Judis Santos, a program manager for the Lifeline Transportation Program at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in San Francisco, Calif., has been selected to be one of 40 professionals from around the country to participate in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Leaders Program. This program equips and connect leaders across the country in every sector — from technology, science and medicine to business, architecture and urban planning, and faith-based fields — to collaborate in addressing systemic inequities and finding new solutions to the nation’s most entrenched health challenges.
As a member of the newest cohort, Santos joins a diverse network of leaders including a transgender Methodist deacon exploring faith’s effects on health, and an endocrinologist providing mentoring to help disadvantaged people build careers. The Culture of Health Leaders Program encourages participants to directly apply what they learn to improving policy and practice in their own communities and organizations.
Santos currently works in the Programming and Allocations section for MTC, and sees the leadership program as a natural extension of her work both at MTC and in previous jobs. In her current role at MTC, Santos works to provide low-income, under-resourced communities with travel options so residents can more easily get to jobs, medical appointments, grocery stores and the like. She hopes to use her newfound knowledge, skills and relationships to improve upon MTC’s current programs.
“Statistics show that people in low-income communities tend to have shorter lifespans, in part because of poverty, lack of access to transportation to quality healthcare and jobs, and preventable risk factors such as physical inactivity,” she said. “What I’m hoping to demonstrate is how an agency like MTC can examine and expand on public-private partnerships to increase and leverage investments to accelerate improvements in neighborhoods facing the biggest barriers to better health and well-being. For years I’ve served communities that experience vulnerabilities — physically, mentally, and socially. I am hoping that this grant will help us create opportunities for collective action within and across sectors, organizations, communities and networks to realize a future of health for all people in the Bay Area.”
Santos is the first Culture of Health fellow in the Bay Area who is addressing the nexus between transportation and health. The program will afford her the opportunity to share ideas with national experts and fellows with similar interests located across the country. Santos will benefit from high-caliber curricula and executive coaching from national leaders, collaborate with other cutting-edge thinkers to create greater impact, and accelerate her ability to build healthy communities, inform public opinion and policy and contribute to building a Culture of Health — one that places well-being at the center of every aspect of life.
Santos has a BS in psychology/organizational development from The College of Charleston, a master’s in public administration with a minor in health administration from Old Dominion University, and a graduate certificate in transportation management and operations from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to working at MTC, she worked for the Public Health Institute serving the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, was a senior manager for Fortune 500 consulting firms, and a senior planner for the transit agency and metropolitan planning organization in the St. Louis region. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s vision is to build a Culture of Health in every community across America so that every person has the opportunity to reach their best possible health and well-being. The Culture of Health Leaders Program is one of several leadership development programs supported by the Foundation. Initially focused on health care, the programs were expanded because the Foundation believes that building a Culture of Health requires every sector, profession and discipline to work together. Additional information is available at www.rwjf.org/leadershipforbetterhealth. MTC is the transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the San Francisco Bay Area.