Dawn Adams has dedicated her life to serving her community, solving problems, and improving lives. She’s lived and worked in the Richmond area for more than 20 years as a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, access to care researcher, health advocate and most recently, as the Director for the Office of Integrated Health for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS).
Dr. Adams grew up in a home dedicated to public service. At a young age, Dawn learned the importance of community with her mother working a registered nurse and her father serving as a Captain in the US Coast Guard and working as a Search & Rescue pilot. At age 17, Dawn left for college and has since received degrees from four Virginia public universities. She has an unparalleled work ethic, often working more than one job, or working and attending school at the same time. Since becoming a nurse practitioner, she has been a pioneer in every role and job she’s held.
Dawn’s passion for people and health was augmented by her doctoral education and a renewed understanding of the direct link between policy and our day-to-day life. This relationship was the basis of her research project that focused on nurse-led clinics and their potential to drive down healthcare costs. Dawn’s insightful research led her to win the Old Dominion University (ODU) Nursing Scholar award.
Prior to beginning her tenure as an adjunct faculty member at ODU, Dawn worked alongside nursing advocates in Richmond. Dawn’s role afforded her the opportunity to engage in community stakeholder meetings concerning Medicaid expansion, 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—a fellowship that is currently available to nurses who attend graduate programs within Virginia.
While at the GA, Dawn was asked to join the DBHDS team in order to develop a network of health supports and services across the Commonwealth for the developmentally disabled. Her experience in the public sector spawned her interest in public office, where she has seen both the amazing work of State employees as well as the archaic and fragmented systems that create an inefficient government and wasteful spending.
Through her career, Dawn has worked to build relationships with all people irrespective of backgrounds. She is deeply concerned with the partisan rhetoric that has replaced healthy public discourse. She believes that all people inherently want the same things: well-being, safety, love, inclusion, job security, healthy food and to be happy. That is why Dawn stresses the importance of finding common ground from which to start conversations.
Dawn is ready to take the lessons she’s learned as a nurse practitioner, administrator, educator, and leader to represent her community as the Delegate from Virginia’s 68th District. It’s finally time for proactive and engaged leadership to represent Richmond, Northern Chesterfield, and Henrico. Because when it comes to our community, we should #NeverSettle.