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Dr. Jason Purnell of BJC HealthCare

This February, Employment Connection is celebrating Black History Month by honoring local leaders in the St. Louis region. Today we recognize Dr. Jason Purnell, Ph.D., MPH, Vice President of Community Health Improvement for BJC HealthCare.

Dr. Purnell is responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of BJC’s community health programs, and oversees BJC’s connections with community-based programs that offer primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention for chronic conditions.


Prior to joining BJC in August 2020, he spent over a decade focused on health equity and social determinants of health as a faculty member in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, where he retains an appointment as an associate professor.


Dr. Purnell is the founding director of Health Equity Works (formerly For the Sake of All), a research-based initiative that translates data and research on the social determinants of health into engaging products to accelerate community action. He and his team and collaborators have been responsible for raising awareness and facilitating action on issues ranging from school health to affordable housing in the St. Louis region and beyond.


A native of St. Louis, Dr. Purnell graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, with a bachelor’s degree in government and philosophy. His doctoral degree in counseling psychology is from The Ohio State University, and his master’s in public health is from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.


He serves as a member of the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; as chair of the steering committee of the COVID-19 Regional Response Team, which he helped to establish; and a member of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network board. In 2021, Dr. Purnell was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the 25 Top Diversity Leaders in healthcare.


Dr. Purnell and his wife, Amanda, have two children.


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