Since its founding in 1994, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has produced high-quality, objective, and evidence-based research and data that have informed effective policymaking and improved the lives of millions of Californians. From analyzing and addressing health disparities in underserved communities to providing credible enrollment estimates that helped implement health care reform, the Center has been a leading force in health policy issues.
A timeline of the Center's noteworthy developments and achievements:
Center founded: The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is founded by E. Richard "Rick" Brown, a professor at the UCLA (now Fielding) School of Public Health and a renowned health policy advocate.
Health insurance report card: The Center and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health begin to produce an annual report card on the number of people insured in the state.
Health DATA: A new public-service program is
established at the Center to build the capacity of advocates, service providers
and decision-makers to access and use health data.
First CHIS survey: The Center conducts the first California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) of about 50,000 California adults, teens and children.
First State of Health Insurance in California (SHIC) report: The Center launches a new comprehensive report of health insurance status and trends.
AskCHIS debuts: The Center introduces AskCHIS, the user-friendly, online query tool that gives people the ability to access and use CHIS data.
Food insecurity bill: A Los Angeles Times story based on a Center study of food insecurity prompts passage of AB 231, which increases eligibility for the federal food stamps program.
First 5 California: CHIS data are used by First 5 California in more than a dozen counties to develop early childhood education programs.
Health of Older Californians report: The Center publishes its first omnibus report on elder health, using 2001 CHIS data.
Cancer Screening in California report: The Center publishes its first omnibus report on cancer screening, using 2001 CHIS data.
SB 2: The Center's data and expertise are used in designing this law, which requires medium and large companies to provide health benefits to workers in California. Although the law was later repealed, it laid the foundation for future health care reform efforts.
Healthy Kids: First 5 California starts to use CHIS data for a new program that extends health coverage to children in low-income families who are ineligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families.
Single-payer bill: CHIS data is cited extensively in SB 840, a single-payer bill that is passed by the legislature but vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Early state health reform: Then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launches his new health reform effort at the UCLA School of Public Health and cites the Center's The State of Health Insurance in California: Findings from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey on the decline in employer-sponsored coverage as justification for the reform. CHIS data are subsequently used by the state's Legislative Analyst's Office and policymakers from both parties in debate about the proposed reform effort.
The Elder Index: The Center is asked to calculate the true cost of living for seniors in California as part of a larger national movement to replace outdated Federal Poverty guidelines. The new "Elder Index" calculates costs by county, taking into account what elders need for rent, food, transportation, health care and other basic items.
Fast-food moratorium: The City of Los Angeles institutes a moratorium on building fast-food outlets in South Los Angeles, based in large part on a Center study about food environments and obesity.
Affordable Care Act debate: The Center's estimates of the number of Californians eligible for Health Insurance Exchange subsidies and for expanded Medi-Cal under the proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) are heavily relied upon by California's congressional legislators in the debate leading up to the bill's passage.
Health Profiles: The Center publishes the first of many easy-to-read, one-page fact sheets that contain CHIS-based estimates on the health status, health behaviors and demographics of adults, adolescents, and children by county, region and legislative district.
Soda tax: A Center study on the link between soda and obesity is cited in a proposal to tax soda to support a children's health fund.
Affordable Care Act: A Center study estimating that 8.2 million Californians ― nearly one-quarter of the state's population ― were uninsured sparks front-page stories in the Los Angeles Times and other media across the nation and helps propel passage of federal health care reform.
Fighting pollution: Health DATA begins to offer community-based research and training on environmental-related health issues.
California Simulation of Insurance Markets launched: The Center's new California Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM), a microsimulation model of eligibility and enrollment under the ACA, is used by the new California Health Benefit Exchange to implement health care reform.
Elder Economic Planning Act of 2011: Governor Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown signs a law requiring the state's Area Agencies on Aging to use the Center's Elder Index in their strategic planning calculations of the true cost of living for low-income seniors.
Low-Income Health Program: The Center is selected as the primary evaluator of California's "bridge to health care reform" program, designed to provide health coverage to uninsured low-income residents.
A joint Center/UC Berkeley Labor Center study is used in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of a core principle of health care reform ― that all Americans be compelled to purchase some kind of health insurance. The study uses CalSIM to estimate that without the mandate up to one million or more Californians will go without health insurance.
New director: Gerald Kominski, associate director and professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a leading authority on health care reform and health economics, is appointed Center director.
SBX1 1 and ABX1 1: Two state bills authorize the expansion of Medi-Cal and cite two Center products: The State of Health Insurance in California report, which found that 7.1 million Californians were uninsured in 2009, and CalSIM, which projected that between 89 and 92 percent of Californians under age 65 would have health coverage under full ACA implementation
Defense of Marriage Act: A Center study is used in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court to support arguments that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) significantly impairs married gay and lesbian workers access to employer-provided health care benefits for their spouses. The Supreme Court repealed key sections of DOMA in June 2013.
U.S. Senate Bill 2908: Center estimates are used in U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill, which proposes amending the IRS code to expand eligibility for premium subsidies under qualified health plans.
LIHP transition: The Center helps to facilitate the transition of 652,000 Californians from the Low-Income Health Program into Medi-Cal on Jan. 1.
AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition:
In late 2014, the Center will introduce its new, cutting-edge tool to examine, map and chart health data by ZIP code and city.
Democratizing data: The Center's Health DATA Program has trained more than 4,475 representatives from 1,800+ organizations on how to find, use and communicate health data.
Thousands of users: Nearly 43,000 people are registered AskCHIS users.
Approaching one million: Approximately 980,080 queries have been made on AskCHIS, the Center's user-friendly, online query tool.
Supreme Court amicus briefs on same-sex marriage:
Numerous organizations submitted amicus briefs that cited Same-Sex Legal Marriage and Psychological Well-Being: Findings from the California Health Interview Survey
, a Williams Institute study based on CHIS LGB data, in support of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the petitioners in June.
National LGBT surveys: CHIS methodologies on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender questions are guiding an Office of Management and Budget workgroup on LGBT data collection.
Health care for undocumented minors: Gov. Jerry Brown in October signed into law SB4, which extends full-scope Medi-Cal to undocumented immigrants under the age of 19. Assessing Health Care Services Used By California's Undocumented Immigrant Population In 2010, an article coauthored by the Center's Nadereh Pourat that used CHIS estimates on DACA youth, helped educate policy-makers on the impact of both SB4 and SB10, a related proposal that would extend Medi-Cal to adult immigrants, both legal and undocumented.
Child mental health services: An audit request by state Senator Jim Beall to analyze how school districts are using mental health funding for students was informed by CHIS data, which showed that about 600,000 children in California have a need for student mental health services. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved the request in April.
Bill analyses by several Senate committees cited CHIS data that an estimated 281,000 Medi-Cal patients had problems understanding or needed an interpreter to understand their doctor because of language problems. The bill, which increases funding for medical interpretation services for Medi-Cal patients, was signed into law
Smokefree Apartments LA campaign:
The Center project, UCLA-SAFE
, launches a smoke-free housing initiative, Smokefree Apartments Los Angeles, that encourages owners of market-rate, multi-unit apartments in densely populated areas of LA to voluntarily put in place smoke-free policies to reduce residents' exposure to secondhand smoke. Supported by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the program focuses on neighborhoods where high proportions of Latinos and African-Americans reside. The two groups have among the highest rates of chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
New CHIS data were added to the California Health Care Foundation's ACA 411
interactive web tool, which helps track the Affordable Care Act's effect on insurance coverage, access to health care services, and affordability in California after health care reform. The updated CHIS data show Medi-Cal expansion brought state rates of uninsurance to a historic low. Future CHIS data will help ACA 411 users gauge the effects of an ACA repeal.
AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition API:
An application programming interface that provides live access to the latest AskCHIS NE
data joins the lineup of new CHIS products in February. Subscribers include the California Office of Health Equity, St. Joseph Health, and Healthy City, which populates many city and community health dashboards