Plenary: Leaders in Health Justice

Saturday, October 6 | 8 – 9:30 a.m.

At its core, health justice is about addressing the systemic inequities that create conditions for poor health outcomes. Inequality in many forms can be caused by discriminatory laws and policies, which sadly often increase the burden on those with the least amount of options or resources. This panel of leaders will discuss their approaches to health justice, examining issues such as access to quality health care, segregated communities, the role of government and the private sector, and the need for effective legal and policy interventions. They will also share their perspectives on the ways public health will need to evolve to address the structural underpinnings that create barriers to good health for so many Americans.


Donna E. Levin — National Director, Network for Public Health Law

Before joining the Network for Public Health as its National Director, Ms. Levin spent 26 years as general counsel at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she had oversight of Office of General Counsel and led her team in providing guidance on statutory and regulatory authority, the development of major policy initiatives of the Department, and legislation affecting public health. Ms. Levin’s work has been in the areas of newborn screening, genetics and privacy laws, health insurance consumer protections, and public health aspects of health care and health care cost reform.


Dr. Umair Shah (moderator and panelist) — Executive Director of Harris County Public Health and President of NACCHO

Since 2013, Dr. Shah has served as Executive Director and Local Health Authority for Harris County Public Health (HCPH). In 2017, Dr. Shah and his team demonstrated extraordinary public health service to the 4.5 million people in Harris County in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Under Dr. Shah’s leadership, HCPH has also initiated innovative public-private partnerships aimed at preventing diseases through emerging technologies. He is currently President of NACCHO, representing the nation’s 3,000 health departments.

Bethany A. Johnson-JavoisChief Executive Officer, St. Louis Integrated Health Network

As CEO of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN), Ms. Johnson-Javois leads a non-profit that serves the region’s safety net health care providers and the local community to promote the mission of providing quality, affordable, accessible care to all with an emphasis on serving the underserved. Ms. Johnson-Javois was also the managing director for the Ferguson Commission, appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to address the underlying root causes that led to the unrest in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.


Brian C. CastrucciChief Executive Officer at the de Beaumont Foundation
Under Mr. Castrucci’s leadership, the de Beaumont Foundation is driving change to improve population health, foster collaboration between public health and other sectors, and strengthen the nation’s public health infrastructure. An epidemiologist with experience in state and local health departments, Mr. Castrucci brings a unique background that allows him to shape and implement visionary and practical initiatives and partnerships that bring together research and practice.

Liz Tobin-Tyler — Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Health Services, Policy and Practice, Warren Alpert Medical School and School of Public Health, Brown University
Ms. Tobin Tyler teaches in the areas of health policy, health equity and public health law and ethics. Her research focuses on the role of law and policy in the social determinants of health, and community-based and health system interventions that address health disparities. Ms. Tobin Tyler is a national expert in the development of medical-legal partnerships, which integrate medicine, public health and legal services to identify, address and prevent health-harming social and legal needs of patients, clinics and populations.