UCGHD 2024 Keynote Speaker: Rohan Radhakrishna, MD, MPH, MS
Rohan Radhakrishna MD, MPH, MS champions change agents advancing partnerships to shift narratives and power structures for policy solutions. He was appointed by Governor Newsom and confirmed by the California Senate to lead the Office of Health Equity (OHE). He serves as a Deputy Director, Chief Equity Officer, and Tribal Liaison for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). He strives to uphold the universal values of love, dignity, and transformation. He believes that inequity in a world of abundance is morally and socially unacceptable.
Rohan leads OHE’s broad portfolio: advancing anti-racism through a Racial Health Equity Initiative, promoting Health in All Policies and cross-sector collaboration to address the social drivers of health by representing the California Health and Human Services (CalHHS) Agency on the Strategic Growth Council, supporting environmental justice through the Climate Change and Health Equity Branch, advancing behavioral wellness and resiliency for diverse populations through the prevention and early intervention California Reducing Disparities Project, supporting the Gender Health Equity Section, and supporting California’s COVID-19 equity work. He also serves as Co-Chair of the CalHHS JEDI Committee (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) and as a board member of the National Association of State Offices of Minority Health (NASOMH) representing Region 9 in the West.
Rohan brings a global perspective to California’s diverse population having lived and worked abroad. As a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador from 2002 to 2004 he worked with the Ministry of Health’s Indigenous Health Bureau on disparity reduction regarding nutrition, chronic disease, and maternal-child health. In 2005 he was Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador at Doctors Without Borders. He was a UC-Berkeley Human Rights Center Fellow in Northern Uganda and a Public Health Consultant with UNICEF in 2006 and the Norwegian Refugee Council in 2007 addressing the health impacts of displacement amongst vulnerable youth via rapid community based participatory research. In 2009 and 2010 he was a Rotary Ambassador Scholar in India focused on rural inequities of chronic disease. His efforts always focus on building healthy communities in partnership with impacted populations.
Rohan has 20 years of experience learning from and working with impacted communities globally and locally. He spent 10 years as a family physician in community safety-net clinics at a local health department serving as Co-Chair of the Health Equity Committee at the California Conference of Local Health Officers since 2019, Deputy Health Officer for Contra Costa County since 2018, and Chair of the Department of Family and Adult Medicine from 2015 to 2019. His experience responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, power shutoffs, wildfire smoke, and heat emergencies has solidified his commitment to addressing the overlapping public health crises of climate change and structural racism. Rohan graduated from Stanford University (B.A. in Human Biology, Concentration in Cross-Cultural Medicine, and Honors in Latin American Studies), University of California, Berkeley (M.P.H and M.S), Christian Medical College in Vellore, India (certificate in Infectious Disease), and University of California, San Francisco (M.D.). He is a past fellow of the California Health Care Foundation and the Pisacano Foundation.
Rohan Radhakrishna, MD, MPH seemed almost destined for a career in global health as he reflects on his career trajectory. Now he gets to carry his vision out by leading the California Department of Public Health's Office of Health Equity (OHE).