Our Team

The Evidence for Action (E4A) National Program Office works closely with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to guide overall program direction and development and implement intiatives. National Advisory Committee (NAC) members provide valuable insights about strategies for achieving E4A’s mission and expanding outreach to potential applicants and decision-makers. E4A leadership review Letters of Intent, and both the leadership and NAC members review Full Proposals. 

Evidence for action team

Dr. Amani Allen, a smiling Black woman with short black hair, wearing black glasses a grey blouse, and a dark blazer

Dr. Amani Nuru-Jeter, PhD, MPH

Director, she/her/hers
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Dr. Nuru-Jeter provides the overarching vision and direction for E4A and its administration, sets program priorities, and participates in reviews of applications to recommend for funding. Her own research examines the relationship between social and environmental stressors, such as racism, and health outcomes across the lifespan, particularly among African American women.

I’m excited about working with the E4A team, RWJF, and the National Advisory Committee to explore how we may push the boundaries even further to support equitable and innovative research that will advance health and racial equity.”

Image of Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH

Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH

NAC Chair, he/him/his
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Dr. Galea is the chair of the E4A National Advisory Committee. In this role, he leads a group of research experts that provide valuable insights on strategies for achieving E4A’s mission and expanding outreach efforts to potential applicants and decision-makers. He also reviews a selection of Full Proposals. Dr. Galea is a physician and an epidemiologist. He is Dean and Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. Dr. Galea is interested in the social causes of health, mental health and the consequences of trauma.

I am always thrilled to read about new ideas, ways in which we can advance our understanding to the end of informing policies that can create a healthier world.

Lacinda Benjamin, MSOD

Lacinda Benjamin

Program Assistant
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Ms. Benjamin plays an essential role within the E4A program, providing administrative support, aiding in grant coordination, and actively contributing to program initiatives. She focuses on streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency, and upholding program objectives with clarity, ensuring seamless operations.

Funding action-based research to better understand racial and health disparities in marginalized groups is impactful and transformative for everyday lives. It's an honor to be part of a team dedicated to creating positive change.

Elissa Carey, a smiling Chinese American woman with long dark hair. She's wearing a dangly beaded necklace and white top. She's sitting in front of a green leafy background.

Elissa Carey

Comms Assistant, she/her/hers
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Ms. Carey supports the communication activities of the program and grantees. She aids in the maintenance of the website, social media channels, blog, and newsletter.

I am eager to learn, grow, and support research that strives assiduously to create change from inequities caused by structural racism.

Aaron Carroll, MD

Aaron Carroll, MD

NAC Member, he/him/his
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Dr. Carroll is the President and CEO of AcademyHealth, Associate Dean for Research Mentoring and a Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Carroll's current research interests include the use of information technology in pediatric health care, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis, and health policy; and investigating differences in the way people value different health states. He also translates health policy research and data into the public sphere through his blog, The Incidental Economist, his YouTube show Healthcare Triage, and his column The New Health Care at the Upshot at the New York Times.

Too much research points out what’s wrong without offering solutions to make things better. What I love about E4A is its singular focus on actionable evidence that stakeholders can immediately use to improve the world.

Image of Steph Chernitskiy, Evidence for Action's communications manager. She/her/hers

Steph Chernitskiy

Comms Manager, she/her/hers
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Ms. Chernitskiy oversees the communications and dissemination activities of the program and grantees. In her role, she leads the development and implementation of program and grantee communication strategies, development of program materials, and management of the website, blog, and social media platforms.

The commitment to funding research with the explicit aim of informing real-world decision-making and getting the evidence into the hands of those decision-makers is really inspiring to me.

Marshall Chin, MD, MPH

Marshall Chin, MD, MPH

NAC Member, he/him/his
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Dr. Chin is a general internist with extensive experience improving the care of vulnerable patients with chronic disease. He is Co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Advancing Health Equity: Leading Care, Payment, and Systems Transformation Program Office and the Merck Foundation Bridging the Gap: Reducing Disparities in Diabetes Care National Program Office.

I am excited about E4A’s innovative work researching how to best address the health and social needs of patients and communities.

Natalie DiRocco, MPH

Natalie DiRocco, MPH

Strategic Initiatives Manager, she/her
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Ms. DiRocco is responsible for developing and maintaining an understanding of the policy agendas, priorities, and activities relevant to E4A to help shape grant making and influence program strategies.

I’m inspired by the game changing ways E4A grantees are looking at health impacts, and by E4A’s commitment to support grantees in translating their research in actionable ways that influence decision makers to improve population health.

Photograph of Greg J. Duncan, PhD

Greg J. Duncan, PhD

NAC Member
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Dr. Duncan spent the first 25 years of his career at the University of Michigan working on and ultimately directing the Panel Study of Income Dynamics data collection project. He has investigated the roles families, peers, neighborhoods, and public policy play in affecting the life chances of children and adolescents. Dr. Duncan’s research has highlighted the importance of early childhood as a sensitive period for the damaging influences of economic deprivation as well as for the beneficial impacts of policy-induced income increases for working families. The focus of his more recent research has shifted from these environmental influences to the comparative importance of the skills and behaviors developed during childhood.

I am delighted to be able to play a role in E4A’s efforts to channel funding toward rigorous applied health research. I have also enjoyed interacting with Advisory Committee members and staff.

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Gilbert C. Gee

NAC Member, he/him/his
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Dr. Gilbert C. Gee is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. His research focuses on understanding the social determinants of racial/ethnic health inequities, with a particular focus on the effects of racism at multiple levels over the life course. 

E4A is an exciting program that can catalyze change at various levels of scale. I am particularly excited by the program's focus on reducing health inequities for many different communities.

Claire B. Gibbons, PhD, MPH

Claire B. Gibbons, PhD, MPH

RWJF SPO, she/her/hers
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Dr. Gibbons is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and contributes in setting E4A program priorities. She also reviews and recommends applications for funding. Dr. Gibbons has authored numerous papers and presented widely in the areas of health care quality, disparities, evaluation and research methods and approaches, child welfare services, substance abuse, child victimization, diabetes, and end of life care.

I’m inspired by the creative policies and programs that people all over the United States are implementing to achieve a Culture of Health, in which all people have a chance to live a healthy life. The opportunity to support research that tests whether those policies and programs have the intended impact is a privilege.

Photograph of Maria Glymour, ScD, MS

Maria Glymour, ScD, MS

Associate Director, she/her/hers
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Dr. Glymour contributes to the development of E4A priorities, reviews and recommends applications for funding, and leads the E4A Methods Laboratory. Dr. Glymour's research focuses on how individual and contextual social factors experienced across the lifecourse, from infancy to adulthood, influence cognitive function, dementia, stroke, and other health outcomes in old age. A separate theme of her research focuses on overcoming methodological problems encountered in observational epidemiology, in particular analyses of social determinants of health and dementia risk.

I love working with E4A because this program supports research that makes a difference, focusing on the joint goals of methodologic rigor and potential usefulness of findings. That combination – researchers who ask the right questions and use the best tools to find the right answers to those questions – is what we need to improve population health and reduce health inequality.

Laura Gottlieb, MD, MPH

Laura Gottlieb, MD, MPH

Associate Director, she/her/hers
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Dr. Gottlieb contributes to the development of E4A priorities and reviews and recommends applications for funding. Dr. Gottlieb’s research explores health care sector programs and policies related to identifying and addressing social risk factors in the context of care delivery. She is a Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF and the founding director of the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network, a national research network that advances research on health care strategies to improve social conditions.

E4A’s mission is to improve the availability of high-quality evidence on policies and programs that can influence health. I love that we are working across the four Culture of Health action areas—it means we are constantly learning across disciplines from our advisors, applicants, and grantees.

Photograph of Erin Hagan, PhD, MBA

Erin Hagan, PhD, MBA

Deputy Director, she/her/hers
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Dr. Hagan is responsible for the day-to-day operations of E4A, including managing the proposal submission and review process, providing assistance to applicants and grantees, coordinating with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and overseeing administrative and programmatic activities. She also reviews and recommends applications for funding. Over the course of her career Dr. Hagan has worked across a variety of sectors including non-profit, academic, and public. She brings experience in social, economic, and health equity, cultural humility, public policy, business, and evaluation.

I really appreciate that E4A prioritizes action-oriented research. We don’t need to keep describing the problems, we need to intervene to change the outcomes; and while we’re doing that, we need to evaluate whether the intervention is working.

Photograph of Janice Johnson Dias, PhD

Janice Johnson Dias, PhD

NAC Member, she/her/hers
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Dr. Johnson Dias is an Associate Professor of Sociology and a Graduate Faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College. Her research focuses on mothers and children who grew up and/or are living in poverty. Johnson Dias has extensive experience working with, evaluating and building collaborations among social service and community organizations. Johnson Dias is also the Founder and President of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, a national public health and social action organization that supports, develops, and scales community-driven solutions to the health challenges facing women and girls living in poverty. Dedicated to making structural level changes, Johnson Dias works closely with policymakers to infuse academic research into public policy and advocate for more attention to be paid to the health and well-being of women and girls.

I am inspired to work with colleagues and scholars who are focused on using research to create practical and important changes in the lives of vulnerable populations.

Photograph of Antwan Jones, PhD

Antwan Jones, PhD

NAC Member on Temporary Leave
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Dr. Jones is an Associate Professor with appointments in Sociology, Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, and Africana Studies at The George Washington University. As an urban sociologist, he is particularly concerned about socio-environmental processes that affect health and well-being during various stages of the life course. Engaged in national and international research, Dr. Jones examines how residential processes and neighborhood contexts  are essential to the study of adult cardiovascular disease, child obesity, and disability among the elderly. 

Dr. Jones is on a temporary leave from the NAC due to other professional commitments.

As an interdisciplinary scholar, I regularly hear about great research, and I am constantly exposed to new perspectives within several literatures. The unique joy that I have with working with E4A is that I get to see those tools for great research and those perspectives used to make meaningful change to individuals and communities. The program lives up to its name – it provides Evidence for Action.

Dr. Ye Ji Kim, a dark-haired Korean American female-identifying epidemiologist wearing a light blue top and standing in front of a tree

Ye Ji Kim, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, she/her/hers
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Dr. Kim primarily contributes to the E4A Methods Laboratory. She assesses the use of causal inference methods in understanding social and political determinants of health and health disparities. Dr. Kim’s research explores documentation status, social and health policies, and neighborhood structures to identify areas of structural-level intervention and health equity innovation, particularly among immigrant populations.

I am excited to be a part of the E4A team, whose mission is to merge rigorous, scientific methods and actionable change to influence public health and reach health equity. I am constantly inspired by the research of the grantees who have aimed to provide actionable change in our society through their scientific rigor.

Photograph of Jim Krieger, MD, MPH

Jim Krieger, MD, MPH

NAC Member, he/him/his
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Dr. Krieger is founding Executive Director of Healthy Food America (HFA), Clinical Professor at University of Washington, and was chief of Chronic Disease Prevention at Public Health-Seattle & King County. His obesity prevention work using policy, communications and systems change strategies has led to improvements in school nutrition and physical activity, implementation of the nation’s second menu labeling regulation, reduction in exposure to sugary drinks, and increased access to healthy foods for low income people. 

Change agents – policy makers, advocates, community leaders – need to know what works to improve health and reduce health inequities. E4A supports research that gives them what they need to make positive change in communities.

Charles H. Lea III, a smiling Black man with short cropped hair, glasses, and a short beard and mustache. He's wearing a striped dress shirt, dark plum colored tie, and a dark suit jacket.

Charles H. Lea III, Ph.D., MSW

Associate Director, he/him/his
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Dr. Lea contributes to developing E4A priorities and reviews and recommends applications for funding. His research examines the risk, resilience, and resistance processes of young Black men at risk and involved in the criminal legal system and the impact of culturally congruent health prevention and promotion interventions on their health and well-being. Dr. Lea has expertise in qualitative methodology, program evaluation, and community-based participatory research with racial and ethnic minoritized communities.

I am excited and honored to work with the E4A team to support and promote action-oriented research that has the potential to counteract the harms and structural and systemic racism and improve the health, well-being, and equity experiences and outcomes of marginalized communities.

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Adonia E. Lugo, PhD

NAC member, she/her/hers
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Cultural anthropologist Adonia Lugo is the chair of the Urban Sustainability Department at Antioch University Los Angeles in traditional and unceded Tongva territory. Lugo began investigating sustainable mobility, race, and space during her graduate studies and began defining "mobility justice" with The Untokening collaborative in 2016. Her book, Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance, was published in 2018.

Research in service to equity requires community-rooted design and interdisciplinary expertise. I'm particularly glad to support E4A's approach to this for mobility and transportation research.

Dr. Jeana Morrison, a smiling Black woman with braided hair twisted into a bun at the back of her head. She's wearing glasses, a beaded necklace, and a red patterned top. She's standing in front of a blurred background of what looks like a park or part of a college campus.

Jeana E. Morrison, PhD

Research & Program Manager, she/her
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Dr. Morrison is responsible for the operation of multiple initiatives that are core to E4A’s mission and goals. This includes grantee management where she is the primary point of contact, works closely with prospective applicants, and oversees a portfolio of over 30 active research grants. She also maintains the Technical Assistance (TA) program where she provides research support and capacity building. Dr. Morrison's scholarship is informed by critical epistemologies to investigate the points at which higher education, policy, and racial identity intersect to influence Black student experiences across the African diaspora.

The thing that excites me most about the work that E4A is doing is the purposeful orientation toward action. It is too often that research focused on racially minoritized groups does not move beyond study findings. Helping to address this challenge is powerful for understanding and applying racial equity.

Photograph of Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH

Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH

NAC Member, she/her/ella
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Dr. Ramirez, an internationally recognized cancer and chronic disease health disparities and communications researcher, is chair and professor of Population Health Sciences and founding director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio. She has vast experience conducting behavioral and communications research studies and interventions to reduce cancer, increase screening rates and patient navigation, prevent tobacco use, and improve healthy lifestyles among U.S. Latinos. Dr. Ramirez currently directs the Salud America! national multimedia program to drive policy and system changes to promote health equity. 

I enjoy working with the amazing E4A leadership and support teams in this unprecedented opportunity to seek out the best, timely, innovative activities to create change in a positive way. The chance to test and evaluate truly game-changing actions is inspiring and keeps me highly engaged with E4A.

Photograph of Jennifer Taggart

Jennifer Taggart

Financial Manager, she/her/hers
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Ms. Taggart supports E4A by providing budgetary assistance to applicants and grantees and managing site reporting. She has extensive financial management and grants administration experience.

E4A continues to inspire me because of its focus on funding research that evaluates interventions to learn what makes a difference to the health of our communities and for its commitment to getting that information to the public to promote change.

Terrell Winder, a smiling Black man wearing a blue and white stripped collared shirt and floral tie

Terrell Winder, PhD

Associate Director, he/him/his
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Dr. Winder supports the aims of E4A in reviewing and recommending applications for funding. Dr. Winder’s research focuses on racial and sexual stigma, sexual health, and experiences of racial and sexual inequality across social institutions. He is a specialist in qualitative methods including ethnography, interview, and focus group techniques.

E4A is moving the needle by supporting research and interventions that are having meaningful, positive impacts on the lives of people every day. I am excited to continue supporting evidence-based work that will ameliorate the health outcomes of marginalized groups.

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