C.J. Eisenbarth Hager is Director, Healthy Communities for Vitalyst Health Foundation. Vitalyst Health Foundation is on a mission to inform, connect and support efforts to improve the health of individuals and communities in Arizona. Vitalyst is an independent, non-partisan public foundation with five overarching priorities: increasing access to care and insurance coverage, working with municipal leaders to promote healthy community design, building community-based organizational capacity, promoting health and healthcare innovations and collaborations, and supporting civic health.
C.J.’s work centers on promoting public policies and strategies that support healthy people and places. As a result, her work touches a number of different specialties and policy areas, including urban planning, land use, transportation, urban design, housing, community development and sustainability. Among her accomplishments at Vitalyst, C.J. oversaw the health impact assessment and health recommendations for Reinvent PHX, a partnership with the City of Phoenix that was funded by HUD’s Sustainable Communities Planning Grant. She led a broad coalition of residents and organizations to pass a Complete Streets ordinance within the city of Phoenix. She is also a founding member of the Maricopa County Food System Coalition. Her other work at Vitalyst includes promoting transportation options that support equity, expanding the affordable housing stock, supporting the use of health in all policies and increasing the use of health impact assessments during the policy decision-making process.
Prior to Vitalyst, C.J. was a Senior Policy Analyst for Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, where she was co-author of Dropped? Latino Education and Arizona’s Economic Future. In addition to education, her research focused on Arizona’s economy and workforce. C.J. also served as the Director of Government Relations for NeighborWorks America, a national affordable housing and community revitalization nonprofit organization. She has also worked for the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
C.J. received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Marquette University and a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from Kansas State University, where she was given the Alumni Honoree award for her professional accomplishments. She currently serves on the boards of directors for The Funders’ and Trellis (formerly NHS of Phoenix). She also serves in an advisory role, including: Home Matters for Arizona; LISC Phoenix Local Advisory Board; the City of Phoenix Choice Neighborhoods Advisory Committee; Urban Land Institute Arizona Chapter Taskforce on Housing, Health and Equity; City of Phoenix Urban Heat, Tree and Shade Subcommittee; and the Arizona Health Improvement Plan Social Determinants of Health Work Group.