Meeting of the Minds Speaker
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Abbey Cofsky is managing director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s work to promote healthy, more equitable communities. In this role, she oversees efforts to build healthier environments, catalyze local efforts to prevent disease, promote health and address the social determinants of health.
She views her work as an opportunity to advance sustainable changes that engage all sectors of a community, from government and policymakers, to businesses and civic groups, to parents and volunteers. As she describes it, “We want to put better health within everyone’s reach. Across America, these changes are happening, and communities are transforming themselves in ways that close gaps and ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to better health.”
Since joining the Foundation in 2007 in the communications department, Cofsky has worked on numerous public health and community health initiatives. She helped evolve and lead the Foundation’s partnership with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to build and expand the County Health Rankings& Roadmaps program, which compares the health of nearly 3,000 counties in the United States, and supports community coalitions to tackle the social, economic, and environmental influences on health. In 2013, Cofsky helped launch the RWJF Culture of Health Prize which honors and elevates U.S. communities that are making great strides in their journey toward better health.
Cofsky’s work has also included efforts to increase awareness of the non-health factors and community conditions that influence health and wellbeing, including the RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America, a national, independent, non-partisan group of leaders established in 2008 to examine the many factors outside of medical care that influence health. She was also involved in the Foundation’s efforts to promote health impact assessments (HIAs), which are evidence-based analyses that predict health benefits and risks of proposed laws, regulations, programs, and projects that fall beyond traditional health and health care.
Before joining the Foundation, Cofsky was the coordinator of community outreach and provider education for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Immunization Program. Other early career experiences included work at the Children’s Defense Fund, the Children’s Safety Network at the Education Development Center in Washington DC, Dorland Global Health Communications in Philadelphia, Pa, and Project Bread and the Boston Greenspace Alliance in Boston Ma.
Cofsky is a member of the American Public Health Association. She is a Grantmakers in Health Terrance Keenan Emerging Leader in Health Philanthropy Fellow (2014) and a Leadership NJ Alumni (2013).
Cofsky holds an MPH from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and a BA from Boston College. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, Jon, and their three boys, William, Samuel, and Jacob.