Dia’s role is part of the Center for Justice and Health, a new national center focusing on people-centered crisis response. Dia has led state and municipal initiatives on mental health policy and public behavioral health services. Her work has focused on creating policy solutions responsive to underrepresented populations and diverse communities through the development of stakeholder engagement and results-driven strategy development. She engages subject matter experts, community representatives, individuals with lived experience, elected officials and practitioners to deliver new and lasting solutions in highly dynamic environments.
Most recently, she served as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Mayor John C. Cooper, Nashville, Tennessee. At the Mayor’s Office, she focused on the intersection of public health and public safety, incorporating principles of health equity. She developed next generation solutions for decriminalizing mental health conditions and diverting individuals with mental health conditions from arrest and incarceration. She staffed the Task Force on Competency and Wellbeing, which delivered its recommendations in April 2022 on high utilizers of the court system. She directed interdepartmental teams on alternative strategies that decriminalize mental health conditions, including addiction. She led the launch of the co-response model, also known as Nashville Partners in Care, which collocates clinicians in police cars. While serving the Mayor’s Office, Dia also staffed the Policing Policy Commission and served as the administration’s liaison to the Board of Health, the Healthy Nashville Leadership Council and the Mayor’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Advisory Council.
In her role at the Institute, Dia leads strategy and programmatic work in the justice and health domain, including designing emerging opportunities, implementing innovation labs, and developing short and long-term growth strategies with engaged communities, partners, and stakeholders. Dia also serves as a key developer of external proposals and partnerships, leveraging her expertise as an experienced facilitator, government advisor, consultant, and demonstrated leadership in serving diverse communities.
Dia was born and raised in Chicago. She holds a master’s degree from New York University, where she was a University Fellow, and a bachelor’s from the University of Puget Sound. She was a Fulbright Fellow in Chile and speaks Spanish fluently. She is a proud graduate of the Chicago Public Schools. She lives with her family in the Nashville area.