Senior Program Officer, Healthy Food Healthy Lives (NYSHF)

NYSHealth Background:

The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. NYSHealth began operations in 2006; today, it has approximately $300 million in assets, as well as a $15 million annual grants and operations budget.

The Foundation is committed to making grants, but also to making a difference beyond grant dollars: informing health care policy and practice; spreading effective programs to improve the health system; serving as a convener of health leaders across the State; and providing technical assistance to grantees and partners. Today, the Foundation concentrates its initiatives in two strategic priority areas: Building Healthy Communities and Empowering Health Care Consumers. NYSHealth also engages in responsive grantmaking through a Special Projects Fund and maintains a special interest in veterans’ health.

NYSHealth is launching a new priority area in January 2021, Healthy Food, Healthy Lives, and is winding down its Building Healthy Communities area. The primary goal of this new priority area is to advance policies and programs that connect New Yorkers with the healthy and affordable food they need to thrive through two core strategies: 1) enabling policies that promote healthy and affordable food; and 2) testing and scaling programs that connect people to healthy and affordable food. This statewide focus on healthy food is especially urgent as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the food security of millions of New Yorkers, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color.


Position Overview:

Reporting to the Vice President (VP) for Programs, the Senior Program Officer (SPO) will support the development, launch, and implementation of Healthy Food, Healthy Lives in collaboration with the priority area’s team. The SPO will be responsible for generating project ideas/initiatives; managing programs and grants; reviewing proposals; making grantmaking recommendations to the VP for Programs and other senior staff; and working collaboratively across priority areas to advance shared goals.

The SPO plays a leadership and mentorship role. They will be an effective ambassador of the Foundation by contributing to NYSHealth’s growing media presence and visibility by hosting convenings; contributing to policy research products and advocacy efforts; and representing the Foundation at conferences and meetings throughout New York State and nationally.

This position is ideal for a creative and strategic thinker with strong content expertise. The SPO will co-lead the process of shaping and implementing this priority area to ensure that NYSHealth is maximizing the impact of its investments and adapting its strategy as new learning emerges. A successful candidate must bring deep and sophisticated understanding of and experience in the following:

  • The New York State food system, including in the areas of purchasing and financing policies, local food systems, and/or public institution food landscape;
  • The policymaking process, including state and local legislative processes, regulatory and contracting processes, and federal rulemaking;
  • Federal nutrition programs and related policies, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
  • Food as a social determinant of health and the links between nutrition, healthy food, chronic disease, and related interventions (e.g. food as medicine); and
  • Working directly with food access and distribution points, including emergency food networks, food hubs, mobile markets, and farmers markets. 


  • Partner with the VP for Programs and other program staff to build a Healthy Food, Healthy Lives strategic plan that translates into specific grantmaking, research, and thought leadership opportunities. Design and implement annual program goals and strategies.
  • Develop, cultivate, and implement ideas for projects and initiatives.
  • Lead and facilitate meetings with grantees, conduct site visits, review grantee submissions, track grantee performance, and summarize grant outcomes. Work with grantees to identify potential enhancements to project development and ensure that contractual objectives are met.
  • Work with grantees to identify and lead efforts to help leverage the Foundation’s resources and develop opportunities to partner with other private and public funders.
  • Prepare and present written proposal summaries for various levels of the grant review process and provide recommendations to senior staff and review panels.
  • Respond to public inquiries about the priority area and the application process. Work to disseminate and communicate the Foundation’s goals, objectives, and grantmaking results.
  • Develop and maintain working relationships with stakeholders, policymakers, community members, researchers, and others to support program development and implementation. Cultivate NYSHealth’s partnerships with policymakers (e.g., NYSDOH, NYC DOHMH, USDA), hospital and primary care systems, food businesses, and food policy community-based organizations.
  • Convene grantees, stakeholders, and policymakers to advance program development and implementation.
  • In partnership with NYSHealth’s Policy and Research team, synthesize learning from grantees, policymakers and researchers to publish original NYSHealth content and to make evidence-based recommendations to adapt the priority area.
  • Prepare and submit various written products, including journal (or other) articles, blog posts, issue briefs, and commentaries, at least several times a year.
  • Contribute to quality improvement of the Foundation’s operations, including facilitating internal communications and evaluation, specifically as it informs future program development and grantmaking.
  • Participate in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities to maintain and enhance expertise and leadership status.
  • Contribute to the NYSHealth website by identifying relevant grantee materials to be posted to the site.
  • Contribute to and advance the field by developing creative ways to address grantmaking challenges.
  • Complete special projects as assigned.

Required Experience and Qualifications:

The Senior Program Officer must have a graduate degree in health, public health, public policy, nutrition, or a relevant discipline. The successful candidate will have more than 10 years of experience in a setting or settings related to Healthy Food, Healthy Lives issue areas.

Other qualifications include:

  • Proven expertise and experience navigating and partnering with policymakers, community organizations, and New York food system experts.
  • In-depth experience with the policymaking process, such as preparing public comments, briefings, and policy analyses.
  • Extensive networks of professional contacts and partnerships in the local, state, and national policymaking spaces with policymakers, government agencies, researchers, and community-based organizations.
  • Knowledge of the health sector, nutrition policy, and social determinants of health
  • Superb project management and organizational skills. Attention to detail and follow-through ability, including management of workflow and time.
  • Philanthropy/grantmaking experience and/or experience in applying for, receiving, and managing grants.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent analytic abilities, including clear judgment and creative thinking.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills: collegial, energetic, able to develop productive relationships with colleagues, grantees, consultants, and others who contribute to program development and management. Works well with and welcomes opportunities to work across diverse cultures.
  • Demonstrated maturity and seasoned judgment. Ability to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive and clear with Foundation applicants.
  • Ability to travel, for site visits and to represent the Foundation at outside meetings.  (Note: NYSHealth travel is currently suspended because of the ongoing pandemic. When travel restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so, travel will resume.)



Application Process:

Candidates are encouraged to describe their skill sets and experience in light of the above qualifications.

NYSHealth offers a competitive package of benefits, including employer-paid health insurance, dental, vision, and life insurance, and employer contribution to a 403b retirement account.

The salary range for this position is $120,000–$150,000, depending on experience and qualifications.

This position will be based at the Foundation’s New York City office, although all staff are currently working remotely.

Send résumé, and statement of interest to [email protected] and include “Senior Program Officer” in the subject line.

The New York State Health Foundation welcomes applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and values having a diverse staff. Employment opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other protected characteristic as established under law.


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  • Reed Young
    published this page in Job Board 2020-11-17 11:14:37 -0500