Statement by Dr. Gail Christopher, Chair
TFAH Board of Directors
May 12, 2021
It is with mixed feelings that I announce that as of June 18th John Auerbach will be leaving Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) to return to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I am also delighted to announce that the Board of Directors has selected J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, as the new President and CEO of TFAH.
During Mr. Auerbach’s four and a half years as TFAH’s President and CEO he has led the transformation of the organization, doubling the number of philanthropic funders, increasing the budget by 50 percent, and growing its staff by 33 percent. During this time, we have elevated our work on equity and on the social determinants of health and made them central to who we are as an organization. TFAH has continued many of its signature activities while also taking on new projects from Promoting Health and Cost Control in States to the Public Health Communications Collaborative, from Pain in the Nation to Age-Friendly Public Health and much more. There is so much that John can be proud of during his tenure at TFAH.
In his new position, John will serve as the Director of Intergovernmental and Strategic Affairs, in which he will oversee external affairs and help guide the development of agency-wide priority initiatives.
Dr. Gracia is a national health equity leader with significant experience in federal government, the nonprofit sector, and professional associations. She is recognized for her work at TFAH and previously in federal government service in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In that capacity, she directed departmental policies and programs to end health disparities and advance health equity and provided executive leadership on administration priorities including the Affordable Care Act and My Brother’s Keeper.
Previously, she served as Chief Medical Officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS, where her portfolio included adolescent health, emergency preparedness, environmental health and climate change, global health, and the White House Council on Women and Girls. Prior to that role, she was appointed as a White House Fellow at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and worked in the Office of the First Lady on the development of the Let’s Move! initiative to solve childhood obesity.
Dr. Gracia earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is active in many civic and professional organizations.
Nadine and John worked as a team in every aspect of TFAH’s mission for the past three and a half years. During that time, Nadine successfully managed many roles as she handled TFAH’s operational responsibilities, provided policy leadership and strengthened and broadened partnership relations while also often serving as the face of TFAH at national conferences and convenings. Her expertise in and commitment to the promotion of equity ensured that TFAH walks the walk as well as talks the talk. The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that had we done a national search, we would not have found a more ideal person to lead the organization. We enthusiastically anticipate the achievements that will result from her being at the helm.
During this transition, let me offer my thanks to the wonderful and talented staff at TFAH who day in and day out display skill, and dedication in the service of our mission. And let me thank my fellow Board members as well, for their commitment and wisdom in supporting TFAH during the last several years under John’s leadership and in choosing Nadine as the new President and CEO. Your selfless commitment to promoting optimal health and well-being for all is inspiring.