Hazel D. Dean, ScD, DrPH (Hon), FACE
Name: Hazel D. Dean, ScD, DrPH (Hon), FACE
Title: Deputy Director, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP)
Years at CDC: 26
Public Health Agent of Change Service Record:
How have you worked to advance health equity?
Throughout my career, I have tried to influence others’ beliefs in and commitment to making health equity a reality. My approach has been two-fold: to address health equity challenges directly through my scientific work and through my workforce development efforts. One example of my health equity leadership occurred during 2007–2014 when I led development and implementation of new strategic approaches in addressing social determinants of health (SDH) as an essential component of NCHHSTP’s commitment to reducing health disparities. We focused on organizational changes that (a) incorporated health equity as a core element in the center’s strategic plan; (b) facilitated strategic partnerships inside and outside CDC; (c) developed more effective health communication strategies; and (d) integrated SDH and health equity into funding opportunities. Three NCHHSTP-sponsored supplements to Public Health Reports and three symposia have supported the center’s efforts in promoting health equity practice, policy, and research. Concurrently with these efforts, I have initiated programs and activities to advance development of the public health workforce, including development of strong leaders who are able to guide, monitor, and be accountable for making real changes in health equity and SDH across the nation.
What are you currently doing or have done in your career to reduce health disparities?
As NCHHSTP Deputy Director, I am at the forefront of developing and implementing new strategic approaches for promoting health equity and addressing SDH in our programmatic, scientific, and policy work as well as workforce development initiatives. I believe strongly that an optimal way to achieve health equity is by having a well-trained, capable leadership and a sound infrastructure. Such leaders and a committed, engaged workforce can be change agents within an organization and through national and international partnerships. Nationally, as an associate editor of Public Health Reports, I emphasize the importance of high-quality scientific research in the areas of health equity and SDH. One of my goals in this area is improving data systems, management, and reporting because those are the foundation for addressing SDH and health disparities. To that end, I have lead an effort and have served as a guest editor for an upcoming theme issue of the American Journal of Public Health. That issue includes papers on recent research in methods, metrics, and indicators for measuring disparities in health outcomes and risk behaviors related to prevention and treatment of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, viral hepatitis, and tuberculosis in the United States. My health equity achievements and interest in foundational work have a global reach as well, as exemplified by my work with the World Health Organization on a worldwide monitoring system for implementing the Rio Political Declaration on the Social Determinants of Health.