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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of April 11, 2021 - 12:00am

Week of: 
April 11, 2021 to April 17, 2021

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: More Than Half of California Adults are at Least Partially Vaccinated

KTTV-TV (April 17) interviewed Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the milestone that more than half of California adults have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. “We're moving in the right direction, but we're not at the end of the tunnel yet,” Rimoin said. “Light is there, but we still have a ways to go. It's important to remember that only 29% are fully vaccinated and you don't have optimal immunity until you have both shots if you've gotten Pfizer or Moderna.” Rimoin was also referenced by Inventiva.

COVID-19: Vaccinating Children Will be Very Important in Getting to Herd Immunity

Yahoo (April 16) interviewed Dr. Kristen Choi, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health assistant professor of health policy and management, about the likelihood of booster shots as part of the vaccination campaign. “Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing boosters of the vaccine,” Choi said. “ At this point, also, though, we know that the original two-dose regimen has seemed to be fairly effective against some of the dominant strains we're seeing, which is really good news.” It also ran on MSN.

COVID-19: Neighborhoods with the Worst air Quality in Los Angeles County had the highest rate of deaths

KPCC-FM (April 15) referenced Dr. Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about his team’s research that found Los Angeles County neighborhoods with poor air quality had the highest coronavirus death rates. “Our findings imply a potentially large association between exposure to air pollution and population-level rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths,” Jerrett said. “These findings are especially important for targeting interventions aimed at limiting the impact of COVID-19 in polluted communities.” Similar items also ran on KNSD-TV (NBC affiliate, San Diego) and KFI-AM.

COVID-19: An ‘Abundance of Caution’ led to the Decision on J&J Vaccine

KPCC-FM (April 15) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the FDA and CDC decision against use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the federal agencies examine a rare side effect. “The important message that the CDC and the Food & Drug Administration are trying to send to the American public is ‘we take your safety very seriously and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure these vaccines are safe,’ ” Brewer said.

COVID-19: Deaths Linked to Poor Air Quality

KNBC-TV (April 14) quoted Dr. Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about his team’s research that found Los Angeles County neighborhoods with poor air quality had the highest coronavirus death rates. “Our findings imply a potentially large association between exposure to air pollution and population-level rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths,'' Jerrett said. “These findings are especially important for targeting interventions aimed at limiting the impact of COVID-19 in polluted communities.” Also quoted was Dr. Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and senior associate dean for academic programs. “We know that (traffic related air pollution) is associated with many respiratory morbidities, including asthma, chronic pulmonary disease, lung cancer and respiratory tract infections, as well as hospitalizations, mortality and an increased risk of respiratory viral infection,'' Zhu said. “Nitrogen dioxide, for example, has been found to impair the function of alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells, thereby increasing the risk of lung infections.” Also quoted was Jonah M. Lipsitt, a researcher with the Fielding School's UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions. “In the U.S., more polluted communities often have lower incomes and higher proportions of Black and Latinx people,” Lipsitt said. “The elevated risk of case incidence and mortality observed in these populations may result, in part, from higher exposure to air pollution.” Similar items ran on City News Service, KVEA-TV (Telemundo affiliate, Los Angeles), KMPC-AM (Radio Korea, Los Angeles), MyNewsLAKFI-AMKEIB-AM, the Antelope Valley Times, and Pasadena Now.

COVID-19: An ‘Abundance of Caution’ led to the Decision on J&J Vaccine

KPCC-FM (April 14) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the FDA and CDC decision against use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the federal agencies examine a rare side effect. “The important message that the CDC and the Food & Drug Administration are trying to send to the American public is ‘we take your safety very seriously and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure these vaccines are safe,’ ” Brewer said. “I think it was that abundance of caution that led to this decision.”

COVID-19: California’s Positivity Rate is around 1.5 Percent

KPCC-FM (April 14) interviewed Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about why California is doing better in terms of avoiding spread than other states. “The surge we had in the winter really did provide a lot of people, we’re doing well on vaccinations, getting a lot of vaccines in arms,” Rimoin said. “And we’re doing well with masking and social distancing, and all of those measures we took to really push down the spread of this virus … all of these things played a roll.”

COVID-19: Variants and not the Same Disease

Global News (April 14, Canada) interviewed Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about how the changing virus is making it harder for people to avoid infection. “Small interactions, smaller breaches in your protocols of social distancing and wearing masks do matter,” Rimoin said. “Eventually the vaccines are going to win (but) in the interim period, we still have a lot of opportunity for spread.”

COVID-19: “The Benefits of Being Vaccinated Much Outweigh any Potential Risk”

KNBC-TV (April 13) interviewed Dr. Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, about the FDA and CDC warning about using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the federal agencies examine a rare side effect. “It’s a reaction that very few people might have, even if indeed it is related to the vaccine,” Michels said. “You always want to be looking for any kind of things that feel differently … the benefits of being vaccinated much outweigh any potential risk of the vaccine.”

COVID-19: “This is Proof That the System is Working”

KNBC-TV (April 13) interviewed Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about California’s pause on using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as federal agencies examine a rare side effect. “I think that this is proof that the system is working,” Rimoin said. “We're picking up events that are so rare and investigating them thoroughly.”

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: Areas With the Highest Pollution and Traffic Suffered the Most Deaths

Excelsior (April 16) quoted Dr. Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about his team’s research that found Los Angeles County neighborhoods with poor air quality had the highest coronavirus death rates. “It’s really important to note that neither COVID nor air pollution are equal opportunity killers,” Jerrett said. “They both exact higher tolls on our Black and Latino communities.” A similar item ran on Red, Green, and Blue.

COVID-19: Hispanic, Black, and Native Americans Have Carried the Burden of Pandemic

NewsMedical (April 16) quoted UCLA Fielding School of Public Health dean and distinguished professor of biostatistics Dr. Ron Brookmeyer about research he co-authored that found Hispanic, Black, and Native Americans have carried the burden of the pandemic, in overall mortality and in years of potential life lost, in an analysis of 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (D.C.). “COVID-19 certainly didn't cause these racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes, but it did highlight and bring unprecedented national attention to long-standing societal and health inequalities that many communities of color in the U.S. face,” Brookmeyer said. “It is imperative that we rise to the challenge of addressing the health needs of communities of color, both during the U.S. COVID-19 epidemic and long after its conclusion.” Also quoted were said Dr. Christina Ramirez, FSPH professor of biostatistics; Dr. Tom Belin, FSPH professor of biostatistics and David Geffen School of Medicine professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences; Dr. Marc Suchard, FSPH professor of biostatistics and David Geffen School of Medicine professor of human genetics and computational medicine; and Jay Xu, lead author of the study and PhD candidate in biostatistics at the Fielding School. Similar items ran on Scienecenews and the Ritz Herald.

COVID-19: Mortality Rates Linked to Poor air Quality

Xinhua (April 15) quoted Dr. Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about his team’s research that found Los Angeles County neighborhoods with poor air quality had the highest coronavirus death rates. “These findings are especially important for targeting interventions aimed at limiting the impact of COVID-19 in polluted communities,” Jerrett said. It also ran on Sina, Xinhua North America, Nampa, and ECNS.

COVID-19: Who is hit Hardest? The Answer is in the Air

The Los Angeles Daily News (April 15) quoted Dr. Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about his team’s research that found Los Angeles County neighborhoods with poor air quality had the highest coronavirus death rates. “It’s really important to note that neither COVID nor air pollution are equal opportunity killers,” Jerrett said. “They both exact higher tolls on our Black and Latino communities.” Including the Daily News, the story ran across all 11 of the Southern California News Group’s papers, including the Orange County Register, Riverside Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino Sun, Pasadena Star-NewsSan Gabriel Valley TribuneLong Beach Press-TelegramWhittier Daily News, Torrance (CA) Daily Breeze, and the Ontario-Pomona (CA) Daily Bulletin, and the Redlands Daily Facts. Similar items ran in Pasadena NowVietgiatriBao Nhanhtin247Daily Kos, and Fresh News.

COVID-19: Team Awarded $1.7 Million for Research on Racism and Crisis Communication

State of Reform (April 15) quoted Dr. Chandra Ford, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health and professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, about a $1.7 million grant her team was awarded to reach historically marginalized and disadvantaged populations during public health crises. “We have to shift the focus beyond merely documenting higher rates of death, disease and underlying conditions in our communities toward eradicating the inequities,” Ford said. “As with any other threat to health, we can only do that by identifying the root causes – meaning, the causes of the causes of the unequal social conditions. Further, as with prior pandemics, COVID-19 stigma is highly racialized, making Asian populations in particular susceptible to hate crimes.” A similar item ran on the Howard University News.

COVID-19: Our Progress on Vaccine Equity

The Los Angeles Times (April 15) quoted Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about why some underserved areas in Los Angeles County are still behind on vaccinations. “When the next pandemic hits, and it will hit ... we’ll see, unfortunately, the same tragic results,” Hayes-Bautista said.

COVID-19: Trying to Get a Vaccine?

Healthline (April 15) interviewed Dr. Deborah Glik, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about the effectiveness of social media as a public health tool. “To use it effectively, the sender must segment the audience,” Glik said. “In this case, assume these are people at high risk of being vaccine hesitant, (and) test and pretest what is being communicated, address that particular audience’s major issues and concerns, use spokespersons that this audience can relate to, and use the right persuasive techniques.”

COVID-19: Vaccine Inequities Persist in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles Times (April 14) interviewed Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about why some underserved areas in Los Angeles County are still behind on vaccinations. This “is a recipe for not good things,” Hayes-Bautista said. “When the next pandemic hits, and it will hit ... we’ll see, unfortunately, the same tragic results.” Dr. Paul Simon, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and chief science officer at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, also was quoted: “That’s a good sign indicating we’re closing the gaps, but we obviously need to do that more quickly.”

COVID-19: How Effective are air Purifiers at Keeping you From Getting Sick?

Well+Good (April 14) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about whether air purifiers actually reduce the risk of catching viruses and other airborne transmissible illnesses. “The short answer is yes,” Brewer said. “There is at least laboratory data to suggest that these filters are capable of removing viral-infected respiratory droplets from the air.” It also ran on MSN.

COVID-19: Kings County saw a 90% Increase in Latino Immigrant Deaths in 2020

The Fresno Bee (April 14) interviewed Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about why Latinos in Kings County, near Fresno, has been hit so hard by the pandemic. “They work hard, have strong family values, don’t use welfare, are healthy, don’t drink, don’t smoke, etcetera — but for all that work ethic, they are very poorly rewarded,” Hayes-Bautista said. “The harder Latinos work, the poorer they are, the less likely they are to have health insurance. They get punished for good behavior.”

COVID-19: Newsom: J&J Vaccine Pause Won’t Affect California Reopening

The Associated Press (April 13) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about whether California’s pause on using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as federal agencies examine a rare side effect is likely to affect vaccination efforts. “Our case rates are still pretty low, our hospitalization rates and mortality rates are very low relative to what they were in January,” Brewer said. “So I think we’re still moving forward.” The story ran widely, in more than 50 media outlets, including U.S. News & World ReportKTTV-TVKTLA-TV, the Bakersfield CalifornianNapa Valley Register, Santa Rosa (CA) Press-Democrat, Santa Maria (CA) Times, Porterville (CA) RecorderKUSI-TV and KPBS-FM (San Diego), KTVN-TV (NV), the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

COVID-19: Scientists Delve Into Clotting Issues Associated With J&J Vaccine

The Los Angeles Daily News (April 13) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about clotting issues associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, including potential parallels with issues being studied with the AstraZeneca vaccine. “They’re both adenovirus vaccines. How much is that a factor in what’s going on?” Brewer said. Including the Daily News, the story ran across all 11 of the Southern California News Group’s papers, including the Orange County RegisterRiverside Press-EnterpriseSan Bernardino SunPasadena Star-NewsSan Gabriel Valley TribuneLong Beach Press-TelegramWhittier Daily News, Torrance (CA) Daily Breeze, Ontario-Pomona (CA) Daily Bulletin, and the Redlands Daily Facts. It also ran in the San Jose Mercury News, and the East Bay Times.

COVID-19: Lockdowns Raised air Quality… but Only Briefly

NJToday (April 12) interviewed Dr. Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and senior associate dean for academic programs, about the state of air quality in urban areas in the United States and its relationship to the pandemic. “The good air quality can’t last if traffic-emission reductions don’t last,” Zhu said. “What our paper shows is that if we can find a sustainable, equitable way for people to drive less and telework more, there are significant air quality benefits from it.” The story also referenced Dr. Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and co-director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions.

COVID-19: Firefighters are Still Declining the Vaccine

LAist (April 12) referenced work by UCLA Fielding School of Public health researchers in a story about the percentages of Los Angeles County firefighters who have received COVID-19 vaccines.

 

FEATURES (Other)

Tips For Navigating A Request for Abstracts

Health Affairs (April 17) advanced an April 22 webinar with Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of health policy and management, about what makes a successful abstract for someone hoping to publish in Health Affairs. It also ran on Compsmag and Bollyinside.

It’s Time to Standardize Medical Test Prices

The Los Angeles Times (April 16) interviewed Dr. Jack Needleman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management, about the possibility of standardizing the cost of common medical tests to streamline healthcare management costs. “The U.S. health system has adopted an approach to payment that is basically providers billing whatever they want,” Needleman said.

When Pathologists Disagree, Artificial Intelligence may Help

The ASCO Post (April 16) interviewed Dr. Joann Elmore, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about research on artificial intelligence and machine learning that may lead to more consistent and accurate diagnoses and prognoses, potentially improving treatment. “For decades, I had been studying the accuracy of cancer screening with pathology as my gold standard, and perhaps there was more variability in that pathologist’s diagnosis than I had realized,” Elmore said. “That led me to get interested in AI, and machine learning … it is impressive how rapidly the computer can get up to almost the equivalent performance of the pathologist.”

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health efforts spotlighted in ASPPH Friday Letter

The ASPPH Friday Letter (April 16) reported eleven items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty and staff experts, FSPH efforts related to the pandemic, or other news. These included pieces referencing faculty members Dr. Anne Rimoin on COVID-19 origins, Dr. Dana Hunnes on pandemic weight gain; and Dr. Christina Ramirez in the Associated Press, Dr. Robert Kim-Farley in the Los Angeles Times. The Letter also listed items reporting research on gun violence by Dr. Michael Rodriguez and Dr. Ninez Ponce and on the ‘public charge’ policy by Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante; as well as events hosted by the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions on April 21, and the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health on April 23; and an award recognizing Dr. Paul Torrens and an item recognizing Dr. Anne Rimoin as a keynote speaker for LABEST. The Letter referenced Dr. Steven P. Wallace in memoriam as well.

Using Satellite Data to map air Pollution and Improve Health

Eos (April 15) interviewed Dr. Beate Ritz, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences, about NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) mission, set for launch in 2022 as the space agency’s first health-focused Earth-orbital satellite mission. “We can’t generalize from a traffic-related-pollution cardiovascular disease or a dementia link in urban areas to a rural area with mostly wood burning,” Ritz said, which is where the advantages of remote sensing becomes extremely useful. “There are many parts of the world where, especially in low- or middle-income countries, there’s just no ground-level monitoring or very, very sparse ground-level monitoring.”

Can Changing the Public Charge Rule Improve the Health and Lives of Children?

Advancing Health Equity (April 14) published a commentary co-written by Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of health policy and management, about the impact of the Trump Administration’s changes to the public charge rule. “While the assistance was much needed — especially in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic — many of these households chose to disenroll or forgo applying for benefits to avoid jeopardizing their future green card or immigration status,” the authors stated. “As a result, there was a steep decline in participation in public benefits and programs that allow for economic opportunity and social mobility among immigrant families and uplift children and adults.”

A Public Health Approach to Anti-racism

The University of Kentucky’s UKNOW (April 14) referenced Dr. Chandra Ford, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health, and Dr. Gilbert Gee, professor of community health sciences, in an item about events at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. Both Ford and Gee spoke as part of the program.

Undocumented Projected to Remain California’s Largest Group of Uninsured in 2022

California Health Care (April 13) published an analysis, co-authored by Dr. Gerald Kominski, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, that found nearly 3.2 million Californians will remain uninsured in 2022, or about 9.5% of the population age 0 to 64, with the highest uninsured rates will be among undocumented Californians (65%). Other FSPH-affiliated co-authors include Dr. Dylan Roby, associate professor of health policy and management; and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research staff Dr. Srikanth Kadiyala and Annie Rak.

When Immigrant Policies are Decriminalized, Babies are Born Healthier

HealthNews Digest (April 13) quoted Dr. May Sudhinaraset, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of community health sciences, about her research into preterm births among populations of women immigrants in the United States. “High rates of preterm birth are a public health priority in the US, with rates for mothers born outside the U.S. increasing steadily since 2014, while decreasing among mothers born in the U.S.,” Sudhinaraset said. “It is important to move beyond documenting trends to examine the root causes of these inequities. One potential cause of increasing rates of preterm birth among foreign-born mothers may be the acute stress of anti-immigrant rhetoric and changes in federal immigration policies.” Similar items ran in NewsMedicalScienmag, the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Sciencenews.

Public Health Scholar’s Work on Fatigue and Health Published

MyNewsLA (April 13) quoted Dr. Emily K. Abel, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor emeritus, about her work Sick and Tired – An Intimate History of Fatigue, published this week by the UNC Press. “Medicine finally has discovered fatigue. Recent research into various diseases conclude that fatigue has been under-recognized, underdiagnosed, and undertreated, while scholars in the social sciences and humanities have also ignored the phenomenon,” Abel said. “As a result, we know little about what it means to live with this condition, especially given its diverse symptoms and causes.” A similar item ran in Sciencenews.