Dawn Hunter is Director of the Network’s Southeastern Region Office. An experienced legislative analyst and state health department policymaker, Dawn leads work to examine legislation impacting health and racial equity, and to identify and implement strategies to build the capacity of public health agencies and organizations to effectively use law and policy to improve health outcomes.  Dawn also conducts training on equity in public health messaging through the Network’s Becoming Better Messengers initiative and leads an ongoing assessment of declarations of racism as a public health crisis and related efforts to address health inequities.  She is particularly interested in the development of racial equity action plans and implementation strategies at the state and local level. Dawn also focuses on strategies to improve health outcomes through civic engagement. Prior to joining the Network, Dawn served in a number of roles focused on public health, policy, and health equity, including serving as Deputy Cabinet Secretary at the New Mexico Department of Health, where some of her core responsibilities included managing the Department’s legislative agenda 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

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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