Dawn M. Hunter, JD, MPH is a Deputy Director with the Network’s Southeastern Region Office.  Prior to joining the Network, she served in a variety of roles focused on public health, policy, and health equity.  Dawn has worked in state public health at the New Mexico Department of Health, where she started as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Visiting Attorney in Public Health Law through the Network.  She also served as Director of Health Equity, Policy Director, and Deputy Cabinet Secretary.  During her tenure, she led a variety of initiatives to address health system innovation, and some of her core responsibilities included managing the Department’s legislative and policy activities as well as strategic planning, performance management, and public health accreditation.

Dawn started her career in child protective services in Hillsborough County, Florida.  She later transitioned into research and development as a microbiologist at the University of South Florida, Center for Biological Defense, with a focus on rapid detection methods for food and waterborne pathogens.  Dawn is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. She received her A.B. in English Literature from Princeton University, her B.S. in Microbiology and her M.P.H. in Global Communicable Disease from the University of South Florida, and her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.

Articles & Resources

Restoring the Right to Vote is a Pathway to Better Health – a Look at Felon Re-enfranchisement and the 2020 Election

Law & Policy InsightsCivic Engagement and VotingMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

September 23, 2020
by Dawn Hunter

Across the U.S., an estimated 6.1 million Americans are denied the right to vote due to disenfranchisement laws. As the 2020 General Election approaches, one of the issues getting attention is the restoration of voting rights to people convicted of felonies. Research shows that restoration of civil rights helps support a transition back into the community and that civic participation is linked to lower recidivism rates among those previously incarcerated. While some states are following a recent trend to restore voting rights, others are continuing efforts to disenfranchise voters.   

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Evaluating Equity in Public Health Laws and Policies – A Critical Tool at a Critical Time

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19 and Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

August 13, 2020
by Dawn Hunter

Conducting a regular assessment of laws and policies is a strategy for addressing health equity, especially when that assessment includes and is informed by community perspectives. The Network’s latest tool – Equity Assessment Framework for Public Health Laws and Policies – is designed to assist policymakers and practitioners in assessing new and existing laws and policies through an equity perspective. This framework can be applied to statutes, regulations, ordinances, resolutions, declarations, organizational policies, and policy guidance that either directly impact public health or impact the operations of agencies or organizations responsible for health outcomes.

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