Multicultural health in the Bay Area: The untold story - Agenda and speakers


Noon - Welcome/Lunch

12:30-1:10 p.m. - Lunch discussion

Health care reform proposals and their effect on diverse communities

• Ellen Wu, MPH, executive director, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

1:20-2:30 p.m. -
Uncovered stories in multicultural communities
A look at the untold stories in the Bay area's African American, Latino, and South Asian communities, with a focus on economics and health; aging, health access and diverse populations; and the quiet crisis among South Asians.

• Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., health officer for Alameda County, Calif.
• Arnab Mukherjea, M.P.H., executive committee chair, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health
• Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., independent journalist and AHCJ board member

2:45-3:55 p.m. - Covering the multicultural community with limited resources

Tips and traps on the multicultural health beat, making inroads with your coverage, applying lessons and better understanding and identifying your audience.

• Viji Sundaram, health care Editor, New America Media
• Sally Lehrman, independent journalist and diversity chair, Society of Professional Journalists
• Sheree Crute, editor, "Covering Health in a Multicultural Society," and AHCJ board member


Sheree Crute is an independent health and medical and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. A journalist for 20 years, she's written about a range of health topics and specializes in multicultural health. She is the editor of Covering Health in a Multicultural Society: A Resource Guide for Journalists (California Endowment) and a member of the board of directors of the Association of Healthcare Journalists. She was the founding director of the Minority Media Information Center (MMIC) at the Scientists' Institute for Public Information, a groundbreaking, not-for-profit health news service for journalists serving African American, Native American, Latino and Asian audiences; the health editor for Heart & Soul magazine, the nation's first publication focused solely on the health needs of African American women; editor of the book, Health & Healing for African-Americans, (Rodale Press) and an archivist and writer for the Subcommittee on Populations at the Department of Health and Human Services, focusing on health care disparities. Her recent work has appeared in Health magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and Heart & Soul.

Andrew Holtz, M.P.H., is a former CNN medical correspondent who works as an independent journalist based in Portland, Oregon. His book, "The Medical Science of House, M.D." was published in 2006. He writes the ScriptDoctor column on medicine in the media that appears in Oncology Times. In addition to 17 years experience as a CNN correspondent, Holtz has reported stories and produced programs for PBS, Oregon Public Broadcasting, TLC, and outlets in Japan and Britain, for magazines including Oregon's Future and Harvard University's Nieman Reports, and for Web sites such as Holtz was AHCJ board president from 2000 to 2004 and served as interim executive director. Holtz is a member of the Multnomah County Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen's Advisory committee and is active in community efforts to make neighborhoods friendlier to walking, cycling and other physical activity.

Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., is the California health officer in Alameda County. Iton oversees the county's health agency which focuses on preventing communicable disease outbreaks and reducing the burden of chronic disease and obesity. He also manages the county's preparedness program for biological terrorism. A longtime multicultural health advocate, Iton has worked as an HIV disability rights attorney at the Berkeley Community Law Center and a health care policy analyst with Consumers Union West Coast Regional Office. Iton's primary interest is the health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race class, wealth, education, geography, and employment to health status

Sally Lehrman is an award-winning reporter and writer on medicine and science policy who has written for print, broadcast and online media including Scientific American, Nature, Health,, and the DNA Files, distributed by NPR. Her honors have included the 1995-96 John S. Knight Fellowship; a shared 2002 Peabody award, Peabody/Robert Wood Johnson Award for excellence in health and medical programming, and Columbia/Du Pont Silver Baton. She is author of "News in a New America," a fresh take on developing an inclusive U.S. news media. She serves as at-large director and national diversity chair for the Society of Professional Journalists and is a USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism Expert Fellow on race.

Arnab Mukherjea, M.P.H., is chair of the executive committee of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health, program director of Health Career Connection, a national organization committed to increasing underrepresented minorities in the health professions, and immediate-past co-chair of the executive board of directors of the South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA) and the head of their San Francisco affiliate. In addition to his commitment to the South Asian community in health and education, he is an advocate of cultural competency and diversity in health care education, practice, and delivery. His primary interests include looking at how cultural behaviors, values, and stigma play a direct role in disparate health outcomes. His research includes examination of the tobacco industry documents for targeting of South Asians through culturally-specific marketing and co-opting of social norms and values, as well as analyzing South Asian specific tobacco patterns and the risk imparted to South Asian subgroups for various health conditions (such as cardiovascular disease and oral cancer).

Viji Sundaram is the health editor at New America Media. Sundaram joined New America Media in 2006 to cover multicultural health in the Bay area. Prior to that, she worked as a general assignment reporter with India-West, a national weekly published in San Leandro, Calif. While there, she won eight journalism awards, five from the South Asian Journalism Association and three from New California Media. Her national exposé on McDonald's use of beef in its French fries won her a first prize in investigative reporting from both SAJA and NCM in 2002. Her series on "Women and AIDS in India," done with a Kaiser Media Fellowship, won her an NAM award in 2006.

Ellen Wu, M.P.H., is the Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), a statewide network of multicultural health organizations working together to ensure that all Californians have access to quality health care and can live healthy lives. CPEHN played a critical role in mobilizing the health community to defeat Proposition 54 and getting SB 853 chartered, a bill that will ensure language services to all Limited English Proficient health plan members. Wu is a graduate of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has worked with a culturally diverse low-income and uninsured population for the past 12 years. Wu serves on numerous committees such as the California Health Interview Survey Advisory Board, California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Task Force, and LEADing Organization Change: Advancing Quality Through Culturally Responsive Care Advisory Committee.