Category Archives: Context of Population Health

Preventing Conflict Starts in the Classroom

Read any news story today and you’ll likely get the sense that we are a nation becoming increasingly divided along political, racial, religious, and income lines. Perhaps related, many of our large cities are experiencing a recent increase in violence. In Milwaukee the number of murders increased by 76% between 2014 and 2015. The most […]

Time for a floor price on gasoline

Electric cars charging.

On Streetsblog, Charles Komanoff makes a number of great points about the low price of gasoline driving more C02 emissions, and endorses Congressional proposals for a carbon tax on the order of $100/ton, which would raise gasoline prices by about $1.00/gallon.   Elsewhere Komanoff says, “the climate problem cannot be solved without carbon emission fees,” by which […]

The poisoned carrot of climate policy

Gas prices are down to around $3 a gallon and that’s a disaster. But worse is yet to come.   In the US there is no way to get to meaningful reductions without changing the transportation sector, which accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions.   Strategies to combat climate change can be thought of […]

Public Health Letter Grades

restaurant grade

Grades work.   Under the leadership of then-Director Jonathan Fielding, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health pioneered a letter-grade system for restaurant sanitation.  The program has been a tremendous success, imitated throughout the country and now to Europe.  Following the introduction of restaurant letter grades, restaurant hygiene increased dramatically and the incidence of food-borne illness […]

Tracking Deaths by Law Enforcement Necessary to Public Health

High-profile shootings by law enforcement in the last year have brought attention to the decades-long debate about lethal force used by police in the U.S. Many protests, particularly by civil rights groups and the growing Black Lives Matter campaign, believe officers are intentionally and disproportionately targeting people of color, particularly young men. However, other conservative […]

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 […]

Parking minimums and fitness

This entertaining two-minute video explains why parking is one of the most important parts of the context of urban health. UCLA professor Don Shoup has been beating this drum for years, although not so much from a health angle.  Sometimes the simplest regulations—that every home and commercial space has to come with parking—have the deepest impacts. […]

The Bike, Bus and Asshole Lane

Wilshire Boulevard has a new bus-only lane, but it’s bus-only in name only.   Until the City gets serious about enforcement, perhaps the bus-only  lane should be known by a more descriptive name: the bus, bike and asshole lane.   Cars routinely drive in the bus lane during bus-only/bike-only hours and enforcement is non-existent. Most drivers respect […]

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 […]

A Missing Piece of the Gun Violence Debate

In the wake of recent events in Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino, there has been renewed debate about gun ownership in our society, with the president addressing the debate this past Sunday. The issue seems more important than ever, with more mass shootings occurring in the current calendar year than days so far. The […]