Deputy di­rec­tor Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Public Health, Of­fice of Health Eq­uity

Modern Healthcare - - 2015 UP & COMERS - — Vir­gil Dick­son

Wil­liam Jah­mal Miller says he is mo­ti­vated in his work

by a star­tling Cal­i­for­nia statis­tic. In 2012, the last year for which data are avail­able, there were 9.8 black in­fant deaths per 1,000 live births, a rate nearly three times higher than that for white in­fants.

Data like this made him jump at the op­por­tu­nity to be­come deputy di­rec­tor at the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Public Health Of­fice of Health Eq­uity, an of­fice cre­ated in 2012 to re­duce phys­i­cal and men­tal health dis­par­i­ties in vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties.

“My role is to re­ally be a leader in the state and help with brand mes­sag­ing about the im­por­tance of ad­dress­ing men­tal and phys­i­cal health dis­par­i­ties,” he said. To high­light those dis­par­i­ties, Miller helped over­see the de­vel­op­ment and re­lease of a strate­gic plan in Septem­ber called Por­trait of a Prom­ise, which ex­am­ines phys­i­cal and men­tal health eq­uity and the so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions that af­fect well-be­ing. He is also help­ing to over­see the al­lot­ment of $60 mil­lion in con­tracts and grants over the next four years for projects to fur­ther the of­fice’s mis­sion.

“It was easy to rec­og­nize his gifts for mo­ti­vat­ing and con­nect­ing with oth­ers to achieve what might feel like im­pos­si­ble ob­jec­tives,” said Dante Allen, one of Miller’s col­leagues at the Of­fice of Health Eq­uity.

“It was easy to rec­og­nize his gifts for mo­ti­vat­ing and con­nect­ing with oth­ers.” —Dante Allen, a col­league at the Of­fice of Health Eq­uity

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