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PHI in the News

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People on SNAP are some of Big Soda's best customers — and biggest ad targets

January 18, 2017 | Alex Orlov | Mic

Food and beverage marketers aggressively target low-income communities in marketing unhealthy foods, says Pamela Mejia from PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group in this Mic article responding to a recent report that showed  American households benefitting from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) spent more SNAP money on soda than any other item.  more

'No One Should Go Hungry': How the Root Cause Coalition is Working to Change Healthcare's Priorities

December 19, 2016 | Becker's Hospital Review

The Root Cause Coalition is a member-driven, nonprofit organization created to take on issues pertaining to social determinants of health like poverty, housing instability and hunger to improve the health of America's disenfranchised communities. One of the Root Cause Coalition's research initiatives, Tackling Hunger to Improve Health in Older Americans, is focused on adults over 50 years of age who experience food insecurity and are afflicted with chronic illness. The study is the result of a partnership with the CDC and is being conducted by the Public Health Institute.  more

California Poised to Tighten Rules on Pesticide Spraying Near Schools

November 30, 2016 | Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Bee discusses a new pesticide application proposal, spurred by a CDPH/Public Health Institute report from the California Environmental Health Tracking Program.  more

Helping Vulnerable Populations at Risk from Climate Change: Lessons from the Field

November 17, 2016 | The Nation's Health

One of the ways to protect vulnerable populations from climate change is to create plans that consider their health and well-being — not only in emergencies, but also when considering future infrastructure. PHI's Center for Climate Change and Health is helping health departments around the country create constituency plans and expand their approaches to tackling climate change and health equity in their communities.  more

Poverty May Have a Greater Effect on Suicide Rates Than Do Unemployment or Foreclosures

November 16, 2016 | MedicalXpress.com

County-level suicide rates in the United States had a strong positive relationship with county poverty rates, while no relationships were found between county measures of unemployment or foreclosures when poverty rates were controlled, according to a new study from the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), a program of the Public Health Institute, in collaboration with the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Oregon Health and Science University, Prevention Research Center and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.   more

Caring For Advanced Illness Through Faith Communities

November 14, 2016 | California Health Report

For people suffering from advanced illnesses like cancer, navigating the complex worlds of palliative care and hospice can be a daunting task. Although programs to help patients exist, African American communities experience consistent disparities including a disproportionate burden of advanced illness.

Five African-American churches have partnered with PHI's Center for Technology and Aging and the Alameda County Care Alliance to place "care navigators" directly into their congregations. These care navigators offer advice on advanced directives and offer guidance on housing, transportation, and respite care for caregivers.  more

Soda Tax Movement Gains Momentum in Bay Area

November 09, 2016 | Next City

Next City and The Mercury Times talked to PHI's Lynn Silver following the landmark passage of a tax on sugary beverages in San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany about the movement going forward and public health outcomes.  more

New Data: Surprising Number Of California Parents Experienced Abuse As Children

November 03, 2016 | California Healthline

California Healthline and Slate Magazine cover newly released data from PHI that captures high abuse rates amongst Californian adults.  more

New Study: Some Pot Smokers Face a Higher Risk of Drinking Problems

November 03, 2016 | The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post and LiveScience.com look at a new PHI study finding that people who combine alcohol and marijuana may be at greater risk for alcohol-related problems, such as drunken driving and poorer health.  more

Public Health in the Headlines: How Does News Coverage Impact Health?

November 02, 2016 | Public Health Newswire

The media narrative covering community violence have evolved over the years to include more discussion of race and police violence.

At an APHA session called "Media News Coverage of Health and Risk," Laura Nixon from PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group shared results from a study of news coverage of community violence in California from 2013 to 2015.  more

Insuring the Right to Health: Making the Marketplaces Work for Everyone

October 31, 2016 | Public Health Newswire

Since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, the nation's uninsured rate has dropped to a record low. Unfortunately, the health insurance marketplaces created by the Act have experienced challenges reaching some of the nation's most vulnerable populations.

Cited in this Public Health Newswire story, PHI's President and CEO Mary Pittman, charted out some of the big questions the ACA is facing today and how states are addressing barriers to insurance enrollment in a panel called "“Insuring the Right to Health — Enrolling Underserved Populations through Health Insurance Exchanges" at the annual American Public Health Association conference in Denver, CO.  more

It’s a Soda Tax, Not a Grocery Tax, and It Works

October 26, 2016 | Lynn Silver, MD, MPH | East Bay Times

In November, residents in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany will vote on a simple 1-cent-per-ounce tax on distributors of sugary drinks. It will raise revenue for health and prevent diabetes. This tax will fall mostly on big soda companies and their bottlers, and they are spending millions to mislead and misrepresent what is on the ballot in order to protect their profits.

PHI's Lynn Silver studied the 2014 tax on sugary drinks in Berkeley, and explains the results: average grocery bills did not go up and sales of unhealthy, sugar-packed drinks dropped significantly. This commentary published in the East Bay Times makes the strong case for passing the tax in order to increase the health and well-being of all residents. The study was also cited in recent KQED story discussing the inflow of campaign donations for the soda tax measure.  more

Is the Soda Tax on Your Ballot Actually a Grocery Tax?

October 14, 2016 | KQED

By charging distributors 1 cent per ounce of sugar-sweetened drinks they bring into a city, three Bay Area ballot measures aim to raise significant funds—over $7.5 million in San Francisco, $6 million in Oakland and $220,000 in Albany per year—for health and education programs to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks.

This KQED article cites preliminary findings of a PHI study, which looked at retail scanner data of millions of transactions in Berkeley and found the cost of the tax was predominantly passed on to the price of sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages. “We also did not see a rise in the average grocery bill,” said Lynn Silver, one of the researchers with the Public Health Institute.  more

Big Soda’s Tax Claim Falls Flat with Grocers

October 11, 2016 | San Francisco Chronicle

In the Bay Area, the beverage industry has already spent about $14 million to defeat three controversial soda tax measures on ballots this November. Almost all of their ads use the phrase "don’t tax our groceries."

This San Francisco Chronicle article cites a study by PHI's Lynn Silver that there is little evidence to support the industry's claim that grocery costs will go higher. In fact, the study found people are buying fewer sugary drinks and more untaxed drinks, like bottled water, making sales totals for drinks about stable. Overall grocery bills have stayed the same.  more

How Senate Retirements Could Affect Science

September 30, 2016 | Scientific American

Nora Connors, PHI's deputy director of public policy, talks about how an exodus of science advocates could impact the next Congress, in Scientific American.  more

Tracking asthma threats in the Imperial Valley's hazy air

September 29, 2016 | The Desert Sun

Growing up in the Imperial Valley, 18-year-old Jessica Herrera has learned that her asthma can appear suddenly and become overpowering, taking away her ability to breathe. The pollution comes from a mix of sources: farmers burning the post-harvest stubble on their fields, smog drifting across the border from Mexicali, lines of cars and trucks belching exhaust and windblown dust wafting from farms, the desert and the shores of the Salton Sea.

PHI’s California Environmental Health Tracking Program is installing a network of 40 air monitoring devices in the region between the U.S.-Mexico border and the Salton Sea and is about to begin churning out a wealth of real-time data. This new tool will help alert Herrera and the others who suffer from asthma in the Imperial Valley to dangerous levels of air pollution.  more

Kevin Barnett Talks to The Commonwealth Fund

September 28, 2016

Kevin Barnett, Dr.P.H., M.C.P., a senior investigator with the Public Health Institute, has spent the last two decades researching the ways nonprofit hospitals meet their charitable obligations. Kevin spoke with& Transforming Care, a publication from The Commonwealth Fund, on how community prevention and health disparity issues could be better incorporated into the work of hospitals.

 

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Youth Advocates Offer Tools for Addressing Childhood Trauma

September 13, 2016 | Sarah Reith | Willits News

On Tuesday, September 6, Aurelie Clivas and Carter Grissom of the Mendocino County Youth Project spoke about the effects of trauma on the developing brains of young people. Their talk focused on how traumatic experiences in childhood often lead to negative health outcomes in adulthood. Data from an assessment tool called the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) test has found correlation between childhood trauma and increased frequency in suicide, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases. This Willits News article cites a survey conducted in Mendocino County by PHI surveying the population using the ACE tool.  more

Soda Companies Have a New Language Trick to Keep You Hooked on Sugar

September 02, 2016 | Kiera Butler | Mother Jones

In Oakland, California, soda companies are railing against the passage of a new tax on sugary beverages that would protect the health of vulnerable populations. The industry has created a new phrase—"grocery tax"—to try to sway voter against approving the soda tax that would help fund free preschool. The Mother Jones article cites a study by PHI's Lynn Silver, Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra, and Marta Induni that showed a simliar tax passed in Berkeley, CA, in 2014 is working as intended.  more

Cities Hire Food Systems Experts To Address Obesity, Food Access

August 22, 2016 | Rachel Cernansky | Civil Eats

At least 22 cities, from Baltimore to Denver, have created leadership roles for change-makers focused on food. Until recently, the many disparate elements of the food system have often been viewed in isolation. Cities are recognizing the chronic health and economic challenges that persist in communities with little access to healthy food, and the fact that local government can play a role in improving the food environment. PHI's Roots of Change president Michael Dimock underscores the importance of having a desiginated person within government to coordinate food policy.  more

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