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Envisioning an Equitable Health System: Reweaving America’s Social Contract

Join us for a conversation about some of the opportunities and challenges facing our leaders and our nation in achieving a health system that centers health, wellness, and equity. Foremost among these challenges is the need for the nation to build a strong social contract. Our conversation will focus on the burden of racism and other destructive hierarchies on the social contract, why we must work toward the vision of an equitable system, and the conditions necessary for the vision to thrive. Health equity leaders Anthony Iton and Damon Francis will preview the principles, values, and key questions that must be addressed from their paper, “Envisioning a New Health System Rooted in Equity.” The paper is part of the Urban Institute’s review of the nation’s progress toward health care equity in the 20 years since the Institute of Medicine’s Unequal Treatment report and will be released by the Urban Institute later this year.



  • Damon Francis, Medical Director, Homeless Health Center, Alameda Health System; Assistant Clinical Professor, University of California, San Francisco
  • Anthony Iton, Lecturer of Health Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health; Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities, The California Endowment
  • Brian Smedley, Equity Scholar and Senior Fellow, Health Policy Center and Office of Race and Equity Research, Urban Institute


Unequal Treatment at 20: Accelerating Progress toward Health Care Equity

How do we accelerate progress and catalyze health equity solutions?

This event series features conversations with leading scholars and social changemakers that identify where barriers to equity remain and how we can collectively advance and catalyze new solutions and accelerate progress toward health care equity. Racial and ethnic disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes persist in the United States, some 20 years after the publication of the Institute of Medicine’s report Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, which outlined steps to advance equity. In a series of virtual dialogues with the authors of papers that explore promising areas of progress and that promote accountability for action, the Urban Institute will explore next-generation health equity strategies that states and the federal government can harness in partnership with the communities they serve.


Support for this series is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, The California Endowment, the Episcopal Health Foundation, and the California Health Care Foundation. For more on Urban’s funding policies, go to

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Urban Institute Speakers
  • Senior Fellow