New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The NJHI program office is located on the Camden campus of Rutgers University. This program office is funded through a grant to the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research.
New Jersey Health Initiatives supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey. To meet the many health needs of our state’s diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI program encourages collaboration across sectors in our state’s communities to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording everyone the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible.
NJHI’s mission mirrors that of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — to improve the health and health care of all Americans. NJHI does this by striving to build a Culture of Health right here in New Jersey, the Foundation’s home state, that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The mission of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is to improve the health and health care of all Americans. The goal is clear: To help our society transform itself for the better. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted solely to the public’s health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a unique capability and responsibility to confront the most pressing health and health care problems threatening our society. The Foundation’s efforts focus on improving both the health of everyone in America, and their health care–how it’s delivered, how it’s paid for, and how well it does for patients and their families. As the Foundation invests in improving systems through which people receive care and in fostering environments that promote health and prevent disease and injury, they expect to achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.
Bob Atkins, PhD, RN, FAAN is director of NJHI and an Associate Professor at Rutgers University with a joint appointment in Nursing and Childhood Studies. Dr. Atkins has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and American Civilizations from Brown University and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.
Fresh out of nursing school, Bob moved to the city of Camden where he worked as a school nurse at East Camden Middle School and co-founded the Camden STARR Program, a non-profit youth development program dedicated to improving the life chances of youth living in Camden. Bob’s work in Camden motivated him to complete a PhD in the Department of Public Health at Temple University to better understand the factors that influence the health and well-being of children living in vulnerable communities.
Bob is a life long New Jersey resident and is committed to building healthier communities across the state through effective collaborations and partnerships, meaningful conversations across sectors, and evidence-based innovations. For example, Bob leads several NJHI initiatives that engage more nurses (and school nurses) in building a Culture of Health in NJ.
Select Presentations and Publications:
Dr. Robert Atkins Honored for Advancing Health Care in New Jersey
Rutgers University School of Nursing – Camden. 2019.
Altman, S. and Atkins, B. Next Generation Community Leaders: NJ Cities Create Space for Youth Civic Engagement. New Jersey Municipalities Magazine. 2018: 66-69
Addressing Health Through Grant-Making and Program Development
Compact Nation Podcast. Season 2, Episode 17. May 30, 2018.
Creating a Shared Vision to Help Restore Atlantic City
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Blog/Atkins, B. February 20, 2018.
Addressing Health Equity and Creating Opportunity for Healthier Communities
Rutgers University-Camden. January 31, 2018.
Atkins, Robert. Four Lessons Learned from School Nurses in New Jersey about Building a Culture of Health. NASN School Nurse. 2017; 33(2):106-108
Milton Ellis started in 2001 as the Manager of Grant Operations for NJHI, with responsibility for overall management of NJHI grantmaking operations and grants administration, including fiscal oversight of grantees. Milton earned a BA in Economics with a minor in Finance from Rutgers University.
Most recently, Milton has taken the lead managing several cohorts of NJHI grantees, including the NJHI Safe Dates initiative and the Transitions in Care initiative. Prior to his position at NJHI, Milton spent 13 years with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, first as a Financial Assistant and shortly thereafter being promoted to Financial Analyst.
While in college, Milton worked with the Burlington County Meals on Wheels program, delivering hot meals to isolated senior citizens. Milton enjoys working and mentoring kids and has spent more than 10 years coaching youth football, basketball, baseball and soccer.
Diane Hagerman joined New Jersey Health Initiatives 14 years ago as the Communications Officer. In her current role as Deputy Director of Programs, Diane oversees the program office’s communications functions while also working directly with grantees to ensure they are able to realize the full potential of their projects. Diane currently leads the NJHI: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action cohorts of grantees.
Diane’s career has spanned the fields of technology, casinos and healthcare — diverse industries where she used her communications skills to engage audiences and influence change. Born in Newark and raised in Union County, Diane is a true “Jersey girl!” Her career focus is on improving the supports and systems in our state to ensure that our residents, young and old, have the resources and opportunities to live healthy, fulfilling lives. Now raising her own “Jersey-girl,” ensuring New Jersey has a healthy, vibrant future is of utmost importance to Diane.
Diane holds a Bachelor of Business Science degree in Marketing from Webber College in Babson Park, FL, and a Master of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of Florida.
Select Presentations and Publications:
Removing Barriers to Success Gives Kids the Opportunity to Thrive – Opinion
Philly.com. August 21, 2018.
Creating a Shared Vision to Help Restore Atlantic City
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Blog/Hagerman, D. February 20, 2018.
Jemmell’z Washington’s role as Communications Specialist includes driving the strategy and management of the NJHI.org website and the program’s social media presence, while lending advisory support to NJHI grantees.
Her editorial background with The Roanoke Times and The Philadelphia Tribune has evolved into a diverse communications portfolio that includes commissions from Temple University and the PHLCVB. Jemmell’z also served as a resident writing coach for New Jersey high school students in the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop at Monmouth University. A proven global citizen, she has traveled to Guatemala, Honduras, and Zambia with Habitat for Humanity International and Students Helping Honduras. Those experiences, plus past volunteer work with Spells Writing Lab and the SHARE Food Program, inform Jemmell’z’s familiarity with the socioeconomic factors that dedicated neighbors across New Jersey are addressing in order to build healthier communities for all.
Jemmell’z earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Communications from Albright College, and a Master of Journalism degree from Temple University, with additional M.A. coursework in Urban Studies.
Jaquelyn Ibarguen understands the value of relationships and collaboration in building healthy communities. Earning her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with summa cum laude honors from Rutgers University, her academic interests intersected with her commitment to meaningful work that impacts public policy to improve lives. While pursuing an independent study project through the Institute for Effective Education, she served as a retention coordinator on the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs’ team dedicated to the Pascale Sykes Foundation’s Strengthening Families Initiative in South Jersey. From this work, Jaquelyn brings a wealth of community insights and program support to the NJHI program and its grantees.
Jacky is a family-oriented Jersey-girl, having called Elizabeth, Sayreville and Sicklerville home. Jaquelyn holds an A.S. from Camden County College, and will complete her Bachelor’s program in Spring 2018.
With 17+ years of experience in the IT industry, after turning a hobby into a career, Matthew Kozak brings a unique perspective to his work. His formal education includes a dual Bachelor of Arts in English & American Literature and Philisophy, a Juris Doctor, as well as a Masters in Business Administration.
The last decade of Matthew’s professional career has been spent at Rutgers University’s Office of Informational Technology, serving groups as varied as his own background. One of those groups includes the New Jersey Health Initiatives office located on the burgeoning Rutgers campus in the reinvigorated city of Camden, NJ. As a vital part of this group, Matthew marshals the resources of the Camden Computing Services department to support a host of varied technologies, running the gamut from database and server maintenance to cloud services and desktop support, with a growing mobile and paperless emphasis. His service also extends to the assistance of grantees on topics of interest and in the furtherance of the success of their grant efforts. With a customer-oriented focus, Matthew is able to provide the type of top-notch service to which New Jersey Health Initiatives and its stakeholders have become accustomed.
Calvin Bland retired as Chief of Staff and Special Advisor to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s President in December 2008. Mr. Bland was the director of New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) until 2013. Currently, he is a Visiting Research Professor providing mentoring and advice to the NJHI team.
Bland served as the President and Chief Executive Officer at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children from 1980 to 1999 (Philadelphia, PA).
He is a member of the board of overseers for the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. He has chaired the board of directors of MedicAlert Foundation International and the board of trustees of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions and the National Association of Children’s Hospitals (its public policy affiliate), and the advisory board of the Foundation’s NJHI program. He was a member of the boards of Health Partners of Philadelphia, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, Association of American Medical Colleges’ Council of Teaching Hospitals and several other boards of nonprofit agencies and institutions. He has served on numerous medical and health-related committees in New Jersey and Philadelphia. A highly regarded health executive, Bland has received a number of distinguished honors throughout his career including “Health Care Administrator of the Year” from the National Association of Health Services Executives (Philadelphia). His most recent honor was the establishment of the “Calvin Bland Faculty Fellows” at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former diplomat of the American College of Health Care Executives.
Bland received an M.S. in Administrative Medicine (Hospital Administration) from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Penn Announces Calvin Bland Fellows
The Philadelphia Tribune/Jones, A. October 31, 2017.
Penn’s Inaugural Calvin Bland Fellows are Tackling Health Disparities for Men and Boys of Color
Generocity.org. September 29, 2017.
Antonia (Toni) Lewis, MPH, is a Community Health Strategist with the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), a collaboration of organizations that drive improvements that impact health outcomes of groups of people (as opposed to individuals). Toni’s role is to provide strategic guidance to grantees of New Jersey Health Initiatives, the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a mentor, coach and friend, she empowers people working collectively across diverse sectors to achieve long-term equitable opportunities to be healthy. This requires is removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.
While public health is global, Toni is honored to focus her strategic guidance to affect communities in the Garden State. Her interest in working with communities began in Mercer County, New Jersey where she worked as a Project Director, achieving the first county-wide community participatory health assessment and plan. Following that, she worked in development at various non-profit organizations primarily in health care quality and access, education, and maternal and child health. An entrepreneur at heart, Toni brings a unique fiscal administrative view to public health policy work from earlier work experience primarily as a small business owner.
Toni holds licenses with the NJ Department of Health as a Health Officer and Registered Environmental Health Specialist. Toni received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Ramapo College and a Master of Public Health, Health Policy and Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Select Presentations and Publications:
Impact of Housing Struggles a Big Factor in County Health Rankings
NJ Spotlight/ Stainton, L. (2019, March 22).
Study: County Drops to 7th Healthiest in State
New Jersey Herald/ Comstock, L. (2019, March 19)
Which NJ counties have the worst health outcomes?
Cherry Hill Courier-Post/ Mulford, K., Diamond, M., and Deak, M. (2019, March 19)
Cadmus E, Lewis T, Raoji N, et al. Leading with the Community. Nurse Leader. 2018; 16(5):331-336
Webinar recording: Moving from Data to Health Equity Action. National Network of Libraries of Medicine – Middle Atlantic Region and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. Recorded January 10, 2018.
Christine Grant advises companies, agencies and healthcare systems concerning science, technology and healthcare policy, regulations, finance and reimbursement. Chris is a former New Jersey Cabinet Member and Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and is a nationally recognized expert on healthcare and pharmaceutical financing, and public health crises. She has had careers in Government, Business, Law, and Philanthropy, with degrees in Business, Law, and Science. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from Rutgers University in Newark.
Dr. Brian D. Agnew is the Executive Vice President of Bergen Community College. In this capacity, Brian is responsible for strategic visioning and operational oversight for New Jersey’s largest community college serving over 30,000 students a year, with an annual operating budget in excess of $150 million. Blending personal advocacy for the transformative effect of education with his role as Bergen’s Executive Vice President has positioned Brian as a leading voice in providing affordable, high-quality educational opportunities for students across the state of New Jersey.
In his spare time, Brian is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., plays competitive volleyball, is a volunteer firefighter in Piscataway, NJ, and a dedicated board member for the State Theater located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Brian holds a PhD in Organizational Leadership from the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Journalism from Utica College and a Master’s in Business Administration in Organization and Management from Syracuse University.
Kelley Borradaile is a senior survey researcher at Mathematica Policy Research with experience in evaluations of healthy eating, active living, injury prevention, and obesity prevention programs in children using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods. Dr. Borradaile is directing a study that is measuring head impacts in more than 40 tackle and flag teams in a youth football league. She is also the survey director for the evaluation of the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Healthy Harlem Program, an obesity prevention and treatment program for about 8,000 students being implemented in early child care programs, charter schools, and after-school programs. She served as the deputy survey director for an evaluation of Playworks, a physical activity program for elementary schools, helping to develop a gold standard approach to data collection and training data collection staff. Dr. Borradaile holds a Ph.D. in policy research, evaluation, and measurement from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lafayette College.
Minnie Campbell is a licensed RN, whose specialty is Community/Public Health Nursing and she is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University and an active professional regarding issues of nursing and healthcare in NJ. Dr. Campbell is retired as professor and the first Executive Director of the School of Nursing at Kean University. She is the author of numerous publications, has earned awards in nursing and public health, and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group and the Health Research & Education Trust for the NJ Hospital Association. Dr. Campbell has served the state in many capacities including service as a member of the NJ Public Health Council and the Black Infant Mortality Reduction Advisory Council. She received a Bachelor of Science from Hunter College CUNY, Master of Education (community/public health) from Columbia University, and Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Robert L. Johnson is the Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School as well as a Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. His clinical expertise and research focuses on adolescent physical and mental health, adolescent HIV, adolescent violence, adolescent sexuality and family strengthening. He chairs the New Jersey Governor’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and Related Blood Borne Pathogens and the Newark Ryan White Planning Council. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the National Research Council’s National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Johnson received his BA from Alfred University in 1968 and his MD from New Jersey Medical School in 1972.
Expert Voices: Dean Robert L. Johnson on Teaching Black History
Rutgers Today, February 18, 2019.
Meet the Man Who Knows How to Make Newark Healthier
NJ.com/ Livio, Susan K. March 26, 2018.
William J. “Bill” Lovett was the Executive Director of The New Jersey Alliance for YMCA’s, a not-for-profit association made up of 35 YMCA’s from the state of New Jersey. The Alliance brings the independent YMCA’s of New Jersey together to collaborate and work on areas of mutual benefit in order to strengthen and enhance their individual YMCAs and the collective strength of NJ YMCA’s to better serve the people of New Jersey. Prior to this position, Bill was the Chief Executive Officer for the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy from 1988-2012. Bill has played an extremely important and active role in the YMCA Movement Leadership having served on the YMCA of the USA Board of Directors and President of the New Jersey Alliance of YMCA’s. Bill was a member of the Livestrong/Lance Armstrong Foundation National Collaborative and Chairman of the Public Policy for the NJ Alliance of YMCA’s and Chairman of the Garden State Executive Network. Bill was also State Program Director of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and also led the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network. He is a graduate of Hiram College and received his Master’s in Education from Springfield College.
Mark Valli is the Chief Executive Officer of the Northwest New Jersey Community Action Partnership (NORWESCAP), a well-established community action agency that provides a wide variety of programs and services to over 30,000 low-income individuals and families in the 5 Northwest counties of the State of New Jersey. Previously, Mr. Valli served as CEO and Lead Advocate for the Community Charter School of Paterson (CCSP). CCSP serves more than 900 students and was founded as a community school to provide students and families with programs and services, including health-related services, not provided by traditional schools. Prior to his service with CCSP, Mr. Valli was the founding President and CEO of New Jersey After 3, Inc. New Jersey After 3 (NJA3) was the nation’s first statewide public/private partnership created to expand and improve evidence-based after school opportunities and served more than 75,000 students in over 120 schools across the state. Mr. Valli has served as Board Chair of the New Jersey Center for Nonprofit Corporations and Vice Chair of Leadership New Jersey Graduate Organization. In 2007, Mr. Valli was recognized by NJ Biz Magazine as one of New Jersey’s ‘Top Forty Under Forty.’ Mark holds a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University and graduated Phi Alpha Alpha. Mark graduated from Swarthmore College with honors in history and political science.
Jeffrey Vega serves as the President & CEO of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, its second executive in the Community Foundation’s 23-year history.For nearly 22 years prior, Mr. Vega was with New Brunswick Tomorrow, the nonprofit organization established by Johnson & Johnson nearly 40 years ago to revitalize the City of New Brunswick. Mr. Vega began his career at NBT as a Director of Community Services, and subsequently promoted to Vice President and then to President for the past 14 years. Under his leadership, Mr. Vega increased the organization’s programmatic impact in the areas of health, youth and neighborhood revitalization. He established partnerships with the corporate, foundation and nonprofits sectors, where the programmatic investments grew from $250,000 to over $2.5 million annually. He has been recognized for his work by faith based, community based and social advocacy groups. He presently serves on the Boards of the Center for Nonprofits and LeadNJ. Mr. Vega was an Eagleton Fellow at Rutgers University, earning his Master’s Degree in Political Science and Public Policy and has an undergraduate degree from Cook College, Rutgers University in three majors — Urban Studies, Human Ecology and International Environmental Studies.
Susan Walsh is the Vice President of Population Health at Jersey City Medical Center-RWJBarnabas Health and also serves as its ACO Medical Director and Director of the internal medicine residency program. Her love of community medicine and desire to work for the critically underserved populations in urban centers, led her to spend much of her professional years managing federally qualified health centers in Plainfield, Elizabeth, Newark and others. A stint as the NJ Deputy Commissioner-Public Health was coincident with the need to oversee the H1N1 epidemic and implementation of NJ’s medical marijuana program, two projects that allowed her to meet many of the stakeholders and policymakers of our state. She was also instrumental in the formation of the Trenton Health Team and Greater Newark Healthcare Collaboration at the behest of the Commissioner of Health. Dr. Walsh is a graduate of Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and earned her undergraduate degree at Georgian Court University.