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The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) has been named the recipient of a research award from California 100, an ambitious statewide initiative to envision and shape the long-term success of the state. The award, along with technical assistance from the Institute for the Future, will enable UCLA CHPR to evaluate current facts, origins, and future trends health and wellness will play in California’s next century. UCLA CHPR’s research will be led by Dr. Ninez Ponce, center director and professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and will begin this summer.
“California has the largest economy in the U.S. — fifth largest in the world, if it were its own nation — and is the most populous and diverse state. Though often recognized as a leader in implementing federal health care reform and a model for national policy, the state has many challenges that have been heightened during the COVID-19 crisis. Through the California 100 Initiative, we will focus on health and wellness in the state: where we are, how we got here, where we’re going, where we want to go, and how we’ll get there,” says Ponce. “We are excited to be part of this important project to begin to chart a path forward for California’s next century.”
Informed by a health equity framework, UCLA CHPR will review the history and current landscape of health care coverage and access, and its implications on the health of Californians, with a special focus on marginalized communities.
The team, which comprises more than a dozen public health experts and public policy analysts, will address the issue of health and wellness by examining two overarching questions: what progress has California made in achieving universal effective health coverage (that all people have timely access to high-quality covered services that they need) and how can the state ensure population health equity (that all people have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible) in the future? To answer these questions, researchers will focus on the following topic areas of health and wellness in California: health systems and public programs, insurance coverage and markets, environmental influences, chronic conditions and mental health, child and adolescent health, aging residents, and racial justice and immigrant populations.
“A critical driver of equitable health and wellness in California will be universal effective coverage and an integrated system that not only delivers care but addresses social determinants of health. This is vital to move beyond reactionary systems that result in costly and inefficient approaches to care and towards mitigating and preventing the production of inequities in health,” adds Ponce. “Achieving health equity through universal effective coverage requires consideration of not only insurance and access to care, but the specific needs for an aging population, youth and young adults, communities of color, immigrant communities, mental health, environmental impacts, and effective and integrated systems of health care.”
The research will be complete by December 2021, and will lead to a set of policy alternatives for the future of California. The policy alternatives will be developed in conjunction with research teams from 12 other issue areas and will be coordinated by Henry Brady, director of research of the California 100 Initiative and former dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley. “We are excited to work with our research partners that are international experts in their issue areas,” Brady noted. “We will not only develop a comprehensive knowledge base on various policy issues, but we will also offer actionable recommendations for the California 100 Commission and the larger public to consider.”
The California 100 Commission is a multigenerational advisory body that will develop recommendations for the state’s future and test those recommendations across a broad set of policy areas by directly engaging Californians. Karthick Ramakrishnan, executive director of the California 100 Initiative, is tasked with assembling and engaging the Commission, and ensuring that the research stream intersects with the initiative’s other activities including advanced technology, policy innovation, and stakeholder engagement.
“From climate change, to aging populations and rapid changes in industry, California will face enormous challenges in the years ahead,” Ramakrishnan noted. “We are fortunate to be able to draw on the deep talent of researchers in California to produce evidence and recommendations that will inform robust public engagement and set the state on a strong, long-term trajectory for success.”
About the California 100 Research Grants
California 100 is a new statewide initiative being incubated at the University of California and Stanford University focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. The initiative will harness the talent of a diverse array of leaders through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and stakeholder engagement. As part of its research stream of work, California 100 is sponsoring 13 research projects focused on the following issue areas:
by Tiffany Lopes
The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 690 students from 25 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.