NEWS | May 9, 2012

Physician-advocate to speak about equalizing access to quality health care


Anthony Iton -- a primary-care physician, lawyer and public-health advocate dedicated to improving the health outcomes of disadvantaged populations -- will speak in Sacramento as part of UC Davis Health System's Snively Visiting Professorship in Family and Community Medicine.

Iton's lecture -- "A New Public-Health Practice Targeting the Root Causes of Health Inequity" -- takes place May 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center auditorium, 4501 X St. A reception for the speaker begins at 5 p.m. The community is welcome to attend and there is no charge, however reservations are requested by e-mail to

Anthony Iton Courtesy Photograph
Anthony Iton © 2012 The California Endowment

Currently the senior vice president of healthy communities for The California Endowment, Iton is known for blending the practice of medicine and law to tackle the foundations of health disparities related to race, class, wealth, education, geography or employment. As the health officer for Alameda County, for example, he championed community collaborations to enhance the health of school environments. As director of health and human services for Stamford, Conn., he established a unique home-based asthma assessment and intervention program and a chronic-disease prevention program that reshaped the community's walkability and bikeability.

Iton's varied career also includes positions as an HIV disability rights attorney at the Berkeley Community Law Center, a health-care policy analyst with the Consumers Union and an advocate for the homeless in San Francisco.

"Dr. Iton speaks eloquently and from extensive experience about the social determinants of health," said W. Suzanne Eidson-Ton, a UC Davis associate professor in the departments of Family and Community Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology. "His passion for addressing health disparities is truly inspiring and has shaped my own perspective as a physician, especially in expanding access to quality care in rural settings."

Eidson-Ton, the faculty host for Iton's visit, is program director for UC Davis Rural-PRIME, which prepares physicians-in-training for leadership in rural medicine.

Iton's lecture is sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Snively Visiting Professorship.

George Snively was chair of the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine during the formative years of the family-practice discipline. The visiting professorship was established following his death to honor his outstanding leadership, passion for training the next generation of primary-care clinicians and dedication to providing the community with opportunities to hear from leading minds in primary care.

The UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine provides comprehensive, compassionate and personal care for patients within the context of family and community. The medical team integrates a humanistic approach to treating the "whole person" with evidence-based care. Special areas of faculty research are health-behavior change, physician-patient communication, chronic-illness care, women's health issues, and reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. For information, visit