Featured Special Guest
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Starla Stiles joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2020, bringing her communications expertise to help advance strategic policy initiatives. She employs her wide-ranging skills in community relations, health partnerships, and public messaging to furthering RWJF’s vision of working alongside others to build a Culture of Health. She praises the Foundation’s focus on “equity, diversity, and understanding how health impacts so many areas of our lives, including our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.”
Previously, Starla was director of communications for Truth Initiative, the country’s largest nonprofit public health organization dedicated to achieving a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco. In this role, she led Truth Initiative’s federal communications partnerships, managed its Warner Series webcast, and oversaw internal communications and stakeholder outreach efforts. Earlier, she was an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) fellow with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health. She coordinated the office’s tobacco public health program, and her teamwork in producing the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Tobacco earned her a Meritorious Service award from Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
In other roles, Starla oversaw media outreach for GYMR Public Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based communications firm specializing in health, healthcare, and social issues. She also worked on communications, diversity, and community relations initiatives with the public relations firm of Walker Marchant Group in Washington. Earlier, she coordinated communications for the American Legacy Foundation (now Truth Initiative), which strives to reduce tobacco use in the United States through major initiatives reaching youth, women, and priority populations.
Starla earned a BA in public relations from Howard University, and a Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University.
Born in California, she now resides in Washington, where she enjoys baking cakes from scratch, serving up Soul and Mexican food for her family, and reading “just about any- and everything, but especially books on space and science.”