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Magazine November 2010

UCLA Public Health Magazine

November 2010

illustration of a town with a metropolis in the background

Although the details were much debated during the year-long politicking over health care reform, no one would disagree that there were major health implications to the bills under consideration – and ultimately to the law passed in Congress and signed by President Obama last March.

Dean's Message

Linda Rosenstock smiling for the camera
Public health has long espoused the role of many factors – such as education, housing, employment and the environment – contributing to overall health status. There is a growing movement to take this broader viewof health into all aspects of society. As a result, with leadership from several faculty members at our school, there is a push for policy and decision-makers to utilize the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) when making decisions in any sector.
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illustration of a town with a metropolis in the background
Although the details were much debated during the year-long politicking over health care reform, no one would disagree that there were major health implications to the bills under consideration – and...
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closeup of smiling child with missing and loose teeth
Few public health issues have received more attention in recent years than lack of access to essential medical services and its disproportionate effect on certain population groups. Meanwhile, a parallel issue has gone relatively unnoticed.
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young man holding up a condom while wearing a sash of condoms
In the short video, a young couple has just returned late one evening from a party. Obviously inebriated, they are moving toward a sexual encounter. The scene ends and in the next shot it is morning...

Research Highlights

In the winter of 1979 the world celebrated the end of smallpox, a highly contagious and often fatal viral infection estimated to have caused between 300- and 500 million deaths during the 20th century. Smallpox was defeated through an aggressive worldwide vaccination campaign – a campaign that ended in 1980, with the virus having been eradicated. But a UCLA School of Public Health-led research team has found that the elimination of the smallpox vaccine had an unintended side effect.
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Nearly 25 percent of California children have never seen a dentist, and for those who have, disparities exist by race, ethnicity and type of insurance when it comes to the duration between dental care visits, according to the findings of a study by Dr. Nadereh Pourat, professor of health services at the UCLA School of Public Health and director of research for the Center for Health Policy Research.
male couple sitting happily with daughter and puppy
While California is generally welcoming to individuals of all sexual orientations, employers in the state tend to discriminate when it comes to same-sex partners and health care, according to a UCLA School of Public Health study.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, found in everything from cosmetics and sunscreen to paint and vitamins, cause systemic genetic damage in mice, according to a comprehensive study conducted by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and School of Public Health.
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Most people assume that when they are experiencing food poisoning the culprit is something they ate outside their home. But a study co-authored by a UCLA School of Public Health faculty member in his role as director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health suggests that home kitchens are more prone to causing foodborne infections than most people realize.
Families from rural Mexico who receive health care from centralized clinics run by the federal government pay up to 30 percent less in out-of-pocket expenses and utilize preventive services more often than families who access decentralized clinics run by states, according to a study by researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health. The findings were published in the September issue of the Journal of Social Science and Medicine.

Faculty Profiles

Dr. Rimoin with a monkey pox patient
Although her specific focus is studying the epidemiology of human monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Dr. Anne Rimoin also has an eye on the bigger picture: working with the Congolese government and local investigators to develop an infrastructure that will enable the Central African nation to conduct proper surveillance of all emerging infectious diseases. “To me, if you’re a researcher working in a low-resource setting, you have a moral obligation not just to collect your data and leave, but to build capacity and collaborate with the people who, by their good graces, are allowing you to do this work in their country,” she says.
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Student Profiles

Eli Tomar holding a book in a law library
More than many graduate students, Eli Tomar has spent enough time in the thick of the policy-making process on Capitol hill to know the challenges – and in many cases, frustrations – of passing meaningful health-related legislation.
Mimi Nartey posing on a soccer field with gear and a book
When she was 15, Myralyn "Mimi" Nartey ventured far from her family’s home in Arizona to the Republic of Ghana, where her father had been raised, to play professional soccer for the Ghanian women’s national team. While there, she contracted malaria.

News Briefs

Ashley Roberts and Anne Sutkowi, second-year students at the School of Public Health, are working with students at Olympic High School in Santa Monica as part of a health promotion and suicide prevention program they created called STRIDES. The program, inspired by research linking suicide rates and emotional health, promotes physical, mental and emotional well being through physical activity, stress relief and development of a positive self-image.
Onyebuchi Arah posing for the camera
Dr. Onyebuchi Arah, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, has been appointed the school’s first associate dean for global health. Arah will help implement one of the school’s strategic goals: building a world-class global health presence. Arah brings a unique perspective in both his training and his experience. A native Nigerian, he received much of his advanced academic education in Holland. As a pediatrician trained in public health, health services research, health policy and epidemiologic methods, Arah studies issues such as the role of health systems in global health and performance assessment in health care. He has been a member of the school’s faculty since 2006.
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A special anniversary edition of the Alumni Directory will be produced to celebrate the School of Public Health's 50th Anniversary in 2011. The directory will feature contact information, photos and essays from five decades of distinguished alumni. All alumni will be soon contacted by the vendor Harris Connect to gather directory information. You may also visit to ensure the school has up-to-date information about you so that you will be able to reconnect with fellow alumni.
On the eve of the school’s 50th anniversary, preparations are underway for a year of celebrating five decades of innovative and high-impact research, teaching and community service. Beginning with a gala on the evening of February 2, 2011 (more details on the back cover), the school will be hosting numerous events and activities throughout the year to enable all friends and supporters to participate in the celebration. Those not in Los Angeles can join in one of the lunchtime webinars (see previous page). The school will also hold a special celebration for alumni at the annual American Public Health Association meeting to be held in San Francisco in November 2011.