City and Regional Planning

Posted November 5, 2018
  • Jennifer Whittaker

Planning’s Jennifer Whittaker Receives Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship

Jennifer Whittaker, a PhD student in the Department of City and Regional Planning, has been selected to participate in one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s leadership development programs, designed to equip leaders across the country to collaborate, break down silos, and use their influence to make communities healthier and more equitable.

Specifically, Whittaker was selected for the Health Policy Research Scholar program. Designed, according to the Foundation, “for second-year doctoral students from underrepresented populations and disadvantaged backgrounds,” the program helps researchers from all fields—from economics to epidemiology—apply their work to policies that advance equity and health while building a diverse field of leaders who reflect our changing national demographics. The four- to five-year program provides participants with an annual stipend of up to $30,000.

As a member of the program’s newest cohort, Whittaker will focus on addressing health disparities in rural communities in the U.S. through partnering with systems outside of healthcare. Her work will explore how to implement community and population health based approaches to providing care in ways that meets the unique needs of rural communities. To do this, she is working with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s PolicyLab and building on experiences from University at Buffalo’s Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab.

Whittaker will also:

  • Benefit from high-caliber curricula and coaching from national leaders.
  • Collaborate with other cutting-edge thinkers to create greater impact.
  • Accelerate her ability to build healthy communities, inform public opinion and policy, and contribute significantly to building a Culture of Health.

To learn more about Health Policy Research Scholars and the Foundation’s other leadership development programs, and to meet other participants, visit