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USC Annenberg Dean Ernest Wilson Joins Cal Wellness Board

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The California Wellness Foundation’s (Cal Wellness) Board of Directors elected a new member, Ernest J. Wilson III, who is Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, a professor of political science and a faculty fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. His service is effective immediately.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Wilson to the Board and believe he will bring new expertise to the Foundation,” said Elizabeth M. Gomez, Cal Wellness’ Board chair. “He has a fresh perspective from his work related to academia, communications and political science. We are all looking forward to working with him as Cal Wellness implements its Advancing Wellness grants program.”

Wilson is the Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication at USC’s Annenberg School, a renowned higher education institution that offers multidisciplinary approaches to the study of communication and journalism. He also heads USC Annenberg’s Third Space, an initiative that helps create a talent pool of next-generation leaders who will shape the future of media, communications, entertainment and business.

He holds a doctorate in political science and has served as director of international programs and resources on the National Security Council at the White House; director of the Policy and Planning Unit for the U.S. Information Agency; deputy director of the Global Information Infrastructure Commission; an advisor for President Barack Obama’s transition team; and a board member and board chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

As an accomplished author, his most recent book is Governing Global Electronic Networks. He also cofounded and coedited the MIT Press series The Information Revolution and Global Politics and the journal Information Technologies and International Development. Wilson’s full biography can be found here.

“It is a real honor to be elected to the Board of Directors of The California Wellness Foundation,” said Wilson. “I am deeply impressed with Cal Wellness’ commitment to meet the health needs of California citizens directly, and their insistence that health and wellness must be defined expansively – not just when people show up in times of emergency. I look forward to contributing to the important mission of this great institution.”

Cal Wellness’ president and CEO, Judy Belk, said she looks forward to working with Wilson, whom she describes as a global thought leader and a longtime champion of social change.   

“Dr. Wilson’s distinguished career in communications, public policy, information technology and international relations, coupled with his history of promoting diversity and inclusion, makes him a great fit as a Cal Wellness trustee,” said Belk. “He understands the importance of leveling the playing field to advance the health and wellness of all Californians.”

Wilson joins Cal Wellness Board Chair Elizabeth M. Gomez, M.S.W., Vice Chair M. Isabel Becerra, B.A., and Board members Barbara C. Staggers, M.D., M.P.H., David S. Barlow, M.B.A., C.P.A., Elisabeth Hallman, M.B.A., R.N., Joseph M. Lumarda and Debra Nakatomi. For more information about the Foundation’s trustees, please visit’s Board of Directors page.

The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.

On Oct. 1, 2014, Cal Wellness introduced its Advancing Wellness grants program designed to promote equity through advocacy and access. The grantmaking focuses on three interconnected portfolios: Bridging the Gaps in Access and Quality Care; Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods; and Expanding Education and Employment Pathways. The program also includes the Opportunity Fund to support innovation in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

Since its founding in 1992, Cal Wellness has awarded 7,690 grants totaling more than $912 million.

Read the complete press release here.

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