Turning great ideas into healthier communities


What Can We Learn From Media Coverage of Trauma and Family Separation?

October 17, 2018 | Sara Han

This summer, Americans confronted a moral crisis as they learned about the surge in families who are being separated and detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. In April, the Trump administration implemented a "zero tolerance policy" that treated parents arriving at the border with their children as criminals, detaining their children separately before prosecuting the parents. At the center of this public outrage is trauma: The physical, mental, and emotional health of hundreds of families and their children are being harmed. Experts and advocates for children's health and immigrant rights have spoken out against the separation and detention of these families. "[These] children are essentially living their worst nightmare," Wendy Cervantes of the Center for Law and Social Policy told Newsweek. "A kid's worst nightmare is the boogeyman coming in the middle of the night and taking away their parents. That's what's happening."

From a previous Berkeley Media Studies Group news analysis, we know that childhood trauma is rarely discussed in the news. But has it appeared more often in the midst of this intense, nationwide focus on family separations? We wanted to know, what does the coverage of trauma and family separation and detainment look like? And what lessons can advocates and journalists learn from how trauma is discussed in news coverage of family separation?  more

See All Blogs


Press Releases

Greater Access to Liquor Stores Linked to Higher Rates of Violent Crime

September 26, 2018

A 10% increase in access to alcohol outlets was significantly associated with a 4.2% rise in violent crime in Baltimore, MD, a new study from ARG postdoctoral fellow Pamela Trangenstein found. Trangenstein and her team from Johns Hopkins also assessed whether the type of outlet made a difference, with results showing that greater access to off-site outlets was associated with a 4.4% increase in violent crime compared to 3% for on-site. This is the first ecologic study in the U.S. to use spatial access methods to compare on- and off-site outlets.  more

See All Press Releases


"Climate change impacts are not contained by boundaries—nor are its solutions."

September 10, 2018

"Governor Jerry Brown today cemented California’s role as a global leader in the quest to reign in climate change and protect the health of the world and its residents, by signing into law Senate Bill 100, which sets a 100% clean electricity goal for the state by 2045, and issuing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality by the same year. PHI applauds the state, Governor Brown, and SB 100 sponsor Senator Kevin de León for their vision and international leadership."  more

See All Statements

Announcements & Events

Study: Family Nutrition and Eating Habits in the Bay Area

September 19, 2018

The Public Health Institute, supported by the National Institutes of Health, is conducting a project on family nutrition and eating habits in the Bay Area. The project will provide important information for guiding programs and policy on family nutrition and health issues.

For questions about the study, or if you are a participant who needs to update your contact information, you can reach the project director at the Public Health Institute, Dr. Lynn Silver, at 510-285-5740.  more

See All Announcements

PHI in the News

Seniors: Arthritis, Depression … and Cannabis

October 12, 2018 | Chris Conrad | The Leaf Online

The link between depression, arthritis, and cannabis is part of the generational turn-around that could lead to greater margins of victory for cannabis at the election polls. Research by PHI's Alcohol Research Group was quoted that assessed trends in marijuana use between the years 1984 and 2015. Authors reported that, compared with older Americans 30 years ago, older respondents today are some 20 times more likely to acknowledge using cannabis. This suggests the stigma of cannabis from drug war propaganda has been eroded and education is reaching seniors. “We found that rates of use among older groups increased quite significantly since the 1980s, especially for men in their fifties and sixties,” the study’s lead author stated in a press release. Their finding is consistent with those of other studies reporting upticks in cannabis use by seniors.  more

See All PHI in the News