Inspiring Stories...
Powerful Commitment

Community Health Leaders are an extraordinary group of creative, health care service providers, health advocates and authentic leaders whose work often serves as the catalyst for changes in communities across the U.S.

Read more



Alberto Jose Frick Cardelle, PhD

Dr. Cardelle is a recipient of the RWJF New Connections Award to recognize and nurture researchers from underrepresented communities.  His project  studied the development of public health leadership within rural health programs supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Community Health Leaders initiative. The evaluation considers each leader’s history as a case study and analyzes the case studies to identify key factors that facilitated or hindered the development of leadership skills. In addition, the evaluation uses social network analysis to identify critical systematic and common factors that engender positive public health leadership.

Lynne Holden, MD – (CHL 2009)

Lynne Holden, MD is president and chief executive officer of Mentoring in Medicine, Inc. (MIM). Based in the Bronx, N.Y.,  MIM is an all-volunteer organization that encourages and nurtures disadvantaged students to enter health professions.  Dr. Holden’s work is featured in RWJF’s June 24, 2013 article, “The Keys to Successful Medical Mentoring.”

"Celebrating 20 Years of Community Health Leaders" video

Since 1993, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders have given voice to the needs of underserved groups and brought important perspectives to the Foundation. These courageous and determined leaders improve health and access to care in underserved populations, and we honor their commitment to making a difference in their communities.

Watch the video in which the RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey delivers remarks to celebrate 20 years of the Community Health Leaders Awards.  The Awards exemplify the belief that RWJF can have a measurable impact on the nation’s health and health care by investing in individuals who are catalysts and creators of change. Visit the Foundation’s Grants page highlighting CHL to view the video

Leaders in the News

News from the Leaders

*Martha Ryan, R.N., F.N.P., M.P.H. – (CHL 2003) Founder and Executive Director of the Homeless Prenatal Program received an honorary degree from the University of San Francisco and delivered the commencement address for the Schools of Nursing/Health Professionals and Education. *Ray E. Lόpez, M.A. – (CHL 2008) Environmental Program Manager of Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) Family Health Service, Inc. in New York, New York is featured in the NBC Dateline documentary on asthma. *Im Ja Choi, M.S. – (CHL 2011) Founder and Executive Director of Penn Asian Senior Services (PASSi) is featured in a New York Times article describing the struggles of the Asian American population caring for English-limited elderly parents. *Gabriel Rincόn, D.D.S. – (CHL 2011) Founder and former Executive Director and President of Mixteca Organization, Inc. was honored with the Immigrant Achievement Award by the American Immigration Council in New York City. *Fred Wells Brason II – (CHL 2012)  Founder of Project Lazarus is highlighted in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association – JAMA, in an  article  on Naloxone as an antidote for opioid/heroin overdose reversal.  The Huffington Post featured and article on Project Lazarus and the work taking place in Wilkes County, NC. *Judy Berry – (CHL 2010) Founder of Lakeview Ranch in Darwin, MN is featured in a story on MyFox9 Minneapolis about her work in dementia care. *Darleen Reveille, R.N. – (CHL 2012) Darleen Reveille spearheaded the F.U.N. (Fitness, Unity & Nutrition) program in Garfield, New Jersey was selected to serve as a Board member for the Health Barn Foundation dedicated to gifting children and families nutritious food through access and in conjunction with nutrition education for their health and happiness.*Susan Rodriguez – (CHL 2010) Co-founder of Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research & Treatment (SMART University) in New York is highlighted in an article on the Al Jazeera America website. *Neil Calman, M.D. – (CHL 1993) Co-Founder, President and CEO of The Institute for Family Health is honored at the Primary Care Development Corporation’s 20th Anniversary Spring Gala for his work in providing medical care to underserved communities. *Zane Gates, M.D. - (CHL 2011) Dr. Gates delivers a TEDxJNJ Talk on his work in pioneering the Community-Based Care Subsidy Act and his thoughts about the benefits of a free health clinic model.

Read more>>

About CHL

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the Community Health Leaders program (CHL) in 1991 to recognize individuals who overcome daunting obstacles to improve health and health care in their communities. Since 1993 the CHL Award has been presented to 187 individuals. Currently they reside in 45 states and Puerto Rico.

Read More »

Our Mission

The mission of CHL is to support and sustain the capacity of individuals who demonstrate creativity, innovation, and commitment to improving health outcomes at the community level.

Read More »

Our Goals

The goals for CHL include: Increasing the visibility and exposure of the leaders and their work to the nation; Enhancing and enriching leadership skills for the leaders; Increasing opportunities for the leaders to establish new relationships and expand their influence to improve health outcomes in communities.

Read More »