APRIL 2022
Director's Note
Many industries in the US are based in the private sector but heavily regulated – and sometimes subsidized – by government. We’d like to think that government interventions will improve quality of life and reduce the harms of pollution, poor food quality, and addictive substances. But, we know this is not the case – regulations and subsidies have often supported industries and their negative impact on health more than focusing on improving public health. This month, we feature our research on environmental contamination, occupations that place workers at great health risk, the burgeoning cannabis industry and its links to tobacco and alcohol, and the pervasive impact of sugar and processed foods on public health. IHPS researchers are shining a spotlight on how industry and commercial influences undermine our health – we believe this is an essential role of a mission-driven public university.
Joanne Spetz
IHPS Focus On:
Industry Influences on Health

Many IHPS faculty are working on policy related to industry influences on health or commercial determinants of health. Cristin Kearns, DDS, MBA, is looking at the sugar industry influence on dental professions and nutrition guidance. Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH is consulting with the World Bank to assist low-and-middle income countries' policymakers on opposition from industry to health taxes. Robert Lustig, MD, has conducted research with a world-wide team that has found a link between chemicals and obesity. Dorie Apollonio, PhD is looking at the internal communications of pharmaceutical opioid and cannabis companies on their lobbying, marketing and sales plans to consumers, including veterans. Gabriela Schmajuk, MD and Ed Yelin, PhD are studying the effect on autoimmune disease incidence of people who work in "dusty trades" such as mining. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH is working as Director of the PRHE to establish a center with all four schools and several centers, including IHPS, that will look at industry as a vector for illness. Dean Schillinger, MD, has a project with Youth Speaks to raise the voices of youth affected by the food and beverage industries discriminatory practices that have resulted in health inequities. Learn more about IHPS's current work in commercial determinants and industry influences on health.

Upcoming Events
California Labor Lab Webinar Series
April 27, 2022
12 - 1 pm PT
Amazon, Warehousing & Health in Inland Southern California: Intersectional Feminist Perspectives and Praxis

Ellen Reese and Juliann Allison
UC Riverside

Registration here
Learn more about the California Labor Lab, housed at IHPS, and the new seminar series here
UCSF 2022 Chancellor's Health Policy Lecture
May 3, 2022
4-5 pm PT
Rethinking our approach to health after a pandemic: Lessons learned from

Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH
Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor
Boston University School of Public Health

Genentech Hall, Byers Auditorium, UCSF or Webinar register here
IHPS "How to Impact Policy Change" Series
May 11, 2022
12 - 1 pm PT
How to Collaborate with
UCSF Government Relations

Aimee Alden
Director of State and Local Government Relations

Webinar link here
Full Spring 2022 Webinar topics here
California Labor Lab Annual Conference
May 17 and 18, 2022
9 am - 2:30 pm PT
Precarious Work: Health and Economic Threats

More information and registration here
(fee waivers available)

For health professionals spanning the fields of occupational and environmental health and safety, clinical care, and other health professionals who want to understand how employment changes translate into health outcomes; and for policymakers wishing to construct a firewall of laws and regulation to mitigate the effects of the 21st century labor market to protect the health of the working age population.
Research Highlights

In a recent Journal of General Internal Medicine article, Taressa Fraze, PhD and colleagues found that while most isolated Medicare beneficiaries traveled to more urban practices for outpatient care, those receiving care in rural practices had similar outpatient and inpatient utilization to urban counterparts except for readmissions and quality metrics that rely on services outside of primary care. Rural practices reported similar care capabilities to urban practices, suggesting that despite differences in workforce and demographics, rural patterns of primary care delivery are comparable to urban.

Food insecurity is associated with increased risk of chronic disease and poor dietary intake. The United States charitable food system; food banks, pantries and congregate meal sites, provides food for millions of low-income households each year. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on sourcing and supplying more nutritious foods within the charitable food system. Despite this, there is a lack of alignment in how the charitable food system defines and tracks the nutritional quality of food. In 2019, Healthy Eating Research convened a panel of nutrition, charitable food system and food policy experts to create a set of evidence-based nutrition standards. In a recent BMC Public Health article, Hilary Seligman, MD, MAS and colleagues summarize the barriers and opportunities to implementing these standards, including a new metric should be created based on the percentage of inventory that is in the choose often, choose sometimes, or choose rarely tiers to add important detail beyond the standard yet simple measure of total pounds of food, contextualize these efforts into the broader movement to increase access to healthy food for individuals and families experiencing food insecurity and highlight policy implications for this work and providing guidance for implementing these nutrition standards into the day-to-day operations of food banks and food pantries.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many human subjects research to halt in-person activities and pivot to virtual engagement, including focus groups. Stuart Gansdky, MS, DrPH, Jenny Liu, PhD, MPP, MA, and colleagues detail the promising alternative virtual focus groups offer qualitatitve data collection in a recent BMC Research Notes article. Gansky, Liu and colleagues found there can be particular benefits to holding virtual sessions among minority parents of young children—to provide flexibility, comfort, and reduced logistical barriers for participation—while still facilitating friendly conversation with minimal distractions.

Racial and ethnic disparities exist in emergency mental healthcare escalation among birthing people who have delivered preterm infants. Birthing people of color are more likely to deliver low birthweight and preterm infants, and are also at higher risk for mental health conditions and emergency mental healthcare utilization postpartum. A recent article in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynycology MFM by
Matt Pantell, MD, MS and colleagues highlights their findings showing a need for further investigation into disparate mental health conditions, exacerbations, access to care, and targeted hospital and legislative policies to prevent emergency mental healthcare escalation and reduce disparities.

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 Elaine Khoong, MD, MS, Courtney Lyles, PhD, and Urmimala Sarkar, MD, "System-Level Factors Associated With Telephone and Video Visit Use: Survey of Safety-Net Clinicians During the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic," published in JMRI Formative Research.  Read more about our work to address the COVID pandemic here.
IHPS Faculty Spotlight
A Jay Holmgren is an assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine and the Center for Clinical Informatics and Improvement Research (CLIIR) as well as affiliated faculty at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies.

Dr. Holmgren is an expert on the use of information technology in health care delivery. Dr. Holmgren's research focuses on the impact of information technology on patients, clinicians, and health care organizations, and seeks to identify strategies to improve the quality and experience of care using digital tools.
Media Mentions