Robert Atkins has spent most of his career working to improve the health and well-being of marginalized children and families living in distressed neighborhoods. Early in his career, he worked as a school nurse at East Camden (NJ) Middle School and cofounded the Camden STARR Program, a nonprofit development program dedicated to improving the life chances of young people in Camden. His work there motivated him to complete a PhD in the Department of Public Health at Temple University to better understand the factors that influence the health of children living in distressed environments. He also earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and American civilizations from Brown University and bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Atkins has also served as national program director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) program. In this role, he created meaningful partnerships between stakeholders from higher education, philanthropy, local and state governments, and communities.