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

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, PhD, is Margaret Walker Alexander Professor of Education and Social Policy, and Director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. She is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, Nonresident Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings, and a research affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty. From 2015-2017, she was Director of The Hamilton Project, a non-partisan economic think tank at the Brookings Institution.

Schanzenbach studies issues related to child poverty, including education policy, child health, and food consumption. Much of her research investigates the longer-run impacts of early life experiences, such as the impacts of receiving SNAP benefits during childhood, the impacts of kindergarten classroom quality, and the impacts of early childhood education. She graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and religion, and received a doctorate in economics from Princeton University.

Daniel E. Dawes

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.

Jack Ebeler

Jack Ebeler, MPA, currently serves on the Health and Medicine (formerly IOM) Division Committee of the National Academies, and on its Health Care Services Board; the Board of Trustees of Inova Health System, co-chair of the Public Policy Advisory Council of the March of Dimes, and the Policies for Action National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).  He previously served as:

  • Principal at Health Policy Alternatives, Inc.
  • Staff of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce working on the Affordable Care Act in 2009-2010
  • Member and then vice-chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)
  • CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans
  • Senior vice president and director of the Health Care Group at RWJF
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation/Health and then Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS in 1995, 1996; 
  • In a series of earlier positions in managed care, HHS, and on Capitol Hill

Jack previously served on the boards of Families USA, the National Academy of Social Insurance, the National Center for Health Care Leadership, and the RWJF Health Policy Fellows Program, and a number of advisory committees and study panels.

He has an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. 

David J. Erickson

David J. Erickson, MBA, is director of the Center for Community Development Investments at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and edits the Federal Reserve journal Community Development Investment Review. His research areas in the Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve include community development finance, affordable housing, economic development, and institutional changes that benefit low-income communities. Erickson has a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on economic history and public policy. He also holds a master’s degree in public policy from Berkeley and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College. 

David has been a leader in the collaboration between the Federal Reserve and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in bringing the health sector together with community development.  To date, this collaboration has resulted in 24 conferences around the country and numerous publications, including a cluster of articles in Health Affairs in November, 2011.  His book on the history of community development, The Housing Policy Revolution:  Networks and Neighborhoods, was published in 2009 by the Urban Institute Press.  He also co-edited Investing in What Works for America’s Communities:  Essays on People, Place, and Purpose (2012); What Counts:  Harnessing Data for America’s Communities (2014); and What It’s Worth:  Strengthening the Financial Futures of Families, Communities and the Nation (2015). 

Darrick Hamilton

Darrick Hamilton is the Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. In addition, Professor Hamilton holds a primary faculty appointment in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, with courtesy appointments in the departments of economics and sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Hamilton is a pioneer and internationally recognized scholar in the field of stratification economics, which fuses social science methods to examine the causes, consequences and remedies of racial, gender, ethnic, tribal, nativity, etc. inequality in education, economic and health outcomes. This work involves crafting and implementing innovative routes and policies that break down social hierarchy, empower people, and move society towards greater equity, inclusion, and civic participation. 

Professor Hamilton was born and raised in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY, and now resides in the Short North section of Columbus, OH. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina. He is frequently cited in the media, consults with various public official and serves as an advisor to/fellow with several non-profit and think tank organizations.

Rita Johnson-Mills

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.  Rita spent several years with CMS, where she oversaw administration of federal Medicaid wavier programs.

Rita 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.  She 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, Rita received a 2015 Innovation Award from UnitedHealthcare. 

Dr. Jewel Mullen

Jewel Mullen, MD, MPH, is the associate dean for healthy equity at the Dell Medical School, as well as an associate professor in the school’s Departments of Population Health and Internal Medicine. She also concurrently holds a faculty appointment at Huston-Tillotson University and serves as a senior consultant for Seton, part of Ascension, to help meet health equity goals across its system.

Mullen is an internist, epidemiologist, public health physician leader and the former principal deputy assistant secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Her career has spanned clinical, research, teaching and administrative roles focused on improving the health of all people, especially the underserved. She is also recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in building effective community-based chronic disease prevention programs and for her commitment to improving individual and population health by strengthening coordination between community, public health and health care systems.

Board certified in internal medicine, Mullen received her bachelor’s degree and Master of Public Health from Yale University where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychosocial epidemiology. She graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed her residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., is associate dean of the UC Riverside School of Public Policy, and professor of public policy and political science. He is also a Board Member of The California Endowment, Chair of the California Commission on APIA Affairs, and adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).  He received his Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, and has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Ramakrishnan’s research focuses on civic participation, immigration policy, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. He directs the National Asian American Survey and is founder of, which features demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He has published many articles and 6 books, including most recently, Framing Immigrants and The New Immigration Federalism. In addition, Ramakrishnan has written dozens of op-eds and appeared in over 1,000 news stories, many in major news outlets such as the New York Times, Economist, Los Angeles Times, NPR, PBS Newshour, MSNBC, CBS Evening News, and CNN. More information on his projects and academic writings can be found at