Jon Poehlman

Program Director, Social Marketing and Communication Strategy

Jon Poehlman


  • BA, Anthropology, University of Virginia
  • MA, Anthropology, Georgia State University
  • PhD, Anthropology, University of South Florida

Jon Poehlman, as an applied anthropologist, conducts ethnographically informed and participatory-inspired research into how individuals and audiences think, engage, and express themselves concerning the topics important to their lives. Using these insights, he leads the development of communication campaigns and tools to promote positive behavior change, especially on health-related issues. Methodologically, his expertise is in ethnographic and qualitative research methods, including interviews, focus group discussions, and analysis of structured, qualitative data.

Dr. Poehlman’s recent projects include developing a campaign to prevent Zika virus infection among pregnant women in Puerto Rico, using design thinking to develop and test financial education messages and tools for consumers, and conducting formative research to understand the acceptance of anemia treatment among pregnant women in India. He has lived in Malawi and has conducted research in a number of countries in Africa and Asia.

Dr. Poehlman has been with RTI since 2003 and received the RTI President’s Award in 2009. He is a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology and a member of the Society for Anthropological Sciences. Dr. Poehlman has a number of peer-reviewed articles on formative communication research.