Author Archives: Natalie Rhoads

The Benefits of Car-free Days

Los Angeles has a solid reputation for its traffic. People complain of long commutes, air pollution, common traffic collisions and delays. And Los Angeles certainly isn’t the only city with these problems.   Santa Monica Planning Commissioner, Richard McKinnon proposed closing off a portion of the city to vehicles for a few hours one Sunday […]

Ebola Quarantines Created Fear Not Safety

Dr. Craig Spencer, New York’s first Ebola patient and a former classmate of mine, contracted Ebola in October 2014 while doing aid work in Guinea. He fell ill several days later after he returned home. During the few days before he had any symptoms, Dr. Spencer practiced self-monitoring, a strategy workers who were potentially exposed […]

Does the L.A. Food Environment Matter for Obesity?

Since the introduction of the term ‘food desert’ in the 1990s, public health efforts have increasingly focused on providing mostly low-income neighborhoods with access to fresh, healthy foods. The logic is that if people live or work in an area that lacks food outlets with healthy options, they are more likely to eat foods high […]

The Most Bang for your Buck

There is a plethora of research on programs and policies that aim to positively impact public health. While there are great resources online that synthesize the evidence, such the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a gap still remains: how do we determine the cost of these interventions and decide if they are feasible in a […]

School Segregation Perpetuates Racial Health Inequities

School segregation is worse than it was 45 years ago. While we saw relatively rapid integration after the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, we have been back pedaling since 1988. Racial isolation, particularly of low-income black students, is increasing,   At the same time, racial and ethnic inequalities in morbidity and mortality persist. […]

Equal Pay Benefits Everyone, Not Just Women

Earlier this month, California adopted one of the strongest pay equity laws in the U.S. aimed at decreasing the wage gap. Women have always been paid less than men for the same work, currently a median 84 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means women would have […]

Standing Desks for Students

Here’s an innovative idea. Ditching tables and chairs for standing desks at schools. That is just what this elementary school has done in San Rafael, California.   We are seeing more workplaces using standing desks and replacing chairs with yoga balls, so why not schools? Sitting for too long can have a negative impact on […]

How do we prevent mass shootings?

“Somehow this has become routine.  The reporting is routine.  My response here at this podium ends up being routine.  The conversation in the aftermath of it.  We’ve become numb to this.” President Obama delivered a powerful speech in the aftermath of the latest mass shooting at an Oregon community college. He called for greater gun […]

Street harassment: A Major Barrier to a Healthy Lifestyle

Imagine that every time you go for a walk around the block or run errands in your neighborhood, half the people you pass make an unwanted comment about the way you look, walk or dress. It doesn’t matter if it is meant to be a compliment or not, you feel on display. It doesn’t matter […]

Is Your Neighborhood Making You Sick?

Can you take your dog for a walk and feel safe? Are there sidewalks to keep you from dodging cars as you walk? How walkable is your community?   When people think about living healthy lifestyles that include daily physical activity, the layout of their neighborhood doesn’t always immediately come to mind. However, the design […]