About Us

Overview

Our Mission and Vision

Our mission: to empower decision-makers and stakeholders with evidence-based information and tools that advance policies and programs to improve the public’s health, quality of life, and health equity.

 

Our vision: a healthy world through well-informed, collaborative decision-making.

 

Our goal: to make rigorous policy analysis enjoyable and easy to use.

IMPACT

A Center study showed that cuts to after-school could impair the health of California’s poorest schoolchildren. After seeing the results of this study, state legislators reinstated means testing to prioritize funding for poorer schools and students.

Information on economic and health disparities in affected communities from our study on transit alternatives for Wilshire Boulevard was included by LA County Metro in their final Environmental Impact Assessment for the Westside Subway Extension – a multi-billion dollar project spanning over a decade with the potential to transform transportation in Los Angeles.

A Center Health Impact Assessment showed that free transit passes for students would help reduce truancy. This finding helped persuade the metro board not to increase youth fares in the recent fare adjustments.

Hospitals throughout Southern California are now using population health projections from the Center’s Health Forecasting Model in their community-benefit planning and reports to the IRS.

OUR TEAM

Jonathan Fielding, MD, MPH

Jonathan Fielding, MD, MPH, is the founding Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Health Advancement, Professor of Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. Dr. Fielding also has served as Director of Public Health and Health Officer for Los Angeles County, where he was responsible for the full range of public health activities for over ten million county residents. He has received the Porter Prize, given for his national impact on improving the lives of Americans; the Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize, for achievements in local public health; and the Sedgwick Medal, for contributions to the field of public health.

Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD

Fred Zimmerman, PhD, is Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Health Advancement and Professor of Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Zimmerman is an economist with a background in institutional and behavioral economics. His research illuminates the intersection of institutional or behavioral economics and the social determinants of health, including extensive research on the effects of early media viewing on children’s health and development, critical theory of public health, and the political economy of health and social policy in Los Angeles County. Prior to joining the Fielding School faculty in 2008, Dr. Zimmerman was on the faculty in public health at the University of Washington, where he served as Co-Director of the Child Health Institute.

Nathaniel Anderson

Nathaniel Anderson is a policy modeler for the Center for Health Advancement and has a B.A. in Mathematical Economics from Pomona College. He has worked on the Win-Win Project since August 2015, extracting effect sizes from the literature and building the simulation model for various interventions including multicomponent obesity prevention in schools. Previously he was a research associate for the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center where he studied insurance coverage and access among non-elderly adults and children.

Christina Batteate

Christina’s immersion in creating sustainable urban environments spans the last decade and globe, including work on sustainable forms of housing, transportation and food systems in North and South America. A student of urban planning and practitioner of public health, Christina’s career functions at the intersection of two increasingly interdependent disciplines. She earned her Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and joint Masters degrees in Public Health and Latin American Studies from UCLA. She currently manages and contributes to a variety of projects addressing environmental health in the fields of transportation, open streets, agriculture and decision-making.

Brian Cole

Brian Cole, Dr.P.H., is program manager and lead analyst for the Health Impact Assessment Group at the UCLA School of Public Health, conducting and providing technical assistance on HIAs on a wide range of public policies and projects, including Living Wage Ordinances, urban redevelopment, school programs and transportation projects. Overlapping this work in HIA, Dr. Cole is also engaged in research on the environmental determinants of physical activity in school, workplace and community settings. He teaches courses in school-based health education and community organization for public health promotion. He earned his Doctor of Public Health degree from the UCLA School of Public Health and Bachelor degrees in Environmental Science and Biology from Washington State University.

Landon Gibson

Landon is currently an M.S. student in Health Policy and Management at UCLA, and has a B.S. in Biological Sciences from UC Irvine. He has worked on the Win-Win project since September 2016, providing support with research and data visualization. Previously he was a research assistant at the Public Policy Institute of California where he studied California’s senior population and allied health education in California’s Community Colleges.

Richard J. Jackson

Richard Joseph Jackson is a Professor at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. A pediatrician, he has served in many leadership positions with the California Health Department, including the highest as the State Health Officer. For nine years he was Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and received the Presidential Distinguished Service award. In October, 2011 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Jackson was instrumental in establishing the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program and in the creation of state and national laws to reduce risks from pesticides, especially to farm workers and to children. While at CDC he established major environmental public health programs and instituted the federal effort to “biomonitor” chemical levels in the US population. He has received its Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Public Health Law Association and the New Partners for Smart Growth, the John Heinz Award for national leadership in the Environment, and the Sedgwick Medal, the highest award of the American Public Health Association. In 2015 he received the Henry Hope Reed Award for his contributions to the field of Architecture.

 

Dick Jackson lectures and speaks on many issues, particularly those related to built environment and health. He has co-authored the books: Urban Sprawl and Public Health, Making Healthy Places, and Designing Healthy Communities for which he hosted a four hour PBS series. He has served on many environmental and health boards, as well as the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects. He is an elected honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects as well as the American Institute of Architects. Richard Jackson is married to Joan Guilford Jackson; they have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Kara E. MacLeod

At the Center, Kara is working on the Health Impact Assessment of the California High Speed Rail. She is also a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Southern California where she is studying smart growth and social and physical environmental factors for obesity, mental health, and health care use funded by the National Cancer Institute. Previously, she was on the Center’s Health Forecasting project and she has been a researcher with UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center. Kara is interested in social context and the geography of community assets, and research which supports and prioritizes decisions to improve community health and health for vulnerable populations.

Natalie Rhoads

Natalie Rhoads is the Program Manager for the Win-Win Project at the Center for Health Advancement. She has been in this position since June 2015. Previously, Natalie was a program manager for a study that examined HIV risk and access to health care among Mexican migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. In this position she co-authored several journal articles about HIV risk and migration. Natalie has also worked with ChildFund International and the Child Protection in Crisis (CPC) Learning Network in Liberia, conducting qualitative data analysis on community-based child protection mechanisms. Additionally, she interned with Women’s Refugee Commission where she wrote programmatic guidance on designing economic interventions to achieve better outcomes for children. Natalie also has several years of experience working with the HIV/AIDS, Health and Child Protection Sections at UNICEF headquarters. Natalie holds a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Rhonda Steele

Rhonda Steele is the Administrative Coordinator for the Center for Health Advancement.  She has been with the Center since its inception, and has worked with Dr. Fielding since 2010.  She handles all the administrative duties for the Center from personnel to finance and general day-to-day office management.  Rhonda earned her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 1995.

Steve M. Teutsch

Steven M. Teutsch works on the Win-Win project. He is an independent consultant, Adjunct Professor at the Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA, Senior Fellow at the Public Health Institute, and Senior Fellow, Schaeffer Center, University of Southern California. Until 2014 he was the Chief Science Officer, Los Angeles County Public Health where he continued his work on evidence-based public health and policy. He had been in Outcomes Research and Management program at Merck since October 1997 where he was responsible for scientific leadership in developing evidence-based clinical management programs, conducting outcomes research studies, and improving outcomes measurement to enhance quality of care. Prior to joining Merck he was Director of the Division of Prevention Research and Analytic Methods (DPRAM) at CDC where he was responsible for assessing the effectiveness, safety, and the cost-effectiveness of disease and injury prevention strategies. DPRAM developed comparable methodology for studies of the effectiveness and economic impact of prevention programs, provided training in these methods, developed CDC’s capacity for conducting necessary studies, and provided technical assistance for conducting economic and decision analysis. The Division also evaluated the impact of interventions in urban areas, developed the Guide to Community Preventive Services, and provided support for CDC’s analytic methods. He has served as a member of that Task Force and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which develops the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services as well as on Americas Health Information Community Personalized Health Care Workgroup and the Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Prevention and Practice (EGAPP) Workgroup. He chaired the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics Health and Society, and has served on and has chaired IOM panels, Medicare’s Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee, and on several subcommittees of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Healthy People 2020. He received his undergraduate degree in biochemical sciences at Harvard University in 1970, an M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health in 1973, and his M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine in 1974.

Peggy Vadillo Orenstein

Peggy V. Orenstein is the Research Associate for the UniHealth Foundation sponsored project, ‘Health Forecasting for Nonprofit Hospital Community Benefit Planning’. She works with Health Forecasting’s simulation programmers to design, validate, and calibrate the model to assist nonprofit hospitals with their community health needs assessments and inform their community benefit implementation plan.

Peggy transforms simulation model output into customized, interactive data visualization reports for hospitals, cities, planning agencies, and county health departments across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. The reports include forecasts of preventable chronic conditions and modifiable health behaviors through the year 2040 and incorporate hospital-based interventions to improve health. Peggy completed her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Advertising from the University of Southern California (USC). She received her master’s degree in Public Policy from the USC Price School of Policy, where she specialized in communicating public policy and program evaluation.

Connie Lu

Connie Lu is a Graduate Student Researcher for Health Forecasting UCLA. She works on the UniHealth Foundation project which aims to forecast the population burden of mental health disorders in Los Angeles County through the year 2040. During this year long internship, she conducts literature reviews and identifies data sources for developing the computer simulation model. She also assists in calibrating and validating existing models related to chronic diseases and health behaviors.

 

Before coming to UCLA, Connie completed the Public Health Associate Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focusing on maternal and child health, chronic disease, and adolescent health. Over summer 2016 she interned at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Unit, working on an evaluation of shared-use facilities. She is currently a master’s student in the department of Epidemiology.

Ellie Faustino

Ellie Faustino provides executive and research support to Dr. Jonathan Fielding and other Center for Health Advancement faculty. Previously, she worked as a managing editor for a digital publication and has edited, as well as co-authored, manuscripts in the sciences and humanities. Ellie completed her B.A. at the University of York, U.K. and her M.A. in English at Georgia State University.