APRIL 2021

CHPR Doctoral Students Publish their Research

Sarah Haynes and Eduard Poltavskiy, who when earning their doctoral degrees both worked under the supervision of Patrick Romano, M.D., M.P.H., a core faculty member with CHPR, have recently published their research in scientific journals.

Dr. Poltavskiy is the lead author of “Predicting COVID-19 at skilled nursing facilities in California: do the stars align?” His paper describes research designed to identify predictors of COVID-19 that could facilitate enhanced surveillance that would help prevent future disease outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Findings from this study suggest that SNFs with higher Quality Measures star ratings (as posted on the CMS.gov website) were more likely to house resident(s) afflicted with COVID-19. Dr. Poltravskiy and his co-authors suggested that this seemingly counterintuitive finding from early in the pandemic (data analyzed were from mid-April through May 31, 2020) “may be the result of hospital practice driving referrals of residents with high comorbidities to facilities with presumably high-quality ratings (≥3 stars) and away from facilities with low-quality ratings.”

Dr. Haynes is the lead author on “The use of telemedicine for stabilization of neonates transferred from rural community hospitals.” Haynes and her co-authors used multiple regression analysis to explore whether consulting with a neonatologist via telemedicine, as opposed to over the telephone, was associated with decreasing the time required to stabilize newborns in need of transfer from rural hospitals to a regional neonatal intensive care unit. Although no differences in stabilization times between modes of consultation were identified, the authors concluded that telemedicine still may be helpful for stabilizing infants with higher severity of illness, particularly those in respiratory distress, and that future studies should examine the impact telemedicine may have when used in conjunction with specific medical interventions.

Dr. Poltravskiy is also lead author of “Exploring the implications of the new ICD-10-CM classification system for injury surveillance: analysis of dually coded data from two medical centres,” published in the journal Injury Prevention.

Congratulations Drs. Poltravskiy and Haynes!

Update on COVID-19 Pilot Projects

Research findings from two UC Davis pilot studies of how COVID-19 has impacted health-related services are being published in the scientific literature. These studies, along with three others, were supported by pilot grants co-sponsored by UC Davis’ Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), Center for Health and Technology (CHT) and the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE).

Diana Miglioretti, who received an award to conduct “Sacramento Area Breast Imaging Registry (SABIR): Impact of COVID-19 on Breast Cancer Screening, Surveillance, Diagnosis, and Treatment, said the pilot funds were “instrumental in allowing [her team] to collaborate with several BCSC breast imaging registries” on several aspects of her project. Dr. Miglioretti, Ph.D. and Professor and Division Chief of Biostatistics, Department of Public Health Sciences, has been documenting delays in breast cancer screening and related care due to COVID-19 and determining whether disparities in access, timeliness of care, and treatment quality in vulnerable populations have been compounded during the quarantine. The first two publications of her findings, “Assessment of a risk-based approach for triaging mammography examinations during periods of reduced capacity” and “Changes in mammography utilization by women’s characteristics during the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” are currently in press at JAMA Open Network and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, respectively.

Dr. Miglioretti and her collaborators also received a $500,000 enhancement from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to support this work and have had two additional papers on this project accepted for publication in Preventive Medicine.

Jennifer Rosenthal and Kristin Hoffman, both M.D.s in the UC Davis Department of Pediatrics, received a pilot grant to support their study: “Virtual Family-Centered Rounds during COVID-19 in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.” In response to the inability of parents to visit their children in the neonatal intensive care unit because of the pandemic, these researchers began studying the feasibility and acceptability of using Zoom to allow parents to virtually attend weekday “family-centered rounds” (FCR). Drs. Rosenthal and Hoffman also have been exploring the effects of virtual FCRs on parents and quality of care. Their first manuscript describing the project’s findings has been accepted for publication in Academic Pediatrics and they will give two presentations on the project at this Spring’s Pediatric Academic Societies' (PAS) conference (which will be held virtually).

Please check back to this webpage for future postings comprising additional updates on these and other COVID-19 pilot studies.

March 2021

Results of the “Every Aggie Together” Mask Contest are In

“Why is it important to wear a mask?” UC Davis students, employees and faculty submitted more than 200 entries to answer that question during the “Every Aggie Together” Mask Contest, co-sponsored by the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) and Campus Ready. Participants posted their unique photos, artwork or videos to their personal Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. Judges, representing UC Davis faculty, staff and graduate students from a range of UC Davis departments, including Agricultural and Resource Economics, Communication, Design, Emergency Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, and Public Health Sciences as well as CHPR, blindly selected the top three winners.

3rd Prize, an Apple Watch with wristband, went to undergraduate Olivia Patitucci for her video “I Properly Wear a Mask to Protect my Community.

2nd Prize, a 64GB Apple iPad Air, went to staff members Lisa Wells, Stephanie Perla, Hector Amezcua and Caren Weintraub for their facebook post “Hay ewe! Wear your maaaaask.

And the Grand Prize Winner of the 13-inch Apple Macbook Pro was Begum Kasap, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, for her video and adaptation of the Irving Berlin song “Everybody’s doing it.

All participants with valid entries received a specially designed UC Davis face covering.

Take a moment to check out these engaging winners, it will brighten your day. Congratulations to all UC Davis community members who participated in the contest!

UCLA CHPR announces two webinars to train the general public and media, legislators, and policymakers on how to use CHIS’ free online data tools

The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation's largest state health survey, is hosting two data user training webinars to demonstrate how to use CHIS' free online data tools to get data on a wide range of health topics across many sociodemographic factors.

The webinars will be held on Zoom as follows:

Wednesday, March 10

12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)

Register Now


Friday, April 9

10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. PT

The webinars will feature:

  • AskCHIS™: an online health query system that allows you to search for health statistics on your county, region, and state.
  • AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition™: a GIS search tool for health indicators by ZIP code, city, county, legislative districts, and census tracts. New data and four vulnerability indices at the census tract level released in 2021, including a Preexisting Health Vulnerability Index that captures risk of COVID-19 infection and death due to preexisting health conditions.
  • COVID-19 data dashboards: tools to track COVID-19 and various risk factors across California counties, as well as preliminary monthly estimates from new COVID-19 questions in CHIS 2020, including COVID-19 treatment, personal and financial impacts of the pandemic, and much more.
  • Health Profiles: quick and easy health statistics on adults and children for your county, region, legislative district, and more.

 These trainings are presented by Peggy Toy, director of the Health DTA Program, and Jacob Rosalez, California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data dissemination manager.

Diana Farmer, chair of the Department of Surgery at UC Davis Health and a CHPR faculty member, is featured on the cover of this month’s Comstock’s magazine. Her inspiring story, as a medical innovator and pioneer—she was the world’s first female fetal surgeon—and head of a “team of more than 250 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, residents, students and other staff,” is featured in Comstock’s “annual salute to extraordinary women who are shaping our future.”

Dr. Farmer came to UC Davis Health from UCSF in 2011 and has been performing surgeries on fetuses and neonates, conducting research and clinical trials, and leading her large team of medical professionals by example ever since. She and colleague Aijun Wang are currently testing a novel stem cell therapy for repairing damaged neural tissues in babies with spina bifida…while those babies are still in their mothers’ wombs! Farmer received a $9M grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to fund this exciting work.

Dr. Farmer’s recognition as an extraordinary woman who is shaping the future is obviously well deserved. Congratulations, Dr. Farmer.

American Women Have Unequal Access to 3D Mammograms

A new study, co-authored by CHPR faculty member Diana Miglioretti, found that while 53% of White women were screened for breast cancer using 3D mammography, only 37% of Black women were screened using this newer, more technologically advanced imaging method. Asian American and Hispanic women also experienced reduced access to 3D mammography as compared to White women. Advantages of 3D mammograms mentioned in the JAMA Network Open article describing the study include reduced “recall [to follow up on suspicious results] and increased cancer detection compared with [standard 2D] digital mammography (DM), depending on women’s age and breast density.”

Results of the study were based on more than 2.3 million breast-screening exams conducted at 92 different imaging facilities in 5 U.S. states from 2011 through 2017. Study results also indicated that women with less education and lower income received fewer 3D mammographs during 2011-2017 than did women with college degrees and who lived in zip codes with higher median household incomes.

Miglioretti, professor and division chief of biostatistics at the UC Davis School of Medicine, told HealthDay that she was, unfortunately, “not surprised to find these traditionally underserved populations were less likely to attend facilities that offered 3D mammorgraphy, and even when they did, they were less likely to receive a 3D mammogram.” She and her co-authors concluded that future research “efforts should address racial/ethnic, educational, and financial barriers” to using 3D mammography for breast cancer screening.

 More information on this study is available in the UC Davis Health Newsroom

BHCOE 2021 Pilot Grant Request for Applications

The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) seeks applications to improve the mental health of Californians. The major goal of the Pilot Grant Program is to propel UC Davis faculty and researchers to positions of strength in competing for extramural funding and to strengthen collaborations with our community, regional and statewide partners. The BHCOE will fund applications up to $75,000 for 1 year per Pilot Award. 

Areas of Interest for Applications: 

  • Computational Psychiatry
  • Neuroscience research - basic, clinical and translational
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Homelessness prevention
  • Services research and implementation science
  • Early identification and prevention
  • Shared services with jails, hospitals, courts, police, and other parts of the California Justice System which are impacted by mental health needs
  • Underserved populations
  • Reduction of stigma
  • Co-location of medical and mental health services; integrative care
  • Reinforcement of the safety net
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) impact 

 This is a great opportunity for those who need pilot data to strengthen a future grant application.

Learn more and Apply: https://ucdavis.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1836532

February 2021

Nationwide Survey Explores Predictors of Concerns about COVID-19 Vaccines

The bad news, according to a UC Davis study published last week in Vaccine, is that nearly 15% of the U.S. residents surveyed said they were unlikely to, and another 23% were unsure as to whether they would, get vaccinated against COVID-19. Their primary basis for hesitation? Concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness.

The paper’s first author, Jeanette B. Ruiz, assistant professor of teaching communication, noted that “[u]nfortunately, the seemingly rushed process of the COVID-19 vaccine may have further fueled these doubts.” Robert Bell, emeritus professor of communication and a CHPR faculty member, co-authored the study.

Additional factors—such as lower level of education, lower income, relying primarily on social media or Fox News for information about COVID-19, and identifying with either the Republican or no political party—also contributed to respondents’ hesitancy about getting vaccinated.

But the good news is that Ruiz and Bell’s study also indicated that acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines was associated with having more knowledge about vaccines, and very encouraging data on the safety and effectiveness of various COVID-19 vaccines has become available since these researchers conducted their survey in June 2020. Hopefully, these safety and effectiveness data—as well as additional data being collected in conjunction with vaccination programs currently underway https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X21000141 —will help convince the hesitators out there to get vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

More information about Ruiz and Bell’s study can be found here.

January 2021

CHPR Co-Sponsors “Every Aggie Together” Mask Contest

Although more and more vaccines against it are being distributed and administered, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage. In fact, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) cites circulation of a more infectious variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 among reasons that fighting the pandemic may be even tougher this year than last. It’s therefore more critical than ever that we all wear masks or other face coverings in the fight against COVID-19.

That’s why UC Davis, with support from the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), has launched the “Every Aggie Together” Mask Contest, a competition to encourage UC Davis students, employees and faculty to produce public campaign messages that will encourage everyone to wear masks correctly and consistently. Contest entries should answer the question “Why is it important to wear a mask?” and be posted for public display on contestants’ social media accounts. Prizes include a Macbook Pro, Apple iPad Air, Apple Watch, and UC Davis face coverings!

Entries are being accepted now through Friday, February 5th at 11:59 pm. For more information, including official contest rules and entry forms, please visit the UC Davis Contests and Promotions webpage.

December 2020

CHPR Associate Director Jeffrey Hoch has been appointed as an Associate Editor of the journal BMC Cancer

We'd like to congratulate our Associate Director Jeffrey Hoch, Ph.D. for his recent appointment as an Associate Editor of the journal BMC Cancer. BMC Cancer is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on all aspects of cancer research, including the pathophysiology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. The journal welcomes submissions concerning molecular and cellular biology, genetics, epidemiology, and clinical trials.

Access the journal here: https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/


CHPR Director Dr. Joy Melnikow Appointed to National Public Health Task Force

Joy Melnikow, CHPR Director and professor in the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine, will soon become a member of the U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force. She was appointed by Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to serve on the task force beginning in January 2021. 

Joy Melnikow  Joy Melnikow

The task force is an independent, nonfederal panel of public health and prevention experts that provides evidence-based guidance on effective community-based health promotion and disease prevention interventions. It was established in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The group’s overall goals are to improve health, reduce disease and save lives throughout the U.S. Their current priorities include stroke, mental health, substance use, violence and public health crises. 

“This year more than ever has proven the importance of evidence-based public health interventions, which can have a profound impact on the health of whole communities,” Melnikow said. “I am honored to serve in the role of defining effective national models for those interventions based on all available scientific evidence.” 

Melnikow — the first task force member from UC Davis — is recognized for her research to improve health, including mental health, women’s health, cancer screening and health care access. Since 2009, she has been director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, which supports interdisciplinary, collaborative research that fuels improvements in health policy. Melnikow also has served as a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. 

Recommendations for Making the 2020 Winter Holidays Safer

Wondering how to make your winter holidays safer during the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out the “COVID-19 dos and don’ts during a dangerous Thanksgiving and holiday season” recommended by UC Davis Health. Atop the list: Don’t gather in person.

That advice also tops the recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). As stated by the CDC, celebrating with only the people in your own household is “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year,” because “staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

All three of these health organizations also provide—albeit further down on their lists—advice on how to make in-person gatherings safer. The short answer: if you must gather, keep it small and outdoors (and, of course: wear a mask, keep at least 6 feet apart and wash your hands frequently).  

But no matter how you decide to celebrate this year, here’s hoping for the best, and safest, winter holidays that are possible during a global pandemic.

UC Davis Office of Research presents: Research Pathways to Impact: Linking Research to Policy in the Great Challenges of our times: Health, Migration and Climate

November 30, 2020 from 12:00pm - 1:00pm

The Office of Research has launched Research Pathways to Impact — a suite of online programming to help researchers and innovators advance their programs and careers. 

The Research Career Accelerator track focuses on diversifying and strengthening different aspects of research across the spectrum through shared insights and dialogue. On November 30, the panel will discuss how they link their research to policy. Our panelists are:

  • Dr. Austin Brown, biophysicist and executive director of the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy
  • Dr. Joy Melnikow, director for the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine
  • Dr. Giovanni Peri, professor & chair of economics, research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and founding director of the Global Migration Center

Each panelist works with faculty and researchers to identify innovative ways to address challenges and enable policymakers to meet portfolio standards and achieve goals. Their work informs the policymaking process in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., and internationally.


UC Davis Health Contract with Bear River Land Holdings, LLC will Fund a new Report Examining the Current Academic Research and State-of-the-art Technology for Designing Age-friendly Communities

Bear River Land Holdings, LLC has selected UC Davis Health to write a report on the current academic research and industry best practices for designing technology-driven communities that support the unique needs of older adults and adults with disabilities. 
For this report, researchers at the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and the Center for Health and Technology will act as independent consultants and review the current trends, opportunities and potential challenges to creating a new and innovative age-friendly community. It will include recommendations on the latest architectural designs for homes and surrounding areas, utilizing embedded and expandable technology, and incorporating features that have been shown to improve health and well-being such as walkability and access to green space.   
Additionally, the UC Davis team will explore common barriers to accessing health and other support services within the community and describe novel methods for promoting health and independence among older adults and adults with disabilities. The final report will be used to inform future development and land use plans, to identify potential partners for technology and care delivery, and to outline possible next steps for creating demonstration homes and apartments using research design options. 
This project is part of the UC Davis Big IdeaHealthy Aging in a Digital World, an initiative dedicated to researching how technology can benefit the aging population and their caregivers. The initiative is led by Tom Nesbitt, Emeritus Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Technologies, and Heather M. Young, Dean Emerita of the School of Nursing. 

Introducing the Newest Members of CHPR’s Grant Development/Management Team

CHPR is pleased to announce its new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Michael Webster. Michael comes very highly recommended from his previous position, Extramural Finance Manager in the Department of Internal Medicine at UC Davis Health. He has worked in the UC system for a total of 17 years, 13 of them at UC Davis. In addition to his other administrative duties, Michael will head up CHPR’s grant development/management team.

The addition of Beatrice “Bea” Le, our new Contracts/Grants Analyst and Fiscal Compliance Officer, fills out CHPR’s grant development/management team. Bea comes to us from the Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Davis Health where she served as interim Business Officer. Her expertise is in financial management and grant submissions and she will be providing a high level of financial analysis and dedicated pre- and post-award support to CHPR faculty, staff, and leadership. CHPR faculty members in need of her assistance can contact her at beale@ucdavis.edu.

Welcome Michael and Bea!


UC Davis Professors Receive Awards to Research Causes, Find Solutions to Firearm Violence

Firearm-related violence is a big problem in the United States. Every day over 100 people die, and another more than 200 people are treated in emergency departments, as a result of firearm-related injuries.

In an effort to understand and prevent firearm violence, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded 16 grants this month to researchers across the country investigating strategies for preventing firearm-related injuries, deaths, and crime. Three investigators from UC Davis were among the 16 awardees.

CHPR faculty member Aimee Moulin, M.D. and a professor of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis Health, is one of them. Dr. Moulin will examine the synergistic impacts of firearm access and opioid-related harm on firearm suicide risk at the individual and population levels in the state of California. Her two-year research project is titled “Firearm Access, Opioid Use, and Firearm Suicide Mortality.”

The other two UC Davis awardees are assistant professors with the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis Health. Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, Ph.D., M.P.H., will study the “Prevalence of Community Gun Violence Exposure and Consequences for Adolescent Well-Being” for her two-year project and Rose Kagawa, Ph.D., M.P.H., will examine “Physical, Social, and Economic Environments and Firearm Fatalities Among Youth” over the course of her mentored career development (K01) award.

According to the CDC, the 16 awards represent research that is an “important step toward keeping individuals, families, schools, and communities safe from firearm violence and its consequences.”

UC Center Sacramento Event The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Role of the Public Research University

In a special UC Center Sacramento session, UC Davis Chancellor Gary May and UC Davis Vice Chancellor David Lubarsky will spoke at noon on Wednesday, September 23rd, about how public research universities can contribute to public health and economic recovery in the current COVID-19 era. Drawing on their experiences as leaders of a UC Campus and its affiliated health system, Drs. May and Lubarsky described how UC Davis is discharging its myriad and sometimes conflicting responsibilities to students, faculty, staff, patients, and the public.

Following brief remarks, Drs. May and Lubarsky will engaged in conversation with UC Center Sacramento Director and CHPR core faculty member Richard Kravitz, followed by questions from the audience.

Hastings Describes Preliminary COVID-19 Survey Results on UC Davis Live

Results of UC Davis pilot studies on the impacts of COVID-19, sponsored by the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), the Center for Health and Technology (CHT) and the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE), are starting to come in.

Professor Paul Hastings described some early findings from the survey he and colleague Camelia Hostinar undertook with their pilot funds in a UC Davis LIVE conversation hosted by Soterios Johnson on September 10th. Hastings and Hostinar both are professors in the UC Davis Psychology Department and faculty affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Mind & Brain. Their survey project is titled “Parenting during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Parent and Child Mental Health and Well-being.” 

Hastings told UC Davis LIVE listeners that more than half of the 500 parents who responded to the survey reported that “things were going well”—some 20% of them even describing things as “better” than before the pandemic. Hastings attributed involving kids in identifying safe, preferably physically active, things they could do near their friends and establishing limits for time spent on social media as being associated with better overall well-being.

But about a third of the families surveyed said they were struggling or could be doing better. Dr. Hastings suggested that lack of social support, from spouses or otherwise, and “profound” financial influences are likely factors contributing to the struggles of those families. He plans to look specifically at how these stresses affect women—whom he noted still bear the brunt of caring for children, by comparing results of this pilot survey with those from another survey he has been conducting.

In answer to “What can we do to be more resilient?” Dr. Hastings suggested that people focus on what they have some control over: self-care. Unplug from electronic devices, get enough exercise, take care of others (which studies have shown improves one’s own well-being) and avoid abusing substances. In following his own advice, he instituted “Sober September” in his own home.           

Drs. Hastings and Hostinar are conducting additional analyses of the long-term ramifications of pandemic-related stressors on the mental and physical health of parents and children. They also plan to longitudinally follow study participants in a subsequent, larger project to determine resilience factors that allow some parents and families to navigate the COVID-19 quarantine more effectively than others.


CHPR Publishes Additional Reports on How Integrated Care Might be Provided for Sacramentans Experiencing Chronic Homelessness

The UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) has published two reports that follow up on the Center’s previously published “Integrating Care for People Experiencing Homelessness: A Focus on Sacramento County.” The initial report, published in March 2020, outlined options for innovative, coordinated care programs that could be provided for people experiencing chronic homelessness in Sacramento. It highlighted examples of integrated service models being utilized in the United States that combine healthcare, social services, and housing options for homeless individuals with complex, co-occurring conditions, including mental illness, substance use disorders and/or physical conditions.

CHPR’s newly published “Governance Options and Funding Sources for an Integrated Care Organization Serving Sacramento’s Chronically Homeless Population” provides details on how such integrated care organizations could be governed and funded, while “Economic Analysis of Options for Helping People Experiencing Homelessness in Sacramento” examines the costs and outcomes associated with the different options for providing integrated care services.

The economic analysis was conducted by CHPR Associate Director and Chief of the UC Davis Division of Health Policy and Management (HPM), Jeffrey Hoch, Ph.D., and Logan Trenaman, Ph.D., an HPM Post-Doctoral Scholar. Their results indicate that, under base case assumptions, an integrated care option would incur $70 million more in building costs and $77 million more in staffing costs relative to the status quo, but would reduce emergency department (ED) costs by $20 million (25,000 fewer ED visits), inpatient costs by $45 million (16,000 fewer inpatient days), victimization and criminalization costs by $17 million, and other costs by $14 million over five years.

Hoch and Trenaman suggest that a key next step in helping Sacramentans experiencing homelessness would be to embark on a collaborative approach to financing an integrated care organization. They cite “Social Determinants as Public Goods: A New Approach to Financing Key Investments in Healthy Communities” (Nichols & Taylor, 2018) in concluding that taking such a collaborative approach could not only finance the provision of integrated care to the chronically homeless, but also enable all stakeholders to enjoy the benefits of their investment in this public good.  

JULY 2020

Romano Publishes Primer on COVID-19 and Diagnostic Errors

A summary of the current state of the global literature on potential diagnostic errors related to COVID-19 was recently published on the website of the Patient Safety Network (PSNet) of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Patrick Romano, M.D., M.P.H., Co-Editor-in-Chief of AHRQ’s PSNet with Debra Bakerjian, Ph.D., A.P.R.N. of the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, authored the Patient Safety Primer “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Diagnostic Error” on behalf of the AHRQ PSNet team, which is based in part at the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR). The latest evidence on both test-related and clinician-related contributors to diagnostic errors is reviewed in the document.

Current diagnostic tests are described as analytically sensitive and highly specific for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, for example, but test accuracy can be substantially lower in actual clinical practice due to variation in how specimens from patients are obtained and handled, and the stage of a patient’s illness when the testing is performed. False-negative rates can be so high, in fact, that symptomatic individuals with an intermediate or high clinical suspicion of having COVID-19 should be retested when an initial test comes back negative.

 Dr. Romano also describes the various kinds of biases that may contribute to errors in diagnosing COVID-19 and other conditions with which COVID-19 is confused. For example, implicit biases—those outside conscious awareness that lead to negative evaluations of people based on characteristics such as race and ethnicity, nationality, disability, and socio-economic status—may be contributing to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African-American and Hispanic communities in the U.S. This Primer highlights the importance of conscious efforts to identify and address these implicit biases, as well as other biases, that can interfere with the diagnostic process.

 “COVID-19 and Diagnostic Errors” outlines approaches healthcare providers can take to minimize the impact of biases, summarizes current guidance for improving the fidelity of diagnostic testing, and references additional resources on this important topic. It will be updated over time to incorporate new information and evidence in this rapidly evolving field. 

JUNE 2020

Can Virtual Museum Experiences Help Reduce Social Isolation and Suffering from Chronic Pain? Help a Team from UC Davis Health Find Out

Over 100 million adult Americans suffer from chronic pain. Dr. Ian Koebner, Director of Integrative Pain Management and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pain Medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine, wants to help reduce that suffering through an innovative collaboration between UC Davis Health and Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum. You can help too, by enrolling in his research study.

Previous studies have demonstrated an association between physical pain and social disconnection, and also that increasing social connectedness can decrease pain intensity. Dr. Koebner and his team want to translate these findings into clinical care for patients. To that end, Dr. Koebner has been working with staff at Crocker to design museum programming for people with chronic pain and use it to test whether attending those programs helps sufferers feel more socially connected and less intense pain. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, these museum programs—one on art and another on artful meditation—will now be presented virtually, yet are still designed to promote social connectedness.

So if you are an adult who suffers from chronic pain and are interested in participating in a study to determine whether museum programs, delivered online, can help relieve pain and improve social connectedness, please visit the study’s webpage. There you can learn study details, including eligibility requirements and how to enroll. Ruchi Rawal, Project Manager for this study, would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have as well.

New Study Finds Patient Adherence to an Effective Health Management Strategy Declines after Rehospitalizations for Heart Failure

Because patients with heart failure often retain fluid during the week before an admission to hospital, daily weighing has become an important management strategy for patients with heart failure. A recent systematic review on this topic found that weight telemonitoring, i.e. patients transmitting their daily weight readings from home directly to their clinicians, is associated with significant decrease in patient mortality.

But a new study from the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), recently published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, suggests that rehospitalizations are followed by diminished adherence to daily weighing. This finding was surprising because the researchers expected events like rehospitalizations after an initial heart-related hospital admission to lead to greater adherence to daily weighing. The authors of the study offered possible explanations for these findings in their paper and also concluded that rehospitalizations and visits to emergency departments present “teaching moments” when the importance of adherence to daily weighing, as well as to other health management behaviors, could be reinforced by healthcare professionals.

Sarah Haynes, Ph.D., M.P.H., the paper’s first author, was a Ph.D. student in the UC Davis Graduate Group in Epidemiology and based at CHPR when she led this study. Additional authors include Dr. Patrick S. Romano, who was Dr. Haynes’ Ph.D. advisor, and Drs. Daniel Tancredi and Jeffrey S. Hoch who were members of Dr. Haynes’ Ph.D. advisory committee; all are core faculty members with CHPR. Dr. Haynes is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Davis Department of Pediatrics.

Sarah Haynes, Ph.D., M.P.H. Daniel Tancredi, Ph.D. Jeffrey Hoch, Ph.D.

Patrick Scott Romano, M.D., M.P.H., FACP, FAAP

Awards Made in Support of Five Studies of COVID-19 Impacts

Collaboration and teamwork by three UC Davis/UCDH centers are supporting new research on the impacts of COVID-19 on health outcomes, behavioral health and telehealth. A pilot grant competition funded five pilot studies. The Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), the Center for Health and Technology (CHT), and the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) collaborated in conducting the competition and sponsoring the awards.

The five projects receiving funding are:

  • “Parenting during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Parent and Child Mental Health and Well-being,” to be carried out by Paul D. Hastings, Ph.D., and Camelia Hostinar, Ph.D., both affiliated with the Center for Mind & Brain and professors in the Psychology Department. They will assess the long-term ramifications of pandemic-related stressors on the mental and physical health of parents and children, and plan to longitudinally follow study participants in a subsequent, larger project to determine resilience factors that allow some parents and families to navigate the COVID-19 quarantine more effectively than others.

    Paul D. Hastings, Ph.D. Camelia Hostinar, Ph.D.
  • “Impacts of COVID-19 on the Neurodevelopmental Community and a Plan for Continued Care,” led by Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the MIND Institute. He and colleague Lauren Bullard, M.S., will work with providers and families of children with autism spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome and fragile X syndrome to determine impacts COVID-19 closures have had on services normally provided to these families; results will be used to design a self-guided platform with telehealth features to help bridge service gaps.
    Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D. Lauren Bullard, M.S.
  • “Virtual Family-Centered Rounds during COVID-19 in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” will be led by Jennifer Rosenthal, M.D., in collaboration with Kristin Hoffman, M.D., both in the Department of Pediatrics. In response to the inability of parents to visit their children in the neonatal intensive care unit because of the pandemic, these researchers began studying the use of Zoom to allow parents to virtually attend weekday “family-centered rounds” (FCR); they will use this grant to conclude their pilot clinical trial of the feasibility and acceptability of virtual FCRs and explore the effects of FCRs on parents and quality of care.
    Jennifer Rosenthal, M.D Kristin Hoffman, M.D.
  • “Sacramento Area Breast Imaging Registry (SABIR): Impact of COVID-19 on Breast Cancer Screening, Surveillance, Diagnosis, and Treatment,” carried out by Diana L. Miglioretti, Ph.D., Professor and Division Chief of Biostatistics, Department of Public Health Sciences. Dr. Miglioretti will document delays in breast cancer screening and related care due to COVID-19, determine whether disparities in access, timeliness of care, and treatment quality in vulnerable populations have been compounded during the quarantine, and use that information to develop best practices for prioritizing breast cancer screening and care services during and after the pandemic.
    Diana L. Miglioretti, Ph.D.
  • “Hand Therapy App Video-visit Optimized Care (HAVOC) Study: Maintaining Hand Surgery Outcomes Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic,” led by Clifford T. Pereira, M.D., in collaboration with Chetan Irwin, M.D., and Andrew Li, M.D., all professors in the Surgery Department. These researchers responded to the challenge of delivering post-operative, surgeon-directed hand therapy to patients sheltering-in-place by developing a smartphone app and utilizing video visits; they will determine the efficacy of these adaptations for post-operative care of hand injuries and design an improved app with the support of this grant.

    Clifford T. Pereira, M.D. Chetan Irwin, M.D. Andrew Li, M.D.

All of these projects were designed to produce rapid results that can be used to seek extramural research funding to devise strategies that address challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project findings will be reported on our website when available so please check back often.

Click here to access full article: https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/pilot-grants-boost-covid-19-research/2020/06

Third UC Davis Virtual COVID-19 Symposium was held on June 3rd

A third UC Davis Virtual COVID-19 Symposium was be streamed via Zoom on Wednesday, June 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and focused on the topic of vaccines.

UC Davis Chancellor Gary May delivered the welcoming address. Dr. Robert Gallo, world-renowned virologist and distinguished professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, headlined the group of expert panelists. Dr. Dean Blumberg, professor and chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UC Davis Health and Dr. Allison Brashear, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, joined Dr. Gallo on the panel.

Among those who asked questions of the panel: Jennifer Cash, newest faculty member of the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences; Fred Gould, National Academy of Sciences member; UC Cooperative Extension advisor Surendra Dara; and University of Brasilia graduate student Raquel Silva. Viewers were also encouraged to submit their questions for the panel prior to the start of the symposium.

Additionally, retired UC Davis Medical Center nurse Carolyn Wyler of Sacramento, a passenger on the ill-fated Grand Princess cruise ship, talked about her COVID-19 outbreak experiences from ship to shore.

MAY 2020

CHPR Study Finds Northern California Counties with More Limited Access to Primary Care for Medi-Cal Enrollees have Higher Emergency Department Use

In response to the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (AKA ObamaCare), California expanded Medi-Cal to cover more Californians with low incomes. But an already limited number of available primary care clinicians prompted Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H., director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), to investigate the availability of new patient appointments for Medi-Cal enrollees and how that availability, or lack thereof, might relate to emergency department (ED) use. Melnikow led a team of CHPR-affiliated researchers in conducting the required research in eight contiguous counties in Northern California in 2015.

Results of the study, which included simulated patients making phone calls seeking new patient appointments and analysis of ED use in each county, were published in the May/June 2020 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Melnikow et al. found that, despite standard statewide reimbursement rates and in contrast to findings in other states, access for new Medi-Cal patients to primary care was limited and varied among the counties. Counties with more limited access to primary care appointments (Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Solano) also experienced higher ED use by Medi-Cal enrollees compared to counties with better access (Yolo).

Additional authors of the study include CHPR staffers Guibo Xing, Shauna Durbin and Dominique Ritley, and former CHPR QSCERT post-doctoral fellows Ethan Evans, Brock Daniels and Lindsey Woodworth.

Read Full Article Here: https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/-access-to-primary-care-differs-by-county-for-medi-cal-patients/2020/05

Register Now for Free June 9 Web Conference on How Telehealth Can Increase Access to Care and Improve Healthcare Quality

Register now for a 90-minute AHRQ web conference about how telehealth can increase access to care and improve healthcare quality. There is no charge for the web conference, which will be held on June 9 from 2-3:30 p.m. ET.

Presenters will discuss their work on the effectiveness of telepsychiatry, the impact of telemedicine on chronic disease management, and the factors that help or hinder the use of telemedicine in urban areas. The web conference will also cover the evidence about how telehealth can be used routinely and during public health emergencies such as a pandemic.

Speakers will include Glen Xiong, M.D., a  clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California at Davis; Elizabeth Ferucci, M.D., M.P.H., a clinical rheumatologist and researcher at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; and Kenneth McConnochie, M.D., M.P.H., a professor emeritus at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Buffalo, NY.

The panel will be moderated by U.S.P.H.S. Commander Derrick L. Wyatt, R.N., M.S.N., from AHRQ’s Division of DigitalHealthcare Research. Participants can earn up to 1.5 CE/CME contact hours.

Learn more and register.

Second UC Davis Virtual COVID-19 Symposium was Held May 14
The second UC Davis COVID-19 Symposium was streamed via ZOOM and YouTube on Thursday, May 14 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Former NASA astronaut and UC Davis professor Steve Robinson asked another panel of experts questions about COVID-19 and the coronavirus, and symposium viewers will have the opportunity to do the same. 

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system, delivered the welcoming address. Among the panelists assembled to address viewers' questions and concerns: Dr. David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of Human Health Sciences and chief executive officer, UC Davis Health; Dr. Allison Brashear, dean of the School of Medicine, UC Davis; Dr. Emanuel Maverakis, professor of dermatology and Immunology, UC Davis Medical School; and Dr. Atul Malhotra, professor of medicine, Pulmonology and Critical Care, UC San Diego Health. 

New Blog from UC Davis Health Spotlights Elisa Tong

Elisa Tong, M.D., an associate professor in Internal Medicine and a core faculty member with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) at UC Davis, “cultivates health” by providing motivation and support to help people quit smoking. That’s why Dr. Tong’s tobacco cessation work was recently highlighted in UC Davis Health’s new blog “Cultivating Health.” Cultivating Health explores the latest research, cutting-edge technology and deep reserve of expertise at UC Davis being utilized to develop creative solutions to today’s challenging problems.

Tong has been helping Californians quit smoking for years through programs like UC Quits and CA Quits, and now she is medical director for the new UC Davis Stop Tobacco Program (SToP). Launched by the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center with funding from the National Cancer Institute, SToP is designed to integrate tobacco treatment into cancer care because quitting tobacco can mean fewer infections and fewer side effects from their medications, and better healing and survival outcomes, for cancer patients.

For more information about Dr. Tong and SToP’s programs to help cancer patients quit, check out Cultivating Health.

APRIL 2020

UC Davis Virtual COVID-19 Symposium was held April 23

Nathan Kuppermann, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis Medical School and a faculty affiliate with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), served on the panel of experts for the Virtual COVID-19 Symposium that was held April 23.

Walter S. Leal, Distinguished Professor of Entomology in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, organized and moderated this UC Davis Symposium, which was available to UC Davis staff, faculty and students, as well as international partners and the public in general. Chancellor Gary May gave a Welcome Address and then the panel of experts—comprised of UC Davis professors as well as State Senator Dr. Richard Pan and Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman—answered pre-submitted and real-time questions.

Social Media Posts Used for Predicting Daily Case Counts of COVID-19 in China

Bo Feng, Ph.D., a faculty affiliate with CHPR, and her colleagues in the UC Davis Department of Communication and at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, China, and at Tsinghua University in Beijing, have determined that social media posts about symptoms and diagnoses of COVID-19 from early in the current pandemic could be used to predict daily case counts of the illness up to seven days ahead of official statistics.

These researchers developed a machine-learning classifier to identify “sick posts”—reports of one’s own and other people’s symptoms and diagnoses related to COVID-19—among more than 12 million COVID-19-related posts on Weibo, a popular Twitter-like social media platform in China, from November 20, 2019 to March 3, 2020. They then modeled the predictive power of sick posts in terms of daily case counts and found that the sick posts were predictive both in Hubei province, where COVID-19 originated, and in the rest of mainland China. Their working paper, “Reports of Own and Others' Symptoms and Diagnosis on Social Media Predict COVID-19 Case Counts in Mainland China” by Shen et al., contains this call to action: “It is imperative that international organizations such as the World Health Organization integrate such data into their outbreak forecasting management practices, in order to mobilize and coordinate relief efforts to help combat COVID-19.”

For more information, please see ‘Sick Posts’ on Social Media Help Early Tracking of COVID-19.

MARCH 2020

Elisa Tong Encourages Californians to Quit Smoking to Help Fight COVID-19

Even before COVID-19, studies showed that smoking weakens the immune system, hampering one’s ability to fight infections, and that smokers can be twice as likely to develop viral respiratory infections as those who do not smoke. And, so far, studies of COVID-19 indicate that smoking doubles your risk of getting really sick (e.g. requiring intensive care and/or ventilation, dying) from that particular viral infection.

That’s why Dr. Elisa Tong, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine and a core faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), posted a public health message spreading the word about why now is a better time than ever to quit smoking.

Dr. Tong leads “CA Quits,” a tobacco cessation effort funded by the California Tobacco Control Program. CA Quits promotes use of the California Smokers’ Helpline, a free call-in counseling service to help smokers develop their own personal quit plans by phone or chat. CA Quits is designed to reach California's more than three million smokers to help them quit smoking and vaping.

As part of an effort to help prevent the spread and intensity of COVID-19, Dr. Tong and CA Quits are making over 1000 free nicotine patches available in April to people who call the California Smokers’ Helpline for help in quitting smoking and vaping.

Dr. Patrick Romano Appointed as New Member to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) National Advisory Council

Dr. Patrick Romano, Professor of General Medicine and Pediatrics with the UC Davis School of Medicine and a core faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), has been appointed a new member of the National Advisory Council to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The appointments of Dr. Romano and six other new members of AHRQ’s 19-member National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality were announced during a virtual meeting of the Council held March 26, 2020.

The Council is comprised of experts from outside of AHRQ—representing healthcare plans, providers, consumers and researchers—who contribute varied perspectives on the United States health care system and the most important questions that AHRQ-supported research should address in order to promote improvements in the quality, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of clinical practice. The Council provides advice and recommendations to AHRQ’s Director and to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on priorities for its health services research agenda. Council members serve 3-year terms.

Congratulations Dr. Romano!


Dr. Ulfat Shaikh Named 2020 Paul V. Miles Fellow by American Board of Pediatrics

In recognition of her contributions to improving the quality of health care for children, Dr. Ulfat Shaikh, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., has been named the 2020 Paul V. Miles Fellow by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP).

Dr. Shaikh is Director of Health Care Quality at UC Davis Health, Professor of Pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine and affiliated faculty with the UC Davis Center for Heatlhcare Policy and Research (CHPR). She has led multiple efforts to improve health care quality for children--using local, state, national and international innovations--and is passionate about teaching quality improvement (QI) principles to medical students, residents, and clinical staff and faculty. Dr. Shaikh believes that "Given the urgent national imperative to improve the delivery and value of health care, [the] engagement and empowerment in QI efforts [of clinicians] has the potential to greatly accelerate change."

As part of the Paul V. Miles Fellowship, Dr. Shaikh will visit the ABP offices in Chapel Hill and give grand rounds at the medical schools of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University.

Congratulations, Dr. Shaikh!


Professor Jeffrey Hoch named to the editorial board of Health Care Management Science

Jeffrey HochJeffrey Hoch, M.A., Ph.D., Professor and Chief, Division of Health Policy and Management, Department of Public Health Sciences, and

Associate Director of the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) has been named to the Editorial Board of Health Care Management Science.

The journal publishes papers dealing with health care delivery, health care management, and health care policy.  More infromation is available at https://www.springer.com/journal/10729.

ongratulations to all our Top Docs!    

Dr. Elisa Tong Informed New City of Sacramento Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products

New admendments to the City of Sacramento's Tobacco Retail Licencing Ordinance went into effect on January 1st. Sales and distribution of all flavored tobacoo products--including menthol-flavored cigarettes--are now prohibited. The new amendments are meant to strengthen regulations and reduce access to tobacco and tobacco products by persons under 21 years old.

The ban was adopted by the Sacramento City Council after tobacco experts like Elisa Tong, M.D., M.A., testified and provided the Council with a white paper about the health risks of fruit- and menthol-flavored tobacco products. Dr. Tong is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at UC Davis Health and a core faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR). Dr. Tong said that "community policies [like this ban] can really affect individuals and families supporting each other for behavior change." The new ban is already having an effect on local families.


Two Local Health Centers Honored for Tobacco Cessation Efforts

The Sacramento County Tobacco Control Coalition recently honored two local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) for implementing programs with their health providers that facilitate referral of patients to the California Smokers’ Helpline (Helpline). CA Quits, a tobacco cessation program headed by Elisa Tong, M.D. and core faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), assisted in implementing these first e-referral programs designed to connect providers from FQHCs to the Helpline.

Dr. Tong, and colleagues Moreen Sharma and Shannon Haggitt of CA Quits, participated in the recognition ceremony, as did representatives of Sacramento County Primary Care Center and One Community Health, the two FQHCs.

UC Quits, funded by the California Tobacco Control Program, integrates best practices regarding tobacco cessation into healthcare settings and e-referral to the Helpline is an important best practice. Patients are offered services through the Helpline that can double their chances of permanently quitting tobacco.

For more information, see CA Quits honors FQHCs for tobacco cessation e-referral programs.

CHPR Physicians Make Sacramento Magazine's 2019 "Top Docs" List

The UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) is delighted to announce that seven of its affiliated medical doctors are among our region's best in their respetive medical fields, as determined through surveys of their peers. One CHPR-affiliated faculty member--Alicia Agnoli--made this year's Sacramento Magazine's annual list of Top Docs twice, once for Family Medicine and the other for Addiction Medicine.

The list was generated for the magazine by a third-party firm, Professional Research Services, which compiled survey results from thousands of doctors associated with multiple health systems and medical groups in the area. Those doctors nominated the colleagues they consider best in their specialty.

In addition to Dr. Agnoli, the following CHPR-affilated doctors have been named 2019 Top Docs: Anthony Jerant (Family Medicine), Nathan Kuppermann (Emergency Medicine), David Cooke (Thoracic Surgery) and Misty Humphries (Vascular Surgery). Diana Farmer (Surgery) and James Marcin (Critical Care Medicine) were named Top Docs in their pediatric specialties. Diana Farmer, Chair of the UC Davis Department of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief of UC Davis Children's Hospital, was also recently named the recipient of the 2020 U21 Award, which recognizes individual or team efforts in advancing global perspectives in a medical field at U21 universities.

Dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, Allison Brashear, was understandably proud of all 219 UC Davis Health physicians on this year's Top Docs list, saying "I am thrilled to see so many of our physicians get the recognition they deserve for their outstanding research and care they provide to our patients every day, delivering world-class care and making our community--and our world--a better, healthier place...."

Congratulations to all our Top Docs!    

Lars Berglund Named Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Clinical and Translational Science

Lars Berglund, M.D., Ph.D., Emeritus Director of the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) and current Associate Vice Chancellor for Biomedical Research and Vice Dean for Research for the UC Davis School fo Medicine, has been named Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science (JCTS), the open access journal of the Association of Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Berglund succeeds George Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., effective January 1, 2020.

Dr. Berglund said he was "honored by the trust placed in me by the Board to serve as the next Editor-in-Chief and I look very much forward to working with the Board, our publisher Cambridge University Press and with the entire translational community to build on the strong foundation in place under George's leadership."

Congratulations, Dr. Berglund!    

Research by CHPR Faculty Informs New Guide for Clinicians on Reducing Long-Term Opioid Use

Research conducted by faculty and staff affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) helped inform the U.S. government's new Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics (the Guide) published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The HHS Guide provides advice to clinicians who are considering how best to reduce opioid dosages for their patients who have been on long-term opioid therapy. According to the Assistant Secretary for Health, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, M.D., this Guide serves as a resource "for clinicians to best help patients achieve the dual goals of effective pain management and reduction in the risk for addiction."

Dr. Stephen HenryStephen Henry, M.D., M.Sc., headed the NIH-funded research study that produced "Patients' experience with opioid tapering: A conceptual model with recommendations for clinicians," published in the Journal of Pain and cited by the authors of the HHS Guide. Dr. Henry is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and a Core Faculty member with CHPR. Other CHPR- and UC Davis-affiliated authors on the Journal of Pain paper include: Debora Paterniti, Ph.D., former Associate Director of CHPR and Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Sociology; Bo Feng, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Communication; Richard Kravitz, M.D., M.S.P.H., Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine; Ana-Maria Iosif, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences; Susan Verba, M.F.A., Professor in the Department of Design and Director of the Center for Design in the Public Interest; and Gary Weinberg, a staff researcher with CHPR. This study focused on the patient perspective and also included Penney Cowan, CEO of the American Chronic Pain Association, as a co-author.Dr. Richard Kravitz

Dr. Kravitz, a former Director of CHPR, also co-authored "Challenges with implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Opioid Guideline: A consensus panel report," which was published in Pain Medicine and cited multiple times in the HHS Guide.

Conducting research into solutions to the opioid crisis in the U.S., and informing health policies related to it, continues to be a major focus at CHPR.


Large, 10-Year Study Reveals Details on Dose Tapering among Patients Prescribed Long-term Opioid Therapy

A study of deidentified medical and pharmacy records from more than 100,000 people with commercial insurance or enrolled in Medicare Advantage has found that, among patients prescribed long-term opioid therapy, the percentage of patients who underwent tapering of their daily opioid doses increased from 10.5% in 2008 to 16.2% in 2016 and to 22.4% in 2017. Among women and those prescribed higher daily doses of opioids, tapering occurred even more often.

In light of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prescribing guideline published in 2016 which recommended that daily opioid doses be tapered by approximately 10% per week, and warnings regarding potential hazards of rapid opioid tapering that have appeared since, the study's authors also examined the rate at which opioid doses were being tapered. Results indicated that nearly one fifth (18.8%) of tapers occurred at rates faster than CDC recommendations.

The study's authors, led by Joshua Fenton, M.D., M.P.H. and Professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at UC Davis Health, concluded that "downstream effects of opioid tapering on pain, withdrawal, mental health, and overdose risk warrant careful evaluation."

Dr. Fenton, who is also a core faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), plans to continue analyzing the huge dataset--comprised of deidentified, longitudinal health information from the OptumLabs Data Warehouse--to determine the downstream effects of opioid tapering on patient health.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, was co-authored by Alicia Agnoli, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S., Guibo Xing, Ph.D., Daniel Tancredi, Ph.D., Anthony Jerant, M.D., and Elizabeth Magnan, M.D., Ph.D.--all affiliated with UC Davis Health and CHPR--and Lillian Hang, M.B.A., M.P.H., and Aylin Altan, Ph.D., of OptumLabs, Minneapolis, MN. For more information please see: Opioid prescription doses are increasingly being tapered, often more rapidly than recommended.   


October 18, 2019: UC Davis Health Experts to lead national patient safety website

Launched in 2005, PSNet is a project of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The site is regarded worldwide as an authoritative resource for evidence-based practices that can reduce adverse events. PSNet encompasses WebM&M, an online journal featuring expert analysis of anonymously reported medical errors and interactive learning modules on patient safety. Romano and Bakerjian have assembled an accomplished multidisciplinary team of UC Davis Health faculty and staff to support their work on PSNet, who are all highlighted here. They invite all clinicians to visit PSNet to see the expansive patient safety materials and resources the site provides.


September 17, 2019: First World Patient Safety Day

Today, September 17, marks the first World Patient Safety Day--ever, and it is being celebrated in nearly 60 countries around the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) is marking the day by launching a global campaign to increase public awareness of and encourage global action on patient safety. WHO is "urging patients, healthcare workers, policy makers and [the] health care industry to 'Speak up for patient safety!'"

Ulfat Shaikh, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Pediatrics and Director for Healthcare Quality at the UC Davis School of Medicine, is doing just that. Dr. Shaikh, who is also a faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Reseach (CHPR), noted in a recent blog post that "Four out of 10 patients are harmed in primary and ambulatory care...[and] most of these errors are avoidable;" she therefore suggests that "we must speak up to intensify efforts to keep patients safe in outpatient settings."

CHPR's Patrick Romano, M.D., M.P.H., another UC Davis champion of patient safety, marked the inaugural World Patient Safety Day by noting that "We have made tremendous progress over my 30 years in clinical practice, but we still have far to go...[in] this global effort ot make health care safer and more effective for every man, woman, and child." Dr. Romano is thankful to his many colleagues involved and looks "forward to continuing our [patient safety] journey together!"   

CHPR Partners with the NEC Society to Build Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Capacity

The ultimate goal of the NEC Society is to eliminate necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a devastating intestinal disease that primarily affects premature infants. Its shorter-term objective is to establish the infrastructural capacity to conduct research into preventing and treating NEC that is “patient-centered outcomes research” (PCOR)—i.e. research informed and otherwise contributed to not just by scientists and clinicians but also by families and other stakeholders. As described on the NEC Society’s website, this multidisciplinary, collaborative organization wants to “fully utilize the patient-family voice in the development, implementation, analysis, and dissemination of future research projects.”

The UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) is partnering with the NEC Society to help it build its PCOR capacity.

Mark A. Underwood, M.D., M.A.S., Professor and Chief of Neonatology at UC Davis Health and an expert on NEC, said that “The impact of this partnership will be fewer deaths and less long-term disease among very preterm infants, not just in Northern California but across the world.”

The partnership is funded through a $250,000 Engagement Award the NEC Society recently received from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). CHPR will contribute its expertise in PCOR, comparative-effectiveness research (CER) and community engagement to help the NEC Society not only build its own PCOR capacity but also establish a model for conducting patient-centered research that can be used by other organizations focused on other rare, neonatal diseases.

More information about this two-year project partnership can be found on the NEC Society’s website.     

Summer 2019 Publications Authored by CHPR Postdoctoral Fellows

The UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) has been training postdoctoral fellows for careers in health services research for more than 15 years. CHPR's current Quality, Safety, and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training in Primary Care (QSCERT-PC) program, is supported through a National Research Service Award from the U.S. Health Resouces & Services Administration.

Several CHPR postdoctoral fellows--past and present--published research results in peer-reviewed journals this summer.

Current fellow Ronit Ridberg, Ph.D., is first author of "Effect of a Fruit and VegetableDr. Ronit Ridberg Prescription Program on Children's Fruit and Vegetable Consumption," published in Preventing Chronic Disease in June. Dr. Ridberg's data indicate that providing such prescription programs in clinical settings can result in increased consumption of fruits and vegetables among children in low-income households, filling a gap in our knowledge about the effectiveness of prescription programs on the dietary behavior of children. Janice Bell, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.N., and Dan Tancredi, Ph.D., CHPR Core Faculty members, co-authored Dr. Ridberg's paper.

Dr. Tancredi was also a co-author with former CHPR QSCERT fellow Michelle Hamline, Dr. Michelle HamlineM.D., Ph.D., on a paper published in Hospital Pediatrics in July.  Dr. Hamline conducts research on transitions of care and in this study, "Completeness of Written Discharge Guidance for English- and Spanish-Speaking Patient Families," she and her colleagues found that few Spanish-speaking families with limited English proficiency received written discharge guidance in their preferred language. The paper highlights this issue as one to focus improvement efforts on.

Another graduate of the CHPR QSCERT postdoctoral program, general surgery residentDr. Sarah Bateni Sarah Bateni, published two papers this summer, both in her area of expertise--postoperative outcomes among patients with cancer--and both in collaboration with CHPR Associate Director Jeffrey Hoch, Ph.D. Dr. Bateni is first author of both "Clinical Outcomes and Costs Following Unplanned Excisions of Soft Tissue Sarcomas in the Elderly," published in the Journal of Surgical Research in July, and "Defining Value for Pancreatic Surgery in Early-Stage Pancreatic Cancer," published in JAMA Surgery in August. In the latter, population-based study, Dr. Bateni and her colleagues found that while both pancreatic resection surgeries carried out in high-volume centers and cases in which patients underwent postoperative chemotherapy were associated with greater overall patient survival, only postoperative chemotherapy was also associated with lower costs; surgeries in high-volume centers were associated with neither lower costs nor greater value, suggesting that targeted measures to enhance value at such centers are needed. In the first two weeks after Dr. Bateni's JAMA Surgery paper was posted online, it had been viewed more than 1200 times.

Congratulations to Drs. Bateni, Ridberg and Hamline!


Romano to Serve on the National Quality Forum's Scientific Methods Panel

Dr. Patrick RomanoPatrick Romano, M.D., M.P.H., professor in the UC Davis Department of General Medicine and Pediatrics and a core faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, has been selected to serve on the National Quality Forum's Scientific Methods Panel.

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that brings together stakeholders with expertise in various health-related fields to identify and endorse strategies for improving patient care and reducing healthcare costs. While introducing legislation recently to extend federal funding for NQF, Representative Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-GA) said that NQF "is important for our nation's efforts to achieve cost-effective, high-quality, value-based health care that ensures the best care for Americans and the best use of our country's health care dollars."

The experts on NQF's Scientific Methods Panel are charged with evaluating tools and measures used for determining cost/resource use, efficiency, or treatment outcomes, among other important characteristics of the U.S. healthcare system. Such measures are key for making valid comparisons between providers or hospitals, or between treatments or diagnostic tools, and thus for establishing accountability. Researchers submit proposed measures for NQF's endorsement. The Scientific Methods Panel evaluates the scientific validity and reliability of the submitted measures and provides those evaluations to NQF standing committees as part of NQF's measure endorsement process.

Dr. Romano begins his tenure on the NQF Scientific Methods Panel with the Fall 2019 measure evaluation cycle. Congratulations Dr. Romano!

JULY 2019

CHPR Uses Novel Method to Obtain Community Input on Pediatric Trauma Research

Researchers at the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) and UC Davis Health used a method common in bioethics research--public deliberation--to gather community input on a proposed randomized controlled trial (RCT) of pediatric trauma patients. Their results have been published (as an early view) in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

Community consultations are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when proposed research would involve patients with life-threatening or time-sensitive illnesses or injuries--like pediatric trauma patients--who are unable to give their propspective, informed consent to participate in the study. Such consultations comprise part of the process for approving an exception from informed consent (EFIC) for, e.g., research aimed at improving methods for saving lives in emergency situations; the community input serves a kind of "patient proxy" function to help ensure protection of potential study subjects. But FDA established no standardized guidelines for obtaining community input and various methods have been used to do so over the last couple of decades.

The public deliberation method used by Patricia E. Powers, M.P.A., and colleagues differs from other methods for eliciting community input in several ways. Participants are presented with information/evidence to inform their discussion and positions; they are asked to take a societal viewpoint as opposed to a personal one; and, because the topic presents an ethical dilemma, the process requires active exchange of reasons and justifications for preferences, opinions, or values expressed. A neutral, third-party environment is created in which the researcher(s) serves as a source of facts about the study and its background while neutral facilitators present options and elicit participants' values and opinions.

The dilemma deliberated by members of communities with high rates of pediatric trauma in the case study by Powers et al. pitted treating pediatric patients with physical traumatic injuries with a blood-clotting drug within the 3-hour timeframe the drug could be effective versus waiting to obtain written informed consent from their parents. Results were mixed. The majority of participants (55%) preferred using the EFIC route only after attempts were made to contact a parent and obtaining informed consent had been deemed impossible; 32% thought attempting to obtain consent was unnecessary for participation in this particular research study; and 13% wanted written informed consent to be a requirement for study participation.

As is often the case with research that engages the public, community members who participated in the public deliberation sessions also had suggestions for improving the proposed study. Some suggested reducing the timeframe for attempting to contact parents from 3 hours to 30 minutes. Some noted that methods the investigators proposed for notifying community members about the study were outdated and unrealistic; they suggested advertising through social media and schools instead.

Thus, Powers et al. not only serves as an example of how the public deliberation method can be used successfully to obtain community input for the EFIC approval process. It also demonstrates how engaging community members in research can improve the efficiency and conduct of the research itself.

APRIL 2019

CHPR Grants Development Staff Are "Research Administrator Feud" Champions

The UC Davis Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) held a friendly competition among campus research support staff on April 30. SPO staff designed a game, based on the American television show Family Feud, to test research administration knowledge. Four teams entered the competition, one of them comprised of the four members of CHPR's Grants Development team, Monica Steinhart, Maria Shresta, Belinda Martineau, and Kirstin Truitt, "CHPR's Angels" won the initial round, then advanced to the championship round in which they secured the victory. Monica and Maria Shrestha, played key roles in cementing the win.

SPO staff also shared important updates with the research support staff who attended the meeting, and provided time for staff to network.

CHPR Grants Development staff members look forward to defending their title next year.

Center for Healthcare Policy and Research celebrated 25 years of accomplishments!

UC Davis leadership and former Directors of CHPR joined faculty and staff to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and the 50th Anniversary of the UC Davis School of Medicine. 

Read more >>>


Directors of Sacramento County Department of Health Services and UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research Discuss Medi-Cal Managed Care in Sacramento

Problems and potential solutions for Sacramento Medi-Cal Geographic managed care were discussed by CHPR Director Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H., and Peter Beilenson, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Sacramento County Department of Health Services, in a jointly sponsored Family Medicine/CHPR Grand Rounds presentation at UC Davis Health on April 2nd.

Dr. Melnikow gave a brief history of Medi-Cal managed care generally and then took a closer look into the current state of the specific system used in Sacramento County. Dr. Beilenson then led a broad discussion and brainstorming session that engaged audience members in identifying possible changes that could be implemented to improve access and quality of care for Sacramento's Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

Only Sacramento and San Diego Counties in California use the Geographic Managed Care (GMC) model for Medi-Cal, which is managed by the State and comprises multiple commercial Medi-Cal managed care plans operating in the same county. Dr. Melnikow presented data indicating that, in Sacramento County, this system for managing care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries suffers from chronic, disruptive instability due, in part, to risk-shifting by the various plans and practice associations involved. This instability results in substantial adverse impacts to many of the more than 420,000 Sacramento County residents who receive healthcare services through the Medi-Cal managed care delivery system. CHPR researchers have documented some of these adverse impacts which include: difficulty finding a primary care provider, inability to form long-term relationships with care providers, difficulty accessing specialty care, increased use of emergency department care, decreased quality of care and low patient experience scores. Kaiser Permanente Northern California, with about 85,000 Medi-Cal enrollees in the Sacramento region, is the only plan in Sacramento County with high quality and patient experience scores.

Dr. Melnikow then raised a few questions for the brainstorming session. How can Medi-Cal managed care in Sacramento be improved for beneficiaries? What structural changes are feasible? Would fewer commercial health plans reduce risk-shifting and disruption? What oversight is needed? Can stakeholders collaborate to improve the system?

Dr. Beilenson then facilitated discussion with audience members about how the current system might be improved; the possibilities of reducing the number of care plans operating in the county or standardizing processes used by providers were among the topics discussed. He also mentioned the Sacramento County Medi-Cal Managed Care Advisory Committee and an additional series of GMC Stakeholder meetings about Medi-Cal system concerns in Sacramento County being held in conjunction with Sierra Health Foundation and Dr. Richard Pan, Chair of the Health Committee in the State Senate. For more information on these efforts to improve the Medi-Cal system in Sacramento County go to the Sacramento County Department of Health Services website.

CHPR's Joshua Fenton Discusses Computer-Aided Mammography on NPR's Morning Edition

Joshua Fenton, M.D., M.P.H. and a Core Faculty member with CHPR, spoke about the need for gathering better evidence prior to commercialization of new medical technologies on NPR's Morning Edition April 1st.

For a piece titled "Training A Computer To Read Mammograms As Well As A Doctor," Dr. Fenton was interviewed about a paper he published in JAMA Internal Medicine on the evidence that led the FDA to let companies market CAD (short for computer-aided detection) technology, designed to help radiologists find tumors on mammograms. While data on whether CAD could help detect tumors looked "promising" at the time, Fenton said, it was "definitely not block buster data--definitely not large population studies or randomized trials."

A group of researchers including Diana Miglioretti, Ph.D. and CHPR Core Faculty member, later studied whether using CAD was actually beneficial; they found that radiologists did a better job of finding suspicious spots on mammograms at medical centers without CAD. One hypothesis put forward to explain these results is that doctors using CAD may have become "complacent, figuring the computer was doing a perfect job."

"We can't always anticipate how a technology will be used in practice," Fenton told NPR's Richard Harris, adding that he would like the FDA to monitor software like this after it has been on the market to see if its use is actually improving medical care.

MARCH 2019

Family and Community Medicine and Center for Healthcare Policy and Research jointly presents Grand Rounds:
"Sacramento Medi-Cal Managed Care: Past and Future"

Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, CHPR
Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, UC Davis
Peter Beilenson, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Department of Health Services, Sacramento

April 2, 2019
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Medical Education Building, Room 1222 LH
4610 X Street
Sacramento, CA 95817
***Lunch will be provided***
Please RSVP to Kirstin Truitt at kgtruitt@ucdavis.edu

The Center for Healthcare Policy and Research commemorates 25 years of accomplishments and 50 years of the UC Davis School of Medicine
April 4, 2019 4-6 p.m.
2103 Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento

You are invited to join us for light refreshments and drinks as we reflect on 25 years of:
-Facilitating research
-Promoting education
-Informing policy about health and healthcare

Please RSVP to Kirstin Truitt at 916.734.7918 or kgtruitt@ucdavis.edu by March 25th.

We look forward to celebrating with you!

Update on CA Quits Program

The 5-year "CA Quits" tobacco cessation program, launched last fall through a $6 million California Tobacco Control Program award, is off to a great start. Elisa Tong, M.D. and Core Faculty member with theElisa Tong, M.D. UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), leads this effort to reach California's more than three million smokers via an expansion of the successful "UC Quits" program.

CA Quits utilizes a "learning collaborative" approach to help health systems integrate tobacco treatment services and reach smokers, and tobacco-topic learning collaboratives are being established in Sacramento area clinics by CA Quits team members. These collaboratives will meet monthly for discussion among clinic personnel about how to assess toabcoo use, integrate evidence-based tobacco treatment(s), and improve the quality of their services. Community clinics that will participate in the first statewide learning collaborative effort include those associated with CommuniCare Health Centers, One Community Health, Wellspace Health, Elica Health Centers and the Sacramento County Health Center.

CA Quits also is establishing learning collaboratives for Medi-Cal managed care plans like Molina Healthcare. California's Medi-Cal program covers 40 percent of the State's smokers, and Medi-Cal managed care plans cover 80 percent of the Medi-Cal population.

Other UC Davis faculty members on the CA Quits team include Ulfat Shaikh, M.D., M.P.H, Bimla Schwarz, M.D., M.P.H., and Patrick Romano, M.D., M.P.H., all affiliated with CHPR. Angela (Jackie) Kaslow, Dr.P.H., heads up the project operations team at CHPR.

Consumers are Skeptical of Value-Based Insurance Design Approaches, Even When Explained

In a study of 125 Northern California focus group participants, Dr. Susan Perez and coauthors found skepticism and mistrust of value-based insurance design (VBID) approaches—which are designed to align cost with quality—even when issues related to quality and pricing were explained to them. When surveyed about the three common VBID approaches, participants favored value-based benefit design the most (41 percent), followed by reference pricing (28 percent) and narrow networks (21 percent), but remained leery of the value-based trade-offs and wanted more information, like provider reviews.

To alleviate this, Dr. Perez, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at California State University, Sacramento, and her coauthors, Drs. Melissa Gosdin, Jessie Kemmick Pintor and Patrick S. Romano--all affiliated with CHPR--suggest providing ongoing informational support via educational tools, especially around plan choice, provider networks and out-of-pocket spending, as well as reaching out to consumers through trusted sources and networks.

The study, "Consumers' Perceptions and Choices Related to Three Value-Based Insurance Design Approaches," was published in a special issue of the journal Health Affairs dedicated to "patients as consumers." Dr. Perez presented the results of the study at the Health Affairs Briefing on Patients as Consumers held on March 5, 2019 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.


Research Reveals Lower Recall Rates with 3D Mammography

A new study led by Diana Miglioretti, Dean's Professor in BiostatisticsDr. Diana Miglioretti in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, has found that radiologists recalled patients who had undergone digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), or 3D mammography, for additional screening for breast cancer at a significantly lower rate than they had when using standard 2D mammograms, with little trade off in cancer detection.

Dr. Miglioretti, a Core Faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), and her colleagues tracked the performance of 104 radiologists, over time and relative to their performance one year prior to adoption of the new 3D technology, to determine whether the new technology affected their interpretations of mammograph results. Results from 106,126 3D and 221,248 2D mammographs from 271,362 women were included in the study.

As published in the February 26 issue of RadiologyMiglioretti et al. found that fewer women were recalled for additional screening after adoption of the 3D technology than before (at rates of 9.4% vs. 10.4%, respectively), that these improvements in recall rates were sustained over the two years of the study, and that cancer detection rates were similar for the two types of mammography (4.6 per 1000 screenings with 3D vs. 4.0 per 1000 before 3D). Dr. Miglioretti suggested that "women who want to reduce their chances of being recalled for additional testing may want to ask for digital breast tomosynthesis [3D mammography] at their next screening exam." (For more information see Radiologists quickly improve screening performance with 3D mammography.)

Healthcare-Related Bills Comprise 1/3 of all Bills and Resolutions Introduced in the 2019 Session of the California State Legislature

February 22nd was the deadline for introducing bills in the 2019 Session of the California State Legislature. Some 2,687 bills and resolutions were introduced by that date and more than 1,000 of them were healthcare-related.

Through their work as part of the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP), CHPR faculty and staff are currently contributing to analyses of the following four bills for the state legislature:

  • AB 166 Violence Prevention Services (Gabriel);
  • AB 744 Telehealth (Aguiar-Curry);
  • AB 767 Infertility (Wicks); and
  • SB 600 Fertility Preservation (Portantino).

More information about these and other health insurance mandate bills can be found on the CHBRP website.

For information about other bills that may be of interest, check out the California Legislative Information website. This site allows one to search for bills by keyword, bill number and author, and provides an alert system for tracking bills throughout the legislative process. It also provides easy access to the California legal code.

CHPR Turns 25 Years Old!

The UC Davis School of Medicine, which turned 50 years old this year, is not the only UC Davis entity celebrating a big milestone. The Center for Healthcare Policy and Research will be a quarter century old in 2019.

A lot about CHPR has changed over those 25 years, including the Center's name, which was originally the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care. Its mission, however, "to facilitate research, promote education, and inform policy about health and healthcare"--especially about access, delivery, cost, quality, and outcomes related to healthcare--has not.

Preparations for celebrating CHPR's 25th Anniversary are currently underway. Please stay tuned.


Effort to Offer Treatment for Addiction in California's Emergency Departments

The work Dr. Aimee Moulin is doing to improve the way addiction is treated in emergency departments (EDs) in California hospitals was highlighted in an article in Vox this month. Dr. Moulin, a CHPR Core Faculty member and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis, would like to see addiction treated as the medical condition current understanding of this affliction affecting millions of Americans indicates it is. The Vox article describes both obstacles to bringing addiction treatment into the medical mainstream--like the stigma toward drug use, the extra training required for health providers, the paucity of facilities for follow-up care and the out-of-pocket costs for the latter--and the growing body of evidence supporting an ED approach. California is one of several states leading the effort to offer treatment for addiction in EDs, a move meant to treat addiction more like other chronic conditions (such as heart disease or diabetes) are treated. Dr. Moulin is a local leader in this effort.


Janice Bell Named Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

Janice Bell, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.N., an Associate Dean for research at the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and a Core Faculty member with CHPR, was named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing during the academy's annual policy conference November 1-3 in Washington, D.C. As described in the Davis Enterprise, Dr. Bell was selected for this honor based on her significant contributions to nursing and health care, and the degree to which her career has "influenced health policies and the health and well-being of all." She has devoted her career to improving health care services and outcomes for individuals and population groups that disproportionately experience health disparities and to advancing system supports for family caregivers. Congratulations Dr. Bell!

Patrick Romano Recognized as a Distinguished Teacher/Mentor by the American College of Physicians

Patrick Romano, M.D., M.P.H., a Professor in the UC Davis Department of General Medicine and Pediatrics and a Core Faculty member with CHPR, received a 2018 Distinguished Teacher/Mentor Award from the Northern California Chapter of the American College of Physicians. Congratulations Dr. Romano!


Real patients sharing their personal stories--and a little advice--about the benefits of reducing the levels of opioids they take for chronic pain.

The increased use of opioids for chronic pain over the last two decades has led to a rapid rise in serious opioid-related harms--including accidental deaths--without clear evidence of any corresponding patient benefit. Nevertheless, patients can find it difficult to initiate tapering down the dosage of these drugs to safer, yet still effective, levels.

In this video, real patients share their (sometimes scary) reasons for tapering, and describe some of the difficulties and the many benefits they have experienced from doing so.

The video comprises results from NIH-funded research into methods primary care physicians could use to help their patients with the tapering process; research conducted by Stephen Henry, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and a core faculty member with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) at UC Davis. It was produced by Susan Verba and the UC Davis Center for Design in the Public Interest, in collaboration with CHPR.

Video>>> https://ucdavis.box.com/s/ize5bd4x2igt9bwbv69bzwl3estnxrj0

UC Davis Co-Author of New Federal Climate Assessment Report Responds to President Trump's Comment

Helene Margolis, Ph.D., co-author of the Southwest section of the Fourth Climate Assessment report (released by the White House the day after Thanksgiving), told KCRA Channel 3 in Sacramento that the "science would refute" the comment President Trump made about the report.

The evidence-based report, produced every few years as mandated by federal law, details how climate change has impacted each region of the U.S. and various sectors of the economy. It describes how climate change "presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life," such as heart and lung problems, more diseases from insects, and increased numbers of deaths resulting from heat waves or other natural disasters. The report also noted that since 2015 a record-breaking nearly $400 billion has been spent responding to damage from extreme weather in the United States.

When asked about the report's findings, Trump told reporters in Washington, "I don't believe it."

Margolis is a member of the Department of Internal Medicine at UC Davis Health and affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR). She is an expert on the health impacts of climate change and environmental factors, particularly heat and air pollution, on vulnerable populations, including children and older adults.

When asked about President Trump's comment on the report, Margolis said, "Thirteen federal agencies, their scientists and [300 scientists from universities across the nation] worked on this and there's not one of us who do not believe it. The data is there. We are past the point of debating it with folks who don't want to believe it. We need to take action regardless. The science is there."

Margolis said that higher rates of chronic respiratory diseases, like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and increased risk of heart attacks, especially in those who already have underlying cardiovascular disease, would be among the most frequent human health-related consequences of climate change.


CHPR in the Community
Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH
, the Director of CHPR, spoke about breast cancer screening and prevention in Black Women to a recent meeting of the Sacramento Chapter of 100 Black Women. "Disparities in breast cancer outcomes are striking and very concerning," said Dr. Melnikow. "'They persist despite the fact that Black women have higher rates of mammography screening than White women. We need more research in collaboration with the community to define strategies to effectively reduce these and other cancer disparities."

from left to right:
Charlotte Scott-Day, MS, Elizabeth Sherrill-Davis, PhD, Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H., Adrienne S. Lawson, EdD

Healthy UC Davis Kickoff Celebration! Smoke and Tobacco Free UC Davis
When: Thursday, October 11, 2018 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Where: Vanderhoef Commons

CHPR Director, Associate Director and Community Engagement Lead to Weigh In on Treatments for Hereditary Angioedema, a Rare and Debilitating Disorder

The California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF) is convening a public meeting on October 25th to discuss therapies for people who suffer from hereditary angioedema.

After a deliberative session centered on a Draft Evidence Report prepared by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), CTAF's 19-member panel of experts will vote on recommendations for how stakeholders can apply the relevant evidence to improve the quality and value of healthcare provided for those with this debilitating disorder.

Joy MelnikowJoy Melnikow, Director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), Jeffrey S. Hoch, Jeffrey HochCHPR's Associate Director, and Patricia E. Powers, who heads CHPR's efforts in Community Engagement, are all members of the CTAF Voting Body.

Hereditary angioedema causes recurrent episodes of severe swelling (angioedema), commonly to the face, limbs, intestinal tract and airway of sufferers. Swelling of the intestinal tract causes severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and of airways can be life-threatening. The disorder affects approximately 1 in 50,000 people.

ICER's report assesses both the comparative clinical effectiveness and the economic impacts of long-term prophylaxis with various therapies developed to treat angioedema. CTAF's panel of experts will consider the net health benefits of the prophylactic treatments, other possible benefits (such as reducing the complexity of treatment, reducing caregiver or family burden and improving the productivity of patients or their caregivers), and a value-for-money analysis. Treatment of a single acute episode of angioedema can cost $5-12K; treatment with medications for long-term prophylaxis could cost more than $500K per year.

ICER is an "independent non-profit research organization that evaluates medical evidence and convenes public deliberative bodies to help stakeholders interpret and apply evidence to improve patient outcomes and control costs." CTAF is a core program of ICER, which aims to "help patients, clinicians, insurers, and policymakers interpret and use evidence to improve the quality and value of health care" and "provides a public venue in which the evidence on the effectiveness and value of health care services can be discussed with the input of all stakeholders."

CHPR's Joy Melnikow and Maria Marois Join the UC Davis Quarter Century Club

Joy Melnikow, the Director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), and Maria Marois, Ph.D., M.P.H., a CHPR project manager, are among the new members of the University of California, Davis Quarter Century Club. They, along with all of this year's new crop of members--those who have worked at UC Davis for 25 years or for 50 years!--will be welcomed into "the Club" at its 79th Dinner and Annual Meeting being held Thursday, October 25, 2018.

Congratulations Joy and Maria!


CHPR Associate Director Leads International Team Investigating the Cost-Effectiveness of New Drugs for Treating Hereditary Transthyretin Amyloidosis, a Rare and Devastating Disease

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) recently published a report (PDF) on the effectiveness and value of two new drugs for treating patients suffering from hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (hATTR). hATTR is a rare, progressive, and ultimately fatal disorder that is passed from an afflicted parent to 50% (on average) of their children. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved patisiran (OnpattroTM) for the treatment of adult patients with peripheral nerve disease caused by hATTR and the agency’s decision on the other drug, inotersen (investigational, Akcea Therapeutics), is expected in late October 2018.Jeffrey S. Hoch

Jeffrey S. Hoch, Associate Director of the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) and Chief of the Division of Health Policy and Management (HPM) at UC Davis, headed the international team of researchers from Canada, the US and the UK that developed the cost-effectiveness model used to evaluate these new drugs. Yi Zhang, a post-doctoral fellow in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, and Elise Evers, a graduate student at the University of York, England and summer intern at CHPR, were also members of the UC Davis cost-effectiveness modeling group. Professor Hoch presented the results at the September 13, 2018 ICER meeting.

Findings from the economic modeling suggest that a big driver of the value of both new treatments is drug cost. In most cases analyzed, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were far beyond levels normally considered good value for money. At the current assumed prices, e.g., $345,000 each year in drug costs alone, neither treatment option is economically attractive at either conventional or the higher cost-effectiveness thresholds often utilized in conjunction with ultra-rare diseases. As a result, the report concludes that substantial price discounts and additional study are indicated.

Dr. Dan Ollendorf, ICER’s Chief Scientific Officer, noted that the available evidence on these therapies was discussed “with a policy roundtable of experts, working to identify policy solutions to ensure appropriate patient access despite the extremely high costs.” More details about the report and the meeting are available at the website for ICER’s Midwest Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (Midwest CEPAC).

Study Demonstrates Feasibility of Using Mobile Apps to Facilitate Individualized Pain Treatment

In a study published September 4th in JAMA Internal Medicine, Richard L. Kravitz, M.D., M.S.P.H., and colleagues reported that 88% of patients in a randomized clinical trial assigned to use a mobile app to conduct their own personalized experiment found the app helpful to people like them for managing pain. The mobile app helped patients engage in medication-related shared decision-making, and sent them reminders to take designated treatments on assigned days and to upload responses to daily questions on pain and treatment-associated adverse effects. The study, which compared participation in an individualized, mobile app-supported “N-of-1” trial versus usual care for treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, also has been called the “most ambitious investigation of the N-of-1 approach to date.”

Dr. Kravitz, and co-authors Anthony Jerant, M.D., and Maria Marois, Ph.D., M.P.H., are researchers at the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research. Deborah Ward, Ph.D., R.N., and Scott MacDonald, M.D., of UC Davis Health, also co-authored the study.

The N-of-1 (or individually designed single-patient multi-crossover) trial design permits researchers to estimate treatment effects for each individual participant. But while ability to draw conclusions about treatment effects in individuals is an obvious advantage, N-of-1 trials have not been widely adopted, partly due to perceptions of the time and effort required. Nevertheless, Kravitz et al. hypothesized that participation in an N-of-1 trial might benefit patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain “either by steering patients toward more personally effective therapies or by expanding patient involvement in care.”

Their results indicated that pain-related outcomes for the 108 patients who received individualized treatment plans via the N-of-1 intervention were not significantly different from those of the 107 patients who received care as usual. But the data also demonstrated that conducting these types of trials with mobile health apps is feasible and can provide a highly satisfactory patient experience. The authors therefore concluded that additional research should be carried out to clarify which patients are most likely to benefit from participating in them.

Elisa Tong Awarded $6M for CA Quits ProgramElisa Tong, M.D.

Elisa Tong, M.D. and founding Project Director for "UC Quits," has been awarded additional funds from the California Tobacco Control Program of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to expand her work helping Californians kick their tobacco habits.

UC Quits is a UC-wide Tobacco Cessation Network designed to encourage health providers to address tobacco-related issues at every clinical encounter and to connect patients with the free California Smokers' Helpline at UC San Diego. To date, UC Quits has referred nearly 12,000 patients (some 2,400 from UC Davis) to the California Smokers' Helpline and services that can dramatically improve their chances of quitting.

The new CDPH agreement provides nearly $6 million over five years to expand this successful program beyond UC and into additional health systems across California. The expanded version has been dubbed "CA Quits." More details about the CA Quits program can be found on the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center website.

Dr. Tong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UC Davis Health and a Core Faculty Member with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research. Congratulations Dr. Tong!

Register Now for the 11th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health

This conference, co-hosted by the NIH and AcademyHealth, is meant to help realize the full potential of available evidence to optimize health and healthcare by bridging the gaps between research, practice, and policy. Its agenda includes outlining priorities in the field to ensure that evidence is used to inform decisions that will improve the health of individuals and communities. It will be held December 3-5, 2018 at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Register by October 8 for the best rates.


UC Davis CHPR-Led Research Informs New National Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendation

A comprehensive analysis of eight clinical trials and four cohort studies on cervical cancer screening by researchers from UC Davis and Kaiser Permanente Northwest has found that while Pap smears are still highly effective for detecting pre-cancerous cells and cancer, testing for the virus that causes these cancers also is an excellent screening tool.

The research was led by Joy Melnikow, director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), a family and community medicine physician and expert on evidence-based cancer screening.

The findings, published  August 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), were used to inform the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which published its updated recommendation on cervical cancer screening in the same issue of the journal. The Task Force is an independent panel of experts that makes evidence-based recommendations on disease prevention. The Task Force also provides an annual report to Congress on the evidence base for clinical preventive services and recommends priority areas that deserve further examination.

"Our work demonstrated that there is now strong evidence for the effectiveness of high-risk HPV testing used alone as a cervical cancer screening test," said Melnikow.

Melnikow added that researchers found that regular screening with any method would lead to lower cervical cancer rates. "In the U.S., where most women are not part of an organized screening program, our biggest challenge is reaching women who have not been screened," she said.

More information about specific findings from this research are posted in the UC Davis Health Newsroom. 

JULY 2018

CHPR Welcomes a New Administrative Manager

CHPR is happy to announce that Monica Steinhart has joined our staff as the Administrative Manager. Monica D. Steinhart has worked for UC Davis since November 1997, 20 years. Her career started in the Department of Psychiatry, as an Administrative Assistant II for their Residency Program. From there she worked on the Davis Campus in Mrak Hall in the Campus Administrative Offices. In 2002, she became the MSO of the Division of Hematology/Oncology. She then moved on to work in the Business Office of the Cancer Center Clinical Trials Unit. During the 8 years before she joined CHPR, Ms. Steinhart worked as a UCD contract employee of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). There she managed the CDC-funded Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) grants. 

Ms. Steinhart is engaged to be married (Jason), no date has been set, and has one daughter, Maya, who will be a senior in high school next academic year. She is a great lover of animals and the outdoors.

JUNE 2018

QSCERT Fellow Ethan Evans Named Editor of Health & Social Work Column

Ethan J. Evans, Ph.D., a recent graduate of the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research's (CHPR's) Quality, Safety and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training (QSCERT) postdoctoral program and incoming assistant professor in the Division of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento, has been named the new editor of the National Health Line (NHL) column in the journal Health & Social Work.

As he described in his initial NHL column (available online) now and in print in the August 2018 issue of Health & Social Work), since its inception in 1978, NHL editors have used the NHL to link practice and policy, digest social policy reforms and identify opportunities for social workers to apply their professional skill and expertise. NHL editors have also disseminated "information on health insurance, new legislation, and resource and staffing trends, with an emphasis on federal policies." Over the years, NHL editors and other contributors have opined on topics such as the dismantling of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, end-of-life care, disparities in health care access and utilization, termination of benefits for immigrants, universal health care and the Affordable Care Act.

Evans believes that "consistent attention from social workers toward national health policy" is necessary, especially in our "contemporary moment," and he is excited about taking on this editorial role at Health & Social Work at this point in history. He also wrote a guest editorial for the August 2018 issue of the journal: "Blended Roles under Health Reform: Where Does Social Work Fit?" Congratulations, Ethan!

Dr. Diana Miglioretti Selected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association

Dr. Miglioretti, Ph.D., Dean's Professor in Biostatistics in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the world's largest community of statisticians, which publishes the premier journals of statistical science. This extremely prestigious designation is a significant honor, as only one-third of one percent of the approximately 18,000 members are chosen as fellows each year. They are nominated by their ASA-member peers, in this case Distinguished Professor Dr. Laurel Beckett, Chief of the PHS Division of Biostatistics.

Fellows are evaluated on their contributions to the advancement of statistical science. The committee considers a candidate's published works, position held with employer, ASA activities, membership and accomplishments in other societies, and professional activities.

Dr. Miglioretti joins Dr. Laurel Beckett and Dr. David Rocke as fellows of the ASA in the UC Davis Division of Biostatistics. She will be presented her award this summer at the Joint Statistical Meeting, the largest gathering of statisticians and data scientists in North America.  

Dr. Miglioretti has been awarded “Best Scientific Paper Presentation award 2018” with the topic of “breast” for her presentation “Risk-based strategies for supplemental breast cancer screening” at the 2018 European Congress of Radiology (ECR) held in Vienna, Austria from 2/28-3/4. Her award was “based on the evaluation of the subcommittee and the session moderators. The selection criteria have comprised scientific content, quality of presentation and overall impression of the performance,” according to Johanna Kruse of the ECR Scientific Program Department.

The European Society of Radiology (ESR) is the largest radiological society in the world and its annual international conference is one of the leading events in radiology with nearly 30,000 participants from 137 different countries in 2018. It is one of the largest medical meetings in Europe and the second-largest radiological meeting in the world.

New CHPR Issue Brief (PDF) to Inform Medi-Cal Budget-related Decision-making

Karen Shore, Ph.D., and Patricia Powers, M.P.A., with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research’s Center for Health Decisions, analyzed the impacts on the state’s Medi-Cal program budget of various revenue-generating and expenditure-reducing policies enacted in California over the course of the last decade. Their analysis of this 10-year period, encompassing a major economic downturn as well as more prosperous years, provides valuable lessons in how to maintain this core public program that provides health insurance coverage to 13.5 million people, nearly one of every three Californians. The report describes five major types of policy changes California deployed during this period to manage Medi-Cal program costs and provides examples of each with magnitude estimates:

  • Changes in benefits
  • Eligibility changes
  • Changes to provider/health plan payments
  • Delivery system changes
  • Other revenue augmentations

One of the major findings is that the proportion of the Medi-Cal budget funded by California’s General Fund declined dramatically, from a high of 39% in fiscal year (FY) 2007-08 to 18% in FY 2017-18. Other, likely less volatile, revenue sources helped to sustain and grow the Medi-Cal program during this period.

Medi-Cal Budget: Lessons Learned from a Review of Policy Changes with Significant Budgetary Impact, 2007-2017 (PDF), seeks to inform a variety of audiences including state and federal policymakers and staff, state agency staff, health policy analysts and researchers, health care advocates, and beneficiary representatives. To ensure the usefulness of the report to these audiences, a committee composed of current and former budget staff experts from the state legislature, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the Department of Finance, and the California Budget & Policy Center advised the authors as they designed and conducted the analysis. The committee recommended, for example, that the analysis emphasize long-term structural changes rather than policies that generate one-time savings to achieve a balanced budget in a given year. The final list of major budget policies analyzed includes some that were state-initiated, some that were implemented in response to opportunities made available by the federal government, and others that resulted from ballot initiatives. 

The California Health Care Foundation provided funding for this project.

For questions about or comments on the Issue Brief (PDF), please contact Patricia Powers at pepowers@ucdavis.edu

QSCERT Fellow Creating Valuable Research Networks

Ethan J. Evans, CHPR QSCERT postdoctoral fellow, and several other researchers from UCD & CSUS are starting a local Sacramento Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN). SSN is dedicated to “connecting researchers with journalists, policymakers, and civic leaders to improve policy and strengthen democracy.” Visit www.scholars.org to learn more about the organization and the local chapter.

Dr. Evans joined a team of researchers on May 18th, 2018 to launch the chapter at an event sponsored by the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences entitled "Training Researchers to Inform Policy.” Workshop participants were instructed by the national staff from the Scholars Strategy Network. The workshop provided attendees valuable resources and instruction on how to ensure that their research will be used for informing policy. Trainers stressed the importance of networking and utilizing networks already available through the university system, and offered "Best Practices” for communicating with legislators, their staffs, and regulatory agencies.

Membership to SSN is free; however, scholars must fill out a profile and write a two-page policy brief. Researchers are encouraged to write clearly and effectively for non-academic audiences. SSN currently has a network of nearly 1,000 scholars at universities nationwide who collectively work with leaders in a bipartisan effort to inform policy-makers.

If you are interested in the Scholars Strategy Network, you can contact Dr. Evans at ejevans@ucdavis.edu. The local chapter is planning two workshops over the summer to bring interested people together and advance the work of the Sacramento/Davis chapter of SSN.

QSCERT Fellows Leaders of Innovative Change in Our Community

The California chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (CalACEP) is urging the California Legislature to make a budget commitment to drug and alcohol counseling in California Emergency Departments (ED’s) to the tune of $20 million. The funding is requested to create a statewide pilot program that places a certified drug and alcohol counselor in each of the roughly 400 EDs throughout California. Data would be gathered during the pilot to measure the efficacy of treatment and the cost savings to the Medi-Cal program and other payers. The request comes as a result of a successful University of California Davis ED pilot funded through a grant from the Office of the President. The UCD pilot employed a certified drug and alcohol counselor to provide interventions in their ED and results were impressive. Over a 12-month period, the Medi-Cal patients who received a brief intervention and referral to treatment experienced a 60 percent decline in ED utilization. 

On April 12, 2018, Dr. Aimee Moulin, a UC Davis Emergency Room Physician, and newly elected CalACEP President, testified before the Senate Appropriations Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee #3 that studies have shown that direct referrals to treatment have increased enrollment rates as high as 50 percent. Dr. Moulin stated that “offering assistance to these patients at a time when they are most vulnerable to their disease proved incredibly effective towards the patient’s acknowledgment of their need for treatment.” Similarly in New Jersey, the newly established Opioid Overdose Recovery Program which provides ED intervention for patients who experience alcohol and opioid overdose, confirmed that over 80 percent of patients accepted bedside intervention, 40 percent of those patients accepted recovery support services, and 45 percent accepted detox, substance use disorder treatment and/or recovery. These results were realized during the first six months of program implementation. Over 60 percent of the overdose patients seen under the Program were Medicaid beneficiaries.

Senator Richard Pan, M.D., Chairman of the Subcommittee, himself a UC Davis physician, encouraged Dr. Moulin and assured members of the Office of Finance and the Legislative Analyst’s Office that, “there are real cost savings here to be realized” and encouraged the organizations to work together to identify ways to report the cost savings. The request made its way through the Senate and is now awaiting a hearing to be affirmed by the State Assembly.

Aimee Moulin, M.D., is an emergency medicine physician with a research interest in Behavioral Health Emergencies and Health Policy. Dr. Moulin has a background in health policy and leadership and is dedicated to addressing disparities in healthcare access for patients with mental illness. She received her graduate degree in Genetics from the University of California at Davis and graduated from both medical school and residency at the University of Southern California. Dr. Moulin is board certified in emergency medicine and is the current President of California ACEP.

Most recently, Dr. Moulin completed a QSCERT postdoctoral fellowship supported by funding from the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ).
The Quality, Safety, and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training (QSCERT) T32 Program is a multidisciplinary, postdoctoral training program in quality, safety and comparative effectiveness research with an emphasis on training future leaders in surgical, trauma, and urgent/emergency care and other areas of relevant outcomes research.

Dr. Moulin’s complete testimony before the California State Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 3 on April 12, 2018 (Part 2), can be found in the California State Senate's Media Archive.

Call for Planetary Health Student Ambassadors from all UC Campuses

The UC Global Health Institute's Planetary Health Center of Expertise is currently recruiting undergraduate and graduate level Planetary Health Student Ambassadors from all the UC campuses for the 2018-2019 academic year. This new program will introduce selected ambassadors to core concepts in Planetary Health and how they apply to real world problems; provide experience with and understanding of multi-sectoral solutions for sustainable development; develop ambassadors’ leadership, research, and advocacy skills; and enable ambassadors’ engagement with key faculty, researchers, and leaders in Planetary Health to further their understanding of Planetary Health and strengthen their professional networks.

For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, and to access the online application form, please visit: https://www.ucghi.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/call-student-ambassadors-planetary-health. The deadline for applications is July 16, 2018.

13th Summer Institute on Migration & Global Health to be Held June 18-21 in Oakland, CA

Want to receive training, gain skills, and share best practices in the arena of migrant health? The Summer Institute on Migration and Global Health, a collaboration among the UC Migration and Health Research Center, the UC-Mexico Health Working Group, and the Berkeley School of Public Health, will provide researchers, students and professionals the opportunity to engage and learn from world-renowned speakers on migration, refugees, and global health.

For more information on speakers, agenda, logistics and how to register, please check out the Institute's website.

MAY 2018

CHPR Founding Director Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Klea Bertakis, M.D., M.P.H., the founding director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), received the Hibbard Williams Award for Extraordinary Achievement at the UC Davis School of Medicine (SOM) Student & Faculty Awards Luncheon held May 18th.

This award, named for the 2nd Dean of the UC Davis SOM, “recognizes exceptional faculty contributions beyond traditional teaching and research roles.” Dr. Anthony Jerant, CHPR member and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UC Davis, described recipients of this prestigious award as “those who have made lasting impact at the School and beyond, in areas such as program development, capacity building, leadership, and mentorship,” adding that Dr. Bertakis’ colleagues have long known that she has excelled in each of those roles.

Dr. Bertakis embraced all of those roles when she founded CHPR (then called the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care) in 1994. CHPR is an interdisciplinary, collaborative Organized Research Unit that strives to improve the health of the public by: facilitating research about healthcare access, delivery, quality, outcomes, and costs; educating and mentoring health outcomes researchers, and informing health policy.

Article in JAMA by CHPR Researchers Informs Prostate Cancer Screening Recommendations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force based its new national recommendations about prostate cancer screening on the systematic review of 63 research studies conducted by a team of UC Davis researchers from the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR). Led by CHPR faculty member Joshua Fenton, M.D., Professor of Family and Community Medicine, the team’s findings on prostate-specific antigen-based (PSA) screening were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on May 8, 2018.

Fenton said the USPSTF process is painstaking, methodical and was rigorously vetted with public and expert review prior to, during and after completion of the research. “I’m very proud of our team,” he said, “…and I think we achieved our goal of conveying complete and unbiased information based on current evidence.”

Fenton and his team found, for example, that PSA screening results in false positives in 10-18 percent of all men screened, with higher risk of false positives incurred by men older than 70. Additional harms related to diagnostic biopsies and from treatment are also greater in men older than 70 than in younger men.

Based on these and other findings, the Task Force now recommends against PSA screening for men 70 and older. For men ages 55-69, the Task Force now recommends that the decision to undergo periodic PSA-based screening for prostate cancer should be an individual one that includes a discussion with a clinician about both the potential benefits and the potential harms of screening. Other harms resulting from screening and subsequent treatment can include incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

In addition to Dr. Fenton, authors of the evidence report in JAMA include Heejung Bang, Ph.D., Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H., Meghan Weyrich, M.P.H., and Shauna Durbin, M.P.H., from CHPR and Yu Liu, M.S., from the Dept. of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis.

APRIL 2018

QSCERT Postdoctoral Fellow Wins Best Presentation Award

Anne White, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Quality, Safety, and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training (QSCERT) program at CHPR whose research focuses on doctor-patient communication, received a Best Presentation Award at the 4th Annual UC Davis Postdoctoral Research Symposium held this month on the UC Davis campus.

In a talk titled “Surgeon Noticings of Additional Concerns,” Dr. White, a medical sociologist, used the qualitative methods of Conversation Analysis and ethnography to describe how general surgeons initiate discussions about new concerns they notice while examining patients that are unrelated to the reason for the visit. The data used were 281 video-recorded medical encounters from a rural Texas private practice, and ultimately 22 cases of surgeon noticings were found in 17 visits. While infrequent, Dr. White found that beyond alerting patients to new medical problems, such “noticings” serve to build and maintain physician-patient relationships across time and to curtail future patient worry. She also documented issues surgeons grapple with in relation to sharing their noticings, such as the extent of the patient’s awareness of the additional concern, and how these contribute to how surgeons frame their noticings.  While previous studies have focused on patients initiating conversations about their additional concerns, Dr. White’s research is novel in examining how physicians themselves introduce new concerns to patients. 

As a QSCERT Fellow, Dr. White is currently studying how pain medication requests are negotiated during patient visits.

CHPR Welcomes a New Financial Manager

CHPR is happy to announce that Maria Shrestha has joined our staff as a financial manager. Shrestha earned her B.A. in Political Science from UC San Diego and her Master of Public Administration from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs at Cornell University. She worked most recently as a Senior Financial Analyst at New York University’s School of Medicine.

In her new position at CHPR, she will be primarily responsible for managing pre- and post-award financial aspects of grants applied for by CHPR-affiliated faculty. Faculty members in need of her assistance can contact her at myshrestha@ucdavis.edu.

MARCH 2018

Dr. Joshua Fenton Awarded Access to OptumLabs Database for Study of Long-term Opioid Users

CHPR researcher Joshua Fenton, M.D., M.P.H., is one of seven Principal Investigators in the UC system recently awarded "research credits" providing complimentary access to the comprehensive, real-world, linked dataset of clinical and claims information available through OptumLabs. OptumLabs is an open, collaborative center housing a comprehensive dataset representing nearly 200 million de-identified lives, an extremely valuable asset for conducting population studies. These competitive awards for research credits are one means through which the 10-year partnership between OptumLabs and the University of California hopes to accelerate improvements in healthcare value and patient care. Dr. Fenton will utilize the OptumLabs dataset to conduct a study of the "Clinical Consequences of Dose Tapering in Long-term Opioid Users."

Study Reveals Value of the Student-Run Clinics Associated with UC Davis Health while Engaging Undergraduates in Research

Christy Meyer, a student at the UC Davis School of Medicine (SOM), is Co-Director of the Joan Viteri Memorial Clinic (JVMC), a clinic run by medical students that provides “Unbiased health care to intravenous drug users, sex workers and their families.” JVMC is one of seven student-run clinics (SRCs) associated with the UC Davis SOM, others serve the Latino, African-American, South Asian and Muslim, Asian and Pacific Islander, Filipino Veterano, and homeless communities of Sacramento.

Meyer teamed up with Patrick Romano, M.D., M.P.H., and Melissa Gosdin, Ph.D., of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), and 41 undergraduate students to find out what motivates patients to utilize SRCs, and to get patient input on how the clinics could better serve their under-served communities. Funded by the UC Davis SOM, no previous study had directly asked the patients of such clinics about their experiences with SRCs. 

The undergraduate students completed human subject research protection training and were taught qualitative data collection and analysis research methods at CHPR prior to conducting 104 interviews with patients from all seven UC Davis SRCs and the Gender Health Center, a professionally managed clinic affiliated with JVMC that provides care for the LGBTQQI community. After the interviews were transcribed and translated from six different languages, students qualitatively coded all the transcripts and then Meyer and Gosdin identified the major themes among them.

The study’s results indicate that patients appreciate the accessibility to healthcare that the SRCs provide, being open on weekends and accepting patients with no health insurance, for example. Patients feel respected and not judged, and find the medical professionals at the SRCs to be thoughtful, compassionate and thorough. That SRCs break through language barriers for patients is also greatly appreciated. In terms of improvement, patients asked for more, i.e. more (and better) equipment, more doctors, more services—like dental and vision, and larger facilities so that the SRCs will be able to serve even more patients.

Meyer hopes her study will provide the foundation for future research and policies relating to SRCs. Toward that end, three of the participating undergraduate students are conducting follow-up research studies related to the original project.

Register Now for the Fourth UC Health Research Symposium

Interested in qualitative or mixed-methods health research? This symposium will provide demonstrations of qualitative research methods, examples of results that can be obtained, and networking opportunities for researchers who want to use them. An optional two-hour introductory workshop led by Kathy Charmaz, co-author of Five Ways of Doing Qualitative Analysis, is also available prior to the start of the symposium for those new to using these approaches to health research. This free even will be held on May 2, 2018, on the UC Davis Sacramento campus. Space is limited; please register by April 27, 2018.

For more information please contact Carolina Apesoa-Varano (apesoavarano@ucdavis.edu) or Stuart Henderson (sthenderson@ucdavis.edu).


Apply Now for a QSCERT-PC Post-Doctoral Fellowship

The Quality, Safety, and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training in Primary Care (QSCERT-PC) Post-doctoral Fellowship Program administered by CHPR is now accepting applications: Deadline February 28, 2018.
Application materials and more information about this program can be found at:

$1 Raise in Minimum Wage Can Result in Significant Health Benefits

Paul Leigh, CHPR affiliate and professor of public health sciences at UC Davis, and co-author Juan Du of Old Dominion University, studied the effects a $1 raise in the minimum wage has had on absences from work due to illness. They found that this small increase resulted not only in a 32% decrease in absences due to employee illness but also in an increase in workers self-reporting that their health was good or excellent. Importantly, they also found that this increase had no effect on lay-offs or total work hours, which contradicts claims that increasing minimum wages will lead to increased unemployment. Dr. Leigh also hopes that the innovative statistical analysis he and Dr. Du used for this project will be used to study other public health issues like smoking and obesity. Study results were published in the January 2018 issue of The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. More information about this study can be found by following this link

CHPR Affiliates Among Awardees of Improving Diagnosis in Health Care Seed Grants

CHPR Director Joy Melnikow is pleased to announce that three CHPR members, Bryn Mumma, Elisa Tong and Nathan Kuppermann, have been awarded seed grants from the UC Davis Health Collaborative for Diagnostic Innovation. A multidisciplinary effort convened by the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the Collaborative is intended to address the issues and challenges of accurate diagnosis in the practice of medicine, such as those raised in the National Academy of Medicine’s 2015 landmark report “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care” (National Academies Press).

Dr. Mumma will serve as PI of a team investigating clinical implications of how heart attacks are diagnosed, while Drs. Tong and Kuppermann will be Co-Investigators on other multi-disciplinary teams researching lung cancer screening methods and diagnosis of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), respectively.

CHPR contributed funding to the seed grant program, partnering with many other departments and centers.  The program originated with a generous gift from Brook and Shawn Byers. A total of more than $367,000 was awarded to support 17 multi-disciplinary projects over 12 months. Dr. Melnikow said, “We are excited to  have contributed to this innovative, multidisciplinary pilot program supporting so many exciting research proposals.”

More information about the Collaborative for Diagnostic Innovation can be found at: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/pathology/collaborative-for-diagnostic-innovation/index.html


Senior writer Belinda Martineau joined the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) in October 2017. Belinda has been working at UC Davis since 2006, first as a principal editor with the Genome Center and, more recently, as the grant writer for the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences. She has extensive experience helping researchers write grant applications, journal manuscripts, theses, and articles about scientific issues for lay audiences. She is available to help faculty affiliated with CHPR to identify funding opportunities appropriate for their research and to write the narratives of their grant applications.

Belinda earned her B.A. in biology from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in genetics from UC Berkeley.    

Dr. Anthony Jerant has been selected as Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UC Davis. Dr. Jerant joined UC Davis in 1998. Dr. Jerant's research interests focus on enhancing patient-physician communications improving the care of mental health conditions in primary care. As chair, Dr. Jerant will collaborate with UC Davis Health leaders to improve recruitment practices and assure diversity in the workforce. Dr. Jerant graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine, completed his residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, and internship at Silas B. Hayes Army Community Hospital in Fort Ord.


Dr. Stephen Henry has received funding from R01 NIH grant titled " Developing Patient-Level Risk Prediction Models for Prescription Opioid Overdose." CHPR's Shauna Durbin, Project Manager, will be providing assistance with this research along with UCDavis Co-PI's, Dr. Magdalena Cerda, Dr. Patrick Romano, Dr. Susan Stewart, Dr. Garen Wintemute, and Dr. Daniel Tancredi.


Dr. Jeffrey Hoch leads a team studying the use of cost-effectiveness analysis to inform decisions about expensive cancer drugs

CHPR Associate Director, Jeffrey Hoch, PhD, worked with Canadian researchers to analyze how economic evidence influences funding decisions in British Columbia. Results are published online in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. The main findings were that 1) Economic evidence appears to play a role in cancer funding decisions; and 2) Other decision-making criteria may also have an important role in recommendations and subsequent funding decisions.
“A statistically significant difference of nearly $115,000 was observed for funded vs. unfunded drugs. Poor cost-effectiveness was associated with a lower probability of a drug being funded,” remarked Hoch. Healthcare payers throughout the world are being challenged by high costs and this work shows that research can inform and influence healthcare policy decisions.

For more information, please see:

Dr. Melnikow leads team reviewing long-term consequences of peripheral neuropathy after chemotherapy for breast cancer

CHPR Director, Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH, led a systematic review published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute exploring the impacts of peripheral neuropathy on breast cancer patients one or more years after treatment. The review identified only five papers on studies that followed patients for a year or more, with widely variable results.  “The most striking finding from the review was how little data was out there,” Melnikow said.  She continued, “This is a call to action. We can’t definitively define the frequency of peripheral neuropathy or understand the differences between chemotherapy regimens with the data we have.”

For more information, please see:



Dr. Melnikow Weighs in on Effect of ACA Uncertainty in Northern California

CHPR Director, Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH, recently responded to a public radio reporter’s inquiry about the 33% health insurance premium increase projected for 2018 in California’s northern counties. Proponents of an ACA repeal cites this burdensome increase as justification for a repeal; however, Dr. Melnikow notes that this increase is projected for enrollees with insurance through Covered California, and many of these enrollees are eligible for federal subsidies that will blunt the increased cost of premiums. “Even though the rates are slated to go up for premiums, if people are eligible for subsidized premiums, then those subsidies will compensate for the increased rates.” Adia White, reporter for North State Public Radio, states that north of the Sacramento suburbs, fewer than five percent of the population would likely pay the full premium hike because their income is above the subsidy threshold (income above 400% of the federal poverty line). The projected premium increases are related to uncertainty about the Trump Administration’s intention to continue federal subsidies. “If you are an insurance company and you are deciding whether to participate in the exchange and you’re not sure you’re going to get that support, you may decide to continue with higher premiums or to drop out,” observed Dr. Melnikow. Click here for the interview.

Nature Commentary by Dr. Daniel Tancredi Discusses Stunning Protective Effects of Probiotics for Newborns in Rural India

CHPR faculty member, Daniel Tancredi, PhD, published a commentary in Nature accompanying a groundbreaking clinical trial evaluating whether a probiotic/prebiotic intervention could prevent life-threatening infections early in life for a sample of mostly full-term newborns in rural India.

JULY 2017

Center for Healthcare Decisions and Center for Health Policy and Research, University of California, Davis, to Join Up

The Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR), University of California, Davis, and the Center for Healthcare Decisions (CHCD) are pleased to announce their merger, effective September 2017. The two organizations have teamed on projects for many years, and leadership of both organizations are enthusiastic about combining their respective bodies of work going forward.

“CHCD’s board unanimously approved this transition. We are confident that our mission to bring complex health policy issues before the public and present their informed views to policymakers will be enhanced by integrating it with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research. CHPR’s ‘big data’ analytics, along with CHCD’s ‘high touch’ deliberative methods, will significantly strengthen our joint research capabilities,” stated Patricia E. Powers, executive director.

“We are delighted that we will be joining forces,” said Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH, director, CHPR. “Both of our organizations have worked to inform health policy and improve healthcare for more than two decades; we look forward to providing more policy-relevant information that includes the views of an informed public.”

Lori Dangberg, who has served on CHCD’s board since its inception, will be joining CHPR’s newly formed external advisory board. Ms. Dangberg noted that “CHCD’s civic engagement work resulted in significant improvements in care at the end-of-life, as well as provided valuable policy recommendations regarding health benefits, cost, and quality. There are many more issues where thoughtful public input is essential, especially in these polarizing times.”

CHCD will be housed within CHPR, near the University of California, Davis, medical center:
Address: 2103 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95817
Phone: 916.734.2818

About CHCD
Founded in 1994, CHCD is a non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Sacramento, CA. CHCD promotes civic engagement in health policy, capturing the public voice on contemporary, often controversial, local, state, or national health issues.

CHPR Members Contribute to AcademyHealth and AHRQ--NRSA Research Trainee Conferences

CHPR members and fellows contributed their health services and policy research to two national conferences in June 2017.

Seven of our members reported sharing their research findings at the 2017 Annual Research Meeting in New Orleans, where researchers excelling in health services research share methodological research advances and peer-reviewed research findings aimed improving health outcomes.

Dr. Patrick Romano chaired the workshop entitled “Publish or Perish: Meet the Editors.”  As editor of Health Services Research journal, Dr. Romano led a panel of journal editors in a discussion of the peer-review process and helpful tips on writing solid research and policy papers.

Drs. Susan Perez, Melissa Gosdin, Jesse Pintor, and Patrick Romano presented a poster entitled “Ensuring Timely Access and Finding a Trusted Provider Is Key to Supporting Consumer Decision-Making.”

Dr. Pintor also moderated a session entitled "Caring for Our Future Generation: Innovative, Promising Approaches in Pediatric and Young Adult Care."

Dr. Katherine Kim was a discussant for a panel entitled “Patients First: Patient-Facing Technologies to Enhance Health Care Engagement” and presented a poster entitled “A Novel Stakeholder Engagement Approach for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.”

Drs. Marc Schenker and Jesse Pintor presented a poster entitled “Assessing the Long-Term Impact of Expanding a Workplace Diabetes Intervention among Latino Immigrant Farmworkers: A Simulation Study.”

Dr. Michelle Ko presented a poster entitled “Educational Outcomes of School-Based Health Interventions for Children of Color.”

Five of our QSCERT Fellows were invited to present at the 23rd Annual AHRQ National Research Services Award (NRSA) Research Trainees Conference in New Orleans, where awardees of the National Research Service Award formally present research results from their fellowship training.

As part of the “Topics in Health Policy” panel, Ethan Evans, PhD, presented “The Challenge of Choice in the Individual Market: Learning from California’s Enrollment Assistance Infrastructure” and Brock Daniels, MD, MPH, presented “Physician in Triage Does Not Improve Patient-Centered Metrics in an Overcrowded, Academic Emergency Department.”

Jesse Pintor, PhD, MPH, took a public health perspective with her presentation on “Assessing the Long-Term Impact of Expanding a Workplace Diabetes Intervention among Latino Immigrant Farmworkers: A Simulation Study.”

Robert Doiron, MD, presented his poster “Successful Implementation and Improvements Identified with In-Situ Simulated Adult Trauma Resuscitation Scenarios.”

Aimee Moulin, MD presented on “County Variation in Mental Health Emergency Department and Hospitalization Use in California.”

CHPR Members serve on ICER’s California Technology Assessment Forum

Ms. Pat Powers and Professor Jeffrey Hoch will join Dr. Melnikow on the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review's (ICER) California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF).  Powers and Hoch were appointed as voting panelists this Spring and will have their first meeting this June.  At that meeting CTAF will consider the clinical and economic evidence for two anabolic agents for treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women who are at high risk for fracture. 

ICER recently released a draft Evidence Report assessing the comparative clinical effectiveness and value of the two anabolic agents, and the team from CHPR will participate in reviewing the Evidence Report, the public comments responding to the draft report, and ICER’s written response to comments.  The report will be the subject of a public meeting of CTAF this summer, during which voting members will vote on key questions raised in the report, and a policy roundtable of experts will discuss recommendations to apply the evidence to policy and practice.  

For more information, see:

Dr. Hoch teaches about health technology assessment of cancer drugs

As part of the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Professor Jeffrey Hoch participated in a pre-conference, 2-day seminar dedicated to the Economics of Cancer Care.  Professor Hoch's talk entitled, "Canadian Oncology Drug Health Technology Assessment: Lessons for the US eh" was featured in the session, "What Can We Learn from the International Experience?" Hoch's presentation drew on his experiences as Director of a Pharmacoeconomics Research Unit at a Provincial Cancer Agency in Canada.  During this time, he supported Canada's efforts to set up the world's first and only health technology assessment (HTA) process solely for cancer drugs.  The experiences have been published as a trio of freely available articles at http://tinyurl.com/hg7yekx and  http://tinyurl.com/hv8gwzh and http://tinyurl.com/gm2bvfa . A copy of the presentation is available here.

CHPR welcomes Sun Y. Jeon, PhD
Sun joined the center as a statistician in 2017. Prior to joining the CHPR, she worked as a Presidential Doctoral Research Fellow at Utah State University from 2012 to 2017, and conducted research on socio-demographic contributors to health outcomes, particularly suicide, mental health, and obesity, using national health surveys such as National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY)  datasets.  She also has experiences of studying the application of multivariate models, statistical machine learning techniques, and age-period-cohort (APC) models to health research.
She has Master’s degrees in Statistics and Sociology, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the Utah State University.

Rob Doiron, MD and Brock Daniels, MD, MPH are middle author's on the paper that was just accepted:

Dr. Richard Kravitz offers insight into patient-doctor communication as it relates to cancer and its prognosis. Methods and perspectives to consider.
"The Effectiveness of Standardized Handoff Tool Interventions during Inter- and Intra-facility Care Transitions on Patient-Related Outcomes: A Systematic Review" for publication in a future issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality.
Jennifer L. Rosenthal, MD, Robert Doiron, MDb, Sarah C. Haynes, MPHc,
Brock Daniels, MD, MPH, Su-Ting T. Li, MD, MPHa

In debate over iPhone vs. health care costc, Gavin Newsom's claims are Most True

Two health care policy experts pointed to the $10,345 figure as the best available.

"That’s an accurate number," said Joy Melnikow, director of the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research. "That number is as good as any."

While the government and private business pay for the bulk of the nation’s health care costs, Melnikow noted the government gets its money from taxpayers: "That’s all of our money. We’re paying for it." Full Article >>

Revised guidelines recommended later screening for breast cancer Full Article >>

Terminally ill cancer patients fare poorly after surgery Full Article >>

Hormonal Contraception and Risk of Thromboembolism in Women With Diabetes Full Article >>

Could Raising the Minimum Wage Improve the Public's Health? Full Article >>

David Chin's publication in Health Affairs: Rethinking Thirty-Day Hospital Readmissions: Shorter Intervals Might Be Better Indicators Of Quality Of Care. Full Article >>

The Center for Healthcare Policy and Research is excited to introduce the following employees to our team:

  • Melissa Gosdin, Ph.D., Qualitative Research Analyst: Coming to UC Davis from Albany State University in Georgia where she was an Assistant Professor of Sociology, she brings 12 years of qualitative research experience and expertise in qualitative and mixed methods studies. Read more >>
  • Dusan Hutak, Programmer, Information Technology


Cancer conversations: How to manage the tough talk for doctors, patients

Dr. Richard Kravitz offers insight into patient-doctor communication as it relates to cancer and its prognosis. Methods and perspectives to consider.


When the Price Is Not Right: State Options on Prescription Drug Pricing—a new issue brief authored by CHPR researchers.
In collaboration with the Center for Healthcare Decisions, Professor Jeffrey Hoch and his CHPR team co-authored an issue brief about potential strategies for California to control escalating costs of prescription drugs. The brief, sponsored by the California Health Care Foundation, provides background information about the cost of prescription drugs, describes the role of the rebate system and legal barriers to managing cost, and describes strategies pursued at the state and national levels, including California-specific strategies.

Prestigious National Dissertation Awards
Eduard Poltavskiy, PHS
Jacqueline Stocking, BIMSON

It is official – two of our CHPR-affiliated PhD students –Eduard Poltavskiy from the Graduate Group in Epidemiology and Jacqueline Stocking from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and the Graduate Group in Nursing Science and Health Care Leadership – have received very prestigious national awards for their dissertation research. Eduard has received a $41,791 Health Services Dissertation Research Grant - R36HS024657 – from the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for his work on “Reliability of Diagnosis Coding with ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM.” Jacqueline received a $50,000 Impact Research Grant – #20297 – from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses for her work on “A Case-Control Study to identify Potentially Modifiable Risk Factors for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Patient Safety Indicator 11-Postoperative Respiratory Failure.”

RWJF grant to learn consumers' views on optimizing value in healthcare.

Dr. Patrick Romano of UC Davis’ Center for Health Care Policy and Research is the lead on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant “Understanding Consumers Views of Cost Sharing, Quality and Network Choice” to identify the experiences and needs of individuals who are enrolled in Covered California in comparison with those who are enrolled through employer-based coverage. The Center for Healthcare Decisions is working in partnership with Dr. Romano and colleagues. Using focus groups and surveys, the team will identify and compare differences in the needs and perspectives of both groups in terms of the attributes of health care quality; how provider choice and treatments are influenced by cost-sharing; and the resources that plan members use and trust to help make purchasing and treatment decisions. The goal of the study is to improve on ways to provide consumers with the information and tools they need to choose health plans and make treatment decisions consistent with their values.

“Tailored Activation in Primary care to reduce suicide behaviors in middle aged men.”

Anthony Jerant, MD, Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine has received funding from CDC (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control), UCD Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, and UCD Department of Family and Community Medicine for his work on This study will refine a previously developed computerized depression program to create (MAPS) Multimedia Activation to Prevent Suicide for Men, designed to support suicide prevention in the primary care setting. The study will examine the effect of the MAPS for men on suicide preparatory behaviors in middle-aged men in a randomized controlled trial.