April 3, 2020
Dr. Tony Iton, The California Endowment
Dr. Iton presented at the Ventura County Social Determinants of Health Webinar on March 27, 2020. Dr. Iton believes that reinvigorating democracy in California’s underserved communities is the first step in improving residents’ health. As Senior Vice President of the Building Healthy Communities program, Dr. Iton is leading an effort to empower residents in 14 cities across California with the worst health outcomes to fight for changes in their communities that will help them lead healthier lives. When residents are engaged in holding elected officials accountable for fair educational opportunities, good jobs and more green space, Dr. Iton believes that good health can thrive.
The BHC model attacks the root causes of health inequities by convening and supporting community partners on the ground. By building resiliency and advocacy among residents, his work has made significant and sustainable advances in public health for thousands of Californians. When it comes to our health, our zip code matters more than our genetic code. For many communities in California and across the United States, easy access to healthy food options, parks for exercise, and good schools determines quality and length of life.
As “Drivers of Change”, Dr. Iton asked the question, “What inspires people? What is inspiring about this work?" He says people must see their story told. Their full humanity is seen in their communities. The artistic and cultural expressions are important, and people's stories matter.