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Dwayne Wharton selected for new national leadership program to build health equity

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Source: Press release, The Food Trust

Wharton joins second-ever cohort of Culture of Health Leaders, assembled from across the country by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 

Dwayne WhartonPhiladelphia, PA — Leaders from Honolulu to Providence, R.I. — working across a range of fields, including social policy, community development, public health and government — have been selected to participate in the Culture of Health Leaders program. These leaders will explore a diversity of pressing issues in health and equity, such as addressing the legacy of structural violence and denial of access to basic needs for marginalized communities; using physical design and other traffic calming measures to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists; and spearheading a new community garden that teaches kids about culture, race, and poverty.

As one of 40 selected applicants, The Food Trust’s Dwayne Wharton, Director of External Affairs, joins Culture of Health Leaders, a program co-led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity and CommonHealth ACTION with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Wharton will join 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.

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

"We're excited to welcome the second cohort of Culture of Health Leaders, who are authentically engaging with communities to elevate their voices and create an equitable, healthy nation," said Brian Smedley, Culture of Health Leaders co-director and executive director and co-founder of the National Collaborative for Health Equity. Natalie Burke, Culture of Health Leaders co-director and executive director of CommonHealth Action, notes, “These leaders demonstrate a willingness to engage in the deep, transformative work necessary to strengthen their leadership and their communities while creating opportunities for all people to achieve their best possible health.”

The 40 selected leaders join the efforts of the first cohort of Culture of Health Leaders and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to build a Culture of Health.

Program partners providing training and coaching to leaders include: American Planning Association, Build Healthy Places Network, Center for Creative Leadership, Institute for Alternative Futures, and Leadership Learning Community.



About Dwayne Wharton

Dwayne Wharton serves as the Director of External Affairs for The Food Trust, a nonprofit organization with a mission to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food. In this role, he supports the organization’s health equity, policy and advocacy efforts, local and national partnerships, and more. Dwayne is a former Peace Corps volunteer, serves on the boards of The Kynett FoundationPhilanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia and Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program, and is an appointed member of the Philadelphia Food Policy Advocacy Council and the Mayor’s Commission on African-American Males.


About The Food Trust

The Food Trust, a nonprofit founded in 1992, strives to make healthy food available to all. Working with neighborhoods, schools, grocers, farmers and policymakers, The Food Trust has developed a comprehensive approach that combines nutrition education and greater availability of affordable, healthy food. To learn more about The Food Trust, visit


About Culture of Health Leaders

Culture of Health Leaders is one of a number of leadership development programs supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). These programs continue RWJF’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Initially focused on health and health care, the programs have been expanded, because the Foundation knows that building a Culture of Health requires all of us in every sector, profession, and discipline to work together. The next application period for many of these programs will open in early 2018. Additional information is available at