The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with Lavizzo-Mourey at the helm, has a number of focus areas in the health and health care arenas, including improving end-of-life care, reducing adolescent smoking, and reversing childhood obesity. She says that to accomplish such goals she and her team develop a strategy, which often requires initiating policy change, and commit resources for as long as it takes to achieve a particular goal. "We look over the long haul, often 10, 20 years," she says. The campaign to reduce the rate of smoking in young people, for example, was far from a quick and easy victory. "It was about a 20-year battle to really make a difference in how parents, policymakers, [and] school officials saw issues like how much cigarettes cost, how easy it was for people to smoke in public environments and the need to educate on an ongoing basis about the [harmful effects] of tobacco," says Lavizzo-Mourey. She adds that the campaign resulted in successfully lowering the rates of young smokers for some time but that this issue is "ripe for reinvestment."
Martin Luther King inspires Risa Lavizzo-Mourey to take on the “injustice in health”
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Two: Make collaboration a priority.