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Director's Message

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research started in 1994 with an ambitious mission to produce high-quality data and research to inform health policy and program development at all levels in California. Founder E. Richard (Rick) Brown believed that placing actionable data in the hands of health care leaders, policymakers, and community advocates would illuminate the ideas to improve health for all Californians. 

Gerald (Jerry) Kominski has been part of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research since its inception in 1994. I want to thank him for his stewardship of Rick’s vision and for his own expansion of that vision as the Center Director since 2012. 
Under Jerry’s leadership, the Center has grown and its work now reaches new audiences and stakeholders. His research and knowledge have informed important discussions about the Affordable Health Care Act. We are happy he will continue on at the Center as a Senior Fellow, which will allow him to concentrate on critical research projects, including the California Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM).

In more than 20 years, the vision has expanded, building the Center’s portfolio on a national level to promote evidence-based, decision-making in health care policy and systems. I am honored to have been a part of the creation of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), and proud that it continues to be a highly reliable and valuable source of data for health care leaders in California. CHIS also fueled other important research and tools, such as the CalSIM microsimulation model for estimating the impacts of health care reform on California, and the cost model for the California Health Benefits Review Board (CHBRP), which provides expert analysis of California legislation carrying health care mandates.
There are still many emerging health concerns to be addressed, and the Center is ready to harness emerging data sources and translate them into actionable information. An important component of democratizing the data is innovating in dissemination. The Center continues to make the data accessible and usable for everyone, regardless of technical skill level. From our easy-to-use online query systems — AskCHIS™ and AskCHIS™ Neighborhood Edition (NE) — to our application programming interface (API) and restricted data files, we remain committed to empowering everyone — from researchers to community activists to health advocates — to use data in transformative ways for impacting health and health care. 

As the data reveals gaps in health care and identifies vulnerable populations, our team of researchers and experts are working to identify policy solutions that effect real change. We work with many partners in and outside of the state to conduct program evaluation, policy analysis, and ground-breaking research on a wide variety of health issues. We have built up our community partnerships and capacity for qualitative research to emphasize the voices of marginalized populations still lacking access to high-quality health care that should be available to everyone. And as always, we contribute valuable knowledge to the sciences of survey research and statistical modeling.

I am proud of my long affiliation with the Center. We shine a critical light on rising health disparities, raise the profile of vulnerable communities, and provide health care leaders with research-based evidence for quality decision-making. While our work has been instrumental in identifying health challenges and solutions in many important areas, we continuously evolve to keep pace with emerging issues, new information sources and a policy landscape that pivots on topics of state and national health care.
I look forward to the work before us, confident that we will continue to effect change that breaks down barriers, addresses disparities, and improves the health of all populations.


Ninez Ponce, PhD
UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Read more about Ninez Ponce here.