Newly released: Recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities calls for action on early childhood, healthy communities, and bridging health and health care. Read the report and explore the charts, infographics, and videos at

Commission Leadership

The Commission to Build a Healthier America was led by an esteemed roster of American leaders supported by Commission staff and partner organizations committed to developing a blueprint for a healthier nation. Please note that Co-Chair and Commissioner bios reflect positions as of December 2009.

  • Chairs

    Mark McClellan
    Mark B. McClellan is the director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution. The Center studies ways to provide practical solutions for access, quality and financing challenges facing the U.S. health care system. Additionally, McClellan is the Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies and a Senior Fellow of Economic Studies. Read full bio

    Alice M. Rivlin
    Alice M. Rivlin is a Senior Fellow in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution and a visiting professor at the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University. She is the director of Brookings Greater Washington Research Project. Before returning to Brookings, Rivlin served as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board (1996-1999) and served as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget in the first Clinton Administration. Read full bio
  • Commissioners

    Katherine Baicker
    Katherine Baicker is a professor of health economics in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard University. Her background is in health economics and health insurance financing, as well as public and labor economics. Baicker served as a senate-confirmed member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2005-2007, where she focused on health reforms but had a wide-ranging portfolio including issues such as immigration, tax policy, and the education and training of American workers. She received her Bachelor's Degree in economics from Yale University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from Harvard University.

    Angela Glover Blackwell
    Angela Glover Blackwell is founder and chief executive officer of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works. Based in Oakland, California, PolicyLink works with local and national partners to use policy solutions to address inequity. Before founding PolicyLink, Blackwell was senior vice president for The Rockefeller Foundation where she directed the foundation’s domestic and cultural divisions and developed the Next Generation Leadership and Building Democracy programs, centered on issues of inclusion, race, and policy. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Howard University, and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

    Sheila Burke
    Sheila P. Burke is a faculty research fellow and adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Previously, Burke served as the executive dean of the Kennedy School of Government. Burke also served as deputy secretary and chief operating officer of the Smithsonian Institution and was chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and deputy staff director of the Senate Committee on Finance. Burke holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.

    Linda M. Dillman
    Linda Dillman is executive vice president of benefits and risk management for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., where she has been instrumental in making changes to the company’s health care benefits, concentrating on providing associates and family members with affordable, accessible and high quality options for health coverage. She previously served as executive vice president and chief information officer at Wal-Mart. Linda has been named to Fortune Magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" list for the past five years. Linda joined Wal-Mart in 1991, and also worked for Hewlett-Packard Company. Her degree in Business Administration is from the University of Indianapolis.

    Sen. Bill Frist
    Sen. Bill Frist is a University Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt University. He represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate from 1995 until his retirement in 2007, serving as Majority Leader from 2003 to 2007. As a cardiothoracic transplant surgeon, Frist’s primary legislative focus was health care. He co-chairs Save the Children’s global campaign to reduce infant mortality (Survive to 5) and ONE Vote '08, a bipartisan effort to make global health a priority in the presidential election. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Princeton University and Medical Degree from Harvard University.

    Allan Golston
    Allan Golston is the president of the U.S. Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he oversees the Foundation’s Education, U.S. Libraries, and Pacific Northwest grant initiatives, as well as U.S. Program Advocacy and Special Initiatives. Golston, who joined the Foundation in 1999, most recently served as the chief financial and administrative officer. Golston’s professional background is in business including consulting, public accounting, software development, finance and health care. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Seattle University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from the University of Colorado.

    Kati Haycock
    Kati Haycock is one of the nation's leading child advocates in the field of education. She currently serves as president of The Education Trust, a Washington-based education organization that provides hands-on assistance to urban school districts and universities seeking to improve student achievement. Before joining The Education Trust, Haycock served as executive vice president of the Children's Defense Fund, the nation's largest child advocacy organization. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master's Degree in Education Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Hugh Panero
    Hugh Panero is a venture partner at New Enterprise Associates. He is co-founder and former president and chief executive officer of XM Satellite Radio. A business leader and media entrepreneur, Panero was a pioneer in both the cable TV and pay-per-view businesses and is credited with launching the satellite radio industry. Panero has served as chairman of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, which honored him with the DC Business Leader of the Year Award in 2000 and is a board member on a number of nonprofit boards including The Marrow Foundation and Hope For Henry. Mr. Panero received Bachelor’s Degrees in Government and Sociology from Clark University and has a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Baruch College.

    Dennis Rivera
    Dennis Rivera chairs SEIU Healthcare, a union of over one million health care workers dedicated to health care reform. SEIU Healthcare was launched in June 2007 as the health care division of the two million-member Service Employees International Union, America’s largest labor union. In addition to heading SEIU Healthcare, Rivera chairs the Partnership for Quality Care. He served as president of New York-based 1199 SEIU from 1989 to 2007. Born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, Rivera attended the Colegio Universitario de Cayey.

    Carole Simpson
    Carole Simpson retired from ABC News in 2006 to become Leader in Residence at Emerson College’s School of Communication in Boston, where she is a full-time faculty member teaching courses in public affairs reporting, political communication, and broadcast journalism. Simpson is also a commentator for National Public Radio’s “News and Notes” program. At ABC News, Simpson was the anchor of the weekend editions of “World News Tonight” from 1988-2003 and a senior national correspondent. She was the first African American woman to anchor a major network evening news broadcast. Simpson received a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Michigan.

    Jim Towey
    Jim Towey is president of St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania. Previously, he served as director of the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives and reported to the President on matters pertaining to federal grants to religious and community-based charities, corporate and foundation grantmaking to social service agencies, tax incentives for enhanced charitable giving, and the implementation of individual choice in housing and other federal programs. He served for 12 years as legal counsel to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and lived for one year in her Washington, D.C., home for people with AIDS. He is also former secretary of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. Towey earned a Bachelor's Degree from Florida State University and a Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law.

    Gail L. Warden
    Gail L. Warden is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and president emeritus of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, one of the nation's leading health care systems. Before joining Henry Ford Health System, Warden served as president and chief executive officer of Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound in Seattle. In 1997, he was appointed to the Federal Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. Since then he has worked on several boards and committees focusing on health care issues, including the RAND Health Board of Advisors. Warden received a Bachelor’s Degree from Dartmouth College, a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from University of Michigan, and an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Central Michigan University.