Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Elaine Zahnd, PhD, MA

Senior Research Scientist

Elaine Zahnd, PhD, is a sociologist and senior research scientist at PHI. Zahnd has conducted health policy-related research and evaluations for over 40 years. Her expertise includes adolescent and women's health, substance abuse, violence and mental health.

Zahnd was the principal investigator of a women's health policy brief project and an intimate partner violence study. She works with University of California at Los Angeles and state partners on the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), which has fostered her strong interest in survey research methodology, specifically cross-cultural comparability, behavior coding and cognitive work. She has evaluated a Mental Health Association of San Francisco program aimed at increasing mental health consumer involvement in policy and advocacy efforts and decreasing mental health stigma. She was the principal investigator for a California youth gun violence intervention evaluation.

Zahnd worked on many projects with the American Indian community, and was the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded study of substance-related violence affecting American Indian women.

She consults with local government agencies on women's health issues, including perinatal substance abuse and depression.

Zahnd has taught at the University of Oregon, Contra Costa Community College and the University of Minnesota. She received her doctorate from the University of Oregon.

CHIS 2009 Violence Module: Planning, Analysis and Dissemination

For the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) for 2009, a violence victimization module has been added to the Adult Survey to provide information on trends of violence among the adult population of California. PHI is providing CHIS study analysis develop a policy brief or brief report for the project.

Re-Entry Women and Employment Initiative

The goal of this project will be to conduct research that identifies the physical and mental health challenges facing formerly incarcerated women in California, and how their physical and mental health status can hinder ease of societal re-entry and gainful employment. In order to meet this goal, the first objective is to identify the extent and impact of the physical and mental health challenges on the employment and re-entry opportunities and outcomes for formerly incarcerated women in California, and to describe the extent to which current and model programs and services can serve to minimize or eliminate health disparities that present barriers to re-entry, job skill acquisition, or employment. The second objective is to ensure that the information gathered, analyzed and produced for the first objective is informed by the goals, activities, and outputs of the Initiative’s lead organization and TCWF to assist in their plans for crafting the future TCWF long-term Initiative.

Women's Health in California: Findings from CHIS

PHI is producing and dissmeinating three policy briefs on topics related to women's health, drawing on data collected from the California Health Interview Survey. These briefs will be disseminated to California to policymakers, opinion leaders and advocates.

Women’s Health in California: A Time for Change

The project will provide timely information on selected health issues affecting underserved women and women of color in California. Three policy briefs on women’s health issues will be produced based on the 2011-2012 California Health Interview Survey data and previous years for comparisons.

Health Needs of California Women Reporting Serious Psychological Distress and Chronic Health Conditions (2014)

The provision of mental health services has historically lagged behind the provision of physical health services. To address the gap, California pa...

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Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities Among Women in California (2014)

At a time when California is more racially and ethnically diverse than ever, nearly twice as many of the state’s women of color, as a group, ...

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Women’s Health in California: Examining Age and Income (2014)

Using data from the 2011-2012 California Health Interview Survey, this policy brief examines health indicators across women’s lifespan, looki...

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Majority of Young Children in California Eat Fast Food Regularly but Drink Less Soda (2013)

Despite steady declines in soda consumption, 60 percent of children between two and five years of age continue to eat fast food at least ...

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Over One Million Adult Women in California Report Serious Psychological Distress During the Past Year (2012)

Using data drawn from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, this policy brief focuses on the mental health of California women, undersc...

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Rising Uninsured Rate Among Low-Income Women Ages 18-64 in California (2012)

Using mainly 2009 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS 2009) collected after the initial effects of the recent, severe economic downturn, this ...

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Almost One-Quarter of California Nonelderly Women Uninsured in 2009 (2011)

This policy brief examines the health insurance coverage of nonelderly women in the state, ages 18-64, highlighting the demographic groups most at ...

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Nearly Four Million California Adults Are Victims of Intimate Partner Violence (2010)

The California Health Interview Survey asked adults ages 18 to 65 a series of questions to identify persons who have experienced intimate partner v...

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Adolescent Preventive Services: Rates and Disparities in Preventive Health Topics Covered During Routine Medical Care in a California Sample (2008)

This article examines rates and disparities in preventive health topics covered during routine medical care for adolescents. Utilizing 2003 Califor...

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Health Equity & Social Justice

Our health and wellbeing are directly impacted by our community environments. Unfortunately, not all environments are designed to promote and suppo...

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Law & Policy

The Public Health Institute believes in the power of laws and policies to improve public health outcomes by changing community environments to bett...

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Nutrition & Diet

The Public Health Institute views nutrition and diet as fundamental building blocks to good health. We are committed to reducing obesity and improv...

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Obesity Prevention

The obesity epidemic is a growing threat to our nation's long-term health, with communities of color and low-income populations disproportionat...

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Public-Private Partnerships

The Public Health Institute is committed addressing emerging global and national public health issues, and tackling the most significant public hea...

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Reproductive & Sexual Health

Giving women control over their childbearing and reproductive health gives them control over their lives. Policies and programs that support girls ...

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Rural Health

Rural communities face unique challenges to accessing quality health care and implementing sustainable policies to improve health outcomes. Many pu...

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Violence Prevention

As an organization working to promote the health and well-being of all people, the Public Health Institute recognizes the tremendous threat that al...

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