UC Berkeley School of Public Health is delighted to announce the appointment of Claudia Williams, former White House senior advisor, as inaugural Chief Social Impact Officer. She begins her term January 16, 2024.
Williams comes to the job with more than 30 years of experience in healthcare transformation, including four years in the Obama White House, where she served as senior advisor for health innovation and technology.
As a longtime healthcare visionary, Williams has partnered with state and local governments, businesses, and the nonprofit sector on data-driven innovations to improve care, enhance equity and accelerate new public health solutions. She has long worked to open access to digital health records so that individuals, providers, communities and researchers can use them to improve health.
Most recently, Williams led California’s largest nonprofit health data sharing network, Manifest MedEx. While at the White House, she helped found and launch the groundbreaking National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program, which seeks to enroll 1 million participants from all walks of life to create one of the most diverse health research databases ever assembled.
Chief Social Impact Officer is a new position at Berkeley Public Health, and reflects Dean Michael C. Lu’s mission to make it the nation’s leading school for social change.
“I’m delighted that Claudia Williams is joining us as our inaugural Chief Social Impact Officer,” said Dean Lu. “Claudia has spent many years as a public health leader and changemaker, and is the perfect person to help take our school’s social impact to the next level.”
Williams calls the new job an exciting opportunity to bring Berkeley Public Health back to its activist roots and to share what she calls “the reservoirs of incredible impact already within the school.”
“Berkeley Public Health is well positioned to support on-the-ground change in important public health issues, such as maternal mortality, health equity, and other areas,” Williams said. “We’re going to create the programs, supports, and partnerships so the school can be an unparalleled platform for beneficial change in the world.
“We often talk about states being the levers of innovation, but in the case of California, that truly is the case. I’m excited to help Berkeley Public Health—including its stellar faculty and changemaking students—support and accelerate California’s ambitious and path-breaking policy initiatives.”
“We want to partner with students to have an impact while they are at school, and throughout their careers. Students will be able to define an area of impact and then we’ll help them achieve it. Let’s do it right here, right now,” Williams said.
Among her many responsibilities will be leadership of the Social Impact Innovation Grant Program, which provides funding for students across UC Berkeley to establish community-based projects that improve health equity within and across communities and the RISE office, Berkeley Public Health’s career and leadership team.
While at Berkeley, Williams plans to continue her podcast, The Other 80, which hosts conversations about the things that help keep people healthy beyond traditional medical care—like housing, social connections and food—and the cutting edge policies and programs supporting whole person health.
She earned her BA at Duke University, and an MS in Health Policy and Management from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana and as a maternal and child health advisor in Burkina Faso and Indonesia. Claudia is a native of Boston, long-time resident of the DC area, and loves her adopted home of the East Bay.