Professor Janice Johnson Dias to Serve as Co-chair for Newark Mayor-elect Ras Baraka’s Public Health Transitional Team

pr.diazAssistant Professor Janice Johnson Dias in the Sociology Department has been asked to serve as one of three co-chairs for the Mayor-elect Ras Baraka’s public health transitional team committee. Her co-chairs are John Brennan MD, MPH, President and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey and Milly Silva, 1199 S.E.I.U., Executive Vice President.

Since October 2013, Dias has volunteered her expertise and skills to the campaign of Mayoral Candidate Ras Baraka in Newark, New Jersey. She provided counsel and assisted in shaping his education, economic and health policy papers and positions. This past May, he was elected Mayor of Newark. Dias was asked to serve as co-chair of the public health committee whose mandate is to develop a strategic plan to confront violence as a public health issue.

“It is quite a honor. It really does feel good to be a scholar-activist. I was selected because of my interest in the overall well being of people of Newark and because my research explores the intersection between pubic safety and health. While I think many people consider the health and well being of the citizens of Newark, there is a tendency to separate issues of safety from public health said Dias”

“I bring to the co-chairmanship the ability to organize and focus, so we can achieve measurable goals of success and strategically shift the needle on these key issues, especially in the first 100 days and first year.”

Dias is the co-founder and President of GrassROOTS Community Foundation (, a national health advocacy organization that supports, develops, and scales community-driven solutions to the health challenges facing women and girls living in poverty. Along with Chairman of the Board, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter lead MC of the Grammy Award winning band The Roots and a host of doctoral level researchers and practitioners, they have developed a 10-city health initiative directed at improving the mental, physical and sexual health of low income women and girls. Their work builds on and extends the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative and efforts to end childhood obesity.  Currently, GrassROOTS has five programs in three major cities: Philadelphia, PA; Newark, NJ and Greensboro, NC.