The RWJF Health & Society Scholars program ended February 2017. The site will no longer be updated. More »


Although the United States spends more for medical care than any other country, our nation ranks poorly on many indicators of health and well-being. Studies comparing the health status of different population groups within the United States repeatedly demonstrate marked disparities in health and disease patterns associated with social, economic and environmental conditions. There is also growing recognition that decisions made outside the traditional health sphere can powerfully affect the health of populations.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program seeks to improve the nation’s health by addressing the full spectrum of factors that affect health and creating the evidence to inform policy in multiple sectors that can promote health. The program trains scholars to investigate the effects of contextual factors on behavior and biology in order to strengthen the knowledge base supporting population-wide interventions.

There are new sources of funding to support such work and a growing job market among government agencies, universities and public health organizations for individuals capable of leading and participating in research, policy, and practice that crosses disciplines and sectors of society to improve population health. However, experts with such knowledge and skills are in critically short supply. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program is designed to fill the void.

This program is part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio, which seeks to build and maintain a strong and diverse leadership and workforce in health and health care, and to help develop specific fields.