AcademyHealth announced today that April Joy Damian, Ph.D., M.Sc., has joined the organization as a senior scholar to enhance AcademyHealth’s strategy on health systems improvement, resilience, and capacity, including a specific emphasis on equity.
In this position, Damian will support leadership and stakeholder engagement between AcademyHealth and others in the field who have made demonstrable commitments to health equity as well as amplifying effective evidence-based interventions that advance quality and equity in health care systems. She will also play an important role in program development and execution aimed at promoting equity in health care systems.
“As AcademyHealth continues to intensify our actions in support of equity, we have taken to heart the need to invest in meaningful partnerships. Dr. Damian brings important expertise to our team to help us achieve our goals in health systems improvement, resilience, and capacity,” said AcademyHealth President and CEO Lisa Simpson. “I am confident that her appointment will contribute significantly to new innovation thinking about how health systems can serve as developers, disseminators, and implementers of robust and relevant evidence and data to advance quality and equity.”
Damian is a psychiatric epidemiologist, health services researcher, and classically trained public health professional with expertise in health equity, social determinants of health, and mixed methods. Throughout her AcademyHealth senior scholar appointment, she will maintain her current role as the vice president and director of the Weitzman Institute, a national research, education, and policy center dedicated to quality improvement and primary care transformation, with a particular focus on the underserved. Damian is the immediate Past Chair of the AcademyHealth Public Health Systems Research IG Advisory Board, and concurrently holds faculty appointments at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and UConn School of Medicine.
“As we continue to combat the inequities laid bare by the pandemic, the field of health services research is at an important inflection point with opportunities to transform the way health systems operate to improve health for all,” said Damian. “AcademyHealth is uniquely positioned to model, lead and influence progress toward equity in health care systems and I’m thrilled by the opportunity to contribute to that progress.”
Damian completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Masters in Medical Sciences at Harvard Medical School. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelors of Arts in Ethnic Studies, Highest Honors. She has received numerous recognitions in honor of her role as a social change agent, including the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Community Well-Being Warrior Award, and an honorarium from the University of Delaware.