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Friday Forum: Securing Health Equity

November 4, 2022 @ 1:00 pm 2:30 pm MDT

Registration is now closed. We hope you’ll consider joining us for our next Friday Forum, Amplifying Community Engagement, on February 3, 2023.

Friday Forums on Racism in Higher Education

We are delighted to host this Friday Forums session on Securing Health Equity, in conjunction with MEDiversity Week. Simply defined, health equity is achieved when individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life have the same health outcomes.

In the United States, we have looked at health equity through a racial lens because, in general, some racial groups have better health outcomes than others. Traditionally, we have compared our health outcomes to the White population in the United States, as in many cases, they have the best health outcomes. However, that is not always the case.

Health equity also has a leveling effect in the positive. When comparing developed countries, many wealthy territories with higher degrees of health equity enjoy better health outcomes than the wealthiest in the United States. In short, our tolerance for health inequality makes it so our best health outcomes are often worse than in other more equitable systems. So, seeking health equity is good for everyone, and benefits all of us.

At the University of Utah, we have various researchers who have been striving to answer the question, how do we secure health equity? Their work is bringing us closer to achieving that goal. Panelists will discuss successful interventions to approach health equity—and examined what securing it might look like in our country.

portrait of Ivette Lopez

Ivette A. López, Phd, MPH
Professor, Public Health Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
The University of Utah

Director, Utah Area Health Education Centers


Ivette Amelia López, Ph.D., MPH is a Professor of Public Health at the University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. She is also the PI/Director of the Utah Area Health Education Centers, Core Educator, Community Engaged Learning Lead, and Community Engagement Activities School of Medicine. Dr. López was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and came to the United States mainland to pursue advanced education. She is and has been a dedicated professional in pursuit of health equity for Latinos and other disadvantaged populations in the United States for decades. From AIDS (the epidemic that drew her to public health) to diabetes, and obesity causal explanations among minority women, to health assessments of Latino populations, her research and service are dedicated to engaging minority communities in finding solutions to their health burdens.

portrait of Daniel Dawes

Daniel E. Dawes, JD
Executive Director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute
Professor of Health Law, Policy, and Management
Morehouse School of Medicine


Daniel E. Dawes, JD is a widely respected healthcare and public health leader, health policy expert, educator, and researcher who serves as executive director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine and a professor of health law, policy, and management.

He is the author of two groundbreaking books, “150 Years of ObamaCare” and “The Political Determinants of Health,” both published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Among his many achievements, he was an instrumental figure in developing and negotiating the Mental Health Parity Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, and the Affordable Care Act’s health equity-focused provisions, among other landmark federal policies, as well as the principal investigator for the nation’s first health equity tracker, co-founder of the Health Equity Leadership and Exchange Network (HELEN), and co-principal investigator of the HHS National COVID-19 Resiliency Network. Professor Dawes is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and an elected fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

He serves as an advisor to The White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, an appointed member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee to the Director and co-chair of the CDC’s Health Equity Working Group, as well as the NIH’s National Advisory Council for Nursing Research.

portrait of Bonzo Reddick

Bonzo K. Reddick, MD, MPH
Professor & Chair, Department of Community Medicine
Mercer University School of Medicine


Dr. Bonzo is the Chair of the Department of Community Medicine, and a professor in the Community Medicine and Family Medicine departments at Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah, GA—the city where he was also born and raised. Before assuming the role of department chair, he also served as the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Mercer for six years. After receiving his BS degree (Biology) from Morehouse College and MD degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Bonzo attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed a family medicine residency, two faculty development fellowships, and an MPH degree with an added Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Disparities. He practices at the JC Lewis Primary Health Care Center, a federally qualified health center (FQHC) and designated healthcare for the homeless (HCH) site.

portrait of Gita Suneja

Gita Suneja, MD, MSHP
Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
The University of Utah


Dr. Gita Suneja is a radiation oncologist and physician-scientist with a commitment to cultivating cancer health equity, as well as promoting diversity and inclusion in the radiation oncology workforce. Dr. Suneja is an Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, an investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Utah. Her clinical specialties include the treatment of breast and gynecologic malignancies. Her research program focuses on utilizing advanced health services research methods to enhance cancer outcomes for marginalized communities. Dr. Suneja serves as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Radiation Oncology Institute, Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee on Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at American Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology; and the Co-Chair for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines for Cancer in People with HIV and Kaposi Sarcoma. With her unique skills and passion in combining clinical radiation oncology, health equity research, and training the next generation of oncologists, Dr. Suneja is working to enhance the quality of cancer care for all people.

Friday Forums on Racism in Higher Education

Friday Forums on Racism in Higher Education

Friday Forums is a commitment to the state and region in elevating national conversations and showcasing models of disrupting complicit racism. Each session welcomes national thought leaders to lead discussions and provide opportunities for participants to share ideas on actionable items towards a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus.


Accreditation: The University of Utah School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit: The University of Utah School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 04.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Speaker and Planning Committee Disclosure Summary:

The University of Utah School of Medicine Continuing Medical Education Office (UUCME) meets ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence expectations regarding the identification and mitigation of relevant financial relationships with ACCME-defined ineligible companies. Everyone in control of content, including all speakers and planners, must disclose financial relationships in any amount within the past 24 months and any relevant financial relationships must be mitigated prior to the activity start.

Disclosure: None of the speakers or planners or anyone in control of content for this accredited continuing educational activity have any relevant financial relationships since the content does not relate to any products or services of an ACCME-defined ineligible company; therefore, there are no relevant financial relationships to disclose or mitigate.

All attendees are encouraged to use the CME system to claim their attendance.  Physicians will be awarded AMA PRA Category 1 credits TM; all other professions will be awarded attendance at a CME event credit that they may use for their re-credentialing purposes. Nurses seeking contact hours must claim through the CME system.  All users will be able to print or save certificates.  For questions regarding the CME system, please contact the UUCME Office.  For questions regarding re-credentialing process or requirements, please contact your re-credentialing organization.

Nondiscrimination and Disability Accommodation Statement: The University of Utah does not exclude, deny benefits to or otherwise discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, veteran’s status, religion, gender identity/expression, genetic information, or sexual orientation in admission to or participation in its programs and activities.  Reasonable accommodations will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request, with reasonable notice.  Requests for accommodations or inquiries or complaints about University nondiscrimination and disability/access policies may be directed to the Director, OEO/AA, Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, 201 S President’s Circle, RM 135, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, 801-581-8365 (Voice/TTY), 801-585-5746 (Fax).

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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