Health Inequality in Our Own Backyard
Recorded Tuesday, May 25, 2021
This session will complement the opening keynote by looking at how the connection between systemic inequality and health outcomes impacts our patients in the East Bay. We will address the widening gap of wealth in the Bay Area and effect it has on health outcomes of specific demographics in our community. This data driven talk will provide a view of what our own backyard looks like and how the resources are distributed causing health outcomes to decline in some areas where they thrive in others.
Anothony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH
Senior Vice President, Healthy Communities, The California Endowment
Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH is Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation whose mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Dr. Iton oversees the the implementation of Building Healthy Communities (BHC), the foundation’s 10 year, billion dollar, 14 site, multi-sectoral, place-based initiative designed to improve health status of 1 million low income Californians. Prior to that Dr. Iton served for seven years as the Alameda County Health Officer and subsequently Public Health Director where he oversaw an agency with a focus on preventing communicable disease outbreaks, reducing the burden of chronic disease and obesity, and managing the county’s preparedness for biological terrorism.
Dr. Iton’s primary interest is the health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race, class, wealth, education, geography, and employment to health status. He has asserted that in every public health area of endeavor, be it immunizations, chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, STDs, obesity, or even disaster preparedness, public health practitioners must recognize that they are confronted with the enduring consequences of structural poverty, institutional racism and other forms of systemic injustice. He further asserts that the only sustainable approach to eliminating health inequities is through the design of intensive, multi-sectoral, place-based interventions that are specifically designed to identify existing assets and build social, political and economic power among a critical mass of community residents in historically under-resourced communities.
Dr. Iton received his medical degree at Johns Hopkins Medical School and subsequently trained in internal medicine and preventive medicine at New York Hospital, Yale, and Berkeley and received board certification in both specialties. Dr. Iton also received a law degree and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley and is a member of the California Bar. He has worked as an HIV disability rights attorney at the Berkeley Community Law Center, a health care policy analyst with Consumer Reports, and as a physician and advocate for the homeless at the San Francisco Public Health Department.
Dr. Iton’s work has been featured in several national and international documentaries including Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? (PBS 2009), Roots of Health (PBS 2010), Designing Healthy Communities (PBS 2011), and The Weight of The Nation (HBO 2012). Awards include the prestigious Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize for Creative Public Health Work (2006), awarded by the American Public Health Association to a US local health official in recognition of outstanding creative and innovative public health work. In February 2010, Dr. Iton was recognized by the California Legislative Black Caucus with the Black History Month Legends Award and presented on the floor of the California State Assembly with a resolution memorializing his life's work and achievements. He has also been awarded Physicians For Social Responsibility Los Angeles Founders Award 2012, and UC Berkeley School of Public Health Alumnus of the Year 2011. In 2014, Dr. Iton received the Beverlee Myers Award from the California Department of Public Health for Excellence and Leadership in Public Health. In May of 2014 he provided the commencement address to the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
He serves on the board of directors of Consumer Reports, Jobs For The Future, the Centers For Disease Control Directors Advisory Committee, and Grantmakers in Health.