On behalf of Evidence for Action (E4A) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), we share the bittersweet news that after an illustrious career, trailblazer Dr. Nancy Adler is retiring from her directorship at E4A and transitioning into an advisory role. At the same time, we are excited to welcome E4A's new director, Dr. Amani M. Allen, PhD, MPH, a seasoned public health professor, researcher, and thought-leader at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health. Dr. Allen joins us on September 1, 2023.
Under Dr. Adler’s visionary leadership, the E4A program launched in 2015 as one of the inaugural action-oriented research-funding initiatives aligned with RWJF’s vision of building a Culture of Health in the US. Dr. Adler created an innovative and successful program from the ground up. She has worked tirelessly to adapt and grow the program to meet the needs of applicants, grantees, the Foundation, and the broader population health field. Under her stewardship, the program has granted over $27 million and funded nearly 80 rigorous research projects with findings helping to inform real-world decision-making.
“We are so appreciative of Nancy’s long-standing partnership with and contributions to RWJF, beginning with the Health and Society Scholars Program and most recently with E4A. Her wisdom, expertise, and experience have helped guide the research and funding priorities of the Foundation. Her leadership and vision set the stage for E4A’s ongoing success supporting innovative research that drives action in a wide range of topic areas,” said Dr. Alonzo Plough, the Chief Science Officer and Vice President of Research, Evaluation, and Learning at RWJF. “We are excited to welcome Dr. Allen, a distinguished health equity researcher, to continue E4A’s innovative work.”
In standing up and sustaining E4A’s national program office (NPO), Dr. Adler brought together a skilled group of individuals who have formed a cohesive team that will carry her legacy forward. She set up the E4A program to be agile and innovative, which has allowed it to be responsive to what is needed to make progress toward health and racial equity.
“I have deeply valued the opportunity to support creative, committed, and innovative teams doing rigorous research that strengthens the evidence about what works to improve health and advance racial equity. While it is, of course, difficult to step away from the directorship, I cannot imagine a better person to lead E4A than Amani. I am excited to see how she and the talented E4A team make the program their own,” shared Dr. Adler.
Dr. Allen is a renowned health and racial equity scholar, who herself has a long-standing relationship with RWJF, dating back to her time as a scholar in the inaugural cohort of the Foundation’s Health and Society Scholars Program. She leads pioneering research examining the relationship between social and environmental stressors, such as racism, and health outcomes across the lifespan. Dr. Allen has published extensively in top scientific journals and her work has been widely featured in the popular press. Among others, her papers examining racial discrimination and biological dysregulation among African American women have been influential in illuminating the psychobiological pathways through which racism affects health.
“I’m thrilled and honored about the opportunity to carry on the work of one of my mentors, Dr. Adler, in leading the E4A program. I’m looking forward to 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,” said Dr. Allen.
Join us in thanking and applauding Dr. Adler for her contributions and accomplishments as E4A’s founding director; and in welcoming Dr. Allen as the next Director of E4A!