Jennifer Pohlhaus, Ph.D., is an Owner and the Chief Operating Officer of Ripple Effect, where she oversees the client delivery, human resources, and strategic growth divisions. In her role, she has established many progressive policies to enhance diversity, inclusion, and belonging of staff. Some highlights include a results-oriented work policy and transparent calendar titles that encourage staff to attend family or personal events and achieve a more desirable “dynamic equilibrium”. She has spearheaded several corporate initiatives such as email signatures specifying preferred pronouns, development of a buddy program for new hires, incorporation of peer-to-peer performance feedback, and supervisor real-time feedback via quarterly performance reviews. These initiatives and others have led to a powerhouse workforce that is highly engaged, predominately female and represents many ethnicities.
Her interest in growing and maintaining an inclusive workspace stems from her decades long involvement in workforce diversity initiatives. Dr. Pohlhaus was previously an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the National Institutes of Health where she coordinated major research and policy efforts on women in the academic workforce, and provided senior decision makers with advice and recommendations to set policy. Dr. Pohlhaus regularly produced memoranda, presentations and speeches for senior NIH staff, and personally delivered a briefing to staff of the United States House of Representatives Science & Technology Committee. Dr. Pohlhaus was recognized as a “Woman in Science” at NIH 2007-2008. During the same time period, Dr. Pohlhaus was the Vice Chair of the National Postdoctoral Association, where she oversaw its programmatic and strategic planning efforts to provide a national voice for postdoctoral scholars. She oversaw the creation of two new cross-functional positions (Diversity Officer and International Officer) that were designed to work across committees and ensure that postdocs with unique backgrounds have their voices heard.
Since joining Ripple Effect in 2008, Dr. Pohlhaus has leveraged her knowledge of science and policy to manage trans-agency efforts and initiatives for the government, and is regularly consulted to produce technically authoritative materials for use by policy makers and the public. Under her leadership, the company coordinated several high-visibility projects, including many related to workforce diversity for the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (requests for information on biomedical workforce), NIH Biomedical Workforce Diversity Officer (strategic planning, white papers, funding opportunity analysis), the NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (web strategy and content), the NIH OER Division of Biomedical Research Workforce (workforce modeling and representation ratios), and the NSF Office of Diversity and Inclusion (strategy and communication). In recognition for the integral work she has done for government agencies, she received two NIH Director’s Awards and two awards from the Office of Extramural Research for Extreme Dedication.
Dr. Pohlhaus received her B.S. in Biochemistry, with a minor in management, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and both her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Certificate in Health Policy from Duke University. She is the author of multiple peer-reviewed publications, including several on diversity, workforce training, and health disparities and she is a frequent speaker on mentoring and careers. Dr. Pohlhaus is a former Director of Education and Certification for her local chapter of the Project Management Institute, and a former member of the Montgomery College Institutional Review Board. Dr. Pohlhaus is a peer reviewer for several journals, including Gender Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of Women’s Health, and Academic Medicine.