About The Center

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Center Milestones 

Since its founding in 1994, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has produced high-quality, objective, and evidence-based research and data that have informed effective policymaking and improved the lives of millions of Californians. From analyzing and addressing health disparities in underserved communities to providing credible enrollment estimates that helped implement health care reform, the Center has been a leading force in health policy issues. 

A timeline of the Center's noteworthy developments and achievements:


New Director: Ninez Ponce, principal investigator of the California Health Interview Survey and professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management, is appointed director of the Center.

Public charge: Analysis by the Center, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Education and Research and the California Food Policy Council of ‘public charge’ rule changes proposed by the Department of Homeland Security was cited in official comments by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and Nanette Diaz Barragán, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and many other groups such as the California Latino Legislative Caucus, The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Health Access and Western Center on Law & Poverty

Assembly resolution: State Assemblyman Rob Bonta cited data from Center analysis in a state assembly bill resolution condemning the rule changes.

Restaurant law: Analysis on prediabetes based on CHIS was used to inform a California law that requires healthier default beverage choices for kids’ meals served at restaurants.

Elder Index and legislation: The Alliance for Children’s Rights used the Elder Index Grandparents Raising Grandchildren data to inform legislation that provides equal funds for grandparents or other relatives who raise children in the foster care system.

CHIS redesign experiments: With funding from Kaiser Permanente and the Department of Health Care Services, CHIS staff conducted two field experiments exploring the use of a web version of the CHIS survey to help inform decisions about the design of the 2019 CHIS.



SB562 (The Healthy California Act): An exhibit from the Center's 2016 study on public funds, Public money accounts for more than two thirds of health care spending in Califonia. was inserted into the Bill Analysis for SB 562, the single-payer bill coauthored by senators Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins.


AB447 (Amendment that allows Medi-Cal to cover the cost of continuous glucose monitors): Susan Babey, co-director of the Center's Chronic Disease Program, provided data on diabetes for the Medi-Cal population to Assemblyman Adam Gray's office. Gray is coauthor of the bill.

AB1003 (California Community Health fund): CHIS data on prediabetes were cited in analysis of the 2-cent-per-fluid-ounce tax on sugary beverages and soda proposed by Assemblyman Richard Bloom.  

Sacramento briefing: Center Associate Director Ninez Ponce presented CHIS data Sept. 15 at a legislative briefing to advance immigrant access to care. The briefing was hosted by the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, Asian Health Services and others.

City of Santa Monica Elder subsidies:The city of Santa Monica approved pilot project subsidies July 25 that will help 26 low-income elders stay in their homes. Subsidy amounts are based on the Center's Elder Index, which uses CHIS data in its calculations. The Elder Index for California was calculated by the Center and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. 

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors: Center Director Gerald Kominski testified at the Aug. 15 meeting about the role ACA funding played in the expanding health benefits to Los Angeles residents and the important role the Supervisors had in supporting projects funded by that money. (See item S-1 on video, at the 4:08:43 mark)

California Assembly Health Committee on Healthcare Delivery System: In an Oct. 23 hearing that examined the state’s current health care system, California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data and estimates from the Center's CalSIM micro-simulation model were used during testimony by Ken Jacobsand Laurel Lucia of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.


AB 635: Bill analyses by several Senate committees cited CHIS data that an estimated 281,000 Medi-Cal patients had problems understanding or needed an interpreter to understand their doctor because of language problems. The bill, which increases funding for medical interpretation services for Medi-Cal patients, was signed into law in September. 

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UCLA-SAFE: The Center project, UCLA-SAFE, launches a smoke-free housing initiative, Smokefree Apartments Los Angeles, that encourages owners of market-rate, multi-unit apartments in densely populated areas of LA to voluntarily put in place smoke-free policies to reduce residents' exposure to secondhand smoke. Supported by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the program focuses on neighborhoods where high proportions of Latinos and African-Americans reside. The two groups have among the highest rates of chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

ACA 411: New CHIS data were added to the California Health Care Foundation's ACA 411 interactive web tool, which helps track the Affordable Care Act's effect on insurance coverage, access to health care services, and affordability in California after health care reform. The updated CHIS data show Medi-Cal expansion brought state rates of uninsurance to a historic low. Future CHIS data will help ACA 411 users gauge the effects of an ACA repeal.

AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition API: An application programming interface that provides live access to the latest AskCHIS NE data joins the lineup of new CHIS products in February. Subscribers include the California Office of Health Equity, St. Joseph Health, and Healthy City, which populates many city and community health dashboards.
obergefell.jpgSupreme Court amicus briefs on same-sex marriage: Numerous organizations submitted amicus briefs that cited Same-Sex Legal Marriage and Psychological Well-Being: Findings from the California Health Interview Survey, a Williams Institute study based on CHIS LGB data, in support of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the petitioners in June.
National LGBT surveys: CHIS methodologies on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender questions are guiding an Office of Management and Budget workgroup on LGBT data collection.
Health care for undocumented minors: Gov. Jerry Brown in October signed into law SB4, which extends full-scope Medi-Cal to undocumented immigrants under the age of 19. Assessing Health Care Services Used By California's Undocumented Immigrant Population In 2010, an article coauthored by the Center's Nadereh Pourat that used CHIS estimates on DACA youth, helped educate policy-makers on the impact of both SB4 and SB10, a related proposal that would extend Medi-Cal to adult immigrants, both legal and undocumented.
Child mental health services: An audit request by state Senator Jim Beall to analyze how school districts are using mental health funding for students was informed by CHIS data, which showed that about 600,000 children in California have a need for student mental health services. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved the request in April.
U.S. Senate Bill 2908: Center estimates are used in U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill, which proposes amending the IRS code to expand eligibility for premium subsidies under qualified health plans.

LIHP transition: The Center helps to facilitate the transition of 652,000 Californians from the Low-Income Health Program into Medi-Cal on Jan. 1. 
AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition: In late 2014, the Center will introduce its new, cutting-edge tool to examine, map and chart health data by ZIP code and city. 
Democratizing data: The Center's Health DATA Program has trained more than 4,475 representatives from 1,800+ organizations on how to find, use and communicate health data.
Thousands of users: Nearly 43,000 people are registered AskCHIS users.
Approaching one million: Approximately 980,080 queries have been made on AskCHIS, the Center's user-friendly, online query tool.?
SBX1 1 and ABX1 1: Two state bills authorize the expansion of Medi-Cal and cite two Center products: The State of Health Insurance in California report, which found that 7.1 million Californians were uninsured in 2009, and CalSIM, which projected that between 89 and 92 percent of Californians under age 65 would have health coverage under full ACA implementation

Defense of Marriage Act: A Center study is used in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court to support arguments that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) significantly impairs married gay and lesbian workers access to employer-provided health care benefits for their spouses. The Supreme Court repealed key sections of DOMA in June 2013.

Individual mandate: A joint Center/UC Berkeley Labor Center study is used in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of a core principle of health care reform ? that all Americans be compelled to purchase some kind of health insurance. The study uses CalSIM to estimate that without the mandate up to one million or more Californians will go without health insurance.
New director: Gerald Kominski, associate director and professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a leading authority on health care reform and health economics, is appointed Center director.

California Simulation of Insurance Markets launched: The Center's new California Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM), a microsimulation model of eligibility and enrollment under the ACA, is used by the new California Health Benefit Exchange to implement health care reform.
Elder Economic Planning Act of 2011: Governor Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown signs a law requiring the state's Area Agencies on Aging to use the Center's Elder Index in their strategic planning calculations of the true cost of living for low-income seniors.

Low-Income Health Program: The Center is selected as the primary evaluator of California's "bridge to health care reform" program, designed to provide health coverage to uninsured low-income residents. 



Affordable Care Act: A Center study estimating that 8.2 million Californians ? nearly one-quarter of the state's population ? were uninsured sparks front-page stories in the Los Angeles Times and other media across the nation and helps propel passage of federal health care reform.
Fighting pollution: Health DATA begins to offer community-based research and training on environmental-related health issues.


Affordable Care Act debate: The Center's estimates of the number of Californians eligible for Health Insurance Exchange subsidies and for expanded Medi-Cal under the proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) are heavily relied upon by California's congressional legislators in the debate leading up to the bill's passage. 

Health Profiles: The Center publishes the first of many easy-to-read, one-page fact sheets that contain CHIS-based estimates on the health status, health behaviors and demographics of adults, adolescents, and children by county, region and legislative district.

Soda tax: A Center study on the link between soda and obesity is cited in a proposal to tax soda to support a children's health fund.


The Elder Index: The Center is asked to calculate the true cost of living for seniors in California as part of a larger national movement to replace outdated Federal Poverty guidelines. The new "Elder Index" calculates costs by county, taking into account what elders need for rent, food, transportation, health care and other basic items. 

Fast-food moratorium: The City of Los Angeles institutes a moratorium on building fast-food outlets in South Los Angeles, based in large part on a Center study about food environments and obesity.


Early state health reform: Then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launches his new health reform effort at the UCLA School of Public Health and cites the Center's The State of Health Insurance in California: Findings from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey on the decline in employer-sponsored coverage as justification for the reform. CHIS data are subsequently used by the state's Legislative Analyst's Office and policymakers from both parties in debate about the proposed reform effort.



Single-payer bill: CHIS data is cited extensively in SB 840, a single-payer bill that is passed by the legislature but vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.


AskCHIS debuts: The Center introduces AskCHIS, the user-friendly, online query tool that gives people the ability to access and use CHIS data. 

Food insecurity bill: A Los Angeles Times story based on a Center study of food insecurity prompts passage of AB 231, which increases eligibility for the federal food stamps program. 

First 5 California: CHIS data are used by First 5 California in more than a dozen counties to develop early childhood education programs.

Health of Older Californians report: The Center publishes its first omnibus report on elder health, using 2001 CHIS data.  

Cancer Screening in California report: The Center publishes its first omnibus report on cancer screening, using 2001 CHIS data.  

SB 2: The Center's data and expertise are used in designing this law, which requires medium and large companies to provide health benefits to workers in California. Although the law was later repealed, it laid the foundation for future health care reform efforts.

Healthy Kids: First 5 California starts to use CHIS data for a new program that extends health coverage to children in low-income families who are ineligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families.

First CHIS survey: The Center conducts the first California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) of about 50,000 California adults, teens and children.
First State of Health Insurance in California (SHIC) report: The Center launches a new comprehensive report of health insurance status and trends.  

Health DATA: A new public-service program is established at the Center to build the capacity of advocates, service providers and decision-makers to access and use health data.

Health insurance report card: The Center and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health begin to produce an annual report card on the number of people insured in the state.



Center founded: The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is founded by E. Richard "Rick" Brown, a professor at the UCLA (now Fielding) School of Public Health and a renowned health policy advocate.