The Board of the Public Health Institute welcomes Melissa Stafford Jones as CEO and President of PHI


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

After an extensive and competitive national search, PHI’s Board felt that Stafford Jones’ lifelong commitment to improving health and health care for all, his collaborative leadership style, and his deep experience in forecasting and implementing high-level policy and care initiatives make him best positioned to lead PHI to the next phase of transformative public health.

“Staff Jones is a visionary leader with decades of experience dealing with complex, multi-faceted public health issues,” 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. The PHI Board of Directors is confident that Melissa’s sharp vision and ability to effectively implement new ideas will lead PHI to deeper, more lasting impacts.

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Stafford Jones has more than 30 years of experience working with legislators and stakeholders on health platforms 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 statewide to reimagine California’s children and youth behavioral health system into a new, focused ecosystem where all children and youth are always assessed, supported, and served for developing and existing behavioral health (mental health and substance use). Melissa served as the Obama Administration’s federal appointee 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 different communities. As President and CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, he created the first major payment for the Medicaid performance incentive payment program for California’s public safety net, which has been replicated in states across the country.

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The election of Stafford Jones comes as PHI celebrates its 60th anniversary of building healthier communities around the world. As one of the largest non-governmental public health organizations in the country, the Public Health Institute plays an important role in promoting health and equity, partnering with government, philanthropy, and community-based organizations to quickly design, implement, and support public health initiatives. PHI manages an annual portfolio of more than $200 million, operating 60+ programs working in more than twenty countries around the world.