Estelle Willie is a seasoned communicator who brings over a decade of experience raising global awareness of urgent social issues that influence opinion and drive action. Estelle joined The Rockefeller Foundation in 2019 as Director of Health Policy and Communications, where she leads communications, policy, and advocacy efforts for the Foundation’s health initiative, including the Covid-19 response and recovery efforts and the Precision Public Health program.
Estelle has extensive U.S. and international experience working closely with leading organizations, governments, and foundations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Merck/MSD, UNAIDS, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the IBM Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Estelle served as Vice President of Social Impact at Weber Shandwick. In this role, Estelle served as the communications advisor to Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the foundation created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to fight dis/misinformation and advance trustworthy journalism. She also served as the HIV franchise communications lead for Merck/MSD, helping to launch a global HIV campaign in partnership with Prevention Access Campaign.
Previously, Estelle worked as a communications consultant for the CDC to raise awareness of HIV and STD prevention, comprehensive sex education, TB and viral hepatitis elimination, and LGBT health. She started her career as a health fellow on Capitol Hill for Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) and has held fellowships and internships at leading health organizations including Kaiser Permanente Northern California, American Diabetes Association, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Estelle earned a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Apr 26 2022Blueprint Using Google Search Insights to Increase Vaccine Confidence and Demand In the first year of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, the United States struggled to reach the most vulnerable communities, with Black, brown, indigenous, and immigrant communities less likely to get a vaccine but more likely to get seriously ill and die of Covid-19. Community-based organizations, who have served on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, have […] Estelle Willie Mar 29 2022Blog Post Data Helps Us Paint a New Portrait of America—and Ways to Communicate One unfortunate axiom in communications work is: if it bleeds, it leads. Another might be: a divider is a headliner. We have seen this at play throughout the news coverage and social media conversations of the Covid-19 pandemic. Countless examples of unity, community, and mutual understanding in the face of tragedy have been overshadowed by […] Carrie Schum, Estelle Willie Dec 16 2021Blog Post Building a Community of Covid Communicators Our Community of Practice is giving public health communicators a place to learn, share and cope with the Pandemic Covid-19 reminded the world just how crucial effective communication is in a crisis. Public health communicators have been on the front lines of the pandemic for nearly two years, wrestling with new issues and needs nearly […] Caroline Jaros, Estelle Willie Jul 27 2021Blog Post Misinformation Is the Biggest Threat to Ending This Pandemic Myths about Covid-19 vaccines abound: “The Covid-19 vaccines will make you infertile” “Covid-19 vaccines don’t work” “The government put a microchip in the Covid-19 vaccines” “The Covid-19 vaccines create variants” Each of those statements is false, but they are spreading widely, and studies show this type of misinformation can reduce someone’s desire to take the […] Estelle Willie Mar 31 2020Blueprint Data for Health Equity: Unlocking Health for All Estelle Willie, Naveen Rao, MD, FACP