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PHI in the News

Warming planet means more dangerous hot days

October 24, 2017 | Jenny Staletovich | The Miami Herald

“Extreme heat events already cause more deaths in a typical year than any other weather event, and climate change is causing more extreme heat days. So it’s important to understand we can reduce heat deaths and heat illness by taking common sense steps,” said Linda Rudolph, director of PHI's Center for Climate Change and Health, in response to a new report from the Natural Resources Defence Council on extreme heat days.

Rudolph participated in a press call for the report's release, saying public health infrastructure needs to be strengthened to prepare for more dangerous hot days.  more

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

North Bay wildfires: How climate change made the disaster worse

October 20, 2017 | Chris Roberts | Curbed San Francisco

Climate change played a role in the deadliest, most costly wildfire in California history this month, which killed at least 42 people and destroyed nearly 8,500 structures. PHI's Linda Rudolph, director of our Center for Climate Change and Health, addresses the additional health impacts of exposure to wildfire smoke in this Curbed San Francisco article.  more

Baby Your Baby: Lead Poisoning Testing

October 20, 2017 | Leslie Tillotson | KUTV

This week is Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and Salt Lake City's KUTV produced this report citing research from PHI's California Environmental Health Tracking Program showing that children across the country are under tested for lead poisoning, particularly in western states.  more

Mikey Burton

How To Win Against Big Soda

October 15, 2017 | Anna Lappé and Christina Bronsing-Lazalde | The New York Times

A recent PHI study is highlighted in this New York Times op-ed arguing that efforts to pass sugary-drinks taxes are better able to withstand attacks from the soda industry when they're driven and supported by community coalitions that build public awareness early on, as was the case in Berkeley, CA. PHI's study found that the volume of sugar sweetened beverages sold in Berkeley declined by 9.6% in the year after implementation of its sugary-drink tax. The study also found no negative impact on overall beverage sales at studied local businesses, and that overall grocery bills did not go up.  more

What’s Next in the Fight to End Child Marriage in Guatemala?

October 04, 2017 | Claudia Romeu, Rise Up | Ms. Magazine

Guatemala has taken a huge step forward for girls, officially outlawing child marriage following years of advocacy by activists and girl leaders. New legislation closes a major loophole in the law, a major victory for girls in a country that has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Latin America.

Starting in 2013, PHI's Rise Up began investing in girl-led advocacy to pressure Guatemalan law makers to increase the minimum age of marriage to 18 years. This campaign led to the first big step towards banning child marriage in Guatemala, a law that increased the legal age of marriage to 18 in November 2015. However, a major loophole in the law allowed for girls and boys 16 to 18 years old to be legally married with the consent of a family judge. But girl leaders and civil society activists refused to give up, continuing in their fight to end child marriage.   more

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gives $100,000 toward monitoring pollution at Salton Sea

September 20, 2017 | Ian James | The Desert Sun

Efforts by community members and PHI's California Environmental Health Tracking Program to monitor air quality in California's Imperial County are getting a boost from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is providing a $100,000 grant to support an expanding network of air pollution monitors there. The new funding will help keep the network operating and will pay for 20 more monitors, which provide air quality information to the public at a time when the nearby Salton Sea is shrinking—producing large amounts of dust and intensifying a public health crisis in the area.

Learn more in this article and accompanying video by The Desert Sun.  more

Study: Rise In Marijuana Use Not Caused By Legalization

September 14, 2017 | Tom Angell | Forbes

Marijuana use has risen sharply among adults in the U.S., but instead of being caused by laws legalizing the use of medical or recreational marijuana, the trend is primarily explained by decreasing disapproval of marijuana use. That's the main finding of a study by PHI's Alcohol Research Group published this week in the journal Addiction. Read more in this Forbes article.  more

Marijuana Use in the U.S. Has Increased, But Not Because of Legislation, Study Says

September 12, 2017 | Robert Valencia | Newsweek

American adults are smoking more pot, but increased cannabis use does not appear to be due to wider availability of legal marijuana, a new study from PHI's Alcohol Research Group shows.

"Results ...did not show significant increases in use related to medicinal marijuana legislation,” lead investigator William Kerr said in a statement. “It appears that the passage of these policies reflects changing attitudes toward marijuana use, rather than the other way around.”  more

Image: Kaiser Health News

California needs health-care workers, and it’s asking for help

August 23, 2017 | Anna Gorman, California Healthline | The Los Angeles Daily News

Health and education leaders across California have joined forces with business and labor leaders to address workforce shortages in health care through the newly unveiled California Future Health Workforce Commission. PHI's Kevin Barnett, co-director of the commission, says in this Los Angeles Daily News article that among other things, home health care workers should earn a higher wage to improve retention and that more workers are needed outside the clinical setting to address upstream issues that lead to poor health.  more

Veteran advocate worked to erase health care disparities for many

August 21, 2017 | Cathie Anderson | The Sacramento Bee

This obituary honors the personal and professional legacy of Mario Gutierrez, executive director of PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy, who died unexpectedly on August 16 in Sacramento.

Mario’s passion was clear: to make sure that every person, no matter how poor or how isolated, could access high-quality healthcare. His groundbreaking work researching and supporting telehealth innovations has helped children in remote rural communities receive life-saving treatment from world-renowned physicians, and has explored the potential of connecting health care providers in Mexico with undocumented individuals needing care in California. His contributions to the field have saved lives, and his loss will leave a significant void. But the loss of his generous nature, his kindness, sense of humor and overall humanity will be what is most keenly missed.

Read more in this Sacramento Bee obituary.  more

Non-Profit Hospitals and the Health of Surrounding Communities

August 16, 2017 | WCPN's The Sound of Ideas

Access to affordable, high-quality health care is critical in creating healthier populations. Yet much of what makes people healthy is determined outside the doctor’s office—from education and housing to safety and healthy food access. What role should hospitals play in improving these social determinants of health?

PHI President and CEO Mary Pittman joined WCPN's The Sound of Ideas program to discuss why hospitals are getting into the "zip code improvement business" and why community conditions such as safe streets and healthy housing are critical to health.  more

Kent County Health Department's "Health Lens" focuses on Health in All Policies

August 16, 2017 | Patrick Center | WGVU

Julia Caplan, head of PHI's California Health in All Policies team, was recently at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, talking to local public and private leaders about how high rates of chronic disease like obesity, diabetes and cancers among young people need to be addressed, explaining that policy can curb economic and societal burdens on the health care system.  more

Americans Are Drinking More Than Ever and It’s Costing the U.S. Billions

August 09, 2017 | Fortune

Americans are drinking more than they used to. The number of adults who binge drink at least once a week could be as high as 30 million, according to a new study. William Kerr, senior scientist at PHI's Alcohol Research Group, comments on what could be done to reduce consumption: making alcohol more costly by increasing taxes or setting minimum prices.  more

IEPS a bebidas azucaradas opera con éxito en otros países: expertas

August 08, 2017 | Belen M. Saldivar | El Economista

A recent study by PHI and the University of North Carolina, showing that sugar drink purchase in Berkeley decreased 9.6% in the first year of that city's soda tax, is highlighted in this El Economista article on the success of sugar-sweetened beverage taxes in the U.S. PHI's Lynn Silver, lead author on the study, said the fight against obesity needs to include not only sugary drink taxes, but also public awareness campaigns, limits on the size of sugary beverages and warnings on drink labels. Click to read the article (in Spanish).  more

100 Percent Renewables: For a Healthful California

August 07, 2017 | Napa Valley Register

PHI President and CEO Mary Pittman co-authored an op-ed on the importance of renewable energy with Richard Allen Williams, M.D., president of the National Medical Association and founder of the Association of Black Cardiologists. "Our energy system is one of the biggest sources of climate pollution. So, the faster we transition from the dirty energy sources of the past to clean, renewable energy, the better able we will be to protect our communities from large-scale climate catastrophe (think coastal flooding, extreme heat, wildfires and storms, and widespread food and water shortages)," they say.  more

Telemedicine Laws Gain Momentum With Passage in 2 More States

August 02, 2017 | Eric Wicklund | mHealthIntelligence

Two more U.S. states have telehealth laws on the books, following the lead of other states codifying telemedicine and stipulating what types of technology can and cannot be used. A recent report from PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) found more than 200 telehealth-related bills that had been introduced in 44 states so far this year.  more

California Strengthens Its Role as Leader on Climate Change: State Steps Up As Federal Support Lags

August 01, 2017 | Kim Krisberg | The Nation's Health

An agricultural worker prunes a grapevine in April in Windsor, California. A record winter rainfall ended the state’s five-year drought, which has been linked to climate change. California is one of the states leading the charge on combating climate change, particularly now that federal action has stalled. Photo by George Rose, Getty Images.A growing, multisector policy framework at the state and local levels underscores California’s climate change efforts. Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Climate Change and Health at California’s Public Health Institute, said California has “taken the climate problem to heart” because in many ways, the state is on the front lines of climate-related impacts. Scientists warn that California is at risk for a range of climate effects, including sea level rise, more frequent and intense wildfires, more drought, drinking water contamination and worsening air quality.

“Just take drought,” said Rudolph, an APHA member. “Other states haven’t seen droughts that led to thousands of poor rural households running out of tap water and local health departments having to put in place systems for community showers… There’s a recognition here that climate change is real, it’s happening and it really is impacting people.”  more

Photo: David Goldman/AP

CDC may face double jeopardy with Senate health bill

July 27, 2017 | Lev Facher | STAT

PHI and other leading public health organizations responded to efforts in the Senate to defund the Prevention and Public Health Fund—which makes up 12% of the CDC's budget—in a letter quoted in this STAT article: “Slashing public health and prevention funding would increase preventable suffering and death, make the poorest and sickest communities fall even further behind, and leave our country far less prepared for and capable of responding to public health emergencies.”  more

In Response: Watered down facts on soda tax

July 14, 2017 | Lynn Silver | The San Diego Union-Tribune

PHI's Lynn Silver, MD, MPH, writes in a letter to the editor that a recent op-ed by a vice president of the American Beverage Association misrepresented the findings of a study she authored on the soda tax in Berkeley. The ABA "understands marketing better than science," she says, noting that the analyses showed declines in sugary drink purchases while the city's food sector revenue grew.  more

Artwork by Diana Ofosu

The hidden toxic threat in America’s backyards

July 12, 2017 | Yvette Cabrera | ThinkProgress

Childhood lead poisoning dramatically decreased across America as the federal government began phasing out leaded gasoline in the 1970s. But many children are still being exposed today because of lead’s legacy: polluted environments, particularly in urban areas. As the issue recedes from public consciousness, lead exposure is still harming children in complex ways. ThinkProgress takes an in depth look at the toll on one community, and explores research from PHI's California Environmental Health Tracking Program, which found that states across the country are severely undercounting and underreporting the number of lead-burdened children. 


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