Board of Directors

Autumn Saxton-Ross, Ph.D.

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Autumn, a D.C. resident and mother of two, received her Ph.D. from the department of Sociology at Howard University, preceded by a master’s degree in Public Health Education and Promotion from the same institution and undergraduate work in exercise science through The George Washington University. She is the Vice President of Education and Chief Equity Officer at National Recreation and Parks Association.

First developing a love of the outdoors through her grandmother’s yard and city parks in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, Autumn's research, academic and professional interests continue to focus on social and physical environments and their influences on physical activity, opportunity and resources — specifically in Black and urban populations — along with the health benefits of parks and green spaces. Her life’s work concentrates on improving the health of communities through engagement, activity, education, exposure and opportunity, truly believing that “a healthy life is lived better outdoors.”

Prior to her work at NRPA, she worked at NatureBridge where she oversaw programs at Prince William Forest and Shenandoah National Parks in Virginia. Her previous position as Program Director for Place-based Initiatives at the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE) saw her encouraging the use of policy and environmental change as a solution to health inequities, focusing on communities of color. She began her career as an elementary school health and physical education teacher for D.C. Public Schools and has since consistently worked in positions placing her at the intersections of health, equity and the outdoors.