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The Center's 2020 Health Policy Seminar Series

August 13, 2020

    The Center is pleased to host leading health policy experts at our
    monthly seminar series. 
    August 27 seminar date and time

    The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and exacerbated disparities in access to health care and other resources, and most strikingly across the diverse racial and ethnic groups across the U.S. It has not only devastated communities, it has illuminated the inequities in our health care system.

    For Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) — who are seeing rates of infection up to five times that of white people here in L.A. County — a lack of disaggregated race and ethnicity data has made them invisible. So how does a group which has often been masked by a lack of meaningful data become unhidden? The brand-new Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) COVID-19 Data Policy Lab at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) is looking to change that — by revealing targeted data for NHPIs across the nation in order to better deploy resources and other actions to help the disproportionately affected population.

    This vibrant, diverse, and close-knit community experiences extremely high rates of chronic diseases including diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease, obesity, and asthma, and coupled with fewer financial resources, large multi-generational households, densely populated neighborhoods, and nearly 25% working in essential jobs, places them at significantly higher risk for COVID-19.

    The NHPI COVID-19 Data Policy Lab will address striking gaps within data and research for NHPIs including the need to increase the number of states reporting disaggregated NHPI COVID-19 cases — which only 30% of states are doing — and calling attention to NHPIs experiencing the highest COVID-19 rates of any racial and ethnic group here in California and throughout the country including Arkansas, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, and Utah. Presenters will debut a dashboard that highlights the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on this community.

    Enlisting the help of passionate students and recent graduates from across the country, UCLA CHPR Director Ninez Ponce is honored to introduce the NHPI COVID-19 Data Policy Lab at UCLA CHPR, with scholars Richard Calvin Chang, Corina Penaia, Karla Thomas, Vananh Tran, John Greer, and Nicholas Pierson.

    Data produced by Ponce and the team have been used in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, featured in news media, and will be included in Health Affairs.

    This webinar is co-sponsored by the National Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response Team, a consortium of researchers, physicians, public health experts, elected officials, and community advocates created to respond to the pandemic to protect PI communities, and the Southern California Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response Team, a coalition of NHPI community-based organizations and advocates providing much-needed resources and information to NHPI communities in the cities and counties across Southern California. 

    What: “Hidden No More: Unmasking Data for Health Equity
    Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020
    Time: Noon to 1 p.m. PT 

    **As a safety precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
    this seminar will be held exclusively online.** 


    Previous seminars

    July 16, 2020: "Combining Traditional Modeling with Machine Learning for Predicting COVID-19"

    Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 10 million in late June, with the death toll exceeding half a million people. Here in the U.S., many states have rolled back reopening plans as cases shattered record highs. So what comes next? The recent surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths has prompted an even greater need to understand the disease and its spread among communities in California and throughout the nation, with health care experts, academic centers, researchers, and other agencies using models to help forecast case and death rates, and ultimately identify hot spots and the need for targeted resources in those areas. While most use either SEIR models (compartmental model), curve fitting, or machine learning to model COVID cases and deathsChristina Ramirez, Professor of Biostatistics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and her colleagues have combined all three techniques into a single comprehensive model to forecast the total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths across the nation.


    Dr. Ramirez shared her groundbreaking, comprehensive model that combined traditional SEIR models with case velocity and machine learning to get precise, reliable estimates of COVID-19 case and death rates — shining a light on whether the pandemic is gaining speed and if deaths are accelerating or stabilizing. This project also uses the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to obtain an accurate snapshot of California data so that morbidity and mortality rates are based on the known prevalence of sociodemographic factors such as age, race, and co-morbidities or underlying health conditions. View a recording of the seminar.

    June 29, 2020: "Pride and Pandemic: Vulnerabilities to COVID-19 Among LGBT Adults in California"

    Two reports produced by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law extract data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), where researchers found that LGBT adults in California are significantly at risk for health and economic harm due to COVID-19. Among those risks, more than 200,00 LGBT people in California have one or more high-risk medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or HIV; 612,000 were living below 200% of the federal poverty level prior to the pandemic; and 134,000 do not have health insurance. Additional health factors include problems paying for medical bills and delaying or forgoing care because of cost or lack of insurance, and economic risks are related to factors such as poverty level, race/ethnicity, gender identity, housing, food security, and employment status.

    Kathryn O’Neill, lead report author and policy fellow and analyst at the Williams Institute, shared key report findings that describe the characteristics of the LGBT community in California with an emphasis on those factors which increase vulnerability to harm from the COVID-19 pandemic. View a recording of the seminar.

    May 20, 2020: "Health at Risk: Policies Are Needed to End Cigarette, Marijuana, and E-cigarette Secondhand Smoke in Multi-Unit Housing in Los Angeles"

    Peggy Toy, director of the Health DATA Program, and Catherine Yount, public policy analyst, shared findings from their study, which highlighted the high level of secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing and gaps in existing voluntary smoke-free policies. Despite an increasing number of smoke-free local laws in the last 10 years, the proportion of Californians reporting exposure to secondhand smoke from tobacco, marijuana, and e-cigarette vapor continues to rise. Residents of market-rate, privately-owned multi-unit housing (e.g., apartments) are particularly at risk of drifting secondhand smoke. In a 2019 study conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) that included 4,800 tenants and 176 multi-unit housing owners in the City of Los Angeles, 49% of tenants reported exposure to drifting secondhand smoke, including tobacco (39%), marijuana (36%), and e-cigarette (9%). Presenters will discuss the need for a consistent implementation and enforcement plan to prevent exposure to secondhand smoke for all Los Angeles residents. Find the recorded video here.

    Mar. 26, 2020: “Census Undercount of Latino Immigrants: Impact on Health and Socials Programs in Los Angeles

    Steven P. Wallace, Associate Center Director at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, presented findings of a study he conducted with colleagues that looked at funding at risk in Los Angeles County (LAC) for health care and social services. They also did an analysis of services that could be lost if Latinos are undercod in the census. Wallace will discuss the projected funding loss for critical services in LA County, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), Head Start early childhood education program, and the Health Center Program, if there is a 2%, 5%, or 10% undercount of Latinos. The study found that a worst-case scenario (10% undercount) would result in missing about 466,000 people in the census count and losing $221 million in federal funding. He will discuss the overall implications of a census undercount on critical programs and services for the county's underserved and underrepresented groups. Find the recorded video here.

    Feb. 19, 2020: “Addressing the Aging Population and the Needs of Older Adults

    Ritu Sadana, senior health adviser at the World Health Organization (WHO), shared how the WHO negotiated its first global strategy and action plan on ageing and health (2016–2020)She also discussed its extension, a proposal for a Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020–2030) that will be considered by the upcoming World Health Assembly in May 2020, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. Sadana will focus on how WHO has engaged Ministries of Health in eight countries to increase their commitment to evidence-informed policies and programs through a country-led effort that also reflects a collaboration between the World Health Organization’s three levels (headquarters, regional and country offices) and the UCLA Center for Health Policy ResearchCenter Research Scientist Kathryn Kietzman briefly discussed efforts currently underway in California to develop a Master Plan for Aging and her work as part of the research subcommittee tasked with developing a data dashboard to measure progress made by the state over the next 10 years. Find the recorded video here.

    Feb. 5, 2020: "Cost of Single-Payer Health Care in the US: A Systematic Review"

    Dr. James G. Kahn, a professor in the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, and Dr. Michael A. Rodriguez, professor and vice chair in the Department of Family Medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and faculty associate at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, discussed findings from a recent study by researchers at UCLA, UCSF, and UC Berkeley that shows that a single-payer health care system would save the U.S. money over time. They looked at 22 economic analyses by government, business, and academic centers across California, New York, and other states and found that 19 of them predicted savings in the first year after implementation, averaging 3.5% of total health care spending. Find the recorded video here.

    Dec. 16, 2019: "Identifying Mental Health Needs in California: A Public Health Approach"

    Imelda Padilla-Frausto, Center research scientist, presented a study looking at mental health needs in the state. Findings may be used to guide efforts for preventive outreach and early intervention services. By taking a preventive and early intervention approach, Padilla-Frausto presented data comparing two groups: individuals identified as having moderate psychological distress (those who have a lower score on the Kessler 6 screening tool) and those who have serious psychological distress – looking at various factors such as life and work impairment, demographic characteristics, and use of mental health services. Find the recorded video here.

    Oct 24, 2019: California Health Interview Survey 2018 Data Release

    Ninez Ponce, Center director, CHIS principal investigator and professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and Todd Hughes, CHIS director, shared highlights from the 2017-2018 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), including newly expanded questions on tobacco, marijuana and e-cigarette use, and important findings and trends in key health topics such as health insurance coverage and mental health. Find the recorded video here

    Oct. 7, 2019: “Whole Person Care Improves Care Coordination for Many Californians”

    Associate Center Director Nadereh Pourat and Emmeline Chuangassociate professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, describe the progress of 25 WPC Pilots participating in the statewide Medi-Cal initiative on coordinating medical, behavioral health, and social services. Their evaluation provides a framework for organizations seeking to address the challenges of providing care to high-need patients who frequently use high-cost services such as those without stable housing or with multiple chronic conditions. Find the recorded video here.

    May 14, 2019: "Medicare for All: Is it Finally Time for Single Payer in the United States?"

    As a continuation of the robust discussion at the recent E. Richard Brown Symposium focused on universal health care in California, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research Senior Fellow Gerald F. Kominski addressed the topic “Medicare for All: Is It Finally Time for Single Payer in the United States?” Find the recorded video here.

    March 26, 2019: “Economic Insecurity Among Older Adults of Color: Housing and Health as Cause and Effect”

    In the Center’s March Health Policy Seminar, Associate Center Director Steven P. Wallace discussed elder economic insecurity using Elder IndexTM data and how the housing burden borne by elders, particularly those of color, affects health. Find the recorded video here.

    Feb. 19, 2019: “Reducing Access Disparities in California by Insuring Low-income Undocumented Immigrants”

    Using the latest California Health Interview Survey data on the health insurance, demographics, health status, and access to care of undocumented low-income adults ages 19-64, new research led by Associate Center Director Nadereh Pourat reveals the demographics and characteristics of undocumented adults, how their access to health care compares to documented counterparts, and the implications of extending Medi-Cal eligibility to the last remaining uninsured population who have limited options for coverage. Find the recorded video here.

    Jan. 23, 2019: "Improving California's Behavioral Health Workforce for Older Adults"

    Center Faculty Associate Janet Frank and Center Research Scientist Kathryn Kietzman recommended training and funding strategies that state policymakers, educational institutions and county mental health/behavioral health departments and their contracted providers can take to improve the state mental health care workforce that serves the unique needs of older adults. Find the recorded video here.

    Nov. 7, 2018: "How Proposed Changes to the 'Public Charge' Rule Will Affect Health, Hunger, and the Economy in California"

    Ninez A. Ponce, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research; Laurel Lucia; director of the health care program at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education; and Tia Shimada, director of programs at California Food Policy Advocates, presented analysis from their report and shared estimates of the health and economic impact the federal "public charge" immigration rule change will have on California, its regions, and its racial and ethnic groups. Under proposed changes to Department of Homeland Security immigration rules, people could be denied status as lawful permanent residents if they receive certain health care, nutrition and other benefits. Find the recorded video here and download the seminar slides here(Note: Updated version as of 11/29/18.)
    See all previous health policy seminars here.