Sharon Ricks, M.A.
Director of Health Equity Strategy & Transformation, Office of Health Equity
Sharon Ricks, M.A., is director of health equity strategy and transformation at Dell Medical School.
Ricks is an innovative health leader and the former regional health administrator for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS Region 4), where she had the primary responsibility for leading and coordinating internal and external strategies that promoted health equity across HHS divisions and in service to 65 million Americans throughout the eight southeastern states.
Prior to her 13 years of service in the Atlanta regional office, she worked for six years in Washington, D.C., at the HHS Office on Women’s Health, where she developed and implemented a health improvement program used by community organizations across the nation to improve women’s health. She broadly expanded the promotion of, and conducted the first evaluation for, National Women’s Health Week and implemented the first National Women’s Check-Up Day. She also had lead responsibility for facilitating efforts of state and regional women’s health coordinators to deliver women’s health programming at the local level.
Ricks also worked for six years in Bethesda, Maryland, at the National Institutes of Health, where she supported public affairs activities at three institutes including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. At NIH, she was managing editor of the HealthBeat radio network and published more than 100 articles, educational materials and news releases translating complex research advances into plain language. She was awarded the NIH Plain Language Award in 2003.
Prior to her time at HHS, Ricks served for nine years at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C., where she supported efforts to provide developing countries with food and nutrition, population planning assistance, health services and education. She was a regular contributor to USAID’s Frontlines magazine and a columnist for the State Department’s State magazine. She also compiled the agency’s weekly reports to the secretary of the cabinet at the White House.
Ricks received her Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Maryland University College in 1990 and her Master of Arts in journalism from Regent University in 2004. In 2015, she graduated from Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Community Health Leadership Program. In 2020, her accomplishments in public health were recognized by the assistant secretary for health and the U.S. surgeon general.