"Gun Violence & Our Health: Finding Solutions through the Lens of Social Justice"

21st Annual UCLA Health Care Symposium

Featuring Howard Spivak, MD

Principal Deputy Director National Institute of Justice 


Social justice issues are pervasive in our society, and they directly affect medicine by determining, for example, who is able to access health care, what kind of care a patient receives, and whether or not a patient is able to manage chronic health conditions. Due to these issues, certain populations are disproportionately burdened by gun violence. Healthcare professionals and the community have roles to play in social justice issues because they are inextricably linked with the lives of many who are served by the healthcare system. Please join us as we explore ways to increase awareness about gun violence as a public health issue and provide a starting point for some and encourage continued involvement of others, in finding solutions to end gun violence together.



The Health Care Symposium is organized by UCLA medical students. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors!

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(Bios are for archival purposes)

Howard Spivak

Howard Spivak, MD

Principal Deputy Director

National Institute of Justice, US Department of Justice

Howard Spivak, MD is currently the Principal Deputy Director at the National Institute of Justice at the US Department of Justice. Before joining NIJ, he was Director of the Division of Violence Prevention at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Spivak began his career as Director of Adolescent Services for the City of Boston, during which he cofounded the first community-based public health youth violence prevention program in the nation. He moved on to become the Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where he was in charge of all prevention and community oriented programs in the department, and among other activities developed the first office for violence prevention at the state level and advanced the funding of the first school-based health centers in MA.

Dr. Spivak has held a number of senior academic appointments including Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health at Tufts University, directed pediatric and adolescent primary care programs at several academic medical centers, published numerous academic and general public articles on youth violence, spoken around the country and internationally on violence related issues, and worked with many community programs both in Boston and nationally addressing youth violence prevention as well as other violence-related concerns. He has co-authored 2 books on youth violence: Murder Is No Accident and Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice.

Deborah Prothrow-Stith

Deborah Prothrow-Stith, MD

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Deborah Prothrow-Stith, M.D. is dean and professor of Medicine for the College of Medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Dr. Prothrow-Stith is an internationally recognized public health leader, who since 2008 has advised top-tier healthcare, life sciences, academic and not-for-profit institutions on leadership and executive talent in her role as a principal at the global executive search consulting firm, Spencer Stuart. Prior to joining Spencer Stuart, she served as the Henry Pickering Walcott Professor of Public Health Practice and Associate Dean for Diversity at the Harvard School of Public Health where she created and led the Division of Public Health Practice, and secured over $14 million in grant funding for public health programs.

As a physician working in inner-city Boston, Dr. Prothrow-Stith broke new ground with her efforts to define youth violence as a public health problem. She developed and wrote The Violence Prevention Curriculum for Adolescents, a forerunner of violence prevention curricula for schools and communities. She is the author of Deadly Consequences, the first book to present the public health perspective on violence to a mass audience. She has authored and co-authored over 100 publications. She is co-author of a blueprint for community based violence prevention in, Murder Is No Accident (Jossey Bass Publishers, 2004) and a guide for parents of adolescent girls in Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice, (Jossey Bass Publishers, 2005). She is also co-author of a high school health education textbook, Health (Pearson 2014) that is in its third publication.

In 1987, Governor Michael Dukakis appointed her the first woman Commissioner of Public Health for Massachusetts where she led a department with 3,500 employees, 8 hospitals and a budget of $350 million. She established the nation’s first Office of Violence Prevention in a state department of public health, expanded prevention programs for HIV/AIDS and increased drug treatment and rehabilitation programs. Dr. Prothrow-Stith and her family lived in Tanzania during her husband’s tenure as U.S. Ambassador where she worked with several local organizations, including Muhimbili National Hospital and an NGO that runs the first HIV clinic in Tanzania.

She is a graduate of Spelman College and Harvard Medical School. She completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Boston City Hospital and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. In 2003, Dr. Prothrow-Stith was elected to membership in the prestigious National Academy of Medicine. She has received ten honorary doctorates including ones from Morehouse Medical School and Meharry Medical College. She is the recipient of the 1993 World Health Day Award, the 1989 Secretary of Health and Human Service Award, and a Presidential appointment to the National Commission on Crime Control and Prevention. In 2015, she was inducted into the honor roll of women physicians in the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Ben Owens

Ben "Taco" Owens

Detours Mentoring Group

Ben Owens, also known as Taco, is a product of change and reformation of character. As a former gang member turned activist, his involvement with the African American gang culture for over thirty-seven years has forged relationships with rival gang members and often the victims of gang and gun violence. He is currently is a supervisor with Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA) and is contracted with the City of Los Angeles’ GRYD (Gang Reduction Youth Development) program. He is also a consultant for many documentaries that illustrate gang and gun violence in the South Los Angeles region.

Taco is an Ordained Minister and is the Executive Director of Detours Mentoring Group Inc., located in Gardena, Ca. He sits on the Executive Board of the Southern California Cease Fire Committee where he collaborates with former and active gang members, victims of crime, clergy, community members and law enforcement to resolve community conflict and gang induced violence in the Greater Los Angeles area. He has trained both Interventionist and Law Enforcement on community collaborative methods and practices since 2007. In 2013 he worked Hospital Based Intervention with CROSSROADS and St Francis Hospital contracted through the Department of Labor as a Victim and Trauma Recovery Case Manager. Prior to his GRYD experience he has worked with the PYE program (Project Youth Embrace) through Prototypes, the Department of Justice and the Los Angeles County Probation Department. For the past 3 years he has served as a moderator at the Los Angeles Gang Conference.

Rochelle Dicker

Rochelle Dicker, MD

University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Rochelle Dicker is a Trauma Surgeon and Critical Care Intensivist. Her academic interest focuses on injury prevention. Dr. Dicker is Director of the Wraparound Project, a hospital-based violence prevention program that has been replicated in other trauma centers. Her publications re ect the positive effects of this program which aims to reduce violent injury recidivism. In addition, Dr. Dicker works with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to address pedestrian and bicycle injury within a framework of the public health model. Dr. Dicker’s focus is on populations most vulnerable to particular forms of injury.

Her work with vulnerable populations start locally and span globally where the burden of injury in low- and middle-income countries is growing. She contributes to efforts in trauma surveillance and workforce development overseas.

(Bios are for archival purposes)

Angie Lim

Angie Lim, MS2

Angie Lim is a second-year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Born in South Korea and raised in Los Angeles, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology and minored in Spanish at UCLA in 2012. She also obtained her Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in 2014 and studied the effect of aspirin use on Parkinson’s disease as part of her graduate capstone project. Angie is passionate about health education and preventive medicine in both children and adult populations and is currently involved in developing and leading classes to use creative measures to promote healthy behaviors in children and adolescents living in transitional housing. In her spare time, Angie enjoys reading, playing music, and exploring national parks.

Cher Huang

Cher Huang, MS2

Cher Huang is a second-year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Born in Canada and raised in Los Angeles, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology, with a minor in Political Science at MIT in 2014. While at MIT, Cher interned at the Institute of Medicine in the National Cancer Policy Forum, where she analyzed the obstacles hindering the adoption of biomarkers in guiding cancer therapy. She spent a year after graduation working on health services research projects at Massachusetts General Hospital. Cher is interested in health systems reform and social determinants of health, and is currently studying the effect of a value-based insurance design on health outcomes in different populations. In her spare time, Cher enjoys watching documentaries, going to concerts, and exploring different cultures through food.

Mari Allison

Mari Allison, MS2

Mari Allison is a second-year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Born and raised in Upstate New York, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering at Syracuse University and her PhD in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Her graduate research was done on concussion at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and she loved working in the field of injury prevention with a multidisciplinary team. She is interested in how research and new medical knowledge can be efficiently implemented to make a difference in patients’ lives. In her spare time, Mari enjoys traveling, hiking, and camping.

Sara Arastoo

Sara Arastoo, MS2

Sara Arastoo is a second-year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Born and raised in Orange County, CA, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at UC Irvine in 2014. During college, she founded a volunteer program that organized health fairs and mentored high school students, and di research investigating pediatric developmental and behavioral disorders. She is currently involved in undergraduate mentorship and research investigating ways to utilize telemedicine for pre-operative evaluation. In her free time, Sara enjoys playing basketball, trying new coffee shops, and watching sports.

Photo credit: Thomas D Luong

John Mazziotta

John Mazziotta, MD, PhD


Clarence H. Braddock III

Clarence H. Braddock III, MD, MPH

Vice Dean for Education, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Chief Medical Education Officer, UCLA Health System

Edmond Hewlett, DDS

Professor, UCLA School of Dentistry
Vice Chair, Division of Restorative Dentistry
Associate Dean for Outreach and Diversity

Gerardo Moreno

Gerardo Moreno, MD, MSHS

Assistant Professor, UCLA Department of Family Medicine
Executive Director, UCLA PRIME

David Carlisle

David Carlisle, MD, PhD

President, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Patrick Dowling

Patrick Dowling, MD, MPH

Professor and Chair, Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine

Kenneth Wells

Kenneth Wells, MD, MPH

Director, Center for Health Services and Society
Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Deborah Prothrow-Stith

Deborah Prothrow-Stith, MD

Dean, College of Medicine, Charles R. Drew University
Professor of Medicine, Charles R. Drew University

The 2017 Health Care Symposium would like to thank our following sponsors for their generous support to this year’s event.