Turning great ideas into healthier communities


What Can We Learn From Media Coverage of Trauma and Family Separation?

October 17, 2018 | Sara Han

This summer, Americans confronted a moral crisis as they learned about the surge in families who are being separated and detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. In April, the Trump administration implemented a "zero tolerance policy" that treated parents arriving at the border with their children as criminals, detaining their children separately before prosecuting the parents. At the center of this public outrage is trauma: The physical, mental, and emotional health of hundreds of families and their children are being harmed. Experts and advocates for children's health and immigrant rights have spoken out against the separation and detention of these families. "[These] children are essentially living their worst nightmare," Wendy Cervantes of the Center for Law and Social Policy told Newsweek. "A kid's worst nightmare is the boogeyman coming in the middle of the night and taking away their parents. That's what's happening."

From a previous Berkeley Media Studies Group news analysis, we know that childhood trauma is rarely discussed in the news. But has it appeared more often in the midst of this intense, nationwide focus on family separations? We wanted to know, what does the coverage of trauma and family separation and detainment look like? And what lessons can advocates and journalists learn from how trauma is discussed in news coverage of family separation?  more

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Press Releases

Comprehensive Evaluation of California's Green Chemistry Initiative Released

October 17, 2018

An extensive evaluation of the State of California's Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) on its tenth anniversary has recognized its strengths and weaknesses, and makes ten recommendations for streamlining and improving the program. Principal author Gina M. Solomon, a physician at UCSF and Principal Investigator at the Public Health Institute, said, "California's Green Chemistry Initiative has pioneered an innovative approach to replacing toxic chemicals in consumer products with safer alternatives."  The major piece of the GCI is its Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program, run by CalEPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).  more

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"Climate change impacts are not contained by boundaries—nor are its solutions."

September 10, 2018

"Governor Jerry Brown today cemented California’s role as a global leader in the quest to reign in climate change and protect the health of the world and its residents, by signing into law Senate Bill 100, which sets a 100% clean electricity goal for the state by 2045, and issuing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality by the same year. PHI applauds the state, Governor Brown, and SB 100 sponsor Senator Kevin de León for their vision and international leadership."  more

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Announcements & Events

Call for Applications: 2019 National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health

October 22, 2018

PHI's Center for Health Leadership and Practice is currently seeking applications from multi-sector teams across the United States for the 8th National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health (NLAPH) cohort. Since 2012, NLAPH has brought together leaders from diverse sectors including health, housing, education, transportation, and law enforcement to build their own capacity in order to transform their communities, improve health, and advance equity.   more

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PHI in the News

Extreme Heat Killed 14 People in the Bay Area Last Year. 11 Takeaways From Our Investigation

October 17, 2018 | Molly Peterson | KQED

Even in cool, coastal California, extreme heat sickens and kills people. In 2017, extreme heat killed 14 people in the Bay Area. Over Labor Day weekend, six alone died in San Francisco. The heat also sent hundreds more to the hospital. In July, August, and September this summer, KQED measured heat in 31 homes, in four counties, across the state, and found that in every home, it was hotter inside than outside -- even after the sun went down -- depriving people of the ability to cool off at night. Within two decades, scientists predict extremely hot days in the Bay Area three to four times more often than in recent years. Climate-driven heat isn’t simply sending more people to hospitals. It’s changing our relationships to the built environment, through big decisions and little ones. And as systems evolve, Californians are mostly on their own as they try to cope with a familiar, but growing, danger. 


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