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Closing the Health-Wealth Gap

Strategies to Reduce Health Disparities and Create Financial Opportunity
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Over two million Californians have medical debt. These residents find it difficult to access needed health care or affordable credit. Even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, many Los Angeles residents will continue to struggle with medical debt that makes it harder for them to pay other bills and leads to financial and mental stress.

For California communities to be healthy, they must address both health and wealth issues. There are clear connections between poverty, lack of health insurance, and poor health. The difference in average lifespan between residents of Watts and Newport Beach is greater than fifteen years. But it’s not too late to reverse this trend and put Angelenos back on track to live healthy and financially sound lives.

This half-day symposium brought together nationally recognized experts in health reform and financial empowerment at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in Los Angeles to discuss the latest research, current legislation and concrete strategies that policymakers, healthcare professionals, financial service providers, and advocates can support to reduce the burden of medical debt, create savings opportunities, and improve health outcomes in Los Angeles.

This event was co-sponsored by the New America Foundation, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in Los Angeles, and the Select Committee on Financial Empowerment.


8:30 am - Registration

9:00 am - Introduction and Welcome Remarks

  • Olivia Calderon
    Director, California Asset Building Program, New America Foundation

9:10 am - Symposium Overview

  • Melody Nava
    Regional Manager, Southern California, Community Development
    Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

9:20 am - Public Policy Strategies to Address Medical Debt and Achieve Financial Security

  • Shana Alex Lavarreda, PhD
    Director of Health Insurance Studies, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
  • Mark Rukavina
    Executive Director, The Access Project
    Author of the report, "Tarnish on the Golden State"
  • Leif Wellington Haase
    Senior Health Fellow, New America Foundation
  • Olivia Calderon
    Director, California Asset Building Program; New America Foundation
  • Jose Quiñonez
    Executive Director, Mission Asset Fund
  • Open Discussion

10:30 am - Break

10:45 am - Private Sector Role in Support of Innovative Health-Wealth Strategies

  • Lisa Richter (Moderator)
    Principal, GPS Capital Partners
  • Rachelle Wenger
    Director, Public Policy & Community Advocacy, Catholic Healthcare West
  • Forescee Hogan-Rowles
    President and CEO, Community Financial Resource Center
  • Lynn Yonekura, M.D.
    Director, Community Benefit, California Hospital Medical Center Foundation
  • Open Discussion

11:55 am - Next Steps and Closing Remarks

  • Olivia Calderon
    Director, California Asset Building Program, New America Foundation

Event Time and Location

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 8:30am - 12:00pm
FRBSF Los Angeles Branch
950 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90015