BioTyler Spencer founded Grassroots Health (formerly The Grassroot Project) in 2009 when he was a student-athlete at Georgetown University. He had worked for several summers training soccer players in South Africa to use soccer as a tool for HIV prevention (Grassroot Soccer). Upon returning to DC for his final year of school, he learned that 1 in 20 DC residents were living with HIV, and he wanted to mobilize his teammates and fellow college athletes to support the city’s efforts in reducing new infections among youth. With help from teenagers at a youth drop-in center in DC, he adapted the South African curriculum to be effective in DC, and he recruited 40 athletes and four middle schools to take part in the initial pilot program of Grassroots Health. The organization has grown from there, and Tyler has led its strategic vision and partnerships, fundraising, and program evaluation.
Today, Tyler is driven by a clear focus on re-imagining school-based health education and physical activity for youth, and he believes in the model that has been co-created by Grassroots Health’s large family of staff, athletes, educators, students, and their family members. He believes that the changes we make as an organization in the coming years have the potential to impact the broader systems that have created cultures of stigma and inequitable access to health services across our country.
Tyler has a Ph.D. in Public Health and an M.Sc. in Evidence-Based Social Intervention from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He holds a BA in International Health and Sustainable Development from the University of Virginia, and he holds post-graduate credits in social policy from Georgetown, where he dropped out shortly after starting Grassroots Health. For his leadership at Grassroots Health, Tyler has been named a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper, a Skoll Associate Fellow in Entrepreneurship, and a Senior Atlantic Fellow in Health Equity by the Atlantic Institute.
Professional Interests & Expertise
Coaching and Mentoring,Community Health,Community Organizing,Community Partnerships,Education,Fundraising,Leadership,Mental and Behavioral Health,Non-Profit,Nutrition,Outreach and Education,Public Health,Public Policy,Research,Research, Measurement, and Evaluation,Workforce Pipeline Programs,Youth Development