Dr. Dawn Adams has been an advocate for healthy communities for over 30 years. After receiving her Bachelors of Nursing degree from James Madison University, Dawn positioned herself in the center of Virginia’s healthcare system as a Critical Care Registered Nurse (RN). As an RN, Dawn saw first-hand how our state’s most vulnerable citizens continually fell through the cracks as a result of limited healthcare access and coverage.

In 1989, Dawn returned to school to earn her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia, and soon became a Nurse Practitioner. From there, she went on to earn her Doctorate in Nursing from Old Dominion University, where she now serves as an adjunct professor. Dawn’s research focused on identifying barriers to healthcare access for all people across the economic spectrum. For her research, she won the ODU Nursing Scholar award. As she studied and worked intimately in medicine, it became abundantly clear to Dawn that the right to affordable public education and access to adequate healthcare are inextricably linked—both are necessary as well as critical to building a healthy, successful community.

Prior to beginning her career in education, Dawn worked alongside a nurse lobbyist. This afforded her the opportunity to engage in community stakeholder meetings concerning Medicaid expansion, lobby as an advocate for healthcare access, and attend the 2014 General Assembly (GA) session. This experience led Dawn to author a proposal for a Health Policy Fellowship for nurses. This fellowship is currently available to nurses who attend graduate programs within Virginia.

While at the GA, Dawn was approached by the Assistant Commissioner for Virginia Department for Behavioral Health & Developmental Services. He prompted Dawn to utilize her education and experience to solve the problem of inadequate community-based care. Due to Dawn’s success in this field, she is now the Director of the Office of Integrated Health. In this role, she manages a multi-million-dollar state budget and builds strong relationships with state and local agencies to implement local community programs and construct public policy for individuals with developmental disabilities. She has also begun work to partner primary care service providers with mental health services.

Dr. Adams’ effort to help our community extends beyond her continuous work in healthcare. Dawn’s numerous experiences, which include being the first participant in the Virginia Nurse Advocate Health Policy Fellowship, creating beneficial relationships with Virginia’s elected representatives, and developing public policy in her work as a civil servant, have helped her to identify the troubling disconnect between political maneuvering and our government’s obligation to serve the people. This is what fueled her desire to run for office.

Dawn is ready to take the lessons she’s learned as a nurse practitioner, administrator, educator, and community leader to represent her community as Delegate of Virginia’s 68th District.

Dawn and her partner of 15 years, Maggie, live in the Fan district with their therapy pups in training, Ferdinand and Sebastian.