Dwayne Proctor, PhD, is the Senior Advisor to the President and Director of RWJF’s Eliminating Health Disparities Portfolio. He believes that the Foundation’s vision for building a Culture of Health presents a unique opportunity to achieve health equity by advancing and promoting innovative systems changes related to the social determinants of health.
Proctor came to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2002 as a senior communications and program officer, providing strategic guidance and resources for several child health and risk-prevention initiatives like the Nurse-Family Partnership, Free to Grow, Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol-Free, Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy. In 2005, Proctor was tapped to lead RWJF’s national strategies to reverse the rise in childhood obesity rates. In this role, he worked with his colleagues to: (1) promote effective changes to public policies and industry practices; (2) test and demonstrate innovative community and school-based environmental changes; and (3) use both “grassroots” and “treetops” advocacy approaches to educate leaders on their roles in preventing childhood obesity. Proctor is known for his strategic collaborations he worked on several cross-sector initiatives (e.g., Partnership for a Healthier America, the evaluation of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, ChildObesity 180) and national programs that focused on decreasing childhood obesity disparities gaps (e.g., Healthy Schools Program, Salud America!, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, Communities Creating Healthy Environments, National Policy and Legal Action Network and Voices for Healthy Kids). In 2014, as multiple municipalities and states were reporting signs of progress in reversing the childhood obesity epidemic, Proctor was reassigned to direct RWJF’s work to eliminating health disparities.
Before coming to the Foundation, Proctor was an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where he taught courses on health communication and marketing to multicultural populations. During his Fulbright Fellowship in Senegal, West Africa, his research team investigated how HIV/AIDS prevention messages raised awareness of AIDS as a national health problem. Proctor received his doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in marketing and communication science from the University of Connecticut. He is the former chairman of the board of directors for the Association of Black Foundation Executives and currently is the chairman of the board of trustees for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.