Transition of Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA

December 18, 2020

To:Faculty, Students, and Staff

From:Erika H. James, PhD
Dean, The Wharton School

J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
EVP/Dean, Perelman School of Medicine

Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean, School of Nursing

We are writing to announce that Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, one of the most distinguished and impactful members of our faculty, will be retiring on January 31, 2021. Most recently, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey has served as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation PIK Professor of Health Policy and Health Equity in PSOM, with joint faculty appointments in the Department of Health Care Management in The Wharton School, and the Department of Family and Community Health in the School of Nursing.

A world-renowned expert in health policy and geriatric medicine, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey began her career at Penn in 1986, before becoming president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a position she held from 2003 to 2017. She returned to Penn as a PIK University Professor in 2018.

An exemplary change-maker over the course of long career in government service, academia, and philanthropy, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey has made important contributions to geriatrics and health care policy aimed at advancing health equity, expanding health care coverage  and  addressing  social factors  that impact health and health care outcomes.

Since her return to Penn in 2018, she has accelerated our efforts to advance health equity, bringing to the task the leadership that she exhibited at RWJF and the focus on advancing a culture of health that she championed. Whether it was mentoring  faculty and undergraduates, teaching or offering strategic advice to Centers and Institutes, she has changed the trajectory of our work and accelerated its pace. 

At RWJF, she spearheaded health initiatives such as creating healthier, more equitable communities; strengthening the integration of health systems and services; and ensuring that every child in the United States has the opportunity to grow up at a healthy weight. This work culminated in the Foundation’s vision of building a Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.

During her earlier tenure at Penn, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey served as the Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Health Care Systems. She also directed Penn’s Institute on Aging and was Chief of Geriatric Medicine in PSOM and Chief of General Internal Medicine at the VA. In previous years, she worked on the White House Health Care Reform Task Force and served on numerous federal advisory committees and several Presidential Commissions and Councils.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and holds an MBA from the Wharton School. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The American Philosophical Society and a Master of the American College of Physicians. She is currently Vice Chair of  the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents  and serves on the board of  HHMI, the Bipartisan Policy Center as well as several corporate boards.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey will be missed as a full-time faculty member, however we know where to find her when we need her advice and counsel! Please join us in wishing her the very best as she begins the next chapter of her distinguished career.