Skip to main content

News & Announcements


Have news?

Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science faculty, staff and students who have news to share may submit their announcement here.

Media contact

Whether you are looking for a faculty expert to interview, need information about public health, or need help on a story, please contact Yadira Galindo, Director of Communications.

 icon_linked_blue.png   icon_tw_blue.png

News Releases

During Peak of COVID-19 Some Lacked Access to Safe Water and Lavatories
Featuring: Georgia Kayser, PhD, Assistant Professor, and Alhelí Calderón Villarreal, MD, MPH, PhD student 

A defining development of the 20th century that changed the course of public health was when governments around the world improved access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. However, a binational study led by University of California San Diego researchers found that, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people experiencing homelessness and individuals who inject drugs in San Diego and the bordering city of Tijuana, Mexico often did not have access to these basic resources.

There are estimated to be 10,000 people who inject drugs in Tijuana and another 21,800 in San Diego, many of whom are experiencing homelessness.

Read the full news release.


Herbicides Could Impact Brain Function in Teens
Featuring: Jose Ricardo Suarez, MD, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, and Briana Chronister, PhD student

Fresh-cut flowers, houseplants and other greenery bring joy and beauty to homes and offices. They’re also big business. In Pedro Moncayo, an agricultural area located in the Ecuadorian Andes, 21% of adults work in the floriculture industry. While economic projections are trending upward across the globe, a concerning reality lurks beneath the surface: herbicides used to grow these vibrant crops may be reducing brain function in adolescents.

Read full story.


Leaders in Their Fields
Featuring: Alec Calac, PhD student, and Danielle M. Campbell, PhD student 

Five UC San Diego graduate students recently joined the ranks of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, a prestigious national organization that recognizes scholars whose commitment to social justice, diversity, leadership and academic excellence pushes the boundaries of doctoral education. 

These exemplary scholars are leaders in their fields; they deeply embody the spirit of Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African American to earn a doctorate degree in the United States in 1876. Bouchet was also the sixth person in the Western Hemisphere to earn a doctorate in physics. 

Read full news release.


Study Finds X’s Community Notes Provides Accurate Responses to Vaccine Misinformation
Featuring: Eric Leas, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor

As the proliferation of misinformation continues to pose a significant challenge on social media platforms, a beacon of hope emerges in research from the University of California San Diego.

A new study published in JAMA finds that X's Community Notes, a crowdsourced approach to addressing misinformation, helped counter false health information in popular posts about COVID-19 vaccines with accurate, credible responses.

Read the full news release.


The Health Impacts of Migrating by Sea
FeaturingAnna Lussier, PhD student

In the four years after the border wall height was increased from 17 feet to 30 feet along the US-Mexican border, drowning deaths of migrants in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego increased by 3200%, according to a new study published in JAMA. Co-authors Anna Lussier, M.D, Ph.D. student in the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and Peter Lindholm, M.D., Ph.D., Gurnee Endowed Chair of Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine Research and professor in residence in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, hypothesized that the change in wall-height may have resulted in an increase in marine and maritime migration attempts, resulting in more frequent drownings. 

The study relied largely on publicly available data from the Missing Migrants Project (MMP), an initiative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which coordinates the UN network on migration and compiles data on migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who die during migration journeys.

Read the full news release.


Sedentary Behavior Increases Mortality Risk 
Featuring: Andrea LaCroix, PhD, MPH, Distinguished Professor, Steve Nguyen, PhD, MPH, postdoctoral fellow, John Bellettiere, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, and Loki Natarajan, PhD, Professor

Based on decades-long observations of centenarians, author Dan Buettner (Blue Zones) conjectures that people live longer when they get up and move around after sitting for twenty minutes. Now, a rigorous new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) has data showing that older women who sat for 11.7 hours or more per day increased their risk of death by 30 percent, regardless of whether they exercised vigorously.

Study co-author Steve Nguyen, Ph.D., M.P.H., a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, examined measurements of sitting and daily activity collected from hip devices worn for up to seven days by 6,489 women, aged 63 to 99, who were followed for eight years for mortality outcomes. This data was collected in a study led by Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D., M.P.H., Distinguished Professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health, as part of a long-term national project known as the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), which began in 1991 and is ongoing.

Read the full news release.


Countywide Initiative to Train 1 Million San Diegans in Hands-Only CPR
Featuring: Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and Dean Cheryl A.M. Anderson, PhD, MPH

At a press conference on Feb. 26, 2024, the County of San Diego Emergency Medical Services and the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego offered a hands-only CPR training and announced Revive & Survive San Diego, a new initiative created to save lives by training 1 million San Diegans in hands-only CPR.

Revive & Survive San Diego will create a coalition of lifesavers in San Diego County. Local public health, public safety, business, education and community organizations have partnered with Revive & Survive San Diego to offer free hands-only CPR training and perform community outreach across all corners of San Diego County.

Read the full news release.


Extreme Heat, Wildfires Combine to Disproportionately Harm Less Affluent and Communities of Color
Featuring: Lara Schwarz, JDP student

Extreme heat and wildfire smoke, potentially lethal on their own, can act in concert to produce increased damage to people’s hearts and respiratory systems, according to researchers.

A new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in collaboration with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health analyzed California health records during episodes of dangerous heat and exposure to wildfire smoke from 2006 to 2019, broken down by ZIP code. It detected increased hospitalizations, especially when both conditions occurred on the same day. Importantly, said the researchers, the excess harm from the co-occurring hazards to people was found to be greater in ZIP codes where residents were likely to be poorer, people of color, living in higher density, and less likely to have health insurance.

Read the full news release.


Study: Association of Egg Consumption on Cognitive Function in Older Adults
Featuring: Donna Kritz-Silverstein, PhD, Professor

Plentiful and relatively inexpensive, eggs are a popular staple food worldwide. The most commonly consumed eggs come from fowl. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic backyard homesteading increased as many people turned to raising chickens for hobby and eggs.

Eggs are also nutritious. They contain protein, healthy fats, and many nutrients like choline and carotenoids which previous studies report are associated with protective effects for cognitive function.

In a recent study published in the journal Nutrients, Donna Kritz-Silverstein, PhD, professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UC San Diego, reports on the prospective association of egg consumption with multiple domains of cognitive function. The data, gathered from participants in the Rancho Bernardo Study of Healthy Aging, a longitudinal cohort study of residents in the Rancho Bernardo suburb in San Diego, included information from 1,515 community-dwelling men and women aged 60 years and older upon follow up, an average of 16 years later.

Read the full news release.


Greater Research Investments Needed to Address Refugee Health
Featuring: Tala Al-Rousan, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor

One in 74 people in the world are forcibly displaced, which includes nearly 41 million refugees and asylum seekers. Over the past decade the number of refugees worldwide has more than doubled. The United States has historically resettled more refugees than any other country, with more than 3.5 million refugees since 1980.

Refugees suffer many health disparities that are poorly studied or intervened upon. They battle mental health trauma, interrupted access to care, disease epidemics and deterioration of chronic conditions while living with the stress of looking for a new and safe home.

In a cross-sectional study in the Jan. 10, 2024 online issue of JAMA Network Open, a multi-institutional team of researchers reported that 78 out of 1.7 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants funded refugee health research. As the largest public funder of biomedical research and development the NIH must increase its investments in comprehensive studies assessing the physical, mental and social well-being of an expanding refugee population, wrote the authors.

Read the full news release.


Health is Finally a Priority at COP 28. Will It Spur Faster Climate Action?
Featuring: Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, Professor

Since the first United Nations global climate negotiations in the early 1990s, contributions from observer organizations like UC have played a key role in shaping the world’s response to climate change. But considering the dire and universal threats climate change poses to human health, Teherani and her fellow health experts in UC’s delegation say that the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) structure and leadership have never adequately considered the health implications of the climate crisis.

For the first time ever, COP will feature a full day of programming dedicated to health. On Dec. 3, experts and advocates from UC and around the world will have a chance share what they know about how climate change is already costing people their health and well-being.

Read the full news release.


Hearing Loss is Associated with Subtle Changes in the Brain
Featuring: Linda McEvoy, PhD, Professor Emeritus

Hearing loss affects more than 60 percent of adults aged 70 and older in the United States and is known to be related to an increased risk of dementia. The reason for this association is not fully understood.

To better understand the connection, a team of University of California San Diego and Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute researchers employed hearing tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine whether hearing impairment is associated with differences in specific brain regions.

In the November 21, 2023 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers reported that individuals enrolled in this observational study who had hearing impairment exhibited microstructural differences in the auditory areas of the temporal lobe and in areas of the frontal cortex involved with speech and language processing, as well as areas involved with executive function.

Read the full press release.


Grant Helps Program Expand Distracted Driving Education to Online Learning
Featuring: Linda Hill, MD, MPH, Distinguished Professor

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates there were 42,795 deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes in 2022 in the United States. This projection is close to the previous year fatality numbers, which were the highest in 16 years.

A Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego program aims to improve safety for all roadway users, including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists with support from a $360,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the NHTSA.

To inform and promote safe driving, the UC San Diego Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) provides courses, online training, and written materials designed to equip law enforcement, clinicians and other roadway safety professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary to educate the public.

Read the full news release.


Online Shopping for Tobacco Products Rises with California Flavor Restrictions
Featuring: Eric Leas, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor

Online shopping for cigarettes and vaping products increased significantly in the weeks following the implementation of SB-793, a 2022 California law prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products. Researchers at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego identified potential loopholes in tobacco control policies due to the absence of explicit regulations on e-commerce sales in retailer licensing programs.

Reporting in the journal Tobacco Control on Nov. 7, 2023, researchers assessed the impact of California's statewide flavor restriction on online shopping behavior among consumers. Comparing observed rates of shopping queries with expected rates, researchers discovered that shopping queries were 194 percent higher than expected for cigarettes and 162 percent higher than expected for vape products.

Read the full news release.


New Center Addresses Global Climate Change Impacts on Water, Other Resources
Featuring: Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, Professor, and VC Corinne Peek-Asa, PhD, MPH, Distinguished Professor

Jordan ranks second among countries with the lowest access to water and is expected to reach water insecurity by 2030. Within the country, the most water deprived communities live in the Northeast region of Mafraq’s Azraq Basin which is also home to approximately 120,000 resettled Syrian refugees who are dependent on water resources.

A new three-year program called the Global Center on Climate Change, Water, Energy, Food, and Health Systems, led by the University of California San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, and supported by an international consortium of universities and community organizations, will address the impacts of climate change in the climate-vulnerable communities in the Azraq Basin.

Read the full news release.


Commonly Used Herbicide is Harmful to Adolescent Brain Function
Featuring: Jose Ricardo Suarez, MD, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, and Briana Chronister, JDP student

In the Oct. 11, 2023 online issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers reported measuring metabolite concentrations of two commonly used herbicides — glyphosate and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) — and the insect repellent DEET in urine samples collected in 2016 from 519 adolescents, aged 11 to 17, living in the agricultural county of Pedro Moncayo, Ecuador. Researchers also assessed neurobehavioral performance in five areas: attention and inhibitory control, memory and learning, language, visuospatial processing, and social perception.

“Many chronic diseases and mental health disorders in adolescents and young adults have increased over the last two decades worldwide, and exposure to neurotoxic contaminants in the environment could explain a part of this increase,” said senior author Jose Ricardo Suarez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health.

Read the full news release.


Opening Doors for Health Care Providers of the Future
Featuring: Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health

To address the need for scholarships to help make health education accessible to individuals from all backgrounds, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences John M. Carethers, MD, announced at the Scholarship Celebration a commitment of $12 million from Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla to establish the Health Sciences Scholarship Challenge at UC San Diego.

Together, Khosla and Carethers are challenging alumni, friends and supporters to raise an additional $12 million over the next four years, effectively doubling the impact for our students at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science.

Read the full news release.


CDC Awards $17.5M to Team Led by UC San Diego to Strengthen Response to Disease Outbreaks
Featuring: Camille Nebeker, EdD, Professor

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded $17.5 million to a coalition led by researchers at UC San Diego to develop innovative tools and networks to respond rapidly to emerging disease outbreaks.

“While we’ve made progress, the COVID pandemic underlined the gaps in our systems to rapidly and effectively respond to infectious disease threats,” said Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, M.D., Ph.D., the grant’s principal investigator (PI), who is at UC San Diego as assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the School of Medicine, Design Lab faculty and director of the Center for Health Design, and Qualcomm Institute affiliate and Executive Council member. “This project brings together a fantastic team to integrate the best forecasting and analytic approaches with the best data so public health officials can prevent, predict, preempt, prepare for, and mitigate these threats.”

Read the full news release.


Video: The MADURA Program 
Featuring: Emily Pantoja, Bachelor of Science in Public Health student and Hong A. Nguyen, Bachelor of Science in Public Health ‘23

Among the many programs aimed at addressing JEDI is a National Institute of Aging-funded R25 undergraduate training program called Mentorship for Advancing Diversity in Undergraduate Research on Aging (MADURA). Its primary objective is to improve diversity in research and clinical careers that are focused on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) and other aging-related topics by providing paid hands-on research experience to UC San Diego undergraduate students who are from groups historically underrepresented in medical, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (MSTEM) majors.

With an interdisciplinary approach to public health, MADURA has 30 faculty mentors ready to help students with a range of majors from psychology to cognitive science to computer science.

Read the full news release.

Maintaining Stable Weight Increases Longevity Among Older Women
Featuring: Aladdin H. Shadyab, PhD, MPH, associate professor

Reaching the age of 90, 95 or 100, known as exceptional longevity, was more likely for women who maintained their body weight after age 60, according to a multi-institutional study led by University of California San Diego. Older women who sustained a stable weight were 1.2 to 2 times more likely to achieve longevity compared to those who experience a weigh loss of 5 percent or more.

Reporting in the Aug. 29, 2023 online issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, researchers investigated the associations of weight changes later in life with exceptional longevity among 54,437 women who enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, a prospective study investigating causes of chronic diseases among postmenopausal women. Throughout the follow up period, 30,647, or 56 percent of the participants, survived to the age of 90 or beyond.

Read the full news release.


$3.8 Million NIMH MERIT Award Supports Research on Innovative Diagnostic Tool for ASD
Featuring: Ronghui (Lily) Xu, PhD, Professor

A new five-year, $3.8 million Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will fund research to develop an eye tracking-based screening tool for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The research study will be led by principal investigator Karen Pierce, PhD, professor of neuroscience at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

Innovative primary investigators are selected for MERIT awards based on their high scoring R01 grant applications. MERIT awards allow the initial five-year funding period to be extended for another five-year to pursue additional research aims, for a total of 10 years. A MERIT award cannot be applied for, but rather, is based on nomination and approval within the NIMH.

Read the full press release.

Benefits of Electric Stoves on Health and Environment in Ecuador
Featuring: Carlos Gould, PhD, Assistant Professor

One of the most popular strategies to increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution in homes — which are responsible for approximately 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — is the transitioning from gas to electric stoves. An international team of researchers investigated the health and environmental impacts of a program in Ecuador that put induction stoves in 750,000 households.

In the Aug. 15, 2023 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that both greenhouse gas emissions and hospitalization rates likely fell at the national level over the first six years of the program.

Read the full news release.


Walkable Neighborhoods Help Adults Socialize, Increase Community
James Sallis, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Adults who live in walkable neighborhoods are more likely to interact with their neighbors and have a stronger sense of community than people who live in car-dependent communities, report researchers at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego.

The findings of the study, published online in the journal Health & Place, support one of six foundational pillars suggested by United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy as part of a national strategy to address a public health crisis caused by loneliness, isolation and lack of connection in this country.

Read the full news release.

Study Finds ChatGPT Outperforms Physicians in High-Quality, Empathic Answers to Patient Questions
Featuring: Eric Leas, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine led by John W. Ayers, Ph.D., from the Qualcomm Institute at University of California San Diego provides an early glimpse into the role that AI assistants could play in medicine. The study compared written responses from physicians and those from ChatGPT to real-world health questions. A panel of licensed healthcare professionals preferred ChatGPT’s responses 79% of the time and rated ChatGPT’s responses as higher quality and more empathetic.

Read the full news release.


Center for AIDS Research Receives $15 Million Renewal Grant From NIH
Featuring: Sonia Jain, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a five-year, $15.45 million grant to the San Diego Center for AIDS Research (SD CFAR) at UC San Diego, renewing support that extends back to an original establishing grant in 1994 at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

SD CFAR was established by the NIAID as a regional, collaborative, frontline hub for studying HIV, bringing together multiple institutional partners, including The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, San Diego State University, plus local health agencies and community groups.  

Read the full news release


Libraries Primed to Play Integral Role in Preventing the Spread of Health Misinformation
Featuring: Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science

A new effort to counteract the spread of health misinformation has taken flight. The San Diego Circuit libraries (Circuit), a consortium of six prominent academic and public libraries, has announced the availability of a campaign website designed to help community members identify and protect themselves from health misinformation.

The primary goals of the project are threefold: 1) to raise awareness of health misinformation, 2) to share techniques for evaluating health claims and finding reliable sources, and 3) to provide guidance on how to respond to misinformation ethically and responsibly. An essential component of the effort is promoting National Library of Medicine resources such as MedlinePlus, PubMed and, to help community members find reliable consumer health and scientific sources.

Read the full news release.



Training Individuals to Work in their Communities to Reduce Health Disparities
Featuring: Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, Eric Hekler, PhD, Blanca Melendrez, and Chag Lowry

Community health workers were trusted messengers, disseminating health information in underserved communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and playing a vital role in reducing health disparities.

This form of outreach is the basis of a newly launched academic-community partnership, led by the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego and is funded by a $3-million Health Resources and Services Administration grant, that aims to train 200 individuals from refugee, immigrant, and Native American populations living in San Diego County to become community health workers on key health topics disproportionately affecting their communities.

Read the full news release.



Reimagining Public Health
Featuring: Cheryl Anderson, PhD, MPH, Sheri Thompson, PhD, Steven Edland, PhD, Martha Anderson, JD, Kyle Choi, Sonia Jain, PhD, Nancy Binkin, MD, MPH, Victoria Ojeda, PhD, MPH, and Michael Pratt, MD, MPH

From pandemics to health inequities, confronting future crises will look different—and that’s a good thing. With seven education programs, the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science is cultivating the next generation of diverse public health professionals and leaders while leveraging its research strengths to address deep and pressing 21st century public health issues.

Read the full news release.



More Steps, Moderate Physical Activity Cuts Dementia, Cognitive Impairment Risk
FeaturingAndrea LaCroix, PhD, MPH, and Steve Nguyen, PhD, MPH

Senior women were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment or dementia if they did more daily walking and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, according to a new study led by the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego.

In the Jan. 25, 2023 online edition of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the team reported that, among women aged 65 or older, each additional 31 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Risk was also 33 percent lower with each additional 1,865 daily steps.

Read the full new release.



UC San Diego Student Catches Eye of White House
Featuring: Alec Calac, Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health candidate

A student at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science has been invited by the Biden administration to participate in an exclusive group of experts and leaders in the fields of medicine and public health.

A candidate in the university’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) and a high-profile public health advocate, Alec J. Calac is one of several trainees invited to join some of the nation’s leading clinicians and scholars as a participant in the Health Equity Leaders Roundtable Series to discuss health equity in the United States.

“I’ve always had a special focus on education attainment and workforce development, which I’ve carried into my training as an MD/PhD student,” Calac said. “With the support of many students, staff and faculty at UC San Diego and across the entire University of California system, I have continued to advocate for policies aimed at supporting the next generation of American Indian and Alaska Native physicians and allied health professionals. My participation in the Health Equity Leaders Roundtable Series is a function and extension of those efforts.”

Read the full news release here.



UC San Diego Awarded $38 Million USAID Grant to Improve Global Health Equity
Featuring: Holly Shakya Baker, PhD

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a $38 million, five-year project led by the Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. The project is an international, multi-institutional effort to better understand and promote agency for individuals, communities and local organizations in low- and middle-income countries.

The award is the largest ever given to UC San Diego by USAID, a 61-year-old federal program created by President John F. Kennedy to advance humanitarian efforts, reduce poverty and encourage sustained economic and social development throughout the world. 

“This is a spectacular moment,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. “With this award, UC San Diego can lead in using research to address important social and health issues that result in beneficial change and new policies that make the world a better place.”

Read the full news release here.



Understanding Caste and the Power of Empathy in Human Health

Empathy is not a weakness, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson told a live audience gathered virtually to hear her insights into an artificial division that continues to plague society known as caste, and its contribution to health injustice.


Daily Activities Like Washing Dishes Reduced Heart Disease Risk in Senior Women

Featuring: Steven Nguyen, PhD, MPH, postdoctoral scholar, Andrea LaCroix, PhD, Loki Natarajan, PhDJohn Bellettiere, PhD  

Seniors take note, running or brisk walking is not the only way to reduce the risk of heart disease. Simply being “up and about” performing routine activities, referred to as daily life movement, including housework, gardening, cooking and self-care activities like showering can significantly benefit cardiovascular health.


Adoption of E-cigarettes for Smoking Cessation in 2017 Low and Ineffective

Featuring: John P. Pierce, PhD, and Karen Messer, PhD

Despite the rapid growth in sales of e-cigarettes in 2017, researchers at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego say smokers seeking to quit were not early adopters of the products. The report appears in the February 7, 2022 online edition of the journal Tobacco Control.


Social Isolation and Loneliness Increase Heart Disease Risk in Senior Women

Featuring: John Bellettiere, PhD and Natalie Golaszewski, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar

During the current pandemic, social distancing has been one tool used to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But data from a new study point to as much as a 27% increase in heart disease risk in postmenopausal women who experience both high levels of social isolation and loneliness.

The findings of the prospective study, published in the February 2, 2022 online issue of JAMA Network Open, reveal that social isolation and loneliness independently increased cardiovascular disease risk by 8% and 5% respectively. If women experienced high levels of both, their risk rose 13% to 27% compared to women who reported low levels of social isolation and low levels of loneliness.


Step Up: Walking May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk for Adults 65 and Older

Featuring: John Bellettiere, PhD and Alexis C. Garduno, PhD student

Walking regularly and at greater intensity may help prevent Type 2 diabetes among 70 and 80 year olds, according to one of the first studies measuring steps and pace among this population.

The more steps a person takes, and the more intense, the lower their risk for developing diabetes, report researchers in a study published in the Jan. 20, 2022 issue of Diabetes Care.


UC San Diego Receives $14M to Drive Precision Nutrition with Gut Microbiome Data

Featuring: Rebecca Fielding-Miller, PhD, MSPH and Camille Nebeker, EdD

The NIH is now awarding $170 million in grant funding to centers across the country to create a new consortium known as Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program®. The consortium will recruit a diverse pool of 10,000 All of Us Research Program participants to develop algorithms to predict individual responses to food and inform more personalized nutrition recommendations. 


Homelessness Increases Serious Illness, Emergency Room Visits During Heat Waves
Featuring: Tarik Benmarhnia, PhD, MSc, MEng

In a study published online on Dec. 22, 2021 in the American Journal of Public Health, University of California San Diego researchers in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity ScienceScripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Emergency Medicine, provide the first epidemiological evidence of the health impacts of heat waves on people experiencing homelessness, visits to emergency departments and which characteristics make them particularly at-risk.


Havacado or Two. Study Finds Eating Lots of the Fruit Hass Public Health Import
Featuring: Lorena Pacheco, PhD, Matt Allison, MD, MPH and Cheryl A.M. Anderson, PhD, MPH

In a novel study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing the potential health effects between families that consumed a low allotment of avocados (three per week) and families that consumed a high allotment (14 per week) over six months. All families were of Mexican descent. They found that the high avocado allotment families self-reported lower caloric consumption, reducing their intake of other foods, including dairy, meats and refined grains and their associated negative nutrients, such as saturated fat and sodium. 


UC San Diego Study: E-cigarettes Don’t Help Smokers Stay Off Cigarettes
Featuring: John P. Pierce, PhD, and Karen Messer, PhD

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested that smokers who are unable to quit smoking may benefit by switching from smoking cigarettes to vaping e-cigarettes if they switch completely and are able to avoid relapsing to cigarette smoking.

However, there have been few studies on whether smokers are able to transition to e-cigarettes—battery-operated devices that heat a liquid made of nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals to make an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs—without relapsing back to cigarette smoking.

Published in the Oct. 19, 2021 online issue of JAMA Network Open, an analysis by the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center reports that e-cigarette use—even on a daily basis—did not help smokers successfully stay off cigarettes.


John and Sally Hood Family Foundation Gives $3 Million to UC San Diego
Featuring: Cheryl A.M. Anderson, PhD, MPH

The John and Sally Hood Family Foundation have given $3 million to establish the Hood Family Endowed Dean’s Chair in Public Health at University of California San Diego. The gift is intended to support excellence in research, education and practice of public health at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UC San Diego.

Cheryl A.M. Anderson, Ph.D., MPH, founding dean of Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health, has been named the inaugural chair holder. An endowed chair is one of the highest honors that an academic institution can confer upon a faculty member. It recognizes excellence in their research and clinical practice.

With Time and Without Masks, COVID-19 Vaccines Wane in Protection
Featuring: Nancy Binkin, MD, MPH

In a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine, publishing online September 1, 2021, an interdisciplinary team of physicians and public health experts at University of California San Diego measured the effectiveness of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines among health workers at UC San Diego Health, most notably during the emergence of the highly transmissible delta virus variant and coincident with the end of the state’s mask mandate, allowing fully vaccinated persons to forgo face coverings in most places.

Public Health Leaders Urge HPV Immunization in Time for Back to School 
Jesse Nodora, DrPH

As the start of school approaches, local public health leaders are calling on parents to protect children from preventable diseases, in particular the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is responsible for 36,000 new cancer diagnosis each year. 

Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarette Packaging Changes Perceptions
Featuring: David Strong, PhD, John P. Pierce, PhD, and Karen Messer, PhD

Purchase a pack of cigarettes in Australia and be prepared to be accosted with graphic warning labels depicting the dangers of tobacco use — including images of gangrene of the foot, a newborn with a breathing tube and throat cancer. In a paper published online in JAMA Network Open on Aug. 4, 2021, Strong and colleagues at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, California State University San Marcos, San Diego County Public Health Services, and San Diego State University, demonstrated that graphic warning labels are effective reminders of the negative health consequences of smoking.

Common Medication Used to Reduce Cholesterol Levels May Reduce COVID-19 Severity
Featuring: Karen Messer, PhD

In a new study from University of California San Diego School of Medicine, researchers have confirmed that patients taking statin medications had a 41 percent lower risk of in-hospital death from COVID-19. The findings were published July 15, 2021 in PLOS ONE  and expand upon prior research conducted at UC San Diego Health in 2020.

How to Reduce Obesity among Latino Children, with Precision
Featuring: Eric Hekler, PhD

As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s newly budgeted California Comeback Plan and the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine (CIAPM), researchers at UC San Diego, led by the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI), will receive approximately $3 million to create a precision, community-based program to address specific health problems related to adverse childhood experiences or ACEs, a term that describes potentially traumatic events that affect children, such as family violence, abuse or neglect.

UC San Diego Wildfire Experts Directory
Featuring: Tarik Benmarhnia, PhD, MSc, MEng

As California faces wildfire season following drought in much of the state, experts at UC San Diego are available to discuss wildfires, drought, and California climate across an array of topics, including climate science, technology, public health, and economics and policy.

Social Justice as Part of the Remedy for What Ails Us
 Cinnamon Bloss, PhD

The T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion has opened its newest center, focused on addressing issues of social justice in health care.

In the News

02/21/2024Muscle as a Heart-Health PredictorFaculty Mentioned: Britta Larsen, PhD, Associate Professor, John Bellettiere, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Michael Criqui, MD, MPH, Distinguished Professor, Rowena M. Tam, JDP candidate, and Rita Ryu, JDP candidate

02/15/2024Helping Hands: UC San Diego Center for Community Health Leadership Honored for Health Equity WorkFaculty Mentioned: Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health

02/15/2024Helping Hands: UC San Diego Center for Community Health Leadership Honored for Health Equity WorkFaculty Mentioned: Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health

02/14/2024“Back to Normal” Pandemic Policies Are Harming Those Most in Need of ProtectionFaculty Mentioned: Rebecca Fielding-Miller, PhD, MSPH, Associate Professor 

01/22/2024Study Shines Light on Common Herbicides 2,4-D and Glyphosate Impacts on Behavioral FunctionFaculty Mentioned: José Ricardo Suarez-Lopez, MD, PhD, Associate Professor

01/10/2024Science Identifies Changes In Brain Cells For Those With Hearing LossFaculty Mentioned: Linda K. McEvoy, PhD, Professor Emeritus

01/08/2024Title 42, Asylum Seekers, and American Public Health in 2024 ElectionFaculty Mentioned: Linda Hill, MD, MPH, Distinguished Professor

01/01/2024Healthy By Design: Transforming Urban Spaces for Health with Dr. James SallisFaculty Mentioned: James Sallis, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus

For older "In the News" content, visit the News Archives Page