Culture of Health Leaders is a leadership development opportunity for people working in every field and profession who want to use their influence to advance health and equity. Our leaders’ innovation helps build a Culture of Health, one that enables everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. Through this program, our leaders will be prepared to collaborate and provide transformative leadership to address health equity in their communities.

The Culture of Health Leaders program includes representation from fields as diverse as business, technology, architecture, education, urban farming, the arts and many others. Every year, we look to add even broader representation from fields and professions across the private, public, nonprofit and social sectors to build a truly diverse group of leaders.

JEANNE HERB, Associate Director; Environmental Analysis and Communications Group, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy


Over the course of the three-year program, leaders will:

  • Receive an annual stipend of $20,000 per person—which can be used to cover salary, living expenses, and more—for three consecutive years.
  • Develop high-level leadership skills through professional coaching, networking, and an advanced leadership curriculum, including up to four in-person leadership sessions reinforced by distance-based learning using interactive technology.
  • Create an individual leadership plan that includes self-assessment, leadership development goals, and plans for continued growth and impact after the program is completed.
  • Continue working in their home communities and applying new learnings in real time.
  • Network and become part of a national group of leaders.
  • Receive high-touch executive coaching from national leaders in areas such as futures and change management, health equity, and social innovation.
  • Implement a strategic Culture of Health initiative in the third year of the program.


Upon completion, participants will be equipped to:

  • Reach beyond professions and fields to generate sector-spanning solutions.
  • Influence systems and institutions with expanded community engagement practices.
  • Frame systemic issues and build public will to address them.
  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of the root causes of inequity, Culture of Health, research, and other concepts.
  • Advocate for systemic change to improve health and health equity.
  • Break down silos across sectors to build a Culture of Health.

Culture of Health Leaders is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, co-led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity and CommonHealth ACTION.

The Robert Wood Johnson foundation

These programs continue the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Initially focused on health and health care, the programs have been expanded, because we know that building a Culture of Health requires all of us in every sector, profession and discipline working together.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. It is working with others to build a national Culture of Health, enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.


Natalie Burke
Natalie Burke Co-Director, Culture of Health Leaders;
President & CEO, CommonHealth ACTION

A relationship specialist, Natalie builds and sustains successful, long-term interactions with leaders from all sectors. For more than 20 years, she has provided technical assistance and coaching to organizations across the country as they create community-generated solutions to policy challenges. A master trainer and facilitator, Natalie’s expertise includes organizational development, curriculum development, executive coaching, and training for institutions, including: government; Fortune 150 corporations; public health and healthcare organizations; and community collaboratives.

“Regardless of their sector, stage in life or careers, Culture of Health Leaders will engage in creating an alternative future, one in which all people have equitable opportunities for their best possible health and well-being.”

— NATALIE S. BURKE, Co-Director, Culture of Health Leaders Program, President and CEO, CommonHealth ACTION


Brian Smedley, PhD
Brian Smedley, PhD Co-Director, Culture of Health Leaders;
Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity

Brian D. Smedley is co-founder and Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity, a project that connects research, policy analysis and communications with on-the-ground activism to advance health equity. In this role, Dr. Smedley oversees several initiatives designed to improve opportunities for good health for people of color and undo the health consequences of racism. From 2008 to 2014, Dr. Smedley was Vice President and Director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C., a research and policy organization focused on addressing the needs of communities of color.

“Culture of Health Leaders will embark on a life-changing journey to build their leadership capacity, and, in so doing, positively affect the lives of millions around the country.”

— BRIAN SMEDLEY, PhD, Executive Director and Co-Founder, National Collaborative for Health Equity

Jeffrey Moy
Jeffrey Moy Deputy Director, Culture of Health Leaders;
Senior Program Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity

Jeffrey Moy is a Senior Program Director with the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE). His experience includes implementing programs, developing leaders and strategic planning for non-profit organizations. Prior to joining NCHE, Jeff was a Program Officer for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program at the Institute of International Education. He has also worked at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a National Urban Fellow, where he managed the team creating a strategy around eliminating health disparities. Jeff is an active volunteer for a number of community organizations and currently serves on the National Board for the Japanese American Citizens League.

Nehanda A.M Lindsey
Nehanda A.M Lindsey Curriculum, Learning, & Technology Director, Culture of Health Leaders;
Vice President, CommonHealth ACTION

Nehanda Lindsey serves as the Director of Curriculum and Technology for the Culture of Health Leaders program, where she provides direction for the development, implementation, and delivery of the curriculum and program model. She also developed and manages the technology infrastructure for the program, including the learning systems, devices, and platform that supports the program delivery.

In her role of Vice President of Operations and Organizational Strategy for CommonHealth ACTION, she provides direction and oversight for the organization’s programs and operational activities. With an extensive background in program development and project management, she supports programmatic activities through the effective use of interactive video, web-based tools, educational webinars, social media, training development and implementation. She is a trained writer/editor with strong skills in instructional and information design, communications, as well as comprehensive meeting management.

In addition, she designs and manages the organization’s operations, processes, and systems. A certified meeting professional with over 22 years’ experience in the conference and events industry, Ms. Lindsey manages CommonHealth ACTION’s major events, as well as the associated continuing education processes.

Kara D. Ryan, MPP
Kara D. Ryan, MPP Program Director, Culture of Health Leaders;
Associate Director, Programs and Resource Development, CommonHealth ACTION

Kara leads CommonHealth ACTION’s work developing strategies to institutionalize equity in agencies, organizations and businesses. As part of this work, Kara develops evidence-based curricula and trainings for groups of all sizes, demographics and sectors. She is a strategic thinker, nimble communicator and policy expert. In addition to her role as the program director for the Culture of Health Leaders National Program Center, she oversees CommonHealth ACTION’s work with Seattle Children’s to institutionalize EDI to create more equitable outcomes for its workforce as well as the patients, families and research participants who receive care.

Tara Hacker
Tara Hacker Senior Program Manager, Culture of Health Leaders;
Senior Program Manager, CommonHealth ACTION

Tara Hacker oversees the day-to-day management and development of Culture of Health Leaders and provides technical assistance to community-based leaders and organizations in her role at CommonHealth ACTION. Tara is a solutions-oriented thinker who connects people and resources to address challenges and identify opportunities in individuals, organizations, and communities.  She has over a decade of public health and health care experience. Prior to this, Tara worked at the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative where she worked with stakeholders across the country to advance primary care and the patient-centered medical home. In addition, she worked for the National Council of La Raza (UnidosUS), the Kansas Medicaid program, and she served two years as a Health Educator in Peace Corps Honduras.

Our partners are instrumental in developing and delivering curriculum, providing coaching, and extending the network of leaders.

National advisory committee

Terry Allan, MPH
Terry Allan, MPH National Advisory Committee Member, Culture of Health Leaders;
Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner, Cuyahoga County Board of Health (Greater Cleveland)

Terry Allan is the Health Commissioner for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and past president of the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine. Terry has served on advisory panels for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is a Year 13 Scholar of CDC’s National Public Health Leadership Institute. Terry is a Past- President of the Board of Directors for the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Marcia Conner
Marcia Conner
National Advisory Committee Member, Culture of Health Leaders;
Blank-page Systems Architect, Business sector consultant & adult learning expert

Marcia Conner is a former corporate executive now dedicating her time to reinventing a vibrant healthy world. Described as a “blank page systems architect,” she works with big-vision leaders, impact entrepreneurs and unreasonable thinkers. She is a SupporTED Mentor, contributor to Fast Company, fellow at the Darden School of Business, and an activist with Change Agents Worldwide. Marcia is author of Learn More Now; The New Social Learning: Connect, Collaborate, Work; Creating a Learning Culture; and contributor to Changing the World of Work: One Human at a Time. She speaks globally on outcompeting current structures through system innovation and ingenuity.

Andrea Ivory
Andrea Ivory
National Advisory Committee Member, Culture of Health Leaders;
Executive Director, Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative, Florida Affiliate

Andrea Ivory’s experience as a breast cancer survivor inspired her to establish The Women’s Breast & Heart Initiative because she realized how critical early detection is in saving the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer. Ivory was named one of 10 recipients of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Award in 2011, a 2009 Top Ten CNN Hero, and a 2009 L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Honoree.

David Harrington
David Harrington National Advisory Committee Chair, Culture of Health Leaders;
Executive Director, Prince George's County Chamber of Commerce

David Harrington is President and CEO of the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce. During his tenure, the Chamber’s revenue, membership and influence on state and local policy has increased significantly. Previously, David completed 15 years of public life commencing as a mayor, a county council member and Maryland State Senator. He was also President of the Maryland Municipal League, National Chair of Economic Development with the National Association of Counties, and Chaired the Maryland State Task Force on Physical Education. He has been awarded numerous awards, including the Phyllis Newman Award for nonprofit advocacy, the Human Services Coalition Legislative Award, and Legislator of the Year from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Luella Toni Lewis, MD
Luella Toni Lewis, MD National Advisory Committee Member, Culture of Health Leaders Chair;
Immediate Past Chair of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Health

Dr. Luella Toni Lewis chairs SEIU Healthcare, the arm of SEIU representing one million nurses, doctors and health care workers throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. She joined SEIU in 2004 as a member of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) of SEIU Healthcare. She was elected as the national president of CIR from 2007-2010. Dr. Lewis trained at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center when it experienced service cuts and imminent closure. She emerged from this crisis as an experienced and tested public health advocate devoted to health justice and the highest quality of care for all communities.

Kyu Rhee
Kyu Rhee
National Advisory Committee Member, Culture of Health Leaders;
Chief Health Officer, IBM Watson Health

Dr. Rhee serves as Chief Health Officer of IBM, where he has global responsibilities for Watson Health and assuring a Culture of Health at IBM. Prior to joining IBM, Dr. Rhee was Chief Public Health Officer at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for the uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. Dr. Rhee also served as Director of the Office of Innovation and Program Coordination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he served on and led numerous initiatives related to eliminating health disparities and promoting health equity.