April 2021

Director's Notes 

Earth Day is April 22, marking 51 years of this opportunity to advocate for environmental protection and stewardship.  There are many ways to drive meaningful action – at the Institute, many in our team conduct research to provide evidence-based guidance for policy action. Spanning topics as diverse as the impact of pollution on reproductive health, environmental contributors to cancer, and health system recovery after environmental disasters, our faculty and staff provide technical assistance, evaluation, and foundational knowledge to address pressing issues raised by environmental contamination and climate change.  Many of us also volunteer at state and county parks, contribute to environmental protection organizations, promote recycling and low-waste purchasing, and other activities to move the needle. We’re eager to hear your ideas for new activities and research to ensure our planet is healthy for generations to come.

Joanne Spetz

PRL-IHPS Focus on Environmental Health
Learn more about the work in environmental health of PRL-IHPS faculty. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH serves as Director of UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE)  and as Director of EaRTH Center. Both centers work at the intersection of science, medicine, policy and community and prioritize filling gaps in knowledge that support clinical decision-making and public policy. Robert Hiatt, MD, PhD's research interests include cancer epidemiology, especially breast cancer, cancer prevention and screening, health services and outcomes research, the social determinants of cancer, and environmental exposures in early development related to cancer. He recently completed a study on the global impact of climate change on major cancers and what steps can be taken to lessen them. Read more.

Hospital organizational strategies associated with advanced EHR adoption 

In a recent Health Services Research article, Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, and colleagues provide some of the first national‐level data characterizing hospital organizational strategies surrounding electronic medical record (EHR) adoption and use, and identify which strategies are associated with adoption of advanced EHR functions.  Read more

 Predictors of shortages of opioid analgesics in the US:
Are the characteristics of the drug company the missing puzzle piece?

In a recent PLoS One article, the first study to comprehensively characterize the market of opioid analgesics and to identify predictors of shortages was presented by Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio, PhD, and colleagues. This study characterized and assessed the incidence of shortages of opioid analgesics in the US in the period 2015–2019 and evaluated potential predictors to forecast the risk of shortages. Read more

California Dentists’ Engagement in Media Advocacy for Sugar Restriction Policies

In a contested policy environment, California dentists have the potential to add oral health arguments for sugary beverage taxes to the policy and public discourse. In a recent JDR Clinical & Translational Research article, Cristin Kearns, DDS, MBA and colleagues reported findings from a survey of California Dental Association members to assess their participation in media advocacy activities (such as talking to a reporter, writing an editorial, or using social media) related to sugar, sugar guidelines, or sugar policy and to identify facilitators and barriers to participation. Read more

Medicare's New Device-Coverage Pathway -
Breakthrough or Breakdown?

In a recent New England Journal of Medicine Perspective article, Sanket Dhruva, MD and colleagues urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to rescind a rule that could substantially alter Medicare-coverage decisions for potentially innovative new medical devices. Read more

PRL-IHPS faculty are responding to policy challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic with rapid-cycle research and technical assistance. A compilation of their work to date is available on a regularly updated webpage. One recent publication is
by Kevin Grumbach, MD and colleagues, Association of Race/Ethnicity With Likeliness of COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Among Health Workers and the General Population in the San Francisco Bay Area, published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read more about our work to address the COVID pandemic here.
Faculty Spotlight: 

Justin S. White, PhD
Justin White, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Health Economics in the UCSF School of Medicine, with joint appointments in the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He is also an affiliate of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Institute for Global Health Sciences at UCSF.

Dr. White studies how monetary and non-monetary incentives can be used to promote healthy behavior, informed by research from the field of behavioral economics. His main research focus is chronic disease prevention, notably tobacco cessation. He is currently testing several incentive-based interventions using randomized designs. This work is being undertaken in several countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, and the US. In other recent and ongoing projects, he is evaluating the health impacts of economic and social policies, including: sugar-sweetened beverage taxes, cash and food assistance programs, and poverty alleviation programs. Listen to the video above to hear more about what Dr. White is currently thinking about and working on.

Upcoming Events

PRL-IHPS Health Policy Grand Rounds
Health Policy and the Fight for Equitable Healthcare Outcomes:
Why Access Isn’t Enough
Alyce Adams, PhD
Stanford Medicine Innovation Professor
April 21, 12 - 1 pm, Webinar registration here

2020-21 UCSF Chancellor's Health Policy Lecture
Alice Chen,MD
Chief Medical Officer, Covered California

June 9, 12- 1 pm, Webinar registration here

PRL-IHPS In The News

Kevin Grumbach:
Solutions to COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy (Contagion Live)

Renee Hsia:
‘It Felt Like Deception’: An Elite NYC Hospital Charges Huge Virus Test Fees (The New York Times)

Jack Resneck:
Congress must ensure telehealth access after pandemic’s over (American Medical Association)

Shira Rutman:
Native Americans underserved, ‘erased’ in Fresno County health data, investigation finds (The Fresno Bee)
Tracey Woodruff:
Water, Water Everywhere—But Is It Safe to Drink? (EHS Daily Advisor)

About The Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies

The Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (PRL-IHPS) contributes to the solution of complex and challenging health policy problems through leadership in research, training, technical assistance, and public service. Our special competence lies in translating research across disciplines and fields to inform health policy. We undertake this work with a commitment to improve health and health care within local, state, national, and international communities and with a focus on improving the health of vulnerable populations.

Keep Up With Us

April 2020 Newsletter

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January 2021 Newsletter

February 2021 Newsletter

March 2021 Newsletter

Contact Us
Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies
University of California, San Francisco
490 Illinois Street, Floor 7
San Francisco, CA 94143

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