Program History

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research provided funding to highly qualified individuals undertaking broad studies of the most challenging health, health care and health policy issues facing America. Grants of up to $335,000 were awarded to investigators from a wide range of disciplines. Successful proposals reflected thinking that was creative and conceptual and crossed disciplinary boundaries in search of knowledge and innovative solutions to critical health problems and policy issues.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) created the Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research in 1992 to enhance society's understanding of significant problems and policy issues related to the health and health care of Americans and to provide information that can help improve the formulation of sound policies. The program was part of RWJF's Human Capital Portfolio, reflecting the Foundation's longstanding investments that sought to build and maintain a strong and diverse leadership and workforce in health and health care, as well as to help develop specific fields.

The program provided grants of up to $335,000 to highly qualified individuals to develop, interpret, or substantially advance ideas or knowledge that can improve health policy in the United States. The program challenged investigators from a variety of disciplines to tackle critical health problems and policy issues, to think creatively and across disciplinary boundaries, and to seek innovative solutions. Between 1992 and 2013, RWJF funded 183 projects involving 235 investigators from the nation's leading private and state universities, and other nonprofit organizations.

Research supported by the program explored a range of topics, including: health risk and disease prevention, the determinants of health and disparities among population groups, public health policy, health care reform, the patient-provider relationship, the nursing workforce, medical technology, patient safety and quality of care, the policy-making process, and public and private financing programs, among others.

National Program Office

During its 25-year history, the National Program Office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research was led by the following leadership teams:

  • AcademyHealth (1992 – 2000)

Stephen Crane, PhD, National Program Director (1992 – 1994)

Sol Levine, PhD, National Program Director (1994 – 1996)

Alvin Tarlov, MD, National Program Director (1996 – 2000)

Robin Osborn, MBA, Deputy Program Director (1992 – 1996)

Barbara Krimgold, Deputy Program Director (1996 – 2000)

  • Rutgers University, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research (2000 – 2012)

David Mechanic, PhD, National Program Director (2000 – 2012)

Lynn Rogut, MCRP, Deputy Program Director (2000 – 2011)

Michael Gallo, Jr., PhD, Deputy Program Director (2011 – 2012)

  • Boston University, Questrom School of Business (2013 – 2018)

Alan B. Cohen, ScD, National Program Director

Jedediah N. Horwitt, MBA, MPH, Deputy Program Director

National Advisory Committee

A National Advisory Committee of experts from such fields as medicine, public health, economics, political science, sociology, nursing, law, journalism, and the behavioral sciences assisted in reviewing program progress and makes recommendations to RWJF.

At the time of program closure, the 15-member National Advisory Committee included:

Sheila Burke, RN, MPA, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Lawrence Casalino, MD, PhD (1999 Awardee), Weill Medical College, Cornell University.

Paul D. Cleary, PhD (Chair, NAC), School of Public Health, Yale University.

Judith Feder, PhD, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University.

Sherman James, PhD (2008 Awardee), Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.

Bruce Link, PhD (1995 Awardee), University of California, Riverside.

Catherine McLaughlin, PhD, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., and University of Michigan.

David Mechanic, PhD (1994 Awardee and former National Program Director), Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Mark A. Peterson, PhD (1994 Awardee), Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles.

Neil Powe, MD, MPH, MBA, University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco General Hospital.

Jill Quadagno, PhD (1999 Awardee), College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Florida State University.

Jeannette Rogowski, PhD, School of Public Health, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Sara Rosenbaum, JD (2000 Awardee), Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.

Mark Schlesinger, PhD (1993 Awardee), School of Public Health, Yale University.

Keith Wailoo, PhD (2001 Awardee), Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.