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When religion ‘trumps’ reproductive rights, enter public health

Alexandra Carter, Human Rights Center fellow and graduate student | October 24, 2017

For decades now, advocates for religious and reproductive rights have argued their morality on the grounds of women’s health. The latest crusade comes with Trump’s announcement to expand religious accommodations and overturn the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act. Effective immediately, the federal rules allow employers, and now universities, to deny women contraceptive coverage … Continue reading »

GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal ACA worst one yet for California

Laurel Lucia, Labor Center Health Care Program director | September 20, 2017

Co-authored by Laurel Lucia, Ian Perry and Ken Jacobs; crossposted from the blog of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Once again, Congress is considering a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make major cuts to Medicaid. Next week, the Senate may vote on this latest repeal effort, led by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham … Continue reading »

Senate Republicans’ health bill especially hurts the lowest-income Californians

Laurel Lucia, Labor Center Health Care Program director | June 22, 2017

Co-authored by Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center The health bill released by Senate Republicans today would be devastating to low-income Californians and their access to health coverage. While the proposed Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, is largely similar to the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House … Continue reading »

Energy drinks are killing young people. It’s time to stop that.

Pat Crawford, adjunct professor in public health and researcher at the Nutrition Policy Institute | June 7, 2017

Co-authored by Wendi Gosliner, a project scientist at the Nutrition Policy Institute. Last week, a 16-year-old tragically lost his life after consuming an energy drink, a soda and a latte — drinks routinely consumed by and often intensively marketed to youth — all within a few hours. According to the coroner, the boy’s heart simply … Continue reading »

Gamification for global health

Sandra McCoy, associate professor in the School of Public Health |

Gamification is popping up everywhere in our daily lives, with applications to management, commerce and health. Why? Because the evidence suggests that it works. Now it’s being studied in an HIV prevention program for young gay and bisexual men.

The Pope and sanitation

Christopher Hyun, PhD student, Energy and Resources Group | May 26, 2017

The pope’s encyclical on climate change once again makes headlines as, probably for the first time, it has been presented to President Trump to read. Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute, Tweeted what I felt when I heard the news: Short as it is, the president will probably not read it. So, Gleick shared a … Continue reading »

This NIH program is crucial to global health — and its future is in danger

Arthur Reingold, professor and head of epidemiology | March 29, 2017

Co-authored with Madhukar Pai, MD, a Canada Research Chair in Epidemiology and Global Health at McGill University in Montreal. A little-noticed cut in President Trump’s proposed “budget blueprint to make American great again” would eliminate the Fogarty International Center, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. That would be a big mistake for the … Continue reading »

Frozen eggs and Title IX

Mary Ann Mason, professor, Berkeley Law | May 19, 2016

Recently, I gave a research talk on work and family issues to a class of women MBA students at my university. Our UC Berkeley research team, the Do Babies Matter? project, had clearly identified when and how family formation affects career patterns for academic and professional men and women. As usual in this talk, I … Continue reading »

Good science gone wrong?

Paul Gertler, professor, Haas School of Business and School of Public Health | August 3, 2015

Most scientists want to tell the truth. We want to help people by answering important questions, and sharing what we learn. But the research endeavor is big and messy. And as we’ve learned from the climate change and HIV/AIDS debates, there will always be folks who favor controversy, dogma, and press coverage over scientific consensus. … Continue reading »

Unaccountability is bad for public health and democracy

Bruce Newsome, Lecturer in International Relations | March 31, 2015

The British Parliament’s Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has reported that the authorities for investigating healthcare failures in Britain are too numerous and unaccountable. I am pleased that at least one committee has criticized the structure of British healthcare, but the PASC airily follows all previous inquiries by recommending a lot of cultural change, and … Continue reading »

Can you trust health news?

John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus, public health | March 16, 2015

Reporting health news isn’t easy, especially when journalists have short deadlines and limited space to parse research that’s frequently complex, nuanced, and laced with caveats. On top of that, there’s often the temptation — for scientists, press offices, and reporters — to oversimplify and oversell research findings to get more attention. I notice this more … Continue reading »

Measles: First, Tell the Truth

Stephen Maurer, director, IT & Homeland Security Project, public policy | February 4, 2015

Various Republican presidential contenders just got caught waffling about measles vaccines. It doesn’t take a political genius to see that this was meant as a wink to the libertarians in their party. The only surprise is that the wink was a little too public and now, suddenly, they’re backtracking. The knee-jerk response, played out all … Continue reading »

Is there any benefit in overreacting to threats like Ebola?

Martín Sánchez-Jankowski, director, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues | October 31, 2014

The recent Ebola scare in the U.S. has raised some important questions about what is the appropriate response to a public threat. The two most obvious ones have to do with what is the appropriate response that we as individuals should take and what is the appropriate response that the various national institutions entrusted with … Continue reading »

What if Ebola isn’t Africa’s biggest health threat?

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | October 22, 2014

Over a long professional life in global health, I have learnt a bitter lesson: it seems almost impossible for decision-makers to recognize and respond to slowly unfolding threats that take two or three decades to unfold and can involve millions of people. Sadly, big organizations with big money have a poor record of confronting big … Continue reading »

The Ebola panic

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 20, 2014

The National Lampoon once put out a mock edition of a newspaper from the fictional city of Dacron, Ohio. There was a screaming headline reading: TWO DACRON WOMEN MISSING. A much smaller subheading read: Japan destroyed by tidal wave. We are now seeing something similar in the U.S. reaction to Ebola. So far, only three … Continue reading »

State(s) of obesity

Dan Farber, professor of law | September 11, 2014

State of Obesity, a joint project of the Trust for America’s Future and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released a fascinating report about adult obesity. There are large national disparities. The obesity rate is over 35% in West Virginia and Mississippi, but only 21% in Colorado. Despite these disparities, obesity rates have grown everywhere … Continue reading »

From germ theory to global warming, science denialism is beyond parody

Dan Farber, professor of law | August 27, 2014

If you’re inclined to doubt science, why not start with the germ theory of disease? After all, isn’t it implausible that illness, death, and even mass epidemics are caused by tiny invisible organisms that invade our bodies? And what’s the evidence for that, really?  Just the findings of scientists who can get big grants from … Continue reading »