On Wednesday, April 15, Dr. Tony Iton of The California Endowment presented a Virtual Distinguished Speaker Presentation, on "Zip Code vs. Genetic Code: Which is a Better Predictor of Health?"
Dr. Iton’s presentation on health in rural communities was hosted by Public Health Professor Charles Daramola and Office of Student Life Director Nicky Damania.
Dr. Tony Iton’s research and work focus on the health of disadvantaged populations. He grew up in Montreal, Canada, and moved to East Baltimore, Maryland, to pursue medical school. When he saw the “slum” communities of Baltimore, he asked his classmate if a war had occurred. Dr. Iton was disturbed by the poverty and lack of necessities, such as water and clean air, that the residents experienced.
In the presentation, Dr. Iton revealed that where you live matters more for your health than how often you visit the doctor. Research indicates that access to health-promoting resources like health care, child care, public transportation, and higher education improve health outcomes and life expectancy. Dr. Iton stated that it is crucial to remove poverty, discrimination, and incarceration barriers that impede health and well-being.
Webinar participants were highly engaged in the presentation and asked insightful questions at the end. I enjoyed seeing the BC students, faculty, staff, and community members eager to get involved and improve health and wellness in our community. If you want to keep engaged with BC’s health equity and rural health work, please follow the Health, Equity, and Learning (HEAL) page, events, and HEAL Twitter account.
Thank you, Dr. Tony Iton, for presenting and engaging with BC students, faculty, and staff. And, thank you to Dr. Charles Daramola, Nicky Damania, Benny Balderrama, and the Office of Student Life for coordinating such an informative webinar.