ChangeLab Solutions, a leading national organization that helps to create healthier communities for all through innovative laws and policies, seeks a new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Since its founding in 1997, ChangeLab Solutions has played a major role in changing public health practice from primarily focusing on patient education and clinical care delivery to a dynamic and inter-sectoral approach to policy, systems, and environmental change. ChangeLab Solutions has driven major successes across a range of critical public health issues, including its development of anti-tobacco policies which helped California save $134 billion in health care costs, and their widespread adoption has contributed to a 25% drop in tobacco-related deaths.
Under the leadership of Marice Ashe, ChangeLab Solutions’ Founder and Chief Executive Officer, the organization has contributed major innovations to public health practice and is experiencing a period of tremendous growth and opportunity. The organization is now at a pivotal moment, poised to welcome a new CEO who will usher in an exciting new era and advance national leadership that builds the field of law and policy in addressing the social determinants of health and creating equity. The new CEO will bring a proven record of success driving law and policy change to promote the social determinants of health; nuanced understanding of health equity and the drivers that determine the health of communities; and strong organizational leadership experience to lead ChangeLab Solutions into its next phase of work.
ChangeLab Solutions contributes to the creation of healthier communities for all through innovative laws and policies. Based on the organizational values of Authenticity, Collaboration, Equity, Excellence and Innovation, it builds the capacity of under-resourced communities to solve problems related to the “social determinants of health” – the highly inter-connected social and economic factors which affect health – and empower communities to take action.
ChangeLab Solutions fosters environments where health is incorporated into every aspect of civic life such as neighborhoods with access to affordable, healthy food and beverages; housing that is safe, stable and affordable; neighborhoods with plenty of opportunities for physical activity and safe play; transportation systems that are available and accessible; schools that incorporate restorative justice principles; all surrounded by smoke free air, clean water, and much more. It does this by offering the largest library in the world of model laws and policies – all free for download and use – and by coupling this library with dynamic and interactive visuals, and one-to-one or group training, technical assistance and consultation services tailored directly to community needs.
Since its founding in 1997, ChangeLab Solutions has played a major role in changing public health practice from primarily focusing on patient education and clinical care delivery to a dynamic and inter-sectoral approach to policy, systems and environmental change. Increasingly, ChangeLab Solutions promotes an “equity first” approach with a focus on structural inequalities – such as racial injustice and economic dislocation – that drive poor health in communities across the nation. Addressing these complex and tough issues is where ChangeLab Solutions thrives. Its staff of nearly sixty is intentionally highly multi-disciplinary specializing in law, public health, land use planning, housing, transportation, education, parks, economics, government finance and more. Based in Oakland, California, ChangeLab Solutions has an operating budget of nearly $10 million and is led by a national Board of Directors.
ChangeLab Solutions has driven major successes across a range of critical public health issues. Its development of anti-tobacco policies helped California save $134 billion in health care costs, and their widespread adoption has contributed to a 25% drop in tobacco-related deaths. This work has helped to transform entrenched social norms across the nation so now smoking in public is no longer considered a normal activity. To address the growing childhood obesity epidemic, ChangeLab Solutions developed legal strategies to rein in the proliferation of fast food restaurants and predatory marketing of junk foods and beverages, open new playgrounds and walking trails to increase physical activity and provided legal technical assistance to local jurisdictions and advocates nationwide. Driven in large part by ChangeLab Solutions’ partnership with philanthropic and government funders, and advocacy partners nationwide, more than 6 million children are protected from junk food ads in school; and thousands of communities are exploring policy options and passing laws to improve community health.
ChangeLab Solutions is leveraging these historic successes to build the capacity of communities to go even further upstream to address the social determinants of health. For example, new projects include incorporating public health equity goals into long-range comprehensive plans for land use development; ensuring housing affordability, access and stability; and, addressing community violence prevention.
Tools for Change: A Resource Catalog for Community Health highlights key publications, tools and other resources. In the last 5 years, ChangeLab Solutions has produced at least 800 products consisting of toolkits, guides, playbooks, model policies, infographics, and factsheets that are free and publicly accessible on our website. These resources have garnered over 120,000 downloads.
Additionally, ChangeLab Solutions has provided nearly 8,000 instances of legal and policy technical assistance that span across every U.S. state, and many tribal nations and US territories in addition to nations throughout the world. Its various program evaluations consistently show that over 90% of the recipients of ChangeLab Solutions’ technical assistance report improvements in the overall effectiveness of their policy efforts, increased awareness and support for public health laws and policies, the ability to form new partnerships with other sectors and to revise or develop new policies that support public health.
EQUITY IN CHANGELAB SOLUTIONS’ WORK
As one of its five organizational values, ChangeLab Solutions has developed internal practices to ensure that equity is at the foundation of its work. Commitment to equity means that racial justice must be a core priority to achieve health equity. The organization operationalizes and institutionalizes its commitment to equity and racial justice through internal guiding documents, including its Equity Action Plan and Practice of Equity Guide. Additionally, the staff challenges itself and maintains current knowledge through several internal think teams focused on different subject matter areas that help process complex equity issues, in addition to one think team specifically devoted to big-picture equity issues. These internal practices inform ChangeLab Solutions’ work with federal, state and local stakeholders as the organization develops tools and strategies that lead to equitable public policy that incorporates the principals of targeted universalism and participatory policymaking. Moreover, ChangeLab Solutions has a strong commitment to building a staff and Board of Directors that is rich with cultural, social, and intellectual diversity, and representative of the communities it serves.
LEADERSHIP TRANSITION AT CHANGELAB SOLUTIONS
Under the leadership of Marice Ashe, ChangeLab Solutions’ Founder and Chief Executive Officer, the organization has contributed major innovations to public health practice and is experiencing a period of tremendous growth and opportunity. With Marice’s combined skills in public health, law, and policy and her extraordinary relationships across the field, she has built a strong interdisciplinary team that positions ChangeLab Solutions as one of few organizations that can put practical policy tools directly in the hands of advocates and law makers to address the social determinants of health. The organization is now at a pivotal moment, poised to welcome a new CEO who will usher in an exciting new era and build on its success and expertise.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FACING THE NEW CEO
The new CEO will join a highly respected, dedicated, and talented interdisciplinary team of professionals and a committed board and can expect to engage the following core challenges and opportunities:
Advance national leadership that builds the field of law and policy in addressing the social determinants of health and creating equity.
The CEO will be poised to have substantial impact on the still-emerging national strategy to enhance the role of law and policy in addressing the social determinants of health and creating equity in health. ChangeLab Solutions is a national thought and action leader in this field and that role is positioned for growth and greater influence. The CEO will work with the Board and staff at all levels of the organization to build their competency and capacity to advance equity.
Leverage existing tools and strategies from ChangeLab Solutions’ portfolio to address other critical and emerging public health challenges.
The new CEO will bring vision and a sophisticated approach that harnesses ChangeLab Solutions’ deep knowledge and success to identify future policy change needs and opportunities that address the social determinants of health. In partnership with the staff, s/he will analyze, assess, and map the evolving health and political landscape, identifying issue areas where ChangeLab Solutions can be most effective.
Expand the organization’s funding base through new and innovative partnerships and develop new business models that sustain ChangeLab Solutions for generations to come.
The new CEO will foster robust, trusting relationships with key funders as well as expand the organization’s funding base through new and innovative partnerships that ensure broad-based sustainable support and demonstrate its value to the field. S/he will work in partnership with the board to consider innovative opportunities to refine the organizational structure, new business development and fundraising strategies, and enhanced communications strategies to ensure long-term organizational impact and performance.
Scale ChangeLab Solutions’ work at the federal, state and local level by expanding its reach across the community health ecosystem of partners and funders.
The new CEO will engage with new cross-sector partners that impact the social determinants of health including government, healthcare, and the corporate sector. S/he will work closely with senior staff to strategically build relationships with city and state public health departments and demonstrate the unique value proposition and opportunity for engagement to support laws and policies that support health in local communities across the country. As ChangeLab Solutions grows, and to ensure its long-term sustainability, the organization will need to leverage grantmaking dollars with fee-for-service opportunities to realize the best practices learned through grant activity.
Strengthen and attend to the design needs of the internal infrastructure to support ongoing excellence through a period of organizational growth.
The CEO will work closely with the Executive Leadership Team to support an internal culture that fosters cross-team collaboration and shared learning. S/he will manage, support, and mentor a talented team of professionals. Additionally, s/he will assess and improve upon systems and processes that support organizational infrastructure to maximize efficiency and cross-organizational learning.
Partner with the Board to optimize and leverage its existing talents while identifying skill gaps and opportunities for continued development.
The CEO will work closely with the Board to identify strategic opportunities for engagement and assess areas of future board development. S/he will work in consultation with the board chair to develop a board governance plan to ensure continued strong relationships within the board and between the board and the CEO.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The new CEO will have a proven record of driving law and policy change that addresses the social determinants of health and supports health equity and will bring a deep and sophisticated understanding of the public health policy landscape. S/he will be a strategic thinker, skillful builder of relationships with funders and partners, and a charismatic spokesperson for the complex issues of law and policy. While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
A minimum of 15 years of experience in senior leadership roles in law, policy, advocacy, academic, healthcare and/or public health organizations; an advanced degree required, Juris Doctor preferred;
A proven record of success driving law and policy change to promote the social determinants of health in support of health equity; expert knowledge of public health law, public health systems, and/or understanding of the impact of the social determinants of health;
A deep and nuanced understanding of health equity and the drivers that determine the health of communities; passion and personal commitment to advancing health equity;
Vision, gravitas, and charisma balanced with humility and the willingness to share the spotlight in pursuit of the larger goal; deep intellect and dexterity of thought that synthesizes complex issues and can identify a clear path forward;
Proven financial, organizational, and personnel management skills to lead a motivated, engaged, and highly capable team; experience collaborating with and leveraging a talented board;
A proven fundraiser with the ability to build lasting, fruitful partnerships with a wide spectrum of funders; record of delivering results on time and on budget;
A proven ability to build strong professional relationships and connect diverse audiences to ChangeLab Solutions’ work; confidence and competence in engaging with diverse audiences and perspectives;
Demonstrated experience leading teams through organizational change;
Ambassadorial approach that passionately articulates the impact of policy change on the social determinants of health; excellent oral and written communication skills and a strong external presence; ability to communicate with and gain the confidence of people from a variety of sectors and settings; and
Commitment to living out the values of public health and healthy living in the workplace; a collaborative, collegial style that fosters respect, teamwork, and innovative approaches from an engaged staff.