New Book: Exploring the Health, Economic and Quality of Life Disparities in America and Challenging This Inequity


Did you know that as an American, where you live determines your health, financial stability and even more privileges? Additionally, the difference in life expectancy between those who live a life of affluence and low-income Americans equals as much as two decades.

In her new book, “Twenty Years of Life: Why the Poor Die Earlier and How to Challenge Inequity,” author Suzanne Bohan explores the burden endured by low-income communities who live in neighborhoods with low quality schools, lack of parks, safety concerns, few to zero healthy food options and financial instability.

On Thursday, April 19, the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions is hosting a book discussion that will analyze how these communities are creating smart solutions and tackling health disparities.

The book chronicles the impact that The California Endowment, one of the nation’s largest health foundations, has had by investing $1 billion over a decade to help afflicted California communities advocate for their own interests. Bohan examines this new approach to community change, which harnesses the political power of local residents and is driving reform both locally and in the state’s legislature. The book asks the question: if this initiative can work in 14 of California’s most distressed communities, does it have the potential to work elsewhere in America?

Readers will be introduced to community activists who will challenge how we think about the root causes of disease and the prospects for healing. Two of these activists will share their experiences on the panel.

“In ‘Twenty Years of Life,’ Suzanne Bohan shows how trauma, both structural and personal, works as a primary catalyst for the inequities experienced by poor people and people of color,” said Pastor Michael McBride, National Director, PICO’s Urban Strategies and LIVE FREE Campaign. “Who among us will have the courage to respond with the urgency required? We are all on the clock…”

To register for the event:

To watch the full video of the event:

Speakers in attendance:

  • Suzanne Bohan, Author “Twenty Years of Life: Why the Poor Die Earlier and How to Challenge Inequity”
  • Anthony Iton, Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities, The California Endowment
  • Sandra Celedon, Chief Executive Officer, Fresno Building Healthy Communities
  • Sam Vaughn, Program Manager, Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety and Co-lead of the Operation Peacemaker Fellowship