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Fielding School contributors wrap up at AcademyHealth’s 2020 Annual Research Meeting

First-ever “virtual” version of event concludes with a strong presence from UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty, scholars, and students

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Friday, August 7, 2020
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More than 40 faculty members and scholars from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) presented at AcademyHealth’s 2020 Annual Research Meeting, held for the first time ever as a “virtual” event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"From our opening plenary on race and data, to our closing session on structural racism in health services research, the last two weeks have challenged us to reflect and create intentions and plan actions on becoming anti-racist researchers and organizations. But the conversation is far from over,” said Ninez Ponce, director of FSPH's UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and professor of health policy and management. “As health services researchers, we must break down these racist systems and power structures and rebuild by elevating the voices of minorities and underrepresented groups. We must fortify our field and our future. We must continue to work together to build a better, more equitable future."

The conference, which began last week with opening remarks from Ponce in hern role as chair of the national ARM 2020 conference, concluded Thursday.

"As the late civil rights hero John Lewis said ’Sometimes you have to not just dream about what could be—you get out and push, and you pull, and you preach. And you create a climate and environment to get those in high places, to get men and women of goodwill in power to act,’ ' Ponce said. "It's crucial for us to address disparities and inequities through the public health lens and to consider all of the social determinants of health in our work to eliminate them once and for all.”

AcademyHealth is a nonpartisan, nonprofit professional organization dedicated to advancing the fields of health services research and health policy, and focuses on field of health services and policy research (HSR). The annual research conference, held virtually this year because of the pandemic, offers thousands of attendees the opportunity to review new research and methods, and engage in robust discussions about the impact of health services research on health policy and practice.

The meeting was broken into two three-day-long sessions. The first, July 28-30, began with Ponce’s welcome and the plenary session focused on the topic “Race, Research and the Power and Peril of Big Data.” The plenary was followed by a wide variety of discussions and presentations, including:

  • Thomas Rice, distinguished professor of health policy and management, who delivered the annual Uwe Reinhardt lecture on the topic “Uwe Reinhardt on Being a Good Economist”;
  • Elizabeth Yano, adjunct professor of health policy and management, and chair of AcademyHealth’s board, who spoke on “HSR in Health Systems: Strategies for Managing the Conflicts Between Research and Operational Priorities and Needs” and during the annual “Rock Stars of HSR” recognition of researchers who have made significant contributions to the fields of health services research and health policy;
  • Jack Needleman, professor and chair of health policy and management, who spoke on “HSR in Health Systems: Strategies for Managing the Conflicts Between Research and Operational Priorities and Needs.”
  • UCLA FSPH-affiliated faculty and scholars with the Department of Health Policy Management whose work was presented included:
  • Needleman and Emmeline Chuang, adjunct associate professor, on “Provider Gender Sensitivity is Associated with Trauma-Sensitive Communication Among Women Veterans”;
  • Naderah Pourat, professor-in-residence, and scholars Dahai Yue, Xiao Chen, Brenna O'Masta, Michael Huynh, and Brendon Chau, on “Progress of California's Effort to Improve Outcomes of Care for Homeless Medicaid Patients Under a Section 1115 Medicaid Waiver Program”;
  • Susan Ettner, professor, on “Trends in Suicidal Ideation and Self-Harm Among Privately Insured Delivering Woman.”

The second session, August 4-6, included presentations focused on:

  • Gerald Kominski, professor of health policy and management, and scholar Srikanth Kadiyala, who presented work on “The Effect of the ACA on Cancer Detection”;
  • Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management, part of a presentation led by Charleen Hsuan (FSPH ’16, PhD) and Geoffrey Hoffman (’08, MPH; ’15, PhD) on “Modifications to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: Improvements Still Needed?”;
  • Scholar Taylor Rogers, who presented on “Creating Safe Spaces in the Workplace: Promoting a Diverse, Inclusive, and Sustainable Research Culture”;
  • Naderah Pourat, professor-in-residence, and scholars Dahai Yue, Xiao Chen, Brenna O'Masta, Michael Huynh, and Kong Xin, on “How to Identify Homelessness Using Administrative Data”;
  • Corinna Moucheraud, assistant professor, on “Maternal and Child Health: Promises and Challenges in 2020.”

“Today, our field is being urgently challenged to help communities, health systems, and governments to respond to the global pandemic and to confront the persistent and unacceptable toll of institutional racism and interpersonal racism on health and health care," said Dr. Lisa Simpson, AcademyHealth President and CEO. "Even within our field, we still have work to do to address the underrepresentation of African American, Latinx, and Native American researchers. We have a lot of work to do.”