Vital Strategies, Inc.

We envision a world where everyone is protected by a strong public health system.

New York, NY   |


Vital Strategies is a registered non-profit, public charity organization based in New York City. We help governments strengthen their public health systems to contend with the most important and difficult health challenges. We bring the best of public health thinking to design solutions that can scale rapidly and improve the lives of millions of people. We’re helping governments acquire the knowledge and tools they need to make rapid progress against cancer, heart disease, obesity, epidemic diseases, drug overdose, road crashes and other leading causes of disease, injury and death.

Ruling year info



Mr Jose Luis Castro

Main address

100 Broadway 4th Floor

New York, NY 10005 USA

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Formerly known as




NTEE code info

Lung (G45)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (U01)

Management & Technical Assistance (E02)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Air Pollution and health

More than five million people die every year because of poor air quality. This burden falls disproportionately on vulnerable populations, especially women and children living without access to clean household energy, and people living in low- and middle-income countries where urbanization has brought increased emissions from heavy industry and motorized transport, outpacing air pollution control measures.

To address this global issue, Vital Strategies provides technical expertise and consultative services to inform policies and influence public discourse around air pollution and its health impacts around the world. As part of our efforts to address the disparate impact of air pollution on vulnerable populations, we work with governments to analyze age-, sex-, and geography-specific health outcomes.

Population(s) Served

The Data for Health Initiative is a global effort supported by  Bloomberg Philanthropies with additional support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Initiative provides technical and financial assistance to low- and middle-income countries worldwide to improve public health data.

Vital Strategies serves as an implementing partner in the Initiative, with several programs related specifically to data improvement and public health intelligence: The Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Program assists governments in strengthening their systems for counting every birth and death and for monitoring the causes of death; the Data Impact Program supports governments to maximize the use of data to enhance public health policymaking and decision-making; the Cancer Registries Program provides assistance to governments in establishing and strengthening population-based cancer registries.

Population(s) Served

The crisis of overdose is affecting US communities everywhere. Progress against the still rising rates will require leadership across levels of government, and from communities, providers, institutions, and advocates. Leadership must include people who use drugs.

We strive to promote innovation, improve quality, build scale, and ensure sustainability, grounded in data and evidence, and focused on racial equity. Our approach is multidisciplinary, inclusive, and responsive to local conditions.

As momentum grows for a health-based response to drug use, overdose has risen sharply in Black and Latinx communities. Progress must address the collateral consequences of drug use criminalization in communities of color.

Population(s) Served

Tobacco could kill one billion people this century, yet the tobacco industry aggressively markets to children, promotes pseudoscience to confuse, and lobbies against effective policies to reduce smoking and protect health.

As a partner in the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, Vital Strategies supports the adoption of lifesaving policies that reach hundreds of millions of people around the world. Since 2007, we have worked with 41 countries to deliver evidence-based population-level campaigns and build local capacity to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco. Our campaigns encourage quitting, delay initiation and support policy goals, such as smoke-free environments and tobacco tax increases. Over the long term, this helps to change behaviors around the acceptability of smoking and attitudes about the tobacco industry.

Population(s) Served

Over 90% of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles.

Vital Strategies is an implementing partner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), a consortium carrying out proven road safety interventions in 15 countries and up to 30 cities around the world. The initiative’s comprehensive, evidence-based approach includes: strengthening legislation; improving key risky road behaviors with a focus on speeding; promoting infrastructure improvements and sustainable urban transportation; and advocating for improved vehicle safety standards.

Population(s) Served

The 21st century has been witness to a global nutrition transition where, at the expense of traditional diets, people increasingly consume cheap ultra-processed foods and sugary drinks.

A diet that is high in ultra-processed foods is an unhealthy diet and there is robust evidence that links their consumption to serious health harms such as increased overweight and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Vital Strategies works closely with partners in Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica and South Africa. We also support work in other countries including India and Ethiopia. Our work helps achieve healthy food policy goals through focused audience research, strategic communication and evaluation.

Population(s) Served

With the majority of the world’s population now living in urban settings, cities are uniquely positioned to transform the fight against NCDs and injuries by implementing policies to significantly reduce exposure to risk factors. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the transformative role of public health leadership by cities.

The Partnership for Healthy Cities (PHC), supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vital Strategies, is a global network of 70 cities whose mayors have committed to prevent NCDs—including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and chronic lung disease—and injuries through proven interventions. The third phase of the Partnership launched in 2021.

As implementing partner in the initiative, Vital Strategies provides in-kind technical assistance, supports communication and public relations efforts, and disburses grants to participating cities.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Western Pacific Challenge: Innovation for the Future of Public Health 2022

World Health Organization

Affiliations & memberships

Noncommunicable Diseases Allicance 2022

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of policy guidelines or proposals developed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Food Policy

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

In October 2020, the Brazil Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) approved front-of-package warning labels. In 2020, South Africa a sugary drinks tax was implemented.

Tobacco Control Mass Media Work Grant Awards

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Tobacco Control

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

In 2021, Vital work led to historical smoke-free and TAPS policy in Mexico and Ukraine. In 2020, Vital campaigns reached at least 2 billion people to harms of Tobacco use.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Goal 1: Support governments and civil society organizations in low- and middle-income countries to strengthen public health institutions, workforce, leadership, and infrastructure.

Goal 2: Elevate the role of public health in addressing the world’s most pressing environmental threats and build institutional capacity for urban public health.

Goal 3: Support countries in the adoption of best-practice policies to sustainably prevent noncommunicable disease and reduce injuries related to drug use, gender-based violence, and road crashes.

We collaborate with governments, change makers, and leading researchers to move policy and people toward sustainable progress in global health.

Vital Strategies bridges the gap between public health needs and their solutions, with a focus on rapid, large-scale impact.

Public Health Intelligence - Strengthening the collection and use of data to inform government action.

Strategic Communication and Advocacy - Mounting campaigns that use storytelling and rigorous research to influence policies and behavior.

Institutional Strengthening - Building government expertise, especially for policy development, legal analysis and regulatory enforcement.

Examples of major policy wins include:
• Better food labels in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia
• Sugary drinks taxes in Mexico and South Africa
• Graphic warnings on cigarette packs in India and Indonesia
• Comprehensive tobacco control laws in Mexico, Ukraine, and Senegal
• Harm reduction policies to prevent drug overdose in several U.S. states

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Many of our programs serve governments as a way to improve public health. A core tenant of our work in health system strengthening. We support government such as ministries of health or local health departments to use data to make better policies to improve health outcomes.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We will use our Policy Accelerator program as an example. We have used feedback from surveys to adapt and improve our policy training programs for governments and other key stakeholders.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    They are able to influence the programs in which they are participating.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,


Vital Strategies, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Vital Strategies, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 10/13/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Louis James de Viel Castel

Managing Director, Quilvest

Jose Luis Castro (ex Officio)

President and CEO Vital Strategies

Marc Sznajderman

Sr. Managing Director, Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group LLc

Helen Agerup

H&B Agerup Foundaton

Scott Halstead

Investor, Adviser & Board Member, Venture Capital & Private Equity Backed Technology

Ram Koppaka

Physician, Pulmonary Medicine and Public Health

Masae Kawamura

Sr. Director, Medical and Scientific Affairs, Immune and Infectious Disease Franchise Qiagen

David Caputo

President Emeritus and Retired Professor of Political Science, Pace University

Frank Colella

Attorney at Law

Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet

Executive Director, Merck for Mothers

Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick

Founder and CEO, Grapevine Health

Mark Foley

President, Pendo LLC

Bruce Mandell

President, Data-Mail, Inc.

Eric Rosenbaum

President and CEO of Project Renewal

Jack Salvo

Executive VP, Business Development, PharmaSphere

Neil Schluger (ex Officio)

Chief, Division of Pulmonayr, Allergy, and Critial Care Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center

Dean Schraufnagel

Professor of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago

Roslyn Feder

Biopharmaceutical Business Development

Renee Ridzon

Medical Officer, Centers for Disease Control (Kenya)

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/27/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/28/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.