Full Name
Daniel E. Dawes, JD
Job Title
Senior Vice President, Global Health, Founding Dean & Professor, School of Global Health
Organization Name
Meharry Medical College
Speaker Bio
Daniel E. Dawes, is a widely respected healthcare and public health leader, health policy expert, educator, and researcher who serves as Senior Vice President of Global Health and Founding Dean of the School of Global Health at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to this, he served as Vice President, Executive Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, and Professor of health law, policy, and management at Morehouse School of Medicine.

A trailblazer and nationally respected scholar in the health equity and justice 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, environmental, commercial, and political determinants of health to change the course of domestic and global policies for the better.

His groundbreaking peer-reviewed books, 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 University Press, including his latest edited book, Health Equity: African Americans and Public Health, published by the American Public Health Association 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 (HELEN), both exist to leverage evidence-based research and develop actionable solutions to advance health equity.

Among his many achievements, he was an instrumental figure, during his tenure as a health policy advisor on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, in developing and negotiating the Mental Health Parity Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, and the Affordable Care Act’s health equity-focused provisions, among other landmark federal policies, as well as the principal investigator for the nation’s first health equity tracker.

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 on health equity initiatives, an appointed member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee to the Director where he co-chairs the CDC’s health equity working, and the NIH’s National Advisory Council for Nursing Research.

Professor Dawes’ work focuses on health reform, health equity, mental/behavioral health inequities, social and political determinants of health, poverty, and health system transformation, and has been featured in leading academic journals, including American Journal of Public Health, JAMA, The Lancet, Health Affairs, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and Oxford University Press. 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. He 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 which examined the health and economic impact of mental health inequities in the United States.
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 White House HIV/AIDS Strategy Committee, the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Health Equity Advisory Panel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Subcommittee on Health Disparities, the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Commission on Health Equity, 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.
For his achievements, he was named one of the 46 most influential leaders in life science and medicine by STAT in 2023, awarded the American College of Preventive Medicine 2022 Dr. Daniel S. Blumenthal Exemplary Leadership in Health Equity Award, the Families USA Health Equity Advocate Award, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Equity Champion Award, the National Medical Association Louis Stokes Health Advocacy Award, the American Public Health Association Medical Care Section Award for Significant Contribution to Public Health, the Congressional Black Caucus Leadership in Policy Award, the American Psychological Association Exceptional Advocacy Award, National Latino Behavioral Health Association Excellence in Health Policy Award, and presented the key to the City of St. Petersburg, Florida for national leadership advancing health equity, among other honors.
Daniel E. Dawes, JD