Turning great ideas into healthier communities


Research - Quantitative

To make an effective impact on community health, public health practices, programs and policies must be informed by accurate research and analysis. The Public Health Institute works to foster health, well-being, and quality of life through rigorous quantitative research guided by the principles of health equity, environment, education, and economic contexts. By exploring statistical associations between variables and finding differing patterns in population health outcomes, our programs help to advance research and practice, evaluate the cost of health inequities and disease, design successful programs and interventions, and improve health outcomes in communities.

Our expertise includes:

  • Conducting cutting-edge public health research: Our programs are committed to collected high quality data and analysis. We also work to cultivate innovative approaches to research, to ensure the best
  • Global analysis: Work with us to conduct state-of-the-art research on a local to global scale.
  • Capacity building: Our programs are available to lead professional development and training in research methods.
  • Building and harnessing the power partnerships for public health research: PHI programs have many pre-existing partnerships with organizations of researchers, practitioners, and clinicians.




Resources and Tools


Barbara Cohn

Barbara A. Cohn, PhD, is director of the Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS) at PHI. CHDS is home to a groundbreaking study, which originat...

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Norman Constantine

Norm Constantine, PhD, is a research psychologist and methodologist who directs PHI’s Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Developmen...

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Paul English

Paul English, PhD, MPH, is state environmental epidemiologist and branch scientific advisor for the Environmental Health Investigations Branch at t...

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Thomas Greenfield

Tom Greenfield is scientific director of PHI's Alcohol Research Group (ARG). He also directs ARG's National Alcohol Research Center, which ...

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Marta Induni

Marta Induni, PhD, is the research program director of the Survey Research Group (SRG) at PHI. With more than 20 years of survey research experienc...

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Katherine Karriker-Jaffe

Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, PhD, is a scientist at PHI's Alcohol Research Group. She examines how community and cultural determinants contribute ...

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William Kerr

William C. Kerr, PhD, is a senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group (ARG). Since joining ARG in 2001, Kerr has pursued research in the ar...

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Christy McCain

Christy McCain, MPH, a project director with PHI, has more than 15 years of domestic and international health experience, including survey dev...

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Douglas Polcin

Douglas L. Polcin, EdD, MFT, is a Project Director at the Public Health Institute. His research and teaching interests include sober living houses,...

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Alcohol Research Group

Established in 1959, the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), a program of the Public Health Institute, conducts and disseminates research on the epidemio...

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Behavioral Health and Recovery Studies

Behavioral Health and Recovery Studies examines a variety of issues, including drug and alcohol abuse, mental health disorders, criminal justice sy...

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National Alcohol Research Center

The National Alcohol Research Center, housed within PHI's Alcohol Research Group, is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alco...

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Tracking California

Tracking California (formerly the California Environmental Health Tracking Program) compiles, analyzes, and shares data to identify and understand ...

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Here's How We're Making a Difference

Calculating the Costs of Environmental Health Conditions in California Children

Eliminating exposures to preventable environmental hazards related to four childhood health conditions could save families and the state of California $254 million annually, and prevent losses of $10-13 billion over the lifetime of all children born in a single year, revealed a 2015 report from PHI's California Environmental Health Tracking Program (now known as Tracking California). 

Explore the report and accompanying graphics. 



Understanding the Population Risks of PBDEs

A PHI study tested the hypotheses that polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) accumulate differently in the human fetal liver and placenta than in maternal serum, and that fetal exposure to PBDEs affects fetal metabolic capacity. PBDEs are an important public health concern, as in vitro and in vivo studies show that in utero exposure can adversely impact fetal development. 

The study measured levels of PBDEs in human maternal and fetal biological specimens from women undergoing voluntary, second trimester pregnancy terminations. From the medical procedure, researchers collected 130 matched sets of maternal serum, placenta, and fetal liver. At the end of this study, researchers produced unique information about human fetal exposure to PBDEs during the second trimester, including empirical relationships between maternal and fetal exposures which can be used to estimate fetal exposures when only maternal levels are available. BDE-28, 47, 100, 99, and153 were predominately detected. The serum and the liver showed higher PBDE concentrations than the placenta, with BDE 47 being the major congener in all matrices.

Collectively, this information now helps to bridge the gap between experimental toxicology and human observation studies and will improve our understanding of population risks to PBDEs