Dr. Rajiv Bhatia speaks on health inequities.The Office of the President and the Office of Health Policy and Legislative Affairs welcomed U.S. leader in health impact assessment and social medicine practitioner Dr. Rajiv Bhatia for the Healthy Health Policy Lunch and Lecture on Feb. 19.

Students, faculty and staff gathered in the UTMB Clinical Sciences Auditorium as Bhatia spoke on the topic “Tackling health inequities:  field experiences of a social medicine practitioner.” Bhatia is the former director of environmental health for the city of San Francisco and an assistant clinical professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco.  Prior to moving into an executive role at San Francisco’s Department of Health, Bhatia was a physician to indigent patients for the department.

Bhatia shared how he used his experience as a physician and health impact assessments to meet the needs of underserved residents in San Francisco.  The health impact assessments, known as Sustainable Communities Index, helped to change policies aimed at fundamental health needs including nutrition, housing and safety in San Francisco. 

SCI is a comprehensive set of measurement methods for indicators of livable, equitable and prosperous cities. Alexandra (Lexi) Nolen, director of UTMB’s Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, adapted the SCI for post-disaster land use planning in Galveston. 

The Health Policy Lunch and Lecture series is co-sponsored by the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health and the UTMB student chapters of the American Medical Association and the Texas Medical Association.

The free lectures are open to UTMB students, faculty, staff and the general public.  For more information on the series, click here.