NEWS | September 30, 2020

What matters most to your health: genetics, lifestyle or life experiences?

Snively lecturer explores the social causes of illness


The roles that genetics, lifestyle and life experiences play in health and disease risk take center stage at an upcoming presentation by Paula Braveman, a UCSF physician and expert on the social determinants of health.

Photo caption: Paula Braveman, M.D., M.P.H. Photo caption: Paula Braveman, M.D., M.P.H.

Braveman’s address — “What Makes Us Healthy or Sick?” — is free and open to everyone. It takes place Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Reservations are requested via Eventbrite. She is the first virtual speaker sponsored by UC Davis Health’s George G. Snively Lectureship in Family Medicine.

Braveman is a professor emerita of family and community medicine and founding director of the Center for Health Equity at UCSF. Her research focuses on defining, measuring, documenting and reducing the effects of economic hardship, as well as racial and ethnic disparities on health, particularly maternal and infant health. She advocates for greater attention to these issues in clinics and health policy arenas.

“We have been aware for some time that factors like diet and exercise affect health. More recently, we have put increasing attention on the role of social and economic differences and their profound impact on health,” said Elizabeth Magnan, associate professor of family and community medicine at UC Davis Health. Magnan also leads the Snively Lectureship speaker selection committee.

“Dr. Braveman is a national leader in understanding and raising awareness of  social, racial and economic health disparities, and bringing health equity to the forefront of the national conversation about improving care,” Magnan said. “We look forward to her timely lecture and learning what we can do now to reduce these health disparities.”

About the George Snively Visiting Lectureship in Family Medicine

George Snively was chair of the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine during the formative years of the family medicine discipline. The visiting lectureship was established after his death to honor his outstanding leadership, passion for training the next generation of primary care clinicians, and dedication to providing UC Davis and the community with opportunities to hear from thought leaders in health care. More information about the lectureship and the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine is at