Dr. Gail Dana-Sacco (Passamaquoddy) acts on her passion for strengthening community identity and agency by using a research approach that gives voice to indigenous knowledge, as a means to engender critical thought and catalyze change. Identifying barriers to structural change and addressing them becomes the essential collective work required to effectively tackle persistent health inequities and to inform contemporary health policy at every level.
Dr. Dana-Sacco (Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik), Principal, Wayfinders for Health and Director Emerita of the Wabanaki Center at the University of Maine is an Associate Faculty member at Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. She works with the Center’s training team to develop and teach Institute courses and collaborates on various research projects, since joining the faculty in 2010.
Dr. Dana-Sacco applies her knowledge and skills to assist communities and organizations to find pathways to improved public health outcomes by critically examining and addressing the structural drivers of health inequities and activating community knowledge to develop sustainable solutions. She has deep knowledge of various aspects of Native American health and health policy. She is familiar with public health and health services delivery systems in Native communities and with tribal law, policy and governance considerations. She applies her knowledge of the multiple sectors that interact with the public health to facilitate multi-stakeholder processes designed to achieve health equity
Dr. Dana-Sacco earned her PhD in Health and Social Policy at the Johns Hopkins University conducting her dissertation research, “Applying Passamaquoddy Wisdom to Contemporary Tribal Health Decision-making” in her home community at Sipayik.
Her research interests include: indigenous languages and health; the structural basis of health inequities including the effect of the tribal-state relationship on health; and the impact of individual and collective injury, especially violence, on tribal communities in both the current and historical context.