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Daniel E. Dawes J.D.

Daniel E. Dawes J.D.

Executive Director of Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, Health Policy Expert & Author


“I value Daniel as a catalyst and bipartisan collaborator in the health equity space. He has been instrumental in shaping major federal health policies, including the Mental Health Parity Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, and the Affordable Care Act where he led the largest network of leaders committed to prioritizing health equity in federal and state public policies.” -President and Dean Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD

"Thank you for your Incredible presentation! We are grateful for your willingness to share your expertise and demonstrate how policies and politics influence the social conditions that generate health outcomes. It was a thought-provoking presentation that inspired a robust discussion. This meeting was not meant to be a single event, but a starting point for the discussion on what needs to be done and how we can all work together to address the barriers that prevent us ensuring health and wellbeing for everyone in our nation." -MITRE Health

Daniel E. Dawes, J.D., is a widely respected healthcare and public health leader, health policy expert, educator, and researcher who serves as executive director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine and a professor of health law, policy and management. A trailblazer and nationally respected voice in the health equity movement, his scholarship and leadership, particularly the innovative political determinants of health framework that he pioneered, have resulted in increased policies and laws prioritizing health equity. By tackling upstream determinants of health, he has ventured into such uncharted territory as the intersection between equity and the social and political determinants of health to change the course of domestic and global policies for the better. Read More >

His groundbreaking works, 150 Years of ObamaCare, which document the health equity movement in America and elevates the health equity-focused provisions of the Affordable Care Act that he led in negotiations and formulation, and The Political Determinants of Health, which provides an in-depth lens on the root causes of inequities, both published by Johns Hopkins Press are now nationally and internationally recognized and used as top health policy books. His passion for addressing health inequities is exemplified in his unyielding commitment to building collaboratives, including the HHS grant-funded National COVID-19 Resiliency Network and the Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network, both exist to leverage evidence-based research and develop actionable solutions to advance health equity.

Professor Dawes’ work focuses on health reform, health equity, mental/behavioral health inequities, social and political determinants of health, poverty, and health system transformation. His work bridges research, technology, healthcare, population health and public health – the translation of research discoveries into all communities, including under-resourced, vulnerable, and marginalized communities. Professor Dawes brings a forward-thinking, inclusive, and multidisciplinary approach to address issues impacting diverse populations in urban and rural communities in our progressively complex health system, including a national study examining the health and economic impact of mental health inequities in the United States and a major research project which created the nation’s first health equity tracker. Among his many achievements, he was an instrumental figure in developing and negotiating the Mental Health Parity Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, and an architect of the Affordable Care Act’s health equity-focused provisions, among other landmark federal policies.

Professor Dawes is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and an elected fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. He serves as an advisor to The White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, an appointed member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee to the Director and co-chair of the CDC’s Health Equity Working Group, as well as an appointed member of the NIH’s National Advisory Council for Nursing Research. Highly respected for his ability to achieve sound policy changes in a nonpartisan manner; Professor Dawes serves or has served on several boards, commissions and councils focused on improving health outcomes and elevating health equity in the United States and around the world, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Subcommittee on Health Disparities, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights - Health and Human Rights Institute Advisory Committee, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Policies for Action National Advisory Committee, the National Football League/National Football League Players Association’s National Committee on the Racial Disparities of COVID-19, the National Medical Fellowships Primary Care Leadership Program’s National Advisory Committee, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health National Advisory Council, the Healthcare Georgia Foundation Board of Directors, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Board of Directors, the National League of Cities National Advisory Board, the CDC Foundation’s Community COVID Coalition Advisory Group, and the Children’s Mental Health Network National Advisory Council. He is an advisor to international, national, regional, state, and municipal policymakers as well as think tanks, foundations, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Political Determinants of Health: Jessica's Story

150 Years of ObamaCare

Policy, Health Reform, and Health Disparities

Daniel Dawes | Centering Health Equity in Times of Crisis and Beyond | Talks at Google

Speech Topics

The Political Determinants of Health & How We Can Change Them

Now, more than ever, political decisions (on both sides of the aisle) are affecting our social conditions and have become the root cause of our nation’s declining health. Reduced life expectancy, worsening health outcomes, health inequity and declining healthcare options are the direct result of social drivers that include poor environmental conditions, inadequate transportation, unsafe neighborhoods, lack of healthy food options and more. Drawing upon his new book, The Political Determinants of Health and firsthand experience shaping major federal policies including the Affordable Care Act, Daniel Dawes walks audiences through the history of efforts to address these issues and the seemingly inseparable interconnection of politics and health. Daniel looks at health through the political lens so we can begin to partner, build capacity and create change. He also presents a novel non-partisan, multidisciplinary framework for addressing the systemic barriers that prevent the U.S. from becoming what it could be: the healthiest nation in the world.

Leveraging the New Determinants of Health to Improve Patient Outcomes

As a passionate advocate for underserved communities, Daniel Dawes has become a national thought leader on utilizing data on the social determinants of health to identify and eliminate healthcare disparities. But how can we also use data to reduce costs and improve outcomes for every single group and in every community? Dawes looks beyond social determinants to examine how the behavioral, community — even political — determinants of health can decrease the risk factors behind the poor health pandemic. In this dynamic presentation for healthcare and mental healthcare providers, employers, community leaders, policy makers and others, Dawes looks at the multiple factors affecting health and takes audience members further upstream to understand the root causes of disparities and how we can effectively disrupt the silos and engage in strategic partnerships to advance a more healthy, equitable and inclusive health system. It all begins with asking the right questions: Is a patient caring for a loved one and not taking care of herself? Depressed? Obese? Lonely? Are we effectively collecting, utilizing, and prioritizing the comprehensive data to identify these and other issues? Providing real life examples, he challenges audiences to look at both determinants and data in a whole new way. He also provides practical applications that they can immediately put into action.

Health Inequities – Fruit of America’s Poisonous Tree: A Look at the Determinants & Drivers of Health

The Right to Health: Achieving Health Equity for Vulnerable Populations

How We Can Create a Healthy, Equitable & Inclusive Society

Reimagining Healthcare in America

Mental & Behavioral Health Equity