Emerging Leadership Series Panel Highlight
Debra Oto-Kent l Executive Director l Health Education Council


Debra Oto-Kent, MPH, is Executive Director of the Health Education Council (HEC), which is dedicated to providing access, education, advocacy and training to empower individuals towards a healthy life.

Ms. Oto-Kent founded the Health Education Council in 1991 after working for more than 13 years in the non-profit health care sector.  Ms. Oto-Kent’s two primary areas of interests and expertise include coalition building among diverse stakeholders- reaching consensus among common goals; and public health education with an emphasis on reducing health disparities among underserved populations, including low socioeconomic status communities and diverse ethnic populations- about which she has written and spoken extensively. 

She has served on boards and committees of local and statewide health and research organizations including the California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program, Breast Cancer Research Program and continuing service on Communities, Adolescents, Nutrition and Fitness (CANFIT); Sacramento Covered; External Advisory Board for the National Center for Reducing Asian American Cancer Health Disparities (AANCART); and founding board member of the Capitol Health Network.

Under Ms. Oto-Kent’s leadership the Health Education Council has developed model programs focused on increasing access to health and education resources and reducing health disparities from preventable causes of death.