Press Release

Public Health Institute Board Welcomes Melissa Stafford Jones as PHI’s CEO and President

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Brandie Campbell

Cell: 510.285.5548

The Public Health Institute’s Board of Directors is proud to announce Melissa Stafford Jones, MPH, as the Public Health Institute’s next Chief Executive Officer and President.

After an extensive and competitive national search, PHI’s Board felt that Stafford Jones’s lifelong commitment to advancing health and healthcare for all, her collaborative leadership style, and her deep experience with forecasting and implementing high-level policy and care initiatives made her best positioned to lead PHI into its next phase of transformative public health.

“Stafford Jones is a visionary leader with decades of experience in tackling complex, multi-faceted issues in public health,” said Dara Treseder, the chair of PHI’s Board. “PHI is already a powerhouse, with a staff of experts and a portfolio of proven interventions. PHI’s Board of Directors is confident that Melissa’s laser-sharp insights and ability to effectively implement new ideas will guide PHI to even deeper, more sustainable impacts.”

Stafford Jones has over 30 years of experience working with policymakers and stakeholders on platforms of health and policy matters at the local, state, and national levels. In her most recent position, as director of the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative at the California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS), she worked with CalHHS departments, sister state agencies, and partners and stakeholders throughout the state to reimagine California’s children and youth behavioral health system into an innovative, upstream-focused ecosystem where all children and youth are routinely screened, supported, and served for emerging and existing behavioral health (mental health and substance use) needs. Melissa served as a federal appointee in the Obama Administration for HHS Region IX, where she worked with local and state organizations, key stakeholders, and elected officials throughout the region to implement the Affordable Care Act, increase access to health care and social services, and improve the lives and health of diverse communities. As President and CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems she created the first large-scale pay for performance incentive payment program in Medicaid for California’s public safety net, which was replicated in states across the nation.

Stafford Jones’s selection comes as PHI celebrates its 60th anniversary of building healthier communities around the globe. As one of the largest non-governmental public health organizations in the country, the Public Health Institute has played a pivotal role in improving health and equity, partnering with government, philanthropy and community-based organizations to quickly design, implement and support public health initiatives. PHI oversees an annual portfolio of more than $200 million, powering 60+ programs working in more than twenty countries around the world.

Headshot of Melissa Stafford Jones
I was drawn to PHI because of its vision to improve health and wellbeing of individuals and communities by addressing our most pressing public health issues. With its commitment to advancing equity, engaging communities, and collaborating with partners, the Public Health Institute has a leading role to play in addressing today’s and tomorrow’s critical public health issues, including growing racial inequities, building a workforce for the future, behavioral health, the climate crisis, and building interconnected systems at the community and policy levels to support health and wellbeing. Melissa Stafford Jones, MPH

Incoming PHI Chief Executive Officer and President

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