September 12, 2017
A new study from the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute, shows a sharp increase in marijuana use in the U.S. since 2005. Marijuana use among women has almost doubled, from 5.5% in 1984 to 10.6% in 2015. Men’s use declined from the 1980s to 2000 but has since increased to 14.7%, matching earlier rates. However, the research suggests that these increases in use were not specifically associated with medicinal or recreational marijuana legalization. more
May 16, 2017
A new analysis of City of Berkeley economic data released by a Public Health Institute researcher found that a year and a half after passage of the nation’s first large soda tax, food sector sales tax revenue rose by 15% in the city, and 469 new food sector jobs were created—an increase of 7.2%. more
April 27, 2017
Oakland, CA — As concerns about lead exposure peak across the U.S., a new PHI study published in Pediatrics indicates that lead reporting may be capturing just 2 out of every 3 children poisoned by lead. "Assessing Child Lead Poisoning Case Ascertainment in the US, 1999-2010," found states where more than 80% of lead-poisoned children remain unidentified—and researchers expect that testing rates have only declined in the subsequent years. more
April 18, 2017
A new study published in PLOS Medicine by the Public Health Institute and the University of North Carolina showed that Berkeley’s sugar sweetened beverage tax is working as intended.
“Changes in prices, sales, consumer spending ,and beverage consumption one year after a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Berkeley, California, US: A before-and-after study” is the largest-to-date evaluation of the nation’s first sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) tax, covering 15.5 million supermarket checkouts. It found that the volume of sugar sweetened beverages sold in Berkeley declined significantly, by 9.6%, in the year following implementation. Because sales for healthier beverages also rose, there was no negative impact on overall beverage sales at studied local businesses. Overall grocery bills (consumer spending per checkout) did not go up.
“The Berkeley tax is a home run—residents chose healthier options, it raised revenue for promoting health, and we saw no evidence of higher grocery bills for consumers or harm to local business revenue,” said lead author Lynn Silver, MD, MPH, of the Oakland-based Public Health Institute. “These findings suggest that sugary drink taxes make health and economic sense.” more
April 12, 2017
People with alcohol use disorders (AUD) who live in poorer neighborhoods in Sweden were less likely to pick up prescriptions to help treat their disease than those living in areas that are more affluent, a new study from PHI's Alcohol Research Group found. The study was published online in the journal Addiction.
Several AUD medications can play an effective role in addressing this condition. Researchers also found decreased rates of prescription pick-up among individuals with AUD who had lower incomes and less education. Women also were less likely to pick up medication, as were foreign-born individuals. These differences are likely due, at least in part, to differences in physicians’ prescribing practices in poorer neighborhoods. more
March 29, 2017
San Mateo County has overtaken Marin County as the healthiest county in California for the first time, according to the eighth annual County Health Rankings, released today. The Rankings also find that more than 16,000 deaths in the state could be avoided each year if all residents had a fair chance to be healthy.
“The 2017 Rankings point to an urgent need to make sure that clinical providers and public health practitioners are working closely together to make sure everyone can access care—and that we are working to prevent people from getting sick in the first place,” said Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, president and CEO of the Public Health Institute, which helps disseminate the County Health Rankings in California. more
March 24, 2017
Women who were exposed to higher levels of a toxic byproduct of a common PCB chemical and who also smoked during pregnancy had babies with significantly lower birth weight, according to a new study from the Public Health Institute published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology. This is the first-ever human study on the impacts of exposure to PCB byproducts—known as hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (OH-PCBs)—during pregnancy. more
February 21, 2017
According to a new national study from the Alcohol Research Group, 7.4 percent of surveyed respondents reported that children in their care experienced harm as a result of someone else’s drinking. Studies in the U.S. have found general child maltreatment rates to be approximately 1 to 2 percent. These new caregiver responses indicate that the actual rates of harm to children could be much higher. more
December 15, 2016
Fifteen dynamic and innovative women from across the US have been selected to the inaugural class of the Carol Emmott Fellowship (CEF), a cutting-edge program based at the Public Health Institute which accelerates the leadership capacity and impact of women leaders in health. The newly launched Fellowship is one of only a few mid-career initiatives seeking to fill a critical vacuum in establishing the next generation of women leaders who will further transform health. more
December 08, 2016
Cancer survivors were more likely to report heavy drinking and more frequent heavy drinking occasions compared to others at the same ages with similar drinking histories, according to a new study in Preventive Medicine from the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute. Heavy drinking was defined as having five or more drinks at any one time. more
Study Finds the Longer Immigrant Women Live in the US, The More Likely Food Insecurity Affects Obesity
November 29, 2016
The longer that immigrant women reside in the United States, the greater the chances that food insecurity will be connected to obesity, finds a new study by the Public Health Institute’s Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra published today in the Public Health Nutrition journal.
According to findings based on a large representative sample of women in California, among immigrant women who lived in the US for 10 years or longer, very low food security was significantly associated with higher prevalence of overweight/obesity. Among immigrant women who had lived in the US for less than 10 years, low and very low food security were not significantly associated with obesity. more
October 07, 2016
The Carol Emmott Fellowship, a newly formed fellowship for women leaders in health aimed at addressing gender inequity in health leadership, will launch its inaugural program on November 1, 2016. In support of this ground-breaking program, which is based at the Public Health Institute, a select group of 12 esteemed organizations are committed to sponsoring this year’s first class of distinguished fellows.
September 30, 2016
In Imperial County, where particulate pollution often exceeds state standards for more than six months at a time and children have among the highest rates of asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the state, the availability of local air quality information can be a life or death issue. On September 30th, community members and research partners in California’s Imperial County launched IVAN Air Monitoring, a community air monitoring website that puts real-time air quality information in residents’ hands. more
Media Advisory: California Border Community Unveils Community Air Monitoring Website to Address Air Pollution and Asthma Crisis
September 20, 2016On September 30, Imperial County community members, local organization Comite Civico del Valle, the California Environmental Health Tracking Program, and partners will celebrate the launch of IVAN Air Monitoring, a community air monitoring website that puts real-time air quality information in residents’ hands, during a celebratory event at Heber Elementary School, home to one of the community air monitors.
In Imperial County, the polluted air makes it risky to be a young child. Children in Imperial have an asthma ER rate that is nearly twice the state average. This project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, brings together scientists, community advocates, and local residents to develop a community air monitoring network. With the air monitoring data now available on a community-based website, parents and other residents now have air quality data that they can use to make immediate decisions to protect the health of their families. more
September 09, 2016
If the vote for marijuana legalization in Washington State were to be held again, Initiative 502 (I-502) would potentially have a stronger majority than it did in November 2012, according to a new study from the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute, published today in Contemporary Drug Problems.
Researchers found that among people who voted against I-502, 14 percent would now vote in favor of the measure compared to 4.8 percent of yes-voters who would change their vote to no. The measure permits the production, processing, and selling of marijuana and allows limited possession for residents twenty-one years of age and older. Excise tax revenues on both wholesale and retail sales of marijuana are earmarked to support substance-abuse research, education, prevention and health care. more
Advancing Better Women’s Health Prevention: The IMPT Receives $4.49 Million U.S. Government Award to Support MPTs
August 01, 2016
Women’s ability to protect themselves from simultaneous sexual and reproductive health (SRH) risks, including unintended pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) received a substantial boost with a $4,499,501 award from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to advance Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs). This award will support the Initiative for MPTs (IMPT) to coordinate the innovative field of prevention that enables women and adolescent girls to better protect themselves from multiple SRH risks. Some MPTs prevent infections and unintended pregnancy, while others would allow women to become pregnant while preventing HIV and other STIs.
The IMPT is a project of CAMI Health, an organization dedicated to women’s reproductive health and empowerment, housed at the Public Health Institute (PHI). more
June 28, 2016
Washington State residents who voted in favor of privatizing liquor sales were eight times more likely to express a desire to change their original vote than residents who voted against the measure, according to a study from PHI's Alcohol Research Group published today in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. “Our study not only shows that many people changed their minds about privatization, but more importantly, those who now say they wish they had voted no might have been a large enough group to defeat the measure in 2011, had they known its real impact at the time,” said lead author Meenakshi Sabina Subbaraman, Ph.D., a biostatistician with ARG. more
June 27, 2016
More California grown fruits and vegetables will be found on plates across the state, as Governor Brown today included funding for healthy food incentives in the 2016-2017 state budget. In a farm economy still hurting from drought, this modest $5 million investment is expected to boost farmers’ sales ten times and create nearly 2,000 jobs in rural communities—all while improving the health of local families. more
June 09, 2016
An increase in cross-border traffic by Washington State residents to Idaho and Oregon following Washington’s privatization of liquor stores resulted in significant revenue for the two bordering states, according to a new study from PHI's Alcohol Research Group published online this week in the journal Addiction. more
April 20, 2016
Women with irregular menstrual cycles had up to a threefold increased risk of developing ovarian cancer and dying from it, according to a large, prospective study from the Public Health Institute published online this week by the International Journal of Cancer. “Our study finding is significant because ovarian cancer is usually not diagnosed until after it has spread. There are no reliable early diagnosis or screening methods, and symptoms often go unnoticed until it’s too late,” said Barbara A. Cohn, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Public Health Institute’s Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS). “Discovering high-risk traits like irregular menstruation gives clinicians the opportunity to potentially save lives by identifying them as early warning signs and developing strategies to reduce these women’s risk of death.” more