NRI Pulse

Tribute to Atlanta Naari

Tribute to Atlanta Naari: Nazeera Dawood


Introducing our new series, ‘Tribute to Atlanta Naari’, a photographic ode to Atlanta women.

They are mothers and wives, sisters and daughters. They are successful professionals and strong role models. They lead with their hearts and give back to the community. Let us salute the ‘heroes’ of our community!

Photography and Concept: Divya Desai
Make up: Kripa Bhatt
Hair Stylist: Tina Cash  

 Nazeera Dawood received her medical doctor degree from Bangalore University in India and master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She worked as a research project scientist /manager at Emory University for over 5 years. She served on the President’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity, Transforming the Community Project at Emory University. She is currently the Senior Policy Adviser for Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Nazeera is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine, Community Medicine department.

Nazeera is a persistent, consistent, inclusive, focused public health professional who advocates for evidence based approaches to addressing problems and who uses the national prevention strategy model in building collaborative partnerships. She champions the messages of disease prevention and quality affordable health care using innovative approaches that engage traditional and nontraditional partnerships.   She has done an outstanding job educating and bringing communities together to address health concerns primarily through education, policy, systems and environmental changes.  During her four year tenure at Fulton County at the health department, she has built an army of committed individuals from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with a mission to make a measurable difference in the way health care is viewed and delivered.  As a result, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded County Department of Health and Wellness a $10,000,000 three year grant. (Khabar: Nazeera Dagwood’s leadership brings $9 million to Fulton County) Fulton County was the only organization in Georgia to be awarded monies.  This grant award was a major triumph for Fulton County under Nazeera’s leadership as the PI.  Nazeera led her team and hundreds of collaborative partners in designing and implementing S.M.A.R. T initiatives that continue to make huge impacts on building policy, systems and environmental changes that address chronic diseases. The $10,000,000 CDC award provides much needed resources given the anticipate budget shortfall projected in the coming years. Nazeera is diligent and steadfast in her determination to make changes.  She has done an outstanding job educating and enhancing health awareness among Fulton County leaders and citizens.

Nazeera’s approach to addressing and improving health outcomes is realistic, compassionate, and financially sound.  She encourages people to take responsibility for their lives which includes health care. She has been effective in getting organizations to share resources and plan so that duplication is minimized.  One of her strengths is educating/providing information to people in ways that they can understand given the varied educational levels of the Fulton County population.  She developed and/or enhanced health related materials making them more users friendly; organized and facilitated health seminars/workshops/listening sessions; ventured into communities throughout Fulton County engaging citizens.

Nazeera and her team developed and executed educational and outreach plans which were specific and measurable using resources wisely and swiftly eliminating initiatives/efforts that were not beneficial.  Hence, saving money and manpower.  She is an outstanding public servant who has an uncanny ability to galvanize people and resources for the most efficient and effective use of the limited resources now available although health problems and cost continue to escalate.

She is kind, caring, compassionate, and highly intelligent with a natural ability to bring people together. This is evident as in her four years as Health Promotion Division Director, built six health coalitions (Smoke Free Coalition (SFC), Diabetes Community Action Coalition (DCAC), Healthy Heart Coalition (HHC), interfaith coalition, Asthma coalition and Safe Kids Coalition) representing over 450 organizations and thousands of individuals at what she calls the grass root level. Nazeera is the founder of  the Health Promotion Action Coalition (HPAC) to provide leadership and support to the six chronic disease coalitions mentioned above.  The development of HPAC has strengthened existing community partnerships and collaborations through a strategic planning process that considers collective assets and contributions members bring to the table. Mayors of all the 14 Fulton County municipalities are key players in HPAC.  Her approach requires that all planning focuses on outcomes and strategies which is a change from what most partners have effectively done in the pass.

In four years, she gained the respect of and was honored by political, civic and religious leaders and others throughout Fulton County.   In October 2014, she was honored by the Fulton County Commission with a proclamation and October 14, 2014 was considered “ Dr. Nazeera Dawood Appreciation Day” in Fulton County.   Mayors from most of the 14 Fulton County Municipalities were present at the Commission Meeting and took pictures with her. The recognition of a staff person with a proclamation is rare, highlights the caliber of work that Nazeera does and the professional respect that is given her.

She is a change agent in the Public Health arena.  She is innovative and has a knack for choosing the right time to move initiatives forward.  She was instrumental in persuading Fulton County management, staff and the community to move away from traditional health fairs to pursue sustainable PSE changes.  This is sufficient because the years of health fair focus provided limited substantial supportable positive outcomes as the prevalence of chronic disease such as diabetes continued to rise in the past seven years.

South Asian Community

Nazeera is the current President of the South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA), has served as a Board member of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Atlanta Chapter & Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy. She has collaborated with several local South Asian entities to initiate projects to promote preventive health, civic engagement, youth leadership and unity. She has served two term committee member of the Health Equity and Social Justice Committee at NACCHO.

Publications / Opeds

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution – Disparities between South Asian and Others

  • American Cancer Society awards $10,000 to reduce disparities among South Asians

Below is information that provides more specifics on her accomplishments

TV Appearances

AIB TV panelist

Suicide prevention Awareness

Child sexual abuse prevention

Community policing in the minority community and safety

Asthma special on FG TV

Diabetes host on FGTV

Proclamation acceptance speech

Published Articles

An Academic-Public Health Department Partnership for Education, Research, Practice, and Governance

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, June 2014, Volume 20 Number 3 Pages 310 – 314

Simplicity is My Best Policy: Yale Journal for Humanity Medicine

My dad, my career and the D word – North,14433

Prescription for Hope

My turn- Human race or race relations

Coalition building

Volunteer committees help fix health disparities, relationship with municipalities

GA Dept. of Public Health

Heart Health in Fulton County: Time for Action | Georgia Department of Public Health

County Health Rankings

County Line magazine.

Presentations/ Talks _                                               2008-2017

  • Co presented County Health Rankings – Focus on Action at Augusta Perinatal Symposium

  • Health Promotion weekly conference call CDC presentation on Interfaith Coalition

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Asthma webinar presentation

  • Health Promotion Strategies Panelist at the Georgia State University Urban Summit

  • Barriers & Bridges in building coalition to combat tobacco use poster presentation

  • National Conference on Tobacco or Health Sustainable Changes in a Local Health                           Department, NACCHO

  • Health Promotion Strategies: Change is in the Air Session Oral Presentation at the Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) Conference

  • Moderated poster presentation, “Patients with lower socioeconomic status and low psychosocial supports are less likely to quit smoking post-AMI”

Honors & Awards                                                2008-2017

  • Woman of Excellence – 2016 Greater Atlanta Tamil Sangam

  • Women Empowerment panelist – Indian Friends of Atlanta

  • Fulton County Dr. Nazeera Dawood Proclamation day on Oct 1, 2014

  • Graduate Fellow of NACCHO’s Strive and Thrive Program

  • Team lead for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Coalition Building Leadership Atlanta Team

  • County Liaison – Health Promotion Action Coalition (HPAC)

  • Board Member – Georgia Health Literacy Association

  • Elected Board of Directors for South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA)

  • Appointed to serve on NACCHO Local Health Department National Coalition for Health Equity / Social Justice Workgroup

  • Professional Development Scholarship from National Public Health Information Coalition to attend the NACCHO conference

  • Team leader for the Collaborate for Healthy Weight Phase II Fulton team sponsored by HRSA/ NICHQ to form an interfaith group to address obesity

  • Team leader for the National Leadership Association for Public Health Fulton team to combat asthma


  • Directors of Health Promotion & Education Fellow (DHPE)

  • CDC Public Health Prevention Service Fellow

  • CDC Public Health Associate Program Fellow

  • 30 Interns graduating the MPH program

Training / Certification                        2008-2017

  • Asset based community development workshop: Mobilizing the gifts of young people, organizations, & communities, GA Dept of Public Health

  • Supervisory Development Program certification at Fulton County Government

  • Shaping Policy for health Training offered through Directors of Health Promotion

  • & Education (DHPE) Domains 2, 3 & 4

  • CDC Public Health Leadership Training, Bridging Gaps, forging partnerships and leading 2012

  • change for the future of public health

  • Be Our Voice, Online Advocacy Training. National Institute for Child Healthcare Quality

  • Certified Clinical Research Coordinator, Association of Clinical Research Professionals

  • Supervisor Development Program certification at Emory University

Community Activities

  • Johns Creek Leadership Program Graduate

  • Johns Creek Citizens Police Academy Graduate

  • Johns Creek School Liaison, Johns Creek Student Leadership – North View High School

  • Rotary Club Program Committee, Chair & Paul Harris Fellow, President Nominee

  • Board Member Secretary / Treasurer for American Tamil Medical Association (ATMA)

  • Communications/ Website Committee Chair, American Tamil Medical Association

  • Vice President, Ann Foundation

  • Communications Director (ATMA) 2009- 2010

  • National ATMA Website Coordinator

  • Editorial Board for Journal of American Tamil Medical Association

  • Dr.Nazeera Dawood Appreciation Day is Oct 1 2014 – Fulton County Proclamation

  • Recognized as the 2010-2011 ‘We are Emory, 100 Community Builders’.

  • Rotarian of the Year, 2014 Dekalb Rotary Council

  • Graduate Fellow of NACCHO’s Strive and Thrive Program 2014

  • Team lead for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Coalition Building Leadership Atlanta Team

  • County Liaison – Health Promotion Action Coalition (HPAC).

  • Board Member – Georgia Health Literacy Association.

  • Elected Board of Directors for South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA).

  • Appointed to serve on National Association for City & County Health Officials (NACCHO) Local Health Department National Coalition for Health Equity Workgroup.

  • Team leader for the Collaborate for Healthy Weight Phase II

  • Team leader for the National Leadership Association for Public Health to combat asthma

Related posts

Praksha Patel: Mom, Teacher and Mentor Extraordinaire


Dr Paddy Sharma: Educationist at Heart; Rotarian in Spirit


Tribute to Atlanta Naari: Raj Razdan


Leave a Comment