22nd National Health Equity Research Webcast
Political Power, Policy and Health Equity
June 7, 2016
In its 22nd year, the National Health Equity Research Webcast, hosted by the Gillings School of Global Public Health in partnership with campus units, discussed importance of policy for advancing health equity, importance of political power for policy development and implementation, and factors that influence distribution of political power such as: public relations, media and lobbying, partisan voter redistricting, voter disqualification, accessibility of polling times and places, handling of absentee and provisional ballots; and vote counting irregularities.
Mildred Thompson, Senior Director and Director of the PolicyLink Center for Health Equity and Place – Thompson leads the organization’s health team, with work focusing on healthy food access, improving the built environment, and the systemic integration of health equity. A significant component of her work involves exploring community factors that impact health and identifying effective solutions. Prior to joining PolicyLink, she was director of community health services for Alameda County’s Public Health Department; director of Healthy Start; and director of the San Antonio Neighborhood Health Center. Mildred has degrees in nursing, psychology, and social work. She has taught at Mills College and San Francisco State University, and also worked as an organizational development consultant. Mildred is a frequent speaker on topics related to health equity and serves on several boards and commissions including The Zellerbach Family Foundation and she is co-chair of The Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and Elimination of Health Disparities.
Malia Villegas, Director, National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center – Dr. Villegas is Sugpiaq/Alutiiq (Alaska Native) with family from Kodiak and Afognak Islands in Alaska and O’ahu and Lana’i in Hawai’i. She is an enrolled member of the Native Village of Afognak in Alaska. Malia earned her master’s degree and doctorate in Culture, Communities, and Education at Harvard University and completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University. She developed extensive relationships in the South Pacific through her Fulbright-funded dissertation research in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, serving as part of a team evaluating the first, national, longitudinal Indigenous education initiative since the 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations – the Stronger Smarter Learning Communities Project that seeks to improve the leadership culture of schools serving Indigenous Australians.
Lydia Camarillo, Vice-President, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) – Camarillo plays a key role in developing and executing strategies for SVREP’s nonpartisan mobilization efforts. Lydia serves as Chair of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force. She serves as Chair of the Texas Senate Latino Caucus and Mexican American Legislative Caucus Civic Engagement Taskforce. Lydia serves on the board of directors for MPMC and ACLU of Texas, Audit and Development Committees. She has served on numerous boards and commissions including on the National Board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Los Angeles Based City Project, Latino Issues Forum, Monterey County United Way Allocations Committee, Immigrant Rights Coalition for the Central Coast, Santa Cruz County Affirmative Action Commission, Salinas Affirmative Action Committee and the California Task Force on Hispanics and the Civil Service. Lydia has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Thomas W. Ross, President Emeritus, The University of North Carolina, Professor of Public Law and Government, School of Government, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University – Ross joined the School of Government, then the Institute of Government, in 1975 as assistant professor of public law and government. He became a partner in a Greensboro law firm, chief of staff to a member of Congress, a superior court judge, director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, president of Davidson College, and the fifth president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. He then returned to the School of Government in 2015 as professor of public law and government. Ross earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Davidson and JD from UNC School of Law.
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