newark, Delaware, and a 2011 recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Community Health Leader Award. Practice Without Pressure works with patients, family members, caregivers and providers to help people with disabilities receive quality medical, dental and personal care. The Human Capital Blog asked Jastrebski to reflect on her experience as an RWJF Community Health Leader.


Human Capital Blog: You founded Practice Without Pressure because of your son’s experience. Would you tell us about that, please?...


"Celebrating 20 Years of Community Health Leaders" video

Since 1993, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders have given voice to the needs of underserved groups and brought important perspectives to the Foundation. These courageous and determined leaders improve health and access to care in underserved populations, and we honor their commitment to making a difference in their communities.

Watch the video in which the RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey delivers remarks to celebrate 20 years of the Community Health Leaders Awards.  The Awards exemplify the belief that RWJF can have a measurable impact on the nation’s health and health care by investing in individuals who are catalysts and creators of change. Visit the Foundation’s Grants page highlighting CHL to view the video

Leaders in the News

News from the Leaders

*Susan Rodriguez – (CHL 2010)  Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment (SMART) co-founded by Rodriguez in 1998 serves as New York’s City’s premier community-based HIV treatment education organization run by and for HIV+ women.  Tracy Jarrett’s interview with Susan and Christina Rodriguez is featured in an article, “Reflections on Mother’s Day.” *Stephen Black, J.D., M.T.S. – (CHL 2008) Stephen Black, Founder and President of Impact Alabama, shares his thoughts and inspiration behind getting college graduates to stay and work in Birmingham, Alabama on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”  *Scott Charles – (CHL 2008) Nationally-renowned children’s rights advocate, Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund participates in a symposium entitled “Youth, Civil Unrest, and the Fate of Urban America” with Scott Charles, Trauma Outreach Coordinator of Cradle to Grave.  Both share their thoughts on the cycle of poverty and violence.  *Fred Wells Brason II – (CHL 2012) Founder of Project Lazarus in Wilkes County, N.C., Brason’s work in overdose prevention is acknowledged by Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

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About CHL

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the Community Health Leaders program (CHL) in 1991 to recognize individuals who overcome daunting obstacles to improve health and health care in their communities. Since 1993 the CHL Award has been presented to 187 individuals. Currently they reside in 45 states and Puerto Rico.

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Our Mission

The mission of CHL is to support and sustain the capacity of individuals who demonstrate creativity, innovation, and commitment to improving health outcomes at the community level.

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Our Goals

The goals for CHL include: Increasing the visibility and exposure of the leaders and their work to the nation; Enhancing and enriching leadership skills for the leaders; Increasing opportunities for the leaders to establish new relationships and expand their influence to improve health outcomes in communities.

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