Healthy | Living | Initiative
Postponed until further notice.
Zip code or Genetic code: Which is a Better Predictor of Health? Where you live shouldn’t determine how long you live, but it does. In fact, research shows that your health has more to do with place and where you live, than a doctors’ visits. Dr. Iton’s commitment to improving the fundamental conditions of people’s lives was profoundly shaped by when he moved to East Baltimore, Maryland to attend medical school, where he witnessed the inequities in the United States compared to what he grew up with in Montreal Canada. He found it problematic that health-promoting resources such as health care, childcare, and higher education were available to everyone in Canada, whereas he attended a world-renowned medical school that was situated in what he calls “one of the worst slums in America”. Propelled by this experience, Dr. Iton is using data to study how and when zip codes become more important than genetic codes when it comes to people’s health.
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.
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. Prior to that Dr. Iton served for seven years as the Alameda County Public Health Department Director and Health Officer where he oversaw an agency with a budget of $112 million 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 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 is board certified in both specialties. Dr. Iton has 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. His experience practicing both medicine and law independently has enabled him to blend both disciplines in the day-to-day practice of public health and in responding to recent public health emergencies such as SARS and anthrax.
Faculty Coordinator: Charles Daramola, Professor of Public Health Sciences
Brought to you in collaboration with with the Levan Center for the Humanities’ Speaker Series, and the California Humanities.
The Bakersfield College Distinguished Speakers Series brings community leaders from around the world to Bakersfield whose achievements have had national and/or international significance.