Current Leader

Julian L. Watkins

Julian L. Watkins
Location: New York, New York Cohort Start Year: 2020 Project Topics: Arts in Health and Healing, Behavioral and Mental Health, Communications, Community/Civic Engagement, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Education, Environmental Justice, Faith/Religion, Food Systems and Nutrition, LGBTQ+ Health, Public, Population and Community Health, Racial Justice Populations Served: Adults (21-64 years), African-American/Black, Faith-Based Groups, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Immigrants and Refugees, LGBTQ+ Communities, Low-Income Communities, People Living with HIV/AIDS, People with Addictions, Urban Communities
Assistant Commissioner
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Dr. Julian L. Watkins is a physician and culture worker who serves as assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Bureau of Health Equity Capacity Building. He supports citywide efforts to promote community wellness, reduce health inequities, and empower communities through tailored engagement, narrative power-building, and community-centered program design.

Dr. Julian is on the board of the Catskills Agrarian Alliance, a collective of farms focused on land stewardship, community organizing, and mutual aid. He is a Climate Health Equity Fellow with The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health and was recognized by the de Beaumont Foundation as an honoree in the 2023 class of 40 under 40 in Public Health.

He is a visionary, lecturer, and social critic. His public health practice draws from social medicine, philosophy, art, literature, and progressive social movements to invite people to imagine a new way forward as we work to save our beautiful planet and ourselves.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: The People’s Project: a Multidisciplinary Dialogue About Our Current Moment
In partnership with BEVERLY’S, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of The People’s Project as I embark on my artist’s residency. I’m Dr. Julian L. Watkins, a physician and public servant based in New York City. The People’s Project is a multidisciplinary project in collaboration with local thinkers. It is an open invitation to join a dialogue about our current moment. Through an examination of popular culture, The People’s Project investigates the relationships between historic and contemporary social issues, the role of the individual within a community, liberatory theory and practice, collective trauma, and recovery. Through a series of activations, The People’s Project will explore new modes of engagement that embrace imagination and knowledge sharing, promote community resilience, and expand the cultural discourse. The People’s Project creates intentional spaces to experiment with narrative strategies and emphasize important nonmarket values of care, generosity, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, radical openness, respect, and trust. Together, we’ll move beyond naming social problems and toward building community resilience, developing new strategies for our collective recovery, identifying pathways for structural change, and creating a more equitable future.

Dr. Watkins is a queer black physician based in New York City. His work explores the transformative power of love, its role in our daily lives and our work, and love as a core value and organizing principle. He is a student of the black intellectual tradition and citizen of the world. He believes that climate advocacy, the struggles for health equity, LGBTQ liberation, and the end of dominator culture all go hand in hand and that the movement to protect our beautiful planet and end our dependence on fossil fuels is connected to the struggle to recognize and respect the dignity of all life.

Click here to watch Dr. Watkins’ Legacy Project video.