Past President, American Public Health Association

Camara Jones

Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD is a Past President of the American Public Health Association (2015-2016) and a Senior Fellow at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Jones is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on naming, measuring, and addressing the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation. She seeks to broaden the national health debate to include not only universal access to high quality health care, but also attention to the social determinants of health (including poverty) and the social determinants of equity (including racism).

Dr. Jones is a public health leader valued for her creativity and intellectual agility.

As a methodologist, she has developed new methods for comparing full distributions of data, rather than simply comparing means or proportions, in order to investigate population-level risk factors and propose population-level interventions.

As a social epidemiologist, her work on “race”-associated differences in health outcomes goes beyond simply documenting those differences to vigorously investigating the structural causes of the differences.

As a teacher, her allegories on “race” and racism illuminate topics that are otherwise difficult for many Americans to understand or discuss. She aims through her work to catalyze a national conversation on racism that will mobilize and engage all Americans in a National Campaign Against Racism.

Dr. Jones was an Assistant Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health (1994 to 2000) before being recruited to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2000 to 2014), where she served as a Medical Officer and Research Director on Social Determinants of Health and Equity. Highly valued as a mentor and teacher, she is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

She has been elected to service on many professional boards, including her current service on the Board of Directors of the DeKalb County (Georgia) Board of Health and the National Board of Public Health Examiners, as well as past service on the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association, the Board of Directors of the American College of Epidemiology, and the Board of Directors of the National Black Women’s Health Project. She is also actively sought as a contributor to national efforts to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity, including her current role as a faculty member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Pursuing Excellence in the Clinical Learning Environment collaborative addressing Health Care Disparities, and her former role as a Project Advisor and on-screen expert for the groundbreaking film series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

Her many honors include the Wellesley Alumnae Achievement Award (Wellesley College’s highest alumnae honor, 2018), the John Snow Award (given in recognition of “enduring contributions to public health through epidemiologic methods and practice” by the American Public Health Association’s Epidemiology Section, 2011), and awards named after luminaries David Satcher (ASTDHPPHE, 2003), Hildrus A. Poindexter (APHA Black Caucus, 2009), Paul Cornely (APHA Health Activists, 2016), Shirley Nathan Pulliam (Maryland Health Equity Leadership Award, 2016), Louis Stokes (NMA Health Advocacy Award, 2018), Frances Borden-Hubbard (SAHP Social Justice Award, 2018), and Cato T. Laurencin (Cobb Institute and NMA Distinguished Research Award, 2018).

Lauded for her compelling clarity on issues of “race” and racism, she has delivered seven Commencement Addresses in the past few years: University of Washington School of Public Health (2013), University of California San Francisco School of Medicine (2016), University of California Berkeley School of Public Health (2016), University of Minnesota School of Public Health (2017), Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (2017), City University of New York School of Medicine (2017), and University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health (2018). She was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (2016).

Dr. Jones earned her BA in Molecular Biology from Wellesley College, her MD from the Stanford University School of Medicine, and both her Master of Public Health and her PhD in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She also completed residency training in General Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins and in Family Practice at the Residency Program in Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center.