Philadelphia, Pa., November 10, 2009 — Daniel Hawkins Jr. received the 2009 American Public Health Association Award for Excellence for his almost four decades of work to advance community health centers and improve health, especially among the medically under-served.
Hawkins, who is vice president for federal, state and public affairs of the National Association of Community Health Centers, was named one of America’s most influential health policy-makers by the Healthcare Information Center of Faulkner & Gray.
“Dan has functioned in high gear with abundant energy and great success in convincing legislators at every level of government in every part of the country of the critical importance of Community Health Centers,” said APHA Medical Care Section Secretary Mona Sarfaty, MD, in a letter nominating Hawkins for the Award for Excellence. “He has been a creative exemplar, showing remarkable foresight and astonishing capability to conjure up new solutions to evolving challenges.”
Hawkins first worked as a VISTA volunteer in Brownsville, Texas, organizing a county-wide demonstration to protest inadequacies in a surplus commodities distribution program, which resulted in county action to implement a food stamps program. He was director of planning, research and evaluation for Cameron-Willacy Counties in Brownsville, executive director of Su Clinical Familiar in Harlingen, Texas, and director of health budget and legislative analysis as well as a national health insurance analyst for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Secretary.
At the National Association of Community Health Centers, he first served as health services research specialist and has been vice president since 1986. His work there has focused on developing research, studies, reports and other materials documenting the needs of medically underserved Americans and the accomplishments of health centers. He regularly reaches out to policy-makers, researchers and advocates about new or emerging health policy developments, serves as a liaison to state and local organization and health centers and steers research, analysis and evaluation on national and state policy developments to assess their impact on community-based primary care providers and medically underserved populations.
His colleagues credit Hawkins with helping build what has become a network of community health centers in 3,600 locations throughout the country that provide care to 16 million people.
“His scholarly analyses of the health needs of the poor and uninsured, his organization of multiple data sources on the quality and impact of community health centers, and his enormously effective translation of that data into crucial policy recommendations to Congress and the public have had effects on improving public health far wider than on health centers alone,” said H. Jack Geiger, MD, MSciHyg, professor emeritus of community medicine at the City University of New York Medical School. “He has been a ceaseless and innovative advocate for the improvement of Medicaid, Medicare and other programs that impact public health. His work over many decades has improved the health — and lives — of literally millions of our most vulnerable citizens.”