National Advisory Committee

Our National Advisory Committee (NAC) is a group of highly-regarded experts and thought leaders who offer vision and guidance to the Evidence for Action National Program Office and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to achieve our mission of supporting the research needed to determine which strategies work to improve population health, well-being, and health equity. The NAC is chaired by Dr. Sandro Galea, Dean and Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.

Dr. Sandra Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, NAC Chair
Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, Committee Chair
Boston University School of Public Health

Dr. Galea is a physician and an epidemiologist. He is Dean and Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. Prior to his appointment at Boston University, Dr. Gal

ea served as the Anna Cheskis Gelman and Murray Charles Gelman Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. He previously held academic and leadership positions at the University of Michigan and at the New York Academy of Medicine.

In his scholarship, Dr. Galea is centrally interested in the social production of health of urban populations, with a focus on the causes of brain disorders, particularly common mood-anxiety disorders and substance abuse. He has long had a particular interest in the consequences of mass trauma and conflict worldwide, including as a result of the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, and the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This work has been principally funded by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and several foundations. He has published over 500 scientific journal articles, 50 chapters and commentaries, and 9 books and his research has been featured extensively in current periodicals and newspapers. His latest book, co-authored with Dr. Katherine Keyes, is an epidemiology textbook, Epidemiology Matters: a new introduction to methodological foundations.

Dr. Galea has a medical degree from the University of Toronto, and graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University; he has an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow.  He was named one of TIME magazine’s epidemiology innovators in 2006. He is past-president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and of the American Epidemiological Society.

Dr. Galea serves frequently on advisory groups to national and international organizations. He currently serves on the Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities and has formerly served as chair of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Community Services Board and as member of its Health Board. 

Lisa Berkman, PhD, NAC Member
Lisa Berkman, PhD
Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Berkman is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy, Epidemiology, and Population and Global Health at the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health and the Director of

the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. She is a social epidemiologist whose work focuses extensively on social influences on health outcomes. Her research has been oriented towards understanding social inequalities in health and aging related to socioeconomic status, different racial and ethnic groups, and social networks, support, and social isolation. Dr. Berkman leads a large program project in Sub-Saharan Africa to collaborate with INDEPTH (International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health) on studies of aging and chronic disease. This study, called HAALSI, is supported by the US National Institute on Aging. She is on the monitoring committee of sister studies in China, Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland. She is also involved in interventions and policy evaluations to test the degree to which labor policies and practices can improve population health and wellbeing. Among current areas, she has identified work/family dynamics as a major health risk for working women. She has been an innovator in linking social experiences with physical and mental health. She has just written the second edition of “Social Epidemiology” (2014) along with co-editors, Kawachi and Glymour, which is the leading textbook in social epidemiology. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine, current President of the Association of Population Centers, and past president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

Aaron Carroll, MD, NAC Member
Aaron Carroll, MD
Indiana University School of Medicine

Dr. Carroll is the Associate Dean for Research Mentoring and a Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He is the Di

rector of the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research and the Director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1998. He completed an internship and residency in Pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, and stayed at the University of Washington to complete a health services research fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. During that time he received his master's degree in Health Services Research.

Dr. Carroll's current research interests include the use of information technology in pediatric health care, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis, and health policy.

His work on the Child Health Information for Computer Automation System has been funded by the NLM, AHRQ, and NIDDK. Current projects include its use in children with developmental delay, ADHD, and autism, and its integration with geographic information systems. He has also been funded by ONC to help determine ways to make electronic medical records more manageable by patients.

Dr. Carroll has also been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help translate health policy research and data into the public sphere through his blog, The Incidental Economist, and in research support to investigate differences in the way people value different health states.

Marshall Chin, MD, MPH, NAC Member
Marshall Chin, MD, MPH
The University of Chicago Medicine

Dr. Chin, MD, MPH, is a general internist with extensive experience improving the care of vulnerable patients with chronic disease. He has worked to advance diabetes care and ou

tcomes on the South Side of Chicago through health care system and community interventions. He also leads initiatives to improve health strategies at a national level, as director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change National Program Office.

An active researcher, Dr. Chin investigates how to improve diabetes outcomes in real-world settings. He has served on several National Institutes of Health (NIH) committees dedicated to finding optimal treatments for patients of varying ages and advancing educational efforts in diabetes care.

Thomas D. Cook, PhD, NAC Member
Thomas D. Cook, PhD
Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research

Dr. Cook is interested in social science research methodology, program evaluation, school reform, and contextual factors that influence adolescent development, particularly for

urban minorities.

Cook has written or edited 10 books and published numerous articles and book chapters. He received the Myrdal Prize for Science from the Evaluation Research Society in 1982, the Donald Campbell Prize for Innovative Methodology from the Policy Sciences Organization in 1988, the Distinguished Scientist Award of Division 5 of the American Psychological Association in 1997, and the Sells Award for Lifetime Achievement, Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology in 2008, and the Rossi Award from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management in 2012. Cook was chair of the board of the Russell Sage Foundation from 2006 to 2008. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and was inducted as the Margaret Mead Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2003. He was part of the congressionally appointed committee evaluating Title I (No Child Left Behind) from 2006 to 2008.

Greg Duncan, PhD, NAC Member
Greg Duncan, PhD
University of California, Irvine School of Education

Dr. Duncan spent the first 25 years of his career at the University of Michigan working on and ultimately directing the Panel Study of Income Dynamics data collection project. S

ince 1968, the PSID has collected economic, demographic, health, behavior, and attainment data from a representative sample of U.S. individuals and the households in which they reside. With these and other data he has studied the economic mobility of the U.S. population, both within and across generations, with a particular focus on low-income families. More specifically, he has investigated the roles families, peers, neighborhoods, and public policy play in affecting the life chances of children and adolescents.

Dr. Duncan’s research has highlighted the importance of early childhood as a sensitive period for the damaging influences of economic deprivation as well as for the beneficial impacts of policy-induced income increases for working families. The focus of his more recent research has shifted from these environmental influences to the comparative importance of the skills and behaviors developed during childhood. In particular, he has sought to understand the relative importance of early academic skills, cognitive and emotional self-regulation, and health in promoting children’s eventual success in school and the labor market.

Janice Johnson Dias, PhD
Janice Johnson Dias, PhD
John Jay College

Dr. Janice Johnson Dias is an Associate Professor of Sociology and a Graduate Faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College. Johnson Dias holds a Ph.D. in So

ciology from Temple University; she completed her postdoctoral study at the University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, National Poverty Center. Her research focuses on mothers and children who are grew up and/or living in poverty. In addition to her academic work, Johnson Dias has extensive experience working with, evaluating and building collaborations among social service and community organizations. Her work in Long Island with Stony Brook University and community stakeholders on issues of black girls’ mental, sexual and physical health earned the collaborative a special Congressional honor.

Johnson Dias also serves as the Founder and President of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, a national public health and social action organization that supports, develops, and scales community-driven solutions to the health challenges facing women and girls living in poverty.

Johnson Dias has been described as a force of nature, as a scholar-activist, her life’s work is developing research-informed, innovative solutions to the challenges facing the urban and vulnerable populations.  She thinks about, researches, devises, and enacts strategies for using city spaces to foster growth and development rather than stagnation and decline.

Dedicated to making structural level changes, Johnson Dias also works closely with policymakers to infuse academic research into public policy and advocate for more attention to be paid to the health and well-being of women and girls. Johnson Dias served as an advisor to several government officials. In 2015, she served as the co-chair of the public health transition team for Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. She also works closely with the City of Plainfield and Mayor Adrian O. Mapp in implementing strategies for youth engagement. In Philadelphia, Johnson Dias has collaborated with Councilwoman Cindy Bass and State Representative Stephen Kinsey on public health initiatives in the Germantown neighborhood. In addition, Johnson Dias has presented her work on violence as a public health issue to the US Conference of Mayors.

In her talks, Johnson Dias uses humor to raise awareness and demonstrate the interconnection between poverty and health and its impact on children. She was recently listed among Forbes “What's The Next Trend In Leadership? Black Women” as an outstanding speaker and a woman to know.  Drawing on her multiple published peer-reviewed academic papers on health, women and poverty, Johnson Dias delivers academic-driven data in a relatable, accessible way, engaging audiences while informing also them. Janice has spoken to a wide range of organizations, including many colleges and health institutions across the United States including New York Academy of Health, New York Department Health and Hygiene, Howard University, Bennett College, as well as Brandeis and Duke universities. She continues to speak about the need to invest in girls and urban youth.

Antwan Jones, PhD, E4A NAC Member
Antwan Jones, PhD
George Washington University

Dr. Antwan Jones is an Associate Professor of Sociology and of Africana Studies at The George Washington University. As an urban sociologist, he is particularly concerned about

socio-environmental processes (e.g., segregation and neighborhood change) that affect health and well-being during various stages of the life course.

Engaged in national and international research, Dr. Jones has firmly located himself in the field of urban sociology by elucidating how residential processes (such as housing instability) and neighborhood contexts (such as food deserts and concentrated poverty) are essential to the study of adult cardiovascular disease, child obesity, and disability among the elderly. The focus of his research is on the residential and neighborhood context in which individuals live as a way to understand health disparities among marginalized populations.

Jim Krieger, MD, MPH, NAC Member
Jim Krieger, MD, MPH
Healthy Food America (HFA)

Dr. Krieger, MD, MPH is founding Executive Director of Healthy Food America (HFA) and Clinical Professor at University of Washington, and was chief of the Chronic Disease Preven

tion at Public Health-Seattle & King County. He is a nationally recognized expert in obesity prevention programs. His work has led to improvements in school nutrition and physical activity, implementation of the nation’s second menu labeling regulation, reduction in exposure to sugary drinks, and increased access to healthy foods for low income people. His current work as Executive Director of HFA is focused on promoting healthy food consumption by reducing added sugars in the American diet.

He has led numerous healthy community initiatives, including Steps to Health, Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), Transforming the Health of South King County (CTG), and King County Partnerships in Community Health (PICH). 

His work has been funded by NIH, CDC, and many private foundations. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Local Government Action to Prevent Childhood Obesity and its Committee on Evaluating Progress in Obesity Prevention. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the US Secretary of Health and Human Services Innovation in Prevention Award. He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications. He received his undergraduate degree at Harvard, MD at the University of California, San Francisco and MPH at University of Washington.

Kavita Patel, MD, MSm, NAC Member
Kavita Patel, MD, MSm
Center for Health Policy, The Brookings Institution

Dr. Patel, MD, MSm is the managing director of clinical transformation at the Center for Health Policy, and is a fellow in economic studies.

Dr. Patel is also a practicing primary care internist at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She also served in the Obama Administration as director of policy for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement in the White House. As a senior aide to Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s senior advisor, Dr. Patel played a critical role in policy development and evaluation of policy initiatives connected to health reform, financial regulatory reform, and economic recovery issues.

Dr. Patel also has a deep understanding of Capitol Hill from her time spent on the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff. As deputy staff director on health, she served as a policy analyst and trusted aide to the Senator and was part of the senior staff of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under Sen. Kennedy’s leadership. She also has an extensive research and clinical background, having worked as a researcher at the RAND Corporation and as a practicing physician in both California and Oregon. She is a previous Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, and while at Brookings, she will return to providing clinical care as an internal medicine practitioner. 

Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, NAC Member
Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Dr. Ramirez, DrPH, an internationally recognized cancer and chronic disease health disparities and communications researcher, is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she also is founding director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research. She is also Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Health Disparities at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center, where she oversees program development, translational research, cancer surveillance data, recruitment, minority outreach, and trial accrual.

Dr. Ramirez has directed many research programs focused on human and organizational communication to reduce chronic disease and cancer health disparities affecting Latinos, including cancer risk factors and genetics, clinical trial accrual, tobacco prevention and cessation, obesity prevention, and more. All projects are theory-based, quasi-experimental, and focused on cancer, chronic disease, and/or obesity prevention. These projects have led to unique health communication models and interventions that have contributed to increased access to care, preventive screening rates, and healthy behavior changes. Dr. Ramirez is a pioneer of the theory-based “dual-link” communication model, which combines behavioral journalism techniques pushed through mass media (peer modeling) and the creation of culturally relevant peer models in the community to build local networks and reinforce mass media messages (peer reinforcement). Dr. Ramirez directs two national research networks, one funded by the National Cancer Institute to target Latino cancer through research, training, and education (Redes En Acción), and one funded by RWJF to target Latino childhood obesity through evidence-based research, field-building, and community engagement and empowerment for healthy change (Salud America!).