Anthony B. Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH
Senior Vice President of Healthy Communities
CONTACT DR. ITON TO LEARN MORE ABOUT:
How revitalizing democracy will improve health outcomes for low-income communities of color; the relationship between racial justice, economic opportunity and educational achievement to public health; how his work takes health out of the doctor’s office and into communities.
Dr. Anthony 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, 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.
This place-based approach is founded on the idea that residents can’t be asked to eat healthier food, exercise more, regularly visit the doctor or get a better job if those opportunities aren’t available in the communities where they live. 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.
Prior to his appointment at The Endowment, Iton served as the director and County Health Officer for the Alameda County Public Health Department. Under his leadership, Alameda County launched an innovative plan to improve the health and lifespan of low-income communities by focusing on the poverty, racism and discrimination that prevented residents from getting good housing, better jobs and quality healthcare and educational opportunities. By inserting a public health perspective into conversations about community and economic development, he led the department’s efforts to improve community engagement and galvanize equity-driven policy solutions aimed at improving residents’ health.
Iton’s dedication to improving the quality of people’s lives was founded during his contrasted experiences growing up in Montreal, Canada and attending medical school in East Baltimore, Maryland. The health inequities that he witnessed in Baltimore were almost unimaginable in Montreal, inspiring Iton to pursue a career at the intersection of public health and social justice.
Published in numerous public health and medical publications, Iton is a regular public health lecturer and keynote speaker at conferences across the nation. He earned his B.S. in Neurophysiology, with honors, from McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec, his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Beatriz Maria Solís, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Director, Healthy Communities – South Region
CONTACT DR. SOLIS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT:
The importance of empowering women and youth in creating healthy communities; the public health effects of exclusionary immigration policies; the health effects of gentrification and displacement; the relationship between income inequality and health.
Dr. Beatriz Maria Solís is leading efforts by the Building Healthy Communities initiative to ensure that California’s health policy is inclusive of residents regardless of race, gender and immigration status. Her work is guided by the principle that a system that excludes anyone, hurts everyone.
As the director of Healthy Communities, South Region, Solís is working to transform health outcomes in underserved communities by emboldening residents to take control of policies that affect them. Recognizing that health disparities are created when communities are absent from the decision-making table, Solís has focused her career on energizing youth, immigrants and women.
Her recent work with Building Healthy Communities has been focused on making healthcare accessible and inclusive. Solis spearheaded the Endowment’s 21st Century Pathways to Health Careers initiative, to expose underserved students to careers in healthcare. Solís also co-leads the Endowment’s #Health4All campaign to expand access to health coverage and care to all Californians—regardless of immigration status. Her work has helped undocumented children throughout the state gain access to the care they need.
Solís has authored numerous articles, books, technical reports and policy briefs and is a lecturer/trainer to health care providers on topics including racial and ethnic health disparities, and culturally and linguistically responsive health care.
Solís received her master’s and doctorate in Public Health from UCLA’s School of Public Health.
Sandra Witt, Dr.PH.
Director, Healthy Communities – North Region
CONTACT DR. WITT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT:
How restorative justice in schools improve student health outcomes; how race and employment opportunities interact with health outcomes; innovative public health solutions that focus on community development and resident empowerment.
Sandra Witt is an outspoken advocate about the importance that fair opportunities and access to basic needs such as jobs, housing, and affordable food have on public health across California’s communities.
As the director of Healthy Communities, North Region, Witt has been working to help elected officials and community residents understand that health extends beyond the doctor’s office. In her 20 years as a public health expert, she has seen that health disparities exist in environments where it’s easier and cheaper to buy fast food than a fresh apple, or where parks, jobs and affordable housing aren’t available to residents.
Witt’s goal of eliminating health inequity is powered by her philosophy that affected communities must be included in shaping the solution. Alongside partners on the ground, Witt has led efforts to change policies that ultimately lead to poor health outcomes. With the support of the Building Healthy Communities team, residents in Oakland have improved school discipline policies to help students stay in school and learn the skills they need to be successful adults. She has led efforts to help residents across Northern California sign up for health care. In communities from Salinas to Richmond, she has supported efforts to empower residents to hold their local leaders accountable for creating healthy opportunities in their communities.
Prior to joining The Endowment, Witt served as the Deputy Director of Planning, Policy and Health Equity for the Alameda County Public Health Department. During her time there, she studied the relationship between poverty, inequality and poor health outcomes.
Witt has worked in every aspect of public health, including as an epidemiologist and community researcher for the Alameda Public Health Department; public health consultant for the International Health Programs of the Western Consortium for Public Health in Santa Cruz, CA; and as a health and development program officer and consultant for the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada.
She earned Dr.PH. in Maternal and Child Health from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Latin American Studies/Anthropology.