Commencement Speaker: Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA is the president emerita and former CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a position she held for nearly 15 years. In January 2018 she was named the RWJF Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor of Population Health and Health Equity at the University of Pennsylvania, with appointments in the Perelman School of Medicine, the School of Nursing and the Wharton School.

Leading the RWJF, Lavizzo-Mourey spearheaded a billion-dollar initiative to reverse the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic, built programs to help people obtain better health care and provided research and other assistance to states implementing the Affordable Care Act.

A specialist in geriatrics, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey came to the Foundation from the University of Pennsylvania, where she served as the Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Health Care Systems. She also directed the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute on Aging and was chief of Geriatric Medicine.

She worked as Deputy Administrator for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research under President George H.W. Bush’s administration and continued to direct policy for the subsequent administration, serving as Quality of Care Chair for President Bill Clinton’s panels on health care. She has served on numerous federal advisory committees and she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

A prominent and influential leader in health care, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey was named to Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s 100 more powerful women eight times, and to Modern Healthcare’s list of the most influential people in health care 11 times.

She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and The American Philosophical Society. She currently serves on the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents, as well as on several other boards of directors, including the Bipartisan Policy Center, Hess Corporation, General Electric Company and Intel Corporation.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is the recipient of numerous awards, including honorary doctorates from Colby College, Brown University and Tufts University. In 2018, she received the National Network of Public Health Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the American Public Health Association’s Sedgwick Memorial Medal for Distinguished Service in Public Health.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and her MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.