New Jersey has a lot to be proud of when it comes to health, but there also are wide, persistent—and in some cases, growing—gaps in health across the state. A series of comprehensive, equity-promoting policies are needed to ensure that everyone in our state has a fair and just opportunity to live a healthy life.

The Cherokee YMCA After School Program at Grassy Pond Elementary adopted healthy eating and physical activity standards to help kids learn healthy habits. Gaffney, South Carolina 2016. Cherokee County YMCA After School program. Students typically do homework, eat a healthy snack and get outside for exercise. Signs of Progress.


A Policy Agenda for a Healthier, More Equitable New Jersey

Providing context and data to support informed decisions to address structural racism in policies, practices, and systems and to empower communities and individuals so that each person in N.J. can thrive.

Featured Content

Amaria Aide White sits with her granddaughters Meylany, 9 and Heycel, 12, on the steps of their apartment building in Leadville, Colorado.

N.J. Poll Finds Demographics Shape Perceptions of Health Equity

Residents with greater privilege and access to opportunities not only lead healthier lives but are also less likely to acknowledge that racism and discrimination contribute to poor health.

Seizing the Moment: Creating NJ's First Public Health Institute

RWJF and the newly announced incubator organization of the public health institute (PHI) are looking to make the longtime goal of a state PHI a reality. Read the report.

Areas of Focus

Structural racism, compounded through generations of policies and practices, causes different New Jersey populations to experience vastly different realities. Our work seeks to address the drivers of inequitable health conditions in three key areas:


Advancing birth equity in New Jersey

Black people in New Jersey are seven times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white people. To end such disparities, the systems that serve populations of color need targeted improvements in prevention, care, and support.

Making safe, affordable housing available to all

New Jersey has among the highest housing costs in the country and millions of residents—largely people of color—are segregated and effectively shut out of opportunities to live in the kinds of homes and communities to which they aspire This is a major barrier to good health.

Creating a stronger public health infrastructure

The COVID-19 pandemic called attention to—and worsened—the impact of racism and inequity on the lives of people of color and residents with low incomes. As New Jersey turns to recover and repair, a revitalized public health system is crucial to making sure history does not repeat itself.

Trending News, Insights & Evidence

A collection of trending topics, thought leadership, and research about our work to build a Culture of Health here at home in New Jersey.

Racial disparities in health access and outcomes remain 'embedded' in NJ, report finds.

RWJF report released May 2023 examines "health inequity," the uneven distribution of social and economic resources affecting health.

Trenton must do more to help N.J.’s hungry

More than 285,000 households lacked access to affordable food at the height of the pandemic, and it hit hardest along racial and ethnic lines.

Why N.J. needs to establish a public health institute (as 33 other states already have)

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as being too prepared.

Featured Initiatives

We work alongside organizations large and small to address issues critical to making health equity a reality for everyone living in our home state.

Intersection of Race and Health illustration.

Lessons From the Intersection of Race, Inequality, and Health

An award-winning scholar brings her own lived experience to searching for solutions to the broken healthcare system.