Improving health outcomes for Californians
California ranks higher than the national average on many measures of population health, including low rates of maternal mortality, hypertension, obesity, low-weight births, and behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity. However, there are glaring disparities by race, ethnicity, income, immigration status, and many other demographic factors. These health disparities reflect inequities in other aspects of life, sometimes referred to as “social determinants of health,” such as lack of access to healthy food, safe and affordable housing, and reliable transportation. CPL’s research focuses on better measuring high utilization of healthcare and safety-net services and evaluating policy efforts within and beyond the healthcare sector designed to address disparities in health and the social determinants of health.
In partnership with local and state agencies in California, CPL’s research aims to understand the health impacts of social policies, including Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal within California) reform, the expansion of federal and state tax credits, increased food assistance, criminal legal reforms, and improved homelessness services, among others. To support this research, CPL integrates data from public health, healthcare, and vital statistics records with information pertaining to the social safety net, criminal legal, housing, and behavioral health systems. Through CPL’s Health Data Access Initiative (HDAI), we are also making data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services more accessible to a wider range of UC students and researchers. Collectively, this body of work will better enable policymakers to design legislation that more directly improves the health of all Californians.