Alexis McGill Johnson Named Permanent President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund
For Immediate Release: June 26, 2020
This decision comes after McGill Johnson served almost a year as acting president and CEO of PPFA and the Action Fund, a decade on the PPFA and Action Fund boards, and a chairmanship of the PPFA board
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) board of directors announced that they voted to appoint Alexis McGill Johnson as permanent president and CEO of PPFA and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (Action Fund). McGill Johnson has served as acting president and CEO for almost a year, and is a former member of the board of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, as well as a former chair and member of the board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Statement from PPFA board Chair Aimee Cunningham and Action Fund Board Chair Jennie Rosenthal:
“We are thrilled to announce Alexis McGill Johnson's appointment as the permanent president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Throughout her life, Alexis has been a catalyst for social change and a warrior for justice and equity. Having spent more than a decade serving on Planned Parenthood boards before taking the reins as the acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in July 2019, Alexis is steeped in our mission of providing access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, education, and advocacy. Since becoming acting president and CEO, Alexis has steered us through one of the most difficult times in our history with unfailing courage, tenacity, and resolve. As a proven trailblazer for reproductive rights and social change, Alexis is the right leader to take us into the next chapter of our history as we fight to create a world where every person is free to control their own body, destiny, and life."
Statement from President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson:
“I am so proud and humbled to have been named the permanent president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Since I stepped into the acting role last year, Planned Parenthood has battled serious threats to patients’ care, from the exclusion of Planned Parenthood providers from Title X funding to states’ continued efforts to limit access to abortion and reproductive health care. We know the year ahead holds more challenges, as we await the June Medical Services v. Russo decision in the Supreme Court, face a long overdue public reckoning with systemic racism, and continue to battle COVID-19. Through it all, I have been grateful to the Planned Parenthood family for their dedication to this work. I have learned so much from Planned Parenthood patients, our staff, and our broader movement, and am honored to continue this fight with them, and for them. I look forward to the work ahead."
McGill Johnson is a renowned social justice leader, acclaimed researcher and strategist, lifelong political organizer, and tireless advocate for reproductive rights and access to quality, affordable health care. In less than a year as acting president, she has undertaken the deep work of building trust within Planned Parenthood and across the movement for sexual and reproductive rights — leveraging the talent and expertise of the Planned Parenthood staff across the country to take on the challenges of increasing access to sexual and reproductive health care.
McGill Johnson brings a researcher’s lens to her advocacy work, operating at the intersection of scientific research and movements for change. Through her pioneering work as co-founder of the Perception Institute, she took mind science concepts like implicit bias and racial anxiety out of the academy and applied them to the justice issues of our time. Alexis applies data driven analysis with the strategy of an organizer, and the passion of a lifelong advocate. She’s uniquely positioned to apply theories of change to strategically shift Planned Parenthood’s work, and to meet people where they are — and where they need Planned Parenthood to be — with compassion and understanding.
There is no one better to lead Planned Parenthood as the federation, and our nation, work to address the systemic racism that stands in the way of true reproductive freedom. Under her leadership and expertise, Planned Parenthood has publicly committed to reckoning with its history, investing in work aimed at engaging communities of color, and improving Planned Parenthood’s health care delivery.
Before joining Planned Parenthood as acting president and CEO, McGill Johnson recognized that insights in social psychology and neuroscience had great potential to disrupt bias, but that those ideas weren’t translating into the public sector. In order to connect the dots on why our brains betray the values we hold dear — namely, fairness and belonging, she co-founded and is the former co-director of the Perception Institute, a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists who translate cutting edge mind science research on race, gender, ethnic, and other identities into solutions that reduce bias and discrimination, and promote belonging. Through Perception, she consulted with Fortune 500 corporations and nonprofits to create training curricula to reduce bias and increase inclusion. It was through this work that she designed and implemented the Starbucks racial bias curriculum, which launched as a nationwide training initiative implemented in over 8,000 stores and reached more than 175,000 Starbucks employees.
She previously worked as executive director of Citizen Change, co-founded the Culture Group, and currently serves on the boards of Color of Change, Revolutions Per Minute, and Narrative Initiative. McGill Johnson holds degrees from Princeton and Yale universities and has taught political science at both Yale and Wesleyan universities.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.