Past Series

Speaker series archives

The Sunflower Foundation’s Advocacy in Health Speaker Series began in 2008. The following is an archived list of past presentations.

2016 Series

Dr. Anthony Iton: “New Approaches for Tackling the Root Causes of Health Inequity”

Presentation given March 17, 2016 at the Reardon Civic Center, Kansas City, Kansas


March 17, 2016
Kansas City, Kansas

“New Approaches for Tackling the Root Causes of Health Inequity”

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On March 17, Dr. Anthony Iton presented on “New Approaches for Tackling the Root Causes of Health Inequity,” at an event in Wyandotte County hosted by Sunflower Foundation.

Dr. Iton's presentation addressed the WHY, WHAT, and HOW of place-based work to address health inequity.

WHY place-based work? Because when it comes to your health, your zip code is more important than your genetic code. Dr. Iton explored the strength of the relationship between life expectancy and neighborhood.

WHAT focuses on how place gets under the skin and changes our physiology. Dr. Iton also examined the components of the environment that shape health opportunity.

Finally Dr. Iton examined HOW framework, investment strategies, policies and systems can lead us to new approaches to place-based work to address health inequity.

Dr. Iton, MD, JD, MPH, is Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation whose mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians.

Dr. Iton’s primary interest is the health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race, class, wealth, education, geography, and employment to health status. He has asserted that in every public health endeavor — be it immunizations, chronic disease, STDs, obesity, or even disaster preparedness — practitioners must recognize that they are confronted with the enduring consequences of structural poverty, institutional racism and other forms of systemic injustice.

Dr. Iton asserts that the only sustainable approach to eliminating health inequities is through intensive, multi-sectoral, place-based interventions that are specifically designed to identify existing assets and build social, political and economic power among a critical mass of community residents in historically under-resourced communities.


Carolyn Lukensmeyer: “Collaborating For More Civil Politics”

Presentation given Jan. 14, 2016 at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, Lawrence, Kansas

This presentation focuses on avenues for creating a culture of civil discourse in today’s polarized political environment, as well as the connection between citizen participation in the development of public policy and effective advocacy. Dr. Lukensmeyer will share key concepts from her 2012 book, “Bringing Citizen Voices to the Table: A Guide for Public Managers.”

Dr. Lukensmeyer is the Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, an organization that works to reduce political dysfunction and incivility in the political system. As a leader in the field of deliberative democracy, she works to “restore our democracy to reflect the intended vision of our founding fathers.” Previously, she served as Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks, a nonprofit organization that promoted nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies. Dr. Lukensmeyer formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993 to 1994 and on the National Performance Review, where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. From 1986 to 1991, she served as Chief of Staff to Governor Richard F. Celeste of Ohio. She was both the first woman to serve in this capacity and, at the time of her appointment, the only Chief of Staff recruited from the professional management field. Dr. Lukensmeyer has a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University.



2014 Series

Sarah Kilff is a senior editor at start-up Vox, where she oversees health, medicine and education news coverage. Click here to learn more about Sarah Kliff.

Andy Goodman is a nationally recognized author, speaker and consultant in the field of public interest communications. He is the author of "Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes," "Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes," and "Storytelling as Best Practice." Click here to learn more about Andy Goodman.


2012 Series

John Capecci, a speaker, coach, writer and educator, presented “Telling Your Story to Make a Difference” on May 23, 2012. Click here to learn more about John Capecci.

Isaiah Castilla, Advocacy Programs Council, Alliance for Justice, presented “Advocacy and Lobbying Training for Nonprofits” on March 14, 2012. Click here to learn more about Isaiah Castilla.

David Adkins, Executive Director and CEO, Council of State Governments and former Kansas legislator, presented “Sustaining Advocacy in Challenging Times on Jan. 18, 2012. Click here to learn more about David Adkins.

2011 Series

Robert Egger, founder and president of DC Central Kitchen and author of Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding for All, presented “The Nonprofit Sector and the Economic Rebuild of America” on Sept. 7, 2011. Click here to learn more about Robert Egger.

2010 Series

Steve Shields, President and CEO, Meadowlark Hills Retirement Center and Meadowlark Household Services, LLC, delivered a presentation on May 5, 2010. Click here to learn more about Steve Shields.

Rudy Lopez, Director of Politics, Center for Community Change, delivered a presentation on Jan. 6, 2010. Click here to learn more about Rudy Lopez.

2009 Series

Marcia Avner, Public Policy Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, delivered a presentation on Nov. 18, 2009.  Click here to learn more about Marcia Avner. A video of this presentation is below.

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Andy Goodman, nationally recognized public interest communications specialist, delivered a presentation on May 20, 2009. Click here to learn more about Andy Goodman. A video of this presentation is below.

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Susan Dentzer, Editor, Health Affairs, and Health Correspondent, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, delivered a presentation on March 18, 2009. Click here to learn more about Susan Dentzer. A video of this presentation is below.

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Ann Wiesner, grassroots organizing expert, delivered a presentation on Jan. 7, 2009. Click here to learn more about Ann Wiesner. A video of this presentation is below.

2008 Series

David Cohen, author and expert on non-profit advocacy, delivered a presentation on Nov. 19, 2008. Click here to learn more about David Cohen.

Cover photo: An aerial photo of Menninger Hill in Topeka, Kansas. The Sunflower Foundation will relocate to Menninger Hill in late 2020. Our home will be located directly south of the Tower Building (pictured in this report).