2024 Onyx Woman Leadership Awards Honoree Dr. Latika D. Davis-Jones

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Dr. Latika D. Davis-Jones, Ph.D., MPH, MSW, currently serves as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), having been appointed to the position by Governor Josh Shapiro in January 2023. She has dedicated the past 30 years to addressing the physical and behavioral health needs of vulnerable populations. Before her role at DDAP, Latika held the position of Senior Director of Behavioral Health at Highmark Wholecare. In this capacity, she provided leadership and administrative oversight for behavioral health programs, including expansion into new markets and the implementation of various health management initiatives.

Latika’s academic contributions involve teaching foundational courses on social work practices, diversity, risk, oppression, resilience, and empowerment. She played a pivotal role in contributing to the content and analysis of measures for the book “Measuring Race and Ethnicity: Inside and Out” by the late Dr. Larry Davis and Dr. Rafael Engel, which gathered psychological measures of common phenomena such as racial identity, acculturation, and intra and intergroup relations enabling researchers to compare concepts across groups and better evaluate differences and disparities. Additionally, Latika served as the co-principal investigator on the Strengthening Pittsburgh’s African American Nonprofits (SPAAN) Project at the University of Pittsburgh-School of Social Work.

Her commitment to community service is underscored by receiving numerous community awards and active participation on local boards. Latika has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to the community, highlighting her dedication to making a positive impact. Her involvement extends beyond her professional responsibilities, showcasing a strong commitment to the well-being of the communities she serves.

Latika has also demonstrated her dedication to addressing the opioid epidemic through public testimonies before the Pennsylvania House and Senate Policy Committees and presentations at national and local conferences. She has collaborated on publishing reports and journal articles focused on tackling the opioid epidemic in Allegheny County.

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