We host...forums for discourse on critical issues in public health.

Each year, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research brings public health experts, community leaders, policymakers, advocates, researchers, media, and the general public together for discussions on some of the most urgent issues facing public health — from gun violence, to housing and homelessness, to the impact of COVID-19 on our health systems, to universal health care.

The E.R. Brown Symposium, named after UCLA CHPR founder E. Richard "Rick" Brown, is an annual event that honors the life of Rick Brown, who spent his life building evidence and advocating for a health-care-for-all system and improving social factors that assure equitable opportunities for people to achieve the best health possible.

Addressing Gun Violence as a Public Health Epidemic
February 13, 2023

Near daily coverage of another shooting event has everyone asking: “What can be done?” The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research brought together an outstanding group of researchers, advocates, and community leaders working to understand and stem gun violence, and sharing new research and perspectives to inform policy and programs to increase public safety.

Attendees heard from some of the voices leading this important work: researchers working to build the evidence base to bring a better understanding to this complex issue and its perspectives in different communities, community leaders with frontline views of programs and policies that show promise in stemming the rising tide of violence, and policymakers working to make a difference in the state.

Keynote Speaker: California Attorney General Rob Bonta shared his vision for how policy can make a difference.

Featured panelists and speakers:

  • ​Joan Asarnow, Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • Kerith Conron, Research Director, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
  • Christian Heyne, Vice President of Policy and Programs, Brady 
  • Chris Knoepke, Assistant Professor, Research, University of Colorado Denver – Anschutz Medical Campus 
  • Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, Assistant Professor, Violence Prevention Research Program, UC Davis
  • Brian Malte, Executive Director, Hope and Heal Fund
  • Julie Nagasako, Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Planning, California Department of Public Health
  • Jesenia Pizarro, Editor, Homicide Studies, and Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University
  • Fernando Rejón, Executive Director, Urban Peace Institute
  • Refujio “Cuco” Rodriguez, Chief Equity and Program Officer, Hope and Heal Fund
  • George Tita, Professor, Criminology, Law, and Society, UC Irvine
  • Andrea Welsing, Executive Director, Los Angeles County Office of Violence Prevention

UCLA CHPR Director Ninez Ponce provided opening and closing remarks and moderated the event. 

The symposium also featured a session exclusively for students and youth. Presenters included: Gabriel Garcia, Youth ALIVE!; Wilson Hammett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and Jason Madison, RYSE Center. Moderated by Cuco Rodriguez. 

Interesting in learning more about some of the gun violence research going on at UCLA CHPR? Read our recent fact sheet.


Opening Doors for All: Improving Health in Housing and Homelessness
October 4–5, 2021
Download the program.

The 2021 symposium brought public health leaders, community advocates, policymakers, and other thought leaders together to discuss one of the most pressing public health issues facing Californians: housing and homelessness. Throughout two days, speakers from around the country shared past successes and lessons learned, discussed some of the underlying economic and social factors contributing to homelessness, and identified opportunities so that California can invest effectively with evidence-based solutions to creating a healthier, more prosperous California for all.

Speakers and panelists included:

  • Bill Purcell, Former Mayor, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County 
  • Libby Schaaf, Mayor, Oakland
  • Phil Ting, California State Assembly member, District 19
  • Isaac Bryan, California State Assembly member, District 54
  • Philip Mangano, President and CEO, The American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness
  • Donald Whitehead, Jr., Executive Director, National Coalition for the Homeless
  • Kathryn Monet, CEO, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
  • Margot Kushel, Director, UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations
  • Michelle Cabrera, Executive Director, County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California
  • Leepi Shimkhada, Director of Housing and Services, Housing for Health, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
  • Gary Painter, Director, USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation and Homelessness Policy Research Institute
  • Suzette Shaw, Poet and Advocate, Skid Row from a Women's Perspective
  • Eva Thibaudeau, CEO, Temenos Community Development Corporation
  • Nadereh Pourat, Director, Health Economics and Evaluation Program, and Associate Director, UCLA CHPR
  • Dana White, Program Officer, True Colors United

UCLA CHPR Director Ninez A. Ponce provided opening and closing remarks. 

Read the policy paper, featuring findings from the symposium.

Healing a Fractured Society: Health Care as a Right
October 14, 2020

Can we heal our broken health care system? What role does social justice and equity play in achieving health care for all? Leading experts from around the country discussed the fractures the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare in our health systems and the strategies for change in addressing health equity.

The symposium brought together public health leaders, community advocates, policymakers, researchers, faculty, students, and more for critical discussions on the past, present, and way forward.

Speakers included:

  • Lanhee Chen, David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • Michael V. Drake, President, University of California
  • Sandro Galea, Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor, Boston University School of Public Health
  • J. Nadine Gracia, Executive Vice President and COO, Trust for America’s Health
  • Sandra Hernández, President and CEO, California Health Care Foundation
  • Robert K. Ross, President and CEO, The California Endowment
  • Lisa Simpson, President and CEO, AcademyHealth

Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California

Universal Health Care in California
March 1–2, 2019
The inaugural E.R. Brown Symposium on universal health care brought leading experts from around the world to discuss the origins of universal health care systems in other countries, how they operate, and whether one could be implemented in California.