BRIDGE’s Susan Neufeld Selected for New National Leadership Program to Build Culture of Health

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, September 12, 2016—As one of only 15 three-person teams selected, Susan Neufeld, BRIDGE’s Vice President of Community Development and Programs, joins Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, a new program led by the University of Minnesota with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Neufeld is teaming up with Dr. Leslie Dubbin, UCSF School of Nursing, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Irene Yen of the UCSF Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology & Biostatistics. They will join researchers and community leaders from across the country to collaborate and innovate to solve persistent challenges and advance a Culture of Health—one that places well-being at the center of every aspect of life. With their ability to design research to meet urgent community needs, and to directly apply research to create change, researchers and community leaders—such as directors of nonprofits,  faith leaders, organizers or advocates—are powerful partners for impacting urgent community health needs.

The Neufeld-Dubbins-Yen team is focusing on the impact of public housing redevelopment policy on residents of public housing. Using data from a health service system, they will investigate the change in prevalence of health conditions and health care utilization before and after renovations. They also intend to explore the impact of the built and social environment changes that accompany renovations on the health and social experiences of residents, using the information to inform the decisions private developers and managers make in renovating and managing public housing communities.

Along the way, teams develop high-level leadership skills through professional coaching, mentoring, networking and an advanced leadership curriculum. While participating in the program, Neufeld will continue working full-time while applying new knowledge and leadership in the community and field.

“This program gives our fellows the tools to make their work even more relevant and potent—and to bring new leadership skills and perspective back to their communities as well,” says J. Michael Oakes, PhD, director of Interdisciplinary Research Leaders and professor at the University of Minnesota. “We were overwhelmed by the commitment, diverse perspectives and innovative ideas in our applicant pool and are very excited to work with this first group to put research into action and create a lasting, on-the-ground impact.”

Additional partners providing training and coaching to fellows include: AcademyHealth, Allina Health, ISAIAH and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders is one of four new leadership development programs launched this year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and represent a four-year, multimillion dollar investment. The programs join five existing leadership programs in advancing RWJF’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders impacting health. The 2017 application period for the new programs will open in January. Additional information is available at

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