National Advisory Committee

The National Advisory Committee is a group of highly-regarded experts and leaders who offer vision and guidance to the Policies for Action program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help achieve our mission to build the evidence base around policies, laws, and other regulatory tools in the public and private sectors that can support a Culture of Health. 

Who We Are

Dr. Jewel Mullen

Jewel Mullen, MD, MPH, MPA, is the Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where she fostered collaboration within the Office of Assistant Secretary for Health with the goal of advancing public health. Dr. Mullen was the lead liaison for the HHS Regions and advises the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health on a variety of priority public health issues, ranging from research integrity to women’s health to health promotion and disease prevention.

Dr. Mullen is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the former chair of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Federal Advisory Committee and served on both the Advisory Committee to the CDC Director and the Public Health Accreditation Board. She was also a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Quality Measures for the Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators.

Board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Mullen received her Bachelor and Master of Public Health degrees from Yale University, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychosocial epidemiology. Dr. Mullen graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where she was elected to AOA, the National Medical Honor Society. She did her residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Mullen also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Daniel E. Dawes, JD

Daniel E. Dawes, JD, is a nationally recognized leader in the movement to advance health equity among under-resourced, vulnerable and marginalized communities. An attorney, scholar and health policy expert, Dawes brings a forward-thinking, inclusive and multidisciplinary approach to the law and public policy, and has been at the forefront of recent major federal health policy negotiations in the US.

Dawes serves as the Senior Advisor and General Counsel to the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, and as an Associate Professor of complex health systems at the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In addition, he is the co-founder of the Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network (HELEN), a nationwide network of over 1400 governmental and non-governmental leaders and scholars focused on bolstering leadership and the exchange of research, ideas and information relative to the advancement of evidence-based health equity-related legislation, regulations, policies, and programs.

A published expert on health reform and health equity, Dawes is the author of 150 Years of Obamacare, is currently the editor of the Johns Hopkins University Press special book series, Health Equity in America, and the author of a forthcoming book, The History of Health Equity in America: A Closer Look at the Political Determinants of Health.

SaMeera Fazili

Sameera Fazili, JD, is the Director of Engagement for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's community and economic development (CED) department. She has spent her career working in domestic and international economic development, with a focus on access to finance and social enterprise. Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed, Fazili served as a Senior Policy Adviser at the White House's National Economic Council where she covered retirement, consumer finance, and community and economic development. Previously, she worked at the Treasury Department on issues of domestic policy ranging from community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to housing finance to small business finance, and then as a senior adviser to the undersecretary for international affairs where she served as Chief of Staff. Before her time in government, Fazili was a clinical lecturer at Yale Law School's community and economic development clinic, where she helped start a CDFI bank and a local anti-foreclosure initiative and expanded the clinic’s work to international microfinance. She also worked at ShoreBank, the nation's first CDFI bank. Fazili’s work in finance has spanned consumer, housing, small business, and microfinance. She received her law degree from Yale Law School and her Bachelor of Arts in social studies from Harvard College.

Darrick Hamilton, PhD

Darrick Hamilton is the director of the doctoral program in public and urban policy, and jointly appointed as a professor of economics and urban policy at The Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy and the Department of Economics, The New School for Social Research at The New School in New York.  He is a co-associate director of the Cook Center on Social Equity.

Professor Hamilton is a stratification economist, whose work fuses social science methods to examine the causes, consequences and remedies of racial and ethnic inequality in education, economic and health outcomes. This includes an examination of the intersection of identity, racism, colorism, and socioeconomic outcomes.  His scholarly contributions are evidenced by numerous peer reviewed publications, book chapters in edited volumes; opinion-editorial and popular press articles, funded research, public lectures, presentations and symposiums, service to professional organizations, and regular appearance in print and broadcast media.

Rita Johnson-Mills, MS, MPA

Rita Johnson-Mills, MS, MPA, has ten years’ experience with UnitedHealthcare, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee, a health plan serving more than 500,000 government sponsored health care consumers. She previously served as Chief Executive Officer of Managed Health Services at Buckeye Health Plan, and spent 10 years in Ohio state government, most recently as the Chief, Bureau of Medical Assistance.  Johnson-Mills spent several years with CMS, where she oversaw administration of federal Medicaid wavier programs.

Johnson-Mills has served on the Nashville Health Care Council, the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee, the NashvilleHealth Governing Board, and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Inaugural Council on Gender Equity. She has been featured in the Profiles in Diversity Journal and recognized as one of the Top Influential Women in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine.  Johnson-Mills was recognized in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as a Minority Corporate Executive Leader and received their annual Diversity in Business award in 2013.  For her work and partnership with the AARP Foundation, Johnson-Mills received a 2015 Innovation Award from UnitedHealthcare. 

Dr. Nancy Lopez

Nancy López, PhD, is a professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico (UNM). She directs and co-founded the Institute for the Study of “Race” and Social Justice and she is the founding coordinator of the New Mexico Statewide Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortium. Dr. López currently serves as Associate Vice President for the Division of Equity and Inclusion and has served as the inaugural co-chair of the Diversity Council. She was awarded the Inaugural Academic Leadership Academy Fellowship of the Division of Equity and Inclusion, UNM. Dr. López is Secretary of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and Vice President of the Sociologists for Women in Society.

Dr. López has received Foundation grant funding for a mixed method study of the role of ethnic studies curriculum and cultural relevant pedagogy in reducing complex intersectional inequalities in high school, served on over 75 PhD/MA committees, and given over 130 seminars on at national conferences, invited lectures, and community gatherings. She has been recognized for her contributions to engaged scholarship through the ASA William Foote Whyte Distinguished Career Award for Sociological Practice and Public Sociology and is the author of Hopeful Girls, Troubled Boys: Race and Gender Disparity in Urban Education, which examines the race-gender experiences of Dominicans, West Indians, and Haitians in New York City.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in Regional Studies in Latin America from Columbia University, and a Master of Philosophy and Doctorate in Sociology from the Graduate School & University Center (City University of New York).