Program Officer, Global Ideas for U.S. Solutions Team

Program Officer, Global Ideas for U.S. Solutions Team

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Princeton, NJ   |   February 24, 2020

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), located in Princeton, N.J., is the largest philanthropy in America dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, we have been providing funding, assistance, and research for projects and programs to help people, their families, and their communities be as healthy as possible. RWJF is committed to working alongside others to build a Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

We take seriously our responsibilities, and we pledge to work in ways that reflect our Guiding Principles. These are rooted in equity and influence everything we do at RWJF. Diversity, inclusion, and collaboration allow our staff’s wide range of experiences, passions, and perspectives to enrich our work and strengthen our ability to address our nation’s most pressing health issues. With a career at RWJF, you will make a difference.

For more information on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, please visit

The Opportunity

Program officers are professional staff responsible for developing, implementing, and managing Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s initiatives to improve health and health care. Their primary responsibilities include providing intellectual and organizational leadership in designing and implementing new initiatives, evaluating proposals, monitoring programs and grants, learning from program investments and activities, and creating impact through dissemination of knowledge.

As with staff at all levels of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, program officers are expected to demonstrate a passionate commitment to equity and to RWJF’s mission and Guiding Principles.

Candidate Profile

All program officers at RWJF are expected to have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Connective Thinking

You excel at creatively exploring problems, issues, and opportunities. You are a lateral thinker who is able to translate ideas from different spaces, make connections between seemingly disparate ideas, and see how they fit within a broader whole.

Curiosity and a Rapid Learning Curve

You are intellectually curious and able to dive into new spaces to quickly become “an expert.” You like to explore different, disparate ideas and can swiftly make sense of complex issues.

Systems Thinking

You are able to identify leverage points and assess how new ideas have the potential to influence or change a system. You are comfortable with experimentation and risk-taking and are able to find and refine the truly transformative “nugget” in an idea—even if others don’t see it yet.

Excellent Networking Skills

You are a relational person and are able to build robust networks that allow you to cast a wide net, make connections, and see opportunities and challenges from diverse perspectives.

Open-Mindedness, Additive Thinking, and Humility

You are open-minded and willing to explore ideas, whether they are yours or not. You are an additive and generative thinker who builds on the ideas of others. And you are self-aware and recognize a grantmaker’s role in supporting the work of their grantees.

Well-Honed Research and Analytical Skills

You can apply rigor and an objective lens when researching and evaluating. You make sound decisions and are responsive, clear, and persuasive in your recommendations.

Commitment to Equity

You have a history of fostering inclusive environments, engaging diverse voices, and are able to consider underlying inequities, privilege, and power dynamics in your work.

Able to Drive and Communicate

You are able to work both independently and collaboratively and to manage multiple priorities effectively. You spend your time generously and judiciously. You consistently deliver on project goals and outcomes.

Collaborative Approach

People enjoy working with you and you enjoy working with others. You are able to work effectively with others and work with efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy—both individually and as part of a team. You build productive and reciprocal relationships with a diverse group of colleagues, grantees, consultants, and others.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Strong written and verbal skills; demonstrated persuasive and respectful presentation skills for communications with internal leadership, external high-level stakeholders, and people from the communities we are working to reach on a range of complex issues.
  • Comfort with using social networking tools to further RWJF’s work.
  • Familiarity with, but not necessarily a professional background in, philanthropy and philanthropic processes.
  • Ability to travel, including site visits and representing RWJF at outside meetings.
Program Officer, Global Ideas for U.S. Solutions Team

The Global team plays a critical role helping RWJF identify and adapt approaches from around the world to improve health equity and build a Culture of Health in the United States. The Foundation aims to understand how communities and societies outside the United States produce positive health outcomes and improve health equity, and then inspire similar shifts in the U.S. To achieve this, the Global Team explores ideas, beliefs, policies, programmatic approaches, and cultural practices from outside the U.S. that have the potential to advance the Foundation’s goals and improve health and health care inside the U.S.

The Program Officer, Global will manage a portfolio of explorations into global practices and approaches to understand how they might be translated to accelerate progress towards building a Culture of Health in the United States. Responsibilities include working with colleagues, grantees, and others to scan for ideas, mindsets, policies, cultural practices, and programmatic approaches that have improved health outcomes and health equity outside of the United States and to explore how they might be applied in the United States. We are looking for someone with a unique blend of skills and experiences, who is able to explore new and undefined spaces, develop relationships, identify promising global ideas, and understand how to translate new practices to influence entrenched structures and systems in the US.

Specific qualifications include:

  • Global and domestic awareness. High awareness of global issues and cultural practices, and understanding of the issues, challenges, and inequities of health in the U.S. well enough to explore how international ideas and practices might be applied to improve health outcomes and health equity in the U.S.
  • Cultural Finesse. When in a new or foreign situation, you are able to find your bearings, make connections, and translate global ideas and practices to U.S. circumstances.
  • Ability to travel internationally and domestically; to learn and represent the Foundation at external meetings.
  • Experience working or living outside the U.S. is required; an understanding of domestic U.S. systems and policies preferred.
  • A consultative orientation. You are able to work closely with RWJF colleagues to understand the issues that they are facing and identify and translate global ideas that may advance their efforts.
  • Education and experience equivalent to an advanced degree [KG5] in medicine, public health, public policy, political science, epidemiology, data science, human services, sociology, psychology, environmental health, community development, public infrastructure, transportation, economics, or related fields required.
  • A minimum of three (3) or more years of relevant experience; five (5) or more years of relevant experience is preferred.

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role, please visit the link. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit