In her new book Twenty Years of Life, author Suzanne Bohan explores the disturbing flip side of the American Dream: health is largely determined by your zip code. The strain of living in a neighborhood with sub-par schools, lack of parks, fear of violence, few to no healthy food options, and the stress of unpaid bills is literally taking years off people’s lives. The difference in life expectancy between wealthy and distressed neighborhoods can be as much as twenty years.
In response to this inequity, The California Endowment, one of the nation’s largest health foundations, is upending the old-school, top-down charity model and investing $1 billion over ten years to help communities advocate for their own interests. This new approach to community change is grounded in an understanding of structural and institutional racism’s central role in creating health inequities, and as such, seeks to unleash the latent political power of residents and change the public narrative from one of exclusion to inclusion. The results are undeniable: policy and systems changes locally and in the state’s legislative chambers spanning a range of health-critical issues, from criminal justice reform to school climate to healthcare access. If it can work in fourteen of California’s most diverse communities, from Salinas to South LA, it has the potential to work anywhere in the country.
Please join the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions program for a discussion of how these communities are creating change and tackling the root causes of health inequities. There are lessons for all stakeholders from policymakers, philanthropy, and community leaders to learn how investing in the power of communities can create smart solutions and positive change.
Opening Remarks: Steve Patrick, Executive Director, Forum for community Solutions and Vice President, Aspen Institute
Suzanne Bohan, Author, Twenty Years of Life
Anthony Iton, Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities, The California Endowment
Sandra Celedon, Manager, Fresno Building Healthy Communities
Sam Vaughn, Program Manager, Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety and the Peacemaker Fellowship
John Auerbach, President and CEO, Trust for America’s Health, Moderator
Lunch available at 11:30 am
Watch the livestream at 12 PM EST:
- Suzanne Bohan, Author Twenty Years of Life
- Anthony Iton, Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities, The California Endowment
- Sandra Celedon, Manager, the Fresno Building Healthy Communities Hub.
- Sam Vaughn, Program Manager, Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety and the Peacemaker Fellowship