The environment—the air we breathe, food we consume, and the climate around us—profoundly impacts health. Communities of color and low-income populations are disproportionately exposed to environmental perils, which can contribute to health disparities.
PHI is in the vanguard of protecting health and reducing health inequities by addressing some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. Groundbreaking PHI studies reveal how exposure to environmental toxins harms health. PHI shows how the built environment—proximity to polluting industries, or to safe streets, parks and grocery stores—can influence whether or not an individual will develop asthma, cancer and other illnesses. PHI educates the public and policy makers about the impacts of climate change on public health.
Supported by a diverse group of funders, PHI offers technical expertise on a broad range of environmental health issues.
Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative
The Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) is a nationally recognized leader in transforming public health practice to advance health equity to create healthier communities. It is a collaborative of public health directors, officers, senior managers and staff from the 11 San Francisco Bay Area health departments and the California Department of Public Health.
At BARHII, lessons learned are shared and strategies and resources developed; committees focus on data, community engagement, built environment, social determinants of health, structural racism and building health departments’ capacity.
Berkeley Media Studies Group
Berkeley Media Studies Group works with community groups, journalists and public health professionals to use the power of the media to advance healthy public policy. To do this, BMSG conducts research to understand how news, entertainment and advertising portray health and social issues. Through media advocacy training and consultation, BMSG helps advocates harness lessons from that research and develop the skills they need to become stronger voices in policy debate and illuminate the need for improving the places where all people live, learn, work and play.
California Convergence Coordinating Office
The California Convergence is a regionally organized, statewide network that unites community leaders and partners to collectively build equitable, safe and healthy communities where everyone participates and prospers. Convergence is governed and guided by a statewide, community-led steering committee, with administrative, communication, policy and evaluation-related support from PHI’s California Convergence Coordinating Office and statewide partners.
California Environmental Health Tracking Network Program
The California Environmental Health Tracking Network emphasizes the development of spatial analysis and visualization methods that enable state-of-the-art systems for predicting geographically related exposures to environmental hazards and relating those exposures to health indicators.
California Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OHSEP)
OHSEP, a program of the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health, tracks work-related injuries and diseases, studies workplace exposures and health effects, and makes prevention recommendations to employers and employees. OHSEP information is used to improve workplace Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and help identify and treat early work-related injuries and disease. OHSEP focuses on work-related asthma, fatal occupational incidents, pesticide poisoning and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Center for Public Health and Climate Change
The Public Health Institute created the Center for Public Health and Climate Change in 2010 to engage the scientific community, policy makers and civil society in working to reduce the impacts of climate change on human health. The goal is to mainstream the protection of health across policies and sectors.
Child Health and Development Studies
Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS) investigates how health and disease are passed on between generations--not only genetically, but also through social, personal and environmental surroundings. Nearly 50 years ago, CHDS enrolled over 15,000 families during the mothers' early pregnancy. Families participated in comprehensive interviews about their health, lifestyle and experiences. Follow-up studies CHDS children, now adults, and on their children, enable CHDS scientists to study health across generations and seek ways to prevent disease early in life.
Health Spectrum Program
Using a multi-dimensional emphasis that encompasses geographical, age, gender, socio-economic status, and race and ethnicity categories, the Health Spectrum Program provides issue and policy analysis and reporting; project/program and policy evaluation; training; technical assistance for statewide disease prevention and other health initiatives; and capacity building. The Health Spectrum Program focuses on children's health; health disparities; chronic disease prevention; wellness for leaders and decision-makers; and tobacco-free hospital campuses and patient treatment policies.
Public Health Trust
The Public Health Trust (PHT) works with private attorneys, government agencies and public health organizations interested in using litigation settlement funds to improve public health. PHT manages settlement funds with a focus on transparency and accountability. PHT grantees address a wide range of public health issues from marketing of food, tobacco products, exposure to toxic substances, medication access, and air and water quality.
Regional Asthma Management and Prevention Program
The Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP) program is a collaborative that promotes strategies for reducing asthma through a broad and comprehensive approach that includes clinical management and environmental protection. RAMP brings together diverse partners such as public health and community-based organizations, schools, medical providers, and environmental health and justice groups to join forces in reducing the burden of asthma with a focus on communities inequitably affected by the disease.
Survey Research Group
The Survey Research Group (SRG) specializes in conducting population based health-related surveys, using one of the most technologically advanced call centers in the country. Since 1987, public health officials, advocates and researchers use the data for a variety of purposes: tracking health risks, identifying emerging problems, improving treatment, and evaluating programs. SRG’s mission is to foster health, well-being, and quality of life through rigorous quantitative and qualitative research guided by the principles of equity in health, environment, education and economic context.
Additional PHI Projects
- Building the California Department of Public Health's Climate Change Capacity
- Don't Play with Danger: A National Campaign to Raise Awareness About Lead in Children's Products
- Flight Attendants Study
- Health Impact Assessment of Cap and Trade Regulations
- Integrating Reproductive Health into Global Health
- Mobilizing Care Delivery in Sacramento in the Era of Health Reform Convening
- National Campaign on the Dangers of Lead in Mexican-style Candy
- Prenatal Organochlorine Metabolites, Thyroid Function and Development
- Protecting California Families from "Take-Home" Lead Exposure
- Taking Back our Food System Monthly Events
- Toolkit for Respirator Evaluation in Acute Care Hospitals
- WIN – Wellness Initiatives Now