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Lack of primary care and attention to chronic disease are the real ills of the health care system, panelists said at a seminar on health care reform for California Broadcast Fellows.

Anthony Iton, public health officer for Alameda County, says that 3 out of every 4 health care dollars goes to the treatment of chronic disease. "It is the elephant in the room. If you're not talking about chronic disease, you're not talking about health," he says.

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Dr. Thomas Cole is the public health officer for Madera County. His state-appointed job puts him in close contact with the the Madera County Public Health Department. The department's programs include AIDS, bioterrorism preparedness, child health and disability prevention, communicable disease control, breast cancer screening and child immunization.

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Dr. Richard J. Jackson is a professor and the chairman of environmental health sciences at UCLA's School of Public Health. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of environmental health services at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He also served as state public health officer for the California Department of Health Services. His responsibilities included direct leadership and oversight of the department's public health-related activities.

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Dr. Joseph Cassady is the public health officer for Yuba County and works with the Yuba County Health and Human Services Department.

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Dr. James Corona is the public health officer for Glenn County. In his state-appointed role, he works closely with Glenn County Health Services Agency to protect the health of Glenn County residents through a variety of programs, including mental health, substance abuse and environmental health programs.

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Dr. Andrew Deckert is the public health officer for Shasta County. In this capacity, he has a state-mandated responsibility to protect the health of Shasta County residents. He works closely with the Shasta County Department of Public Health to provide leadership in public health emergencies and oversees various department divisions.

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