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Karabi Acharya

Director of Global Ideas for US SolutionsDirector, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Karabi Acharya, who has drawn upon her expertise in anthropology, public health and systems thinking in working with the citizen sector in the United States, South Asia, and Africa, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2015. She directs the Foundation’s strategies for global learning as it identifies best practices in other countries, including poorer or less-developed ones, and adapting them to improve the social determinants of health in communities in the United States.
Previously, Acharya was global director for Ashoka, a network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 fellows in 70 countries putting their system-changing ideas into practice on a global scale. She led Ashoka’s efforts to document the impacts of its work and convene critical conversations that will shape our future. In this role she led the design of the 2015 and 2013 Ashoka Future Forum, which brought together more than 300 social entrepreneurs, business leaders, philanthropists and journalists to discuss and celebrate thought-provoking solutions.
Prior to Ashoka, Acharya served as a senior program officer with the Academy for Educational Development where she developed the SCALETM approach, a whole-system approach that builds social capital by strengthening organizational networks. SCALETM has been used in agriculture, tourism, and health sectors in more than nine countries. It has improved livelihoods for more than 100,000 Kenyan dairy farmers and ended a private sector boycott in Morocco, putting women’s cooperatives back to work. Also, during this period, Acharya was on faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Acharya earned a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Masters of Health Science in International Health from Johns Hopkins University, and a Doctor of Science from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She is also a Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow.