Verdant Health Commission to host second annual Healthier Community conference Feb. 27

Anthony Iton

Anthony Iton, MD, JD, MPH, an expert in health equity issues, will be the keynote breakfast speaker at the second annual Healthier Community conference sponsored by the Verdant Health Commission Monday, Feb. 27.

Iton, who serves as senior vice president for healthier communities at The California Endowment, will explain why your ZIP code is more important than your genetics for your health. He will also share success stories from communities around the nation where they are directly addressing health disparities.

Iton received his medical degree at Johns Hopkins Medical School and also earned a law degree and a masters of public health from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the California Bar. Iton has worked as an HIV disability rights attorney at the Berkeley Community Law Center, a public health director with Alameda County, and as a physician at the San Francisco Public Health Department where he was an advocate for the homeless. 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.

In the fall 2009, Dr. Iton moved to The California Endowment to help oversee the organization’s 10-year, multi-million-dollar statewide commitment to advance policies and forge partnerships to build healthy communities and a healthy California. The California Endowment is a private, statewide health foundation working to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Iton share his experience with us,” said Verdant Superintendent Robin Fenn, Ph.D., LICSW. “His broad knowledge about health equity and his devotion to improving the overall health for everyone regardless of their social determinants of health will definitely help inform many of the projects we have underway at the local level. We know, too, that his presentation will be the catalyst for future discussions and collaborations in our immediate community.”

Verdant will also host lunch keynote speaker Kevin Breel, a writer, comedian, and mental health advocate. According to the Verdant announcement, Breel’s “honest approach to talking about his depression, mixed with his ability to make anyone laugh, makes for a unique and inspirational story that disrupts how we engage with mental health.”

At the conclusion of the Feb. 27 event, Verdant will present its community awards to programs and individuals supporting the community’s health in South Snohomish County. In addition, participants can choose 4 of 12 breakout sessions that will cover topics in three interest tracks: Healthier Body (physical health), Healthier Mind (behavioral health, including mental health and substance use), and Making Health Happen, a track for organizations and agencies to gain tools that will help them support our community. The focus will be on practical education and empowering individuals and organizations to make positive changes to live the healthiest lives possible.

The conference is Monday, Feb. 27 at the Lynnwood Convention Center. All attendees will receive a healthy breakfast and lunch. The Early Bird registration fee is $49 per person and is available through Jan. 31. The regular registration fee of $69 per person goes into effect Feb. 1. Space is limited, so register early. Scholarships are available.

To register or read more about the conference, visit


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