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Fielding School of Public Health has major presence at AcademyHealth’s 2020 Annual Research Meeting

First-ever “virtual” version of event kicks off with opening remarks by Ninez Ponceprofessor of health policy and management 

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Monday, August 3, 2020
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More than 40 faculty members and scholars from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health are presenting at AcademyHealth’s 2020 Annual Research Meeting, which began last week with opening remarks from Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management and chair of the national ARM 2020 conference.

“2020 is not what we imagined it would be. We are in the middle of a devastating pandemic that has further exposed the deep fractures and inequities in our society, where racism is a systemic crisis and a deeply engrained public health challenge. We are outraged,” Ponce said. “I know that we can do better. We are in the midst of a pandemic; yet our response to the harms of endemic racism that runs deep throughout our society cannot wait. Racism is a constant presence leading to outbreaks of injustice—in policed street corners, in traditional academic corridors, in health care delivery, and in our communities.”

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, the first-ever “virtual” version of the event, continues Tuesday with the second three-day-long session. The first session, July 28-30, began with Ponce’s welcome and a 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, from Tuesday through Thursday, will include presentations by:

  • Gerald Kominski, professor of health policy and management, and scholar Srikanth Kadiyala, whose work on “The Effect of the ACA on Cancer Detection” will be presented Tuesday;
  • Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management, who is part of a presentation led by Charleen Hsuan (FSPH ’16, PhD) and Geoffrey Hoffman (’08, MPH; ’15, PhD) Tuesday on “Modifications to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: Improvements Still Needed?”;
  • Scholar Taylor Rogers, who will also present Tuesday 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 Thursday on “How to Identify Homelessness Using Administrative Data”;
  • Corinna Moucheraud, assistant professor, on Thursday on “Maternal and Child Health: Promises and Challenges in 2020.”

Rogers, a doctoral student of health policy and management, also used the conference to unveil a research project she is leading to measure whether the HSR field has made any significant progress since a landmark report on the issue was published in 2015. This project began in the AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group, led by Dr. Michelle Ko (’12, PhD), an assistant professor at UC Davis.

The research team of scholars from UCLA, UC Davis, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Louisville are examining the recommendations of The Future of Diversity and Inclusion in Health Services and Policy Research, published by AcademyHealth in 2015. AcademyHealth is a nonpartisan, nonprofit professional organization dedicated to advancing the fields of health services research and health policy.

Rogers said the team is a multi-disciplinary group of early and mid-career professionals - exactly the sort of academics the field is trying to recruit and sustain in their careers.

“One of the very real issues we need to study is what HSR field needs to do in order for scholars of color to thrive and be sustained in HSR, rather than leaving. As it stands now, Black, American Indian, Pacific Islander, and Latinx individuals are severely underrepresented in the educational pipeline and the HSR workforce,” Rogers said. “In 2015, there were five specified recommendations; we want to understand how they have been followed, and what kind of impact they’ve had on the workforce.”

To do that, Rogers and her team have begun an intensive, six-month-long study of those working in the field. They will present the findings at the 2021 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM) next summer. The Health Services Research and Policy (HSR) Workplace Culture Survey can be taken here, Rogers said.

The effort is fully supported by AcademyHealth, officials said.

“To paraphrase James Baldwin, we can’t change what we don’t face,” said Dr. Lisa Simpson, AcademyHealth President and CEO. “AcademyHealth intends to draw on the results of this survey to inform our policies and practices, and to improve and expand our work to address structural racism in HSR, its training and data resources.”