Population Health & Determinants
Population Health and Determinants faculty focus on disparities in health and healthcare. Faculty examine how to ensure access to primary care for low-income populations in California and nationwide. For example, Institute faculty and staff work on shaping state and national policies related to reproductive health access. IHPS faculty use longitudinal data to examine chronic disease and its impact on vulnerable patients. Vulnerable populations are also a key focus of longstanding IHPS research and translational efforts related to substance use policy and tobacco control. Institute faculty have examined the impact of the environment on reproductive health outcomes and child health. Additionally, faculty study disasters – both natural and human-created – with a particular focus on health and the environment.
Our research in population health and determinants spans five areas:
- Public Health and the Environment
- Primary Care and Access to Care
- Chronic Illness and Aging
- Substance Use and Tobacco Control
Within health disparities, one of the projects focused on eliminating barriers to care, and thus decreasing health disparities, is the evaluation of a network of twenty Alameda County School Health Centers, spearheaded by Dr. Claire Brindis and her research team. The Centers offer integrated medical and behavioral health, health education, and youth development services in a safe, youth-friendly environment at or near schools serving low-income youth. The goals are to ensure that all students have improved health access, health status and health behaviors, increased resilience/protective factors, decreased risk behaviors, and improved educational outcomes. Dr. Paul Newacheck has focused his nation-wide, ground breaking research in the area of children with special needs, eliminating barriers to care, and improving health outcomes for this special population.
In the area of public health, Dr. James G. Kahn conducts research regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of prevention and treatment interventions for HIV, including an effectiveness score that describes how well studies reflect real-world implementation, and assessing how the magnitude of intervention benefit varies with this score.
Within the Public Health and Environment component, Dr. Tracey Woodruff is coordinating an interdisciplinary collaboration to develop a systematic and transparent methodology to evaluate the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations about the relationship between the environment and reproductive health. The result of this collaboration—the Navigation Guide—aims to encourage uniform, simple, and transparent summaries that integrate the best practices of evaluation in environmental and clinical health sciences.
In the area of substance use and tobacco control, Dr. Joseph Guydish directs the multi-disciplinary San Francisco Treatment Research Center (TRC), which focuses on improving substance abuse treatment outcomes for complex and difficult to treat patient populations. The TRC houses researchers specializing in various fields including drug abuse treatment, tobacco control, smoking cessation, HIV-prevention, public health, biostatistics, all with a strong emphasis on mentorship and training, as well as evaluating innovative approaches for continuing and extending treatment care.
Also working in this area is Dr. Stanton Glantz who leads the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, and conducts research on a wide range of issues—from the effects of secondhand smoke on the heart to how the tobacco industry fights tobacco control programs.