Daniel E. Dawes, J.D., a widely respected scholar, researcher, educator, and leader in the health equity, health reform, and mental health movements, is executive director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and a professor of health law, policy, and management. He is also the co-founder of the Health Equity Leadership and Exchange Network (HELEN), which is a nationwide network of over 2000 governmental and non-governmental leaders, researchers, and scholars focused on bolstering leadership and the exchange of research, information, and solutions to advance evidence-based health equity-focused policies and programs. Among his many achievements, he was an instrumental figure in shaping and enacting 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’s research focuses on the determinants or drivers of health inequities among under-resourced, vulnerable, and marginalized communities and is the pioneer of a new approach to examining inequities, the political determinants of health. He brings a forward-thinking, inclusive, and multidisciplinary approach to health policy, authoring two groundbreaking books, 150 Years of ObamaCare and The Political Determinants of Health, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, which have received critical acclaim and rave reviews. 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) NIMIC grant to establish a national COVID-19 resiliency network (NCRN), as well as a project with Google.org, CDC Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Contakt World, and Gilead Sciences to create a comprehensive health equity tracker.
Dawes is an elected fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, and serves or 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) 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 CDC Foundation’s Community COVID Coalition Advisory Group, and the Children’s Mental Health Network National Advisory Council.
He is the recipient of several national awards and recognition, including the American Public Health Association’s Award for Significant Contribution to Public Health, the American Psychological Association’s Exceptional Leadership in Advocacy Award, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health Equity Champion Award, the National Medical Association’s Louis Stokes Health Advocacy Award, Families USA Health Equity Advocate Award, the NMQF Minority Health Leader Award, Presented the Key to the City of St. Petersburg, Florida for national leadership advancing health equity, the Gift of Life MOTTEP Healthcare Vanguard Award, and the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center of Excellence Service Award. Dawes' work focuses on addressing the systemic barriers that prevent the U.S. from becoming what it could be: among healthiest nations in the world.