Mid-Iowa Health Foundation’s Board of Directors has named Dr. Nalo Johnson as its next President and CEO, effective mid-November 2021. Johnson brings extensive experience leading collaborative efforts to address health equity and the social determinants of health, most recently as Division Director of Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention at the Iowa Department of Public Health. She will succeed Suzanne Mineck who announced her resignation in June; Mineck continues to support the Foundation through the transition.
“Dr. Johnson’s tremendous leadership and skills with engaging diverse stakeholders, analyzing data, and thinking big picture about systems change will advance the bold work the Foundation has led under Suzanne’s tenure,” said Board Chair Chris Cook. “The board is excited to work with Nalo on how to best leverage our resources and partnerships to make an even greater impact on the health and well-being of central Iowa’s kids and families.”
“Dr. Johnson brings a deep commitment to the Foundation’s mission and to elevating community voices to guide changes that improve health,” said Dr. Joseph Jones, the board member who led the search committee. “It is important that our philanthropic sector also represent diverse perspectives and experiences, and I am pleased we are meeting that commitment among our board and staff. Nalo has an incredible track record of driving innovative strategies that address root causes for disparities and lead toward equity, and her public health lens is even more critical as we respond to challenges that have become heightened during the pandemic.”
In her new role, Johnson will oversee Mid-Iowa Health Foundation’s grantmaking and community-building efforts focused on transforming systems to ensure all children have the building blocks for healthy development. She will guide the organization toward meeting its newly adopted strategic vision, oversee the Foundation’s governance and finance operations, and pursue opportunities to further the community’s health agenda through relationship building and collaborative planning.
“As an organization focused on systems-change solutions, I am excited to apply my public health lens to the work of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation,” said Johnson. “I look forward to working with the Board, our team, and the community to reduce barriers to good health and strengthen community well-being, all in support of a thriving Greater Des Moines.”
"I am simply thrilled Dr. Johnson has been selected as Mid-Iowa Health Foundation's next CEO,” said Mineck. “She is a true champion for the health and well-being of Iowans, and I know her experience and expertise will foster a strong future for the Foundation."
Born in Iowa City and raised in Des Moines, Johnson has spent her career addressing community health needs at both state and local levels. At the Iowa Department of Public Health, she oversees a division of 100 team members across four bureaus and one office with a $100 million annual budget, representing federal, state, and philanthropic funds that support a breadth of programming, including maternal and child health, nutrition and physical activity, chronic disease prevention and management, disability and wellness, injury prevention, and oral health. She is a leader in the department’s efforts to reduce health disparities through fostering internal team development and cultivating external partnerships to support innovative approaches to program and policy efforts.
Prior to the state, she served as Community Health Division Manager at Johnson County Public Health in Iowa City, overseeing the department’s health promotion and communicable disease programs. Johnson graduated with a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in American Studies and Political Science from Williams College in Massachusetts.
About Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
For nearly 40 years, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation has served as a catalyst and partner for improving the health of children and families in Greater Des Moines. Grants invest in efforts—and the people who drive them—to connect, create, and transform systems to ensure all children have the building blocks for healthy development and to address complex root causes for poor health. The Foundation also fosters opportunities for learning, knowledge sharing, and partnerships to grow a network of leaders working together to improve children’s health.