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Protecting Public Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: PHI Response & Resources

April 01, 2020


PHI Resources on COVID-19 Response:


  • Talking about Housing, Health, and COVID-19: Keeping Equity at the Forefront (3/25/2020):  COVID-19 has brought to the forefront solutions that advocates have long called for—tenant protections, stopping the sweeps of people who are unhoused, and more—as advocates push for additional, urgent ways to ensure people are sheltered during this pandemic. PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group's new guide is focused on shifting the narrative from safety during the pandemic to the importance of treating housing as essential to public health, now and moving forward. 
  • Web Forum: Combating COVID-19: Why Paid Sick Leave Matters to Controlling its Spread: Tune in to a Web Forum on Wednesday April 1st, hosted by PHI's Dialogue4Health, which will highlight recommendations made in the Ready or Not and Promoting Health and Cost Control in States reports by Trust for America's Health, on the important role of paid sick leave in combating infectious diseases, as well as other complementary evidence-based policies that can be adopted by federal, state and local governments and by employers. Registration required.
  • COVID-19 CA Bridge and MAT for Opioid Use Services National Emergency Response (3/20/2020—noon PT): See new guidance from PHI's California BRIDGE on how to immediately reduce person-to-person contact when offering Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid use. Protocols aim slow COVID-19 spread by implementing social distancing into all aspects of care and ensure access and availability to medications. Read their press release.
  • Asthma and the COVID-19 virus (3/19/2020): See an update from PHI's Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP) program on COVID-19 risk for people with asthma, asthma management, and the disproportionate impact of asthma and the coronavirus on low-income communities and communities of color. 
  • Telehealth Coverage Policies in the Time of COVID-19 to Date (3/17/2020—3pm PT): The federal administration and major health insurers are updating telehealth technologies, legislation and reimbursement policies to make it easier for communities to monitor, test and prevent the spread of COVID-19. PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy provides a summary of the changes to telehealth covered by Medicare, Medicaid, various public and private payers, as well as state updates.
  • COVID-19: Local Health Department Needs in Southern California (3/17/2020): What do local health departments need in order to effectively address COVID-19? New findings from PHI's Public Health Alliance of Southern California identify increased lab testing and capacity; strategies to pivot from containment to mitigation; dedicated local funding; ways to address racism and xenophobia; communications to communities; guidance on staffing; and multi-sector coordination.
  • COVID-19: Addressing Discrimination & Racism (3/17/2020): As both fear and misinformation about COVID-19 continue to grow, health departments and community members are reporting increased incidences of physical, verbal, social and economic discrimination against Asian Pacific Islander communities. A subcommittee of PHI's Public Health Alliance of Southern California, with input from PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group, developed a set of rapid response guidelines to be considered for implementation by local health departments in order to help actively reject and prevent discrimination and racism, and work to promote the health and safety of all people living in our communities.
  • Telehealth Coverage, Technologies, Vital in the Fight Against COVID-19 (3/10/2020): As things rapidly develop on what we know about COVID-19, policies around telehealth have also been developing alongside of it. Mei Wa Kwong, director of PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy, provides a critical overview of the telehealth updates from the federal administration and major health insurers, explores what they mean, and explains how existing state policies on telehealth may be interpreted in an emergency.


When public health is working best, we rarely see it working. We just see people breathing clean air, accessing affordable health care and living in affordable housing. And in this moment, in many communities around the world, public health means staying put and scaling back in order to care for each other and protect our most vulnerable community members and institutions from COVID-19.

During this emergency, the Public Health Institute will still be working, hard. We are already adjusting how we work, but we are dedicated to making sure that our efforts to build power, connection, infrastructure and health won’t stop. Here's how.  

We’ll be working remotely. 
Our physical offices in Oakland, Sacramento and DC are currently closed. We have adjusted our operations to support remote work for the majority of our staff and programs. Phones and emails are being checked regularly and forwarded to relevant staff. The best way to reach us for general information is 510.285.5500. The Public Health Institute and its programs are continuing to review and share emerging science, best-practices and policy shifts that may affect how our communities, healthcare and public health systems, insurers and providers respond to and manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ll be collaborating and convening. 
One of the things that PHI does best is to bring people together. Our Dialogue4Health platform has hosted hundreds of Web Forums for tens of thousands of health and public health professionals over the last decade. We’ll be leveraging that expertise to help each other, deepen our program work, and help you connect to each other and the people who need to hear about your work. 

We’ll be sharing evidence and best practices. 
This is the time for PHI to redouble our efforts to communicate the best information to those seeking a trusted and reliable source. We will continue to share emerging science, best-practices and policy shifts related to COVID-19. And, because COVID-19 may intensify other gaps in our public health systems and infrastructure, we will also continue to share other important public health news, research and policies. For official information on COVID-19, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO.

We look forward to continuing to connect with you and to serve our programs and communities around the world.