The UC Berkeley School of Public Health is the first school of public health west of the Mississippi. The University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health was founded in 1943 on the Berkeley campus, where it had its origins almost two decades earlier with the creation of the Department of Hygiene in 1919. Find out more about our history. The UC Berkeley School of Public Health is one of 49 schools accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.
Mission, Vision, and Values
Building on a campus tradition of pre-eminent interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scholarship, education and public engagement that challenges conventional thinking, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health develops diverse leaders equipped to help solve the health challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Read more about the School's mission, vision, and core values.
UC Berkeley School of Public Health
Non-communicable respiratory disease and air pollution exposure in Malawi: a prospective cohort study.
RationaleThere are no population-based studies from sub-Saharan Africa describing longitudinal lung function in adults.
ObjectivesTo explore the lung function trajectories and their determinants, including the effects of air pollution exposures and the cleaner-burning biomass-fuelled cookstove intervention of the Cooking and Pneumonia Study (CAPS), in adults living in rural Malawi.
MethodsWe assessed respiratory symptoms and exposures, spirometry and measured 48-hour personal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO), on three occasions over 3 years. Longitudinal data were analysed using mixed-effects modelling by maximum likelihood estimation.
Measurements and main resultsWe recruited 1481 adults, mean (SD) age 43.8 (17.8) years, including 523 participants from CAPS households (271 intervention; 252 controls), and collected multiple spirometry and air pollution measurements for 654 (44%) and 929 (63%), respectively. Compared with Global Lung Function Initiative African-American reference ranges, mean (SD) FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 s) and FVC (forced vital capacity) z-scores were -0.38 (1.14) and -0.19 (1.09). FEV1 and FVC were determined by age, sex, height, previous TB and body mass index, with FEV1 declining by 30.9 mL/year (95% CI: 21.6 to 40.1) and FVC by 38.3 mL/year (95% CI: 28.5 to 48.1). There was decreased exposure to PM2.5 in those with access to a cookstove but no effect on lung function.
ConclusionsWe did not observe accelerated lung function decline in this cohort of Malawian adults, compared with that reported in healthy, non-smoking populations from high-income countries; this suggests that the lung function deficits we measured in adulthood may have origins in early life.
The real missing link in Ebola control efforts to date may lie in the failure to apply core principles of health promotion: the early, active and sustained engagement of affected communities, their trusted leaders, networks and lay knowledge, to help inform what local control teams do, and how they may better do it, in partnership with communities. The predominant focus on viral transmission has inadvertently stigmatized and created fear-driven responses among affected individuals, families and communities. While rigorous adherence to standard infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions and safety standards for Ebola is critical, we may be more successful if we validate and combine local community knowledge and experiences with that of IPC medical teams. In an environment of trust, community partners can help us learn of modest adjustments that would not compromise safety but could improve community understanding of, and responses to, disease control protocol, so that it better reflects their 'community protocol' (local customs, beliefs, knowledge and practices) and concerns. Drawing on the experience of local experts in several African nations and of community-engaged health promotion leaders in the USA, Canada and WHO, we present an eight step model, from entering communities with cultural humility, though reciprocal learning and trust, multi-method communication, development of the joint protocol, to assessing progress and outcomes and building for sustainability. Using examples of changes that are culturally relevant yet maintain safety, we illustrate how often minor adjustments can help prevent and treat the most serious emerging infectious disease since HIV/AIDS.
The sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) industry has claimed that food and beverage retailers are opposed to SSB taxes. In 2018 and 2019, we formally evaluated retailers' perceptions of SSB taxes using semi-structured interviews (including open- and closed-ended questions) with 103 randomly selected retailers (50 corner and liquor stores; 28 chain convenience, drug, and mass-merchandise stores; 18 chain supermarkets and discount supermarkets; and 7 independent supermarkets) across 3 cities with SSB taxes (Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco); interviews occurred in 2018 and 2019 (approximately 3 years, 1 year and 6 months post tax-implementation, respectively). A majority of both small and large retailers reported the tax had only a minimal effect on their business (70%). About half of retailers believed that other cities should adopt SSB taxes (53%), and were supportive of a statewide SSB tax (53%), noting it would level the playing field and better support health in their communities. Retailers' responses did not differ based on neighborhood income, and only 2 responses differed significantly between large and small retailers. Only 2 of 103 retailers reported raising the price of a non-beverage product in response to the tax, specifically raising the price of snack foods of low nutritional quality and alcoholic beverages. A majority of retailers in 3 California cities with SSB taxes have no concerns regarding the tax, endorse the health goals of SSB taxes and support statewide expansion of SSB tax policies.