Dr. Faith Mitchell, Ph.D., president and CEO of Grantmakers in Health (GIH), recently informed the GIH board and staff that she will be stepping down from her position and leaving the organization at the end of 2019. Mitchell has been at GIH for nearly 12 years, serving more than six of those at the helm of the organization. First hired as vice president for program and strategy in 2007, she was responsible for leading the development and implementation of integral healthcare access, mental health, healthy living and racial health disparity improvement initiatives until her promotion in 2012. Since taking the lead of GIH as president and CEO, Mitchell continued to expand on these programs as well as starting many more.
Having worked in both the public and private sectors throughout her career, Mitchell brought the knowledge and ability necessary to the navigation of the complicated cross-sector labyrinth that is healthcare in America. GIH, under her direction, formed numerous new and important partnerships with corporations, foundations and government agencies to implement programs that bettered the health of families and communities across the nation.
Mitchell joined GIH from the Institute of Medicine where she served as a senior program officer for three years. Her work in this position focused on the study of health disparities in minority and low-income communities, a topic for which she was instrumental in producing actionable policy advice which was dispensed to lawmakers, business leaders, foundations and the public. An absolute expert in this field, Mitchell served as a deputy director and center director in the areas of health and social sciences at the National Academies for almost ten years before taking the job at the Institute of Medicine.
Initially going to school to be an academic anthropologist, Mitchell quickly realized she was drawn to philanthropy and human services; seeing that she could both learn and affect real change while building a career. She earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her first job out of college was with the San Francisco Foundation, serving millions in the communities of five Bay Area counties as a program officer. Mitchell then moved to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation where she was brought on as a population officer, a position which gave her the lead on the foundation’s population, children, youth and families grantmaking programs. After nearly six years in this position, she made the move to the public sector.
Mitchell was hired as the senior coordinator for population at the U.S. Department of State in 1993, responsible for coordinating the formulation and execution of U.S. international population policy. It was after this that she was hired by the National Academies and began her ten-year stint there.
Assuming no drastic changes over the next year, Dr. Faith Mitchell will leave Grantmakers in Health in a strong financial and structural position with a wealth of successful partnerships and programs in its wide purview. GIH’s board will announce transition plans in the coming months. After stepping down, Mitchell plans to resume long-tabled research and writing interests.