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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 is a nationally respected healthcare and public health leader, policy expert, administrator and author who has been at the forefront of recent major federal health policy negotiations in the United States. A thought leader in health policy, his work focuses on health reform, health equity, mental/behavioral health, 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. Read More >

Dawes is Morehouse School of Medicine’s Executive Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute. In this role, Dawes champions health policy strategies focusing on social and political determinants of health to advance MSM’s health equity vision. He will also bring a forward-thinking, inclusive, and multidisciplinary approach to address issues impacting diverse populations in urban and rural communities in our progressively complex health system. Dawes currently leads several major health equity projects in the United States, including several intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color such as the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) $40 million, to establish a national COVID-19 resiliency network (NCRN), as well as a project with Google.org, CDC Foundation and Gilead Sciences to create the nation’s first health equity tracker. Daniel also serves as an advisor to the White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

A published expert on health reform, health equity, health disparities, behavioral health, and social determinants of health, Dawes is the author of two groundbreaking books published by Johns Hopkins University Press: 150 Years of Obamacare and The Political Determinants of Health, which have received critical acclaim and endorsements from a bipartisan group of leaders, including Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, U.S. Secretaries of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Louis Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary Garth Graham, as well as Surgeons General David Satcher and Regina Benjamin. His newest book, The Political Determinants of Health, answers the question, “How do policy and politics influence the structural conditions that generate health outcomes?” Dawes argues that political determinants of health create the social drivers―including poor environmental conditions, inadequate transportation, unsafe neighborhoods, and lack of healthy food options―that affect all other dynamics of health.

Among his many achievements, he was an instrumental figure in shaping the Mental Health Parity Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, the Affordable Care Act, and other federal policies. Dawes has keynoted over 200 conferences, symposia, conventions, seminars, retreats and meetings, and has served as a distinguished guest lecturer at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Yale University, University of Texas, University of Arizona, Georgetown University, and Saint Louis University.

Highly respected for his ability to achieve sound policy changes in a nonpartisan manner; Daniel serves 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) Federal Advisory Committee 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 New York Academy of Medicine, 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. A real partner when planning your event, Dawes presents a multidisciplinary framework for addressing the systemic barriers that prevent the U.S. from becoming what it could be: the healthiest nation in the world. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

150 Years of ObamaCare

Policy, Health Reform, and Health Disparities

The Political Determinants of Health: Jessica's Story

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