News archive

Anticipated spill from deteriorating Red Sea oil tanker threatens public health, Stanford-led study finds

October 11, 2021. An oil spill from the FSO Safer could increase cardiovascular and respiratory hospitalizations and disrupt access to food and water for millions of people, researchers predict. This Stanford Medicine News Center release features Benjamin Huynh and David Rehkopf and references recent research by Mathew Kiang and colleagues. 

This release features new research recently published in Nature Sustainability

Text Messages to Improve Early Literacy in Children Who Live in Low-Income Settings

September 24, 2021. Although we know that school readiness is a predictor for later success, both in school and in life, there continue to be disparities in school readiness.

“A Text-based Intervention to Promote Literacy: a Randomized Controlled Trial,” which is authored by Dr. Lisa Chamberlain and colleagues at Stanford University and Oregon Health and Sciences University and is being early released by Pediatrics this week (10.1542/peds.2020-049648).

The authors tested a text messaging program called TipsByText, in which parents of 3- and 4-year-olds received text messages three times weekly for 7 months. All families were recruited at 2 public pediatric clinics, which largely serve families with low income.

Making space for underrepresented students in population health

September 24, 2021. Over the summer, one dozen aspiring population health researchers -- college students from around the country who are underrepresented in the field -- worked with faculty mentors at Stanford Medicine to design and carry out research projects focused on topics such as ovarian cancer outcomes in Black women.

Together they formed the first cohort of students to participate in the Advancing Health Equity and Diversity program.

David Rehkopf, an associate professor of medicine and of epidemiology and population health who helps lead the program, said it was designed help address the lack of diversity in population health sciences -- and to generate enthusiasm for the field.

Statins may be effective treatment for patients with ulcerative colitis

September 16, 2021. There may be good news for the nearly 1 million people battling ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel condition with no real cure: Statins, a commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug, seem to be an effective, if unexpected, treatment for the condition, according to a new Stanford Medicine study. 

Currently, the only lines of defense against ulcerative colitis are anti-inflammatory drugs, which don’t always work, and a colectomy, the surgical removal of part or all of the colon. Discovering another option is significant, said Purvesh Khatri, PhD, associate professor of medicine and of biomedical data science, and faculty fellow with the Center for Population Health Sciences, who led the research.

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Breaking down anti-Asian racism during the pandemic

September 15, 2021.  "While there was negative press out there around China, we were surprised to see that the discrimination was also being felt by non-Chinese Asian sub-groups, including Vietnamese, Japanese and Korean Americans," said Latha Palaniappan, MD, professor of medicine and associate faculty director at the Center for Population Health Sciences, who shared senior authorship of the study with Lin.

Is it bad for your health when air quality is 'moderate' for days and weeks?

September 2, 2021. Nearly a year ago, Marshall Burke, a Stanford University professor and faculty fellow with the Center for Population Health Sciences, and several other researchers at Stanford estimated that the pollution from a stretch of heavy wildfire smoke likely led to as many as 3,000 “excess” deaths in California in just one month, mainly among people 65 and older, and many of whom had underlying conditions.

Burke and his team called it the “hidden cost of air pollution exposure.”

At least part of the hidden cost currently seems to be a rise in preterm births, but much is still unknown about the other impacts of moderate air quality from wildfire smoke on our health, Burke said.

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Data in Crisis: Rethinking Disaster Preparedness in the United States

September 1, 2021. Satchit Balsari, M.D., M.P.H., PHS Faculty Fellow Mathew V. Kiang, Sc.D. (pictured here), and Caroline O. Buckee, D.Phil. have released a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine, that claims "Building integrated translational pipelines that use data rapidly and effectively to address health effects of natural disasters will require substantial investment, which must rely on evidence of which approaches improve outcomes. But promising solutions are available."

Economic analysis busts telemedicine myths

September 1, 2021.  For years, telemedicine didn't take off, despite expectations it would revolutionize health care delivery. In the United States, for example, remote visits accounted for a slim percentage of primary care visits before 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed all of that. Stay-at-home orders and regulatory changes fueled an unprecedented surge in virtual doctor visits.

"Policymakers or doctors or patients should find more comfort that scaling up telemedicine is not harmful," said Liran Einav, PhD, a Stanford University professor of economics, faculty fellow with the Center for Population Health Sciences, and a co-author of the paper, which hasn't yet been peer-reviewed.

Stanford Medicine introduces population health research to diverse cohort

September 1, 2021.  Under the new Advancing Health Equity and Diversity (AHEaD) program, the School of Medicine invited college students from across the country to spend the summer doing population health research.

This summer, David Rehkopf, a social epidemiologist and director of the Center for Population Health Sciences at Stanford Medicine, invited two undergraduate students to join his research project on the long-term health effects of the New Deal, a series of programs and projects instituted during the Great Depression.

Lesley Park, associate director of education at the Center for Population Health Sciences, said the speakers were chosen to reflect a wide variety of backgrounds and interests.

A New Breed of Crisis: War and Warming Collide in Afghanistan

September 1, 2021.  Unrest and climate change are creating an agonizing feedback loop that punishes some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Afghanistan embodies a new breed of international crisis, where the hazards of war collide with the hazards of climate change, creating a nightmarish feedback loop that punishes some of the world’s most vulnerable people and destroys their countries’ ability to cope.

Climate change cannot be blamed for any single war, and certainly not the one in Afghanistan. But rising temperatures, and the weather shocks that come with it, act as what Marshall Burke, a Stanford University professor and faculty fellow with the Center for Population Health Sciences, calls “a finger on the scale that makes underlying conflict worse.” That is particularly true, he argued, in places that have undergone a long conflict and where government institutions have all but dissolved.

Stanford researchers explore how people respond to wildfire smoke

August 30, 2021.  As wildfires become commonplace in the western U.S. and around the world, checking the daily air quality warning has become as routine as checking the weather. But what people do with that data – whether it drives them to slip on a mask before stepping outside or seal up their homes against smoke – is not always straightforward or rational, according to new Stanford research.

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Scholars in Service

August 26, 2021.  Four Stanford faculty will work in government and community organizations to address social issues and disparities made worse by COVID-19.

Suzan Carmichael, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology, and and faculty fellow with the Center for Population Health Sciences, will work with the Louisiana Department of Public Health to identify strategies to reduce maternal mortality, especially among Black mothers in Louisiana.

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Wildfire smoke and early births

August 23, 2021.  Smoke from wildfires may have contributed to thousands of additional premature births in California between 2007 and 2012. The findings underscore the value of reducing the risk of big, extreme wildfires and suggest pregnant people should avoid very smoky air.

This year could be worse, said Stanford environmental economist and faculty fellow with the Center for Population Health SciencesMarshall Burke, a co-author of the new study. And yet much remains unknown about the health impacts of these noxious plumes, which contribute a growing portion of fine particle pollution nationwide and have a different chemical makeup from other ambient sources of PM 2.5, such as agriculture, tailpipe emissions and industry.

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How Wildfire Smoke Supercharges the Coronavirus

August 18, 2021.  Marshall Burke, an associate professor of earth systems sciences and faculty fellow with the Center for Population Health Sciences at Stanford University, salutes that assessment. He is part of a team that has been studying the impact of growing wildfire seasons on human health, and the news is not good.

Smoke, just like COVID, targets more vulnerable groups of citizens including those with immature or older lungs.

There is still much to learn about the health impact of wildfire smoke on people living in burning landscapes, noted Burke. It’s as if we exist in a thick haze, trying to understand how to piece together the effects of climate change, a mutating coronavirus and connected threats.

“It has all changed so rapidly,” he said, “that the science hasn’t caught up yet.” 

COVID-19 prompts telemedicine shift

August 10, 2021.  A hybrid approach to patient care is in our future, and a recent Stanford study by SIEPR’s Liran Einav (faculty fellow with the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences) and his colleagues dispels myths about the impact of telemedicine adoption on health care quality and costs. “Policymakers or doctors or patients should find more comfort that scaling up telemedicine is not harmful,” Einav says. 

Stanford researchers develop a better way to track methane in the skies

August 9, 2021. Several studies have found that the EPA underestimates the amount of methane leaking from U.S. oil and gas operations by as much as half. A new Stanford-led study shows how better data can lead to more accurate estimates and points to some of the causes of the EPA’s undercount. This Stanford News release features new research by Jeff Rutherford and PHS Faculty Fellow, Adam Brandt

Global warming increased U.S. crop insurance losses by $27 billion in 27 years, Stanford study finds

August 4, 2021.  A new Stanford University study shows hot, dry conditions caused by climate change have added billions of dollars to the cost of the federally subsidized insurance program that protects farmers against drops in crop prices and yields.

The U.S. crop insurance program, created in the wake of the 1930s Dust Bowl and expanded in 1980, now covers more than 80 percent of American cropland and costs the government an average of nearly $9 billion per year. “It’s far and away the largest source of farm support in the country,” said study co-author Marshall Burke, an associate professor of Earth system science and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), and faculty fellow at the Center for Population Health Sciences.

Genetics could explain why some people get severe COVID-19

July 21, 2021.  One of the greatest mysteries of the COVID-19 pandemic is why some people fall severely ill while others suffer nary a sniffle. Now, after compiling data from around the world, researchers have determined that the answer seems to lie, in part, in genetics.

"Teams of scientists from around the world shared data as quickly as it was generated, and this data was analyzed almost as quickly as it was shared," said Manuel Rivas, DPhil, assistant professor of biomedical data scientist and PHS faculty fellow who helped lead Stanford's contribution to the analysis. "That's transformative for our understanding of the genetics behind COVID-19 infection. This type of rapid data sharing and analysis hasn't been the model for studying other viruses, but it really should be."

A majority of Americans think children will be financially worse off than their parents, survey finds

July 21, 2021.  The coronavirus pandemic has made parents pessimistic about their children’s future, according to a survey by Pew Research.

More than two-thirds (68%) of U.S. respondents said they think today’s children will be financially worse off as adults than their parents, up from 60% in 2019. Only 32% think children will be better off.

2016 study co-authored by Stanford sociologist and PHS faculty fellow David Grusky, found that only half of those born in 1984 were earning more than their parents, compared to 92% of those born in 1940.

The main reason for the decline is that income inequality dramatically increased over this time period, Grusky explained.

“If the benefits of economic growth had instead been broadly shared, then a large swath of children would be doing better than their parents,” he said.

In order to reverse the trend, that economic success has to reach everyone, he noted.

“It would solve the absolute mobility problem … and a great many other problems facing our country.”

Virus or Bacterium? Rapid Test Pinpoints Infection’s Cause

July 20, 2021.  Runny nose, cough, fever: patients show up in clinics every day with these classic symptoms of respiratory infection. But is the culprit a bacterium, which can be attacked with antibiotics, or a virus, which is harder to target with medication? Often doctors cannot be certain. But researchers say they are closing in on an accurate test that can make the call quickly, right in a physician’s office.

Technology to examine genes’ response to pathogens in a rapid and integrated way was just recently developed, says Stanford University Purvesh Khatri, PhD, associate professor of biomedical informatics and of biomedical data science, and the Center for Population Health Science, faculty fellow. Purvesh Khatri, who was not involved in the study. Amplifying RNA through PCR-based methods, a key analytic step, can now be done in 15 to 20 minutes. Khatri co-founded Inflammatix, a company set to soon release its own rapid test “to tell whether there is an infection and which [pathogen] is likely causing it and also give information about severity.”

Study shows why second dose of COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be skipped

July 17, 2021.  The second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine induces a powerful boost to a part of the immune system that provides broad antiviral protection, according to a study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“Despite their outstanding efficacy, little is known about how exactly RNA vaccines work,” said Bali Pulendran, PhD, professor of pathology and of microbiology and immunology. “So we probed the immune response induced by one of them in exquisite detail.”

He shares senior authorship of the study with Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD, the Naddisy Foundation Professor of Pediatric Food, Allergy, Immunology, and Asthma and professor of pediatrics, and Purvesh Khatri, PhD, associate professor of biomedical informatics and of biomedical data science, and the Center for Population Health Science, faculty fellow. The study’s lead authors are Prabhu Arunachalam, PhD, a senior research scientist in Pulendran’s lab; medical student Madeleine Scott, PhD, a former graduate student in Khatri’s lab; and Thomas Hagan, PhD, a former postdoctoral scholar in Pulendran’s Stanford lab and now an assistant professor at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta.

Just Curious

July 9, 2021.  How a boy who played with fire (and mercury, and bleach) became a bioengineer who brought $1 origami microscopes (and paper centrifuges, and snorkel-mask PPE) to the world.

"All of us have some superpower. I've always felt this is observation for me." -Manu Prakash, associate professor of bioengineering and PHS faculty fellow.

Stanford education professor joins leadership team at California research center

July 8, 2021.  Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) Assistant Professor and PHS Faculty Fellow,  Ben Domingue has been named to a key role on the leadership team of Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), joining as faculty director representing the GSE. 

PACE is an independent, nonpartisan research center housed at Stanford, working with scholars from California’s leading universities and with state and local decision makers to bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice at all levels of California’s education system. The center is led by faculty directors at Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of California at Davis, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Stanford researchers offer practical tips to mitigate harm from wildfire smoke

July 7, 2021.  Warnings of another severe wildfire season abound, as do efforts to reduce the risk of ignition. Yet few are taking precautions against the smoke. Stanford experts advise on contending with hazardous air quality.

The health effects of wildfire smoke are well-documented in research by Kari Nadeau, director of Stanford’s Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research, and Mary Prunicki, the center’s director of air pollution and health research.

Economist Marshall Burke, associate professor of Earth system science in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, and faculty fellow, Center for Population Health Sciences, has studied the toxicity of wildfire smoke from an environmental justice perspective. Leakier structures in less economically advantaged communities allow more particulate matter to travel indoors, Burke explained during a May presentation at a Stanford symposium on energy and water in the West.

Racial, ethnic disparities in COVID-19 vaccination coverage

July 1, 2021. New joint research by Stanford Health Policy and the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that at the pace of vaccination, 65% of people ages 12 and older in the United States would be at least partially vaccinated by July 4 -- but for Hispanic and Black people, rates are lower.
The researchers wrote in their study, which was published by the foundation, that vaccination rates among Black and Hispanic people have lagged behind those of white people, largely a result of access and logistical barriers, as well as concerns about safety and potential side effects.
Marissa Reitsma, a graduate student, PHS and lead author on the study, noted vaccine data by race and ethnicity are inconsistently reported across states, making it hard to monitor vaccine equity. 

Why eliminating the SAT would not help Black or Hispanic students

June 29, 2021. But if we abolish the SAT, we will lose our best measure of the academic skills of high school students, while doing exactly nothing to improve the skills of Black and Hispanic students. That problem will remain whether we measure it or not.
A study by Benjamin Domingue, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Medicine and faculty fellow at the Center for Population Health Sciences, Stanford University, and Derek Briggs of the University of Colorado estimated that students who receive coaching increase their math scores by only 11 to 15 points and their verbal scores by only 6 to 9 points, compared with otherwise similar students who receive no coaching.

Dr. Ami Bhatt thinks cancer is worth fighting everywhere

June 29, 2021. Through her NGO Global Oncology, Global Health and Center for Population Health Sciences, Faculty Fellow Dr. Ami Bhatt is fighting cancer in places it has been historically ignored. Starting with a national campaign against preventable cervical cancer in Nigeria, she is on a mission to bring recent cancer advancements to every corner of the globe.

Adding key ingredient to vaccine may stimulate broad protection against viruses

June 25, 2021.  Supplementing a vaccine with a substance that enhances immune responses could provide protection against a broad range of viruses, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine

Stanford co-author, Purvesh Khatri, PhD, associate professor of medicine and of biomedical data science and faculty fellow at the Center for Population Health Sciences is part of this study.

Climate change linked to longer allergy season in Bay Area, Stanford study finds

June 18, 2021.   Air levels of pollen and mold spores in the San Francisco Bay Area are elevated for about two more months per year than in past decades, and higher temperatures are to blame, a Stanford Medicine study has found.

The study’s lead author is Bibek Paudel, PhD, research fellow at the Sean N. Parker Center and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and postdoctoral research fellow with the Center for Population Health Sciences.

San Diego Group Repurposes Sleep Apnea Machines to Help India Fight COVID-19

June 11, 2021.   India has been devastated by a catastrophic second wave of the virus, overwhelming hospitals and already suffering from a dire lack of oxygen and ventilators while other parts of the world are transitioning from COVID-19 to recovery mode I’m out.

“You can’t build a medical ventilator in your garage, but you can do this in your garage,” said Dr. Sakya Tripathy, a biomedical engineer, while holding a donated CPAP machine. “It’s in most homes, and when assembled with tubes and masks, it’s a very good and cheap ventilator. It’s a very interesting and innovative solution to very complex problems.”

 Manu Prakash, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering of Stanford University, a roommate at Tripathy University, said at the start of the pandemic that CPAP and BiPAP sleep apnea devices would be reused for non-invasive ventilators at his Bay Area Institute. Developed a cost-effective idea.

Maternal care and race: ‘Birth equity is where a whole life starts’

June 8, 2021.   The United States has the highest maternal death rate of any wealthy nation, and the proportion of women who experience severe, nonfatal childbirth complications has nearly tripled since 1993.

"We all deserve to be able to expect equal treatment when we receive medical care," said Stanford epidemiologist Stephanie Leonard, PhD, whose research -- featured in the article "Childbirth's unequal burden" -- has helped illuminate how pregnant and birthing women are not equally treated.

Stanford explainer: Social cost of carbon

June 8, 2021.   Carbon emissions not only are causing widespread and potentially irreversible damage to the environment but also may have significant impacts on the economy. Here, Stanford University economists Marshall Burke (faculty fellow at the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences) and Lawrence Goulder explain one tool for understanding those impacts: the social cost of carbon. Burke and Goulder describe what the social cost of carbon is, how it is calculated and used in policymaking, and how it relates to environmental justice.

Theranos is history, but big blood testing breakthroughs are coming post-Covid

June 7, 2021.   Medical researchers say within a few years major breakthroughs in blood testing technology that use immune system response and genetic analysis to identify disease quickly and cost-effectively will be on the market.

While neither the FDA nor any European regulators have approved these kinds of gene-based pathogen detection systems, Purvesh Khatri, an associate professor at the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection and Department of Medicine, and faculty fellow at the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, Khatri, who is helping launch a related commercial venture, says they’re coming soon. “In the next year or two, there will be several that will be available on the market.”

Stanford’s Dr. Latha Palaniappan Helps Measure Impact

June 4, 2021.   Dr. Palaniappan is a diabetes expert and researcher at Stanford Medical Center, and the founder of its Center for Asian Health Research & Education (CARE), who is focused on the study of diverse populations, chronic disease, and prevention. Given the alignment of her research and Arogya’s mission, she is spending her sabbatical this year with Arogya World.

India has the greatest number of people with diabetes. Arogya’s programs, including its Healthy Workplaces, mDiabetes, MyThali, and Healthy Schools, all focus on helping people make healthy lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. Dr. Palaniappan and her students will study the impact of these programs including how digitization can affect change. The use of contactless mobile technology, such as text messaging has been shown to be successful in affecting self-reported behavioral changes. And, as Dr. Palaniappan says “digitization makes chronic disease prevention efforts more scalable.”

Toolmakers aim to untangle fundamental challenges in neuroscience

June 3, 2021.   But two groups of Stanford researchers are tackling these long-standing problems head on. As part of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute’s Big Ideas in Neuroscience program, they are forging new technologies and connections between disciplines that have the potential to transform the field:

The Neuro-Omics Initiative is bringing to bear new technologies to bridge long-standing gaps in understanding between molecular and systems-level descriptions of the brain, while the Stanford Brain Organogenesis Program is developing new laboratory models of human brain circuits to allow the field to study the human brain’s unique development — and how its complex circuits go awry in neurological and psychiatric disease.

Joining the effort are a multi-disciplinary team of collaborators, including machine learning expert and faculty fellow with the Stanford Center for Population Health SciencesJure Leskovec, PhD, evolutionary and organismal biologist Lauren O'Connell, PhD, and bioengineer and developmental biologist Bo Wang, PhD.

Do College Application Essays Favor the Wealthy?

June 3, 2021.   Everyone has heard that the SAT and ACT correlate with family wealth. Wealthier students generally attend high schools that are focused on the college application process, and many offer special programs for students to stretch their skills. Wealthier students can afford to hire SAT or ACT tutors and to take the tests as many times as possible.  

So what are colleges to do?

Inside Higher Ed posed that question to the authors of the paper, AJ Alvero, Sonia Giebel, Anthony Lising Antonio, Mitchell L. Stevens, Benjamin W. Domingue of Stanford, assistant professor, Graduate School of Education, and faculty fellow with the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, and Ben Gebre-Medhin of Mount Holyoke College. They provided a joint answer:

"While individual lab members necessarily have their own points of view, we all agree on the following:  Read More Here>>

The environmental case for remote working

June 3, 2021.   Anyone searching for a silver lining to the pandemic should look to the clear, blue skies above them. A reduction in pollution worldwide has been an unintended benefit of the lockdowns and stay-in-place orders imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.

The fall in pollution during China country’s lockdown in January and February “likely saved 20 times more lives in China than have currently been lost due to infection with the virus in that country”, calculates Marshall Burke of Stanford University’s Department of Earth System Science and faculty fellow at the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, as reported in Forbes in March. He adds: “The fact that disruption of this magnitude could actually lead to some large (partial) benefits suggests that our normal way of doing things might need disrupting.”

Countering decades of racism in medicine

June 3, 2021.   Race and health in the United States are traditionally intertwined and, often, it's at the expense of people of color. Recent public health data makes that abundantly clear: People in Black and Latino communities are more likely to be exposed to, contract and die from COVID-19. African Americans have the highest mortality rate for all cancers when compared with any other racial or ethnic group. When compared with white adolescents, Indigenous American and Alaska Native adolescents are 30% more likely to be obese.

Food as medicineLisa Goldman Rosas, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and population health and of medicine and associate faculty director, community engagement, PHS, is testing the power of leafy greens in a study designed to determine whether healthy foods can mitigate chronic disease risk. Goldman Rosas and others are collaborating with local sustainable farmers to connect people at high risk for chronic disease with weekly boxes of vegetables and recipes to prepare them.

After Decades On The Rise, U.S. Life Expectancy Has Stalled

May 24, 2021.   Americans live shorter lives than people in other high-income countries. Many experts believe the culprit is socioeconomic inequality.

Ample evidence suggests that low-income populations face a health disadvantage throughout life. They are more prone to smoking. They are less physically active, often living in landscapes unsuited to exercise. Those same environments may lack nutritious food, green space, clean air and other essential components of wellbeing. Many of the direct causes of premature death are individual choices, but research finds them associated with economic choices made, ultimately, by governments. “This is driven by pretty intentional decisions over time, in terms of our federal policies and state policies,” says David Rehkopf, a social epidemiologist and co-director at the Center for Population Health Sciences at Stanford University. 

COVID aid to India: Stanford scientists rally to combat crisis

May 20, 2021.   Nidhi Rohatgi, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine and many of her colleagues -- including Aruna Subramanian, MD, clinical professor of medicine; Manu Prakash, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering; and Sonoo Thadaney, executive director of presence and program of bedside medicine -- are leading an effort from thousands of miles away to provide assistance and combat harmful misinformation circulating in India about COVID-19 and how to treat it.

Health Policy researcher uses modelling to assess disparities in COVID-19 vaccine uptake and promote equity at the state level

May 19, 2021. This news release covers the first event in PHS's New Frontiers of Health Equity & Precision Population Health Seminar Series, which took place virtually on April 28, 2021. Health Policy graduate student, Marissa Reitsma, and her team demonstrate how modelling highlights disparities and charts paths to unlocking more equitable COVID-19 vaccination for disadvantaged populations within states and across the US. 

With hugs and haircuts, U.S. epidemiologists start returning (carefully!) to everyday life

May 12, 2021.  In a new informal survey this month by The New York Times, 723 epidemiologists in the United States responded to questions about their life now and how they are navigating this in-between phase of the pandemic, when vaccines have become widespread and cases are declining nationally, but herd immunity is not assured and Covid-19 remains a threat.
“I would be more comfortable taking risks if I did not have young, unvaccinated children whom I want to keep healthy and who need to be in day care for me to keep working,” said Stephanie Leonard, an epidemiologist at Stanford.

Silent calamity: The health impacts of wildfire smoke

May 12, 2021. Marshall Burke, an associate professor of Earth system science at Stanford is lead author of a 2021 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on the evolving, multipronged threat posed by increasing U.S. wildfires.

In an October 2020 policy brief, Burke and two Stanford colleagues noted that wildfire smoke likely is responsible for 5,000 to 15,000 U.S. deaths in a typical year, and that especially smoky years like 2018 or 2020 will have a much higher death toll.

Stanford researchers map how people in cities get a health boost from nature

May 11, 2021.  Your local city park may be improving your health, according to a new paper led by Stanford University researchers. The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lays out how access to nature increases people's physical activity - and therefore overall health - in cities. Lack of physical activity in the U.S. results in $117 billion a year in related health care costs and leads to 3.2 million deaths globally every year.
Bibek Paudel, postdoctoral researcher at Stanford School of Medicine is one of the authors on this paper.

Oxygen, Removing Vaccine Patent Barriers Seen as Key Needs in India COVID Crisis

May 10, 2021.  Manu Prakash, associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health, is helping to scale up devices that conserve the oxygen that typically gets wasted when using a nasal tube.

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Warming Temperatures Causing Allergy Season to Arrive Earlier, More Severe 

May 10, 2021.  Now, researchers at Stanford have analyzed this data from 2002-2019.  "The number of weeks in which pollens are active is going up." said Bibek Paudel, postdoctoral researcher at Stanford School of Medicine.

Opinion: India’s covid-19 crisis is a dire warning for all countries

April 30, 2021.  Madhukar Pai is a professor of epidemiology and global health at McGill University. Manu Prakash is an associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health.

The covid-19 crisis in India is a massive setback for the entire world. The scale of the nation’s surge is a warning not only for its neighboring countries, which are also experiencing sharp increases in cases, but also for countries around the globe. If we do not heed this warning and work on vaccine equity, we risk a forever pandemic with long-term cycles of lockdowns, economic damage and constant fear.
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KQED: COVID-19 in India (Anurag Mairal, Manu Prakash)

Stanford Researchers reveal that homes in flood plains are overvalued by nearly $44 billion

April 28, 2021.  As the climate changes, more frequent and intense flooding is a threat that many Americans face. In a new study, Stanford researchers explored whether U.S. housing markets respond efficiently to information about flood risk. They find that floodplain homes are overvalued, particularly in situations where buyers are less informed on flood risk.

Study lead author Miyuki Hino and study senior author Marshall Burke, an associate professor of Earth system science at Stanford Earth, pored over historical and current floodplain maps as well as detailed real estate transaction data to estimate the effect of regulatory floodplain maps on property values or what the researchers call the flood zone discount
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Legal Recreational Cannabis Tied to More Claims of Self-Harm in Younger Men

April 2, 2021.  Findings seen among insured men younger than 40 years; no associations seen for women or other age groups.
Ellicott C. Matthay, Ph.D., from the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues from Stanford University, Mathew Kiang, ScD and Holly Elser, PhD used comprehensive claims data on 75,395,344 commercial and Medicare Advantage health plan beneficiaries (2003 through 2017) to evaluate the association of state medical and recreational cannabis laws with self-harm and assault.
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Chronic viral infections can have lasting effects on human immunity, similar to aging

March 31, 2021.  Research from the Buck Institute and Stanford University suggests that chronic viral infections have a profound and lasting impact on the human immune system in ways that are similar to those seen during aging.
Purvesh Khatri, Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research and PHS  faculty fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine is collaborating on this project.

Coffee capsules put to use for coronovirus tests

March 31, 2021.  Low-cost device uses aluminum coffee pods to hold at-home RNA tests.
“We need lots of innovations to bring the price of diagnostics down,” says Manu Prakash of Stanford University, who is also working on low-cost testing options. “What is the point of having phenomenal tools if only a small portion of people can afford them?” he adds.

Stanford’s look back on one year of the pandemic

March 23, 2021.  March 19 marks the one-year anniversary of California’s stay-at-home order. Despite a year apart, the Stanford community has contributed in meaningful ways by shifting research to focus on COVID-19, finding creative ways to teach remotely, connecting with the arts from home and helping other communities. See video featuring interviews by members of the Prakash Lab, Jure Leskovec and Marshall Burke.

Satellite images show air pollution returning to pre-pandemic levels as restrictions loosen

March 17, 2021.  After a decline due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, air pollution levels are bouncing back to their pre-pandemic numbers, according to an analysis of satellite imagery.
As restrictions loosen in some countries and residents return to regular activities, levels of nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant caused most commonly by emissions from cars, are returning to their previous levels, the European Space Agency reported on Monday.
Marshall Burke, an assistant professor at Stanford's Department of Earth System Science, and PHS faculty fellow said at the time that the better air quality could have saved between 50,000 and 75,000 people from dying prematurely.

A Story One Year in the Telling:  The Stanford COVID Modeling Project

March 16, 2021.  The Stanford-CIDE Coronavirus Simulation Model was established in the frightening days when the world was realizing a deadly virus in China would become a pandemic. A look at its accomplishments and projects one year later.  Marissa Reitsma, a PhD student in health policy and Anneke Claypool, a PhD candidate in management science and engineering  who won an early-career grant from the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences to analyze multiple streams of data, which they are using to evaluate the effects of different interventions and policies in order to identify the most important drivers of racial disparities.

Stanford sociologist uncovers the hidden side of pandemic life

March 10, 2021. We hear all the time that the pandemic has “cast a sharp light” on American inequality. And indeed it has. But it’s not only exposed long-standing inequalities in the American workforce, it’s also created fundamentally new types of inequality, most notably a stark risk divide between workers in remote and face-to-face occupations, says Stanford sociologist and PHS faculty fellow, David Grusky.

New Stanford study finds reading skills among young students stalled during the pandemic

March 9, 2021. Stanford researchers find that reading fluency among second- and third-graders in the U.S. is roughly 30 percent behind what would be expected in a typical year.  
“It seems that these students, in general, didn’t develop any reading skills during the spring – growth stalled when schooling was interrupted and remained stagnant through the summer,” said Benjamin Domingue, an assistant professor at Stanford GSE and PHS faculty fellow, and first author on the study.
More Media coverage:
The Mercury News

A Better Measuring Stick: Algorithmic Approach to Pain Diagnosis Could Eliminate Racial Bias

March 5, 2021. Among the many mysteries in medical science, it is known that minority and low-income patients experience greater pain than other parts of the population.  Now, a team of researchers, including Stanford computer scientist Jure Leskovec, faculty fellow with Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, has used AI to more accurately and more fairly measure severe knee pain.
More media coverage:
The Good Men Project

How climate change could put more MS patients in danger

March 4, 2021. As average temperatures around the globe climb, a preliminary study has found people with multiple sclerosis may expect worsening symptoms, enough to send them to the hospital more often. Study author Holly Elser, a fourth-year Stanford medical student and PHS postdoctoral research fellow, is quoted in this HealthDay News article. 
More media coverage:
Medical Xpress
Multiple Sclerosis News Today
NEWSMAX health

The microbiome and women’s health

February 19, 2021. Researchers are learning much more about how bacteria and other microbes in and on our bodies affect our health.  Ami Bhatt, assistant professor of medicine and genetics and phs faculty fellow is quoted in this piece.

Silicon Valley Prescribes ‘Big Data' to Combat COVID-19

February 10, 2021.  Silicon Valley, long known for its innovation and technological prowess, is now crediting the emerging field of data analytics for expanding hospital capacity and allowing COVID-19 patients to be released from the hospital at faster rates.
Nigam Shah, professor of Biomedical Informatics and PHS faculty fellow and his team are building a database of COVID-19 patients that includes the race, age, medical history, and the course of treatment that worked and didn’t work.

Young Children's Prosocial Behavior Protects Against Academic Risk in Neighborhoods Facing Adversity

Kindness may be its own reward, but it seems that teaching children to care for others may also pay off in better results in class. Children who are kinder and more generous to their classmates score higher in tests and make more progress than those who are less helpful towards their peers. This is according to a new study published by phs faculty fellow, Benjamin Domingue, and in partnership with (Born in Bradford) in the UK. Access the full-text version of the study (PDF). 

Precision Public Health Matters: An International Assessment of Communication, Preparedness, and Coordination for Successful COVID-19 Responses

The most powerful country on the planet was not expected to fall so easily to a virus. Yet 13 months after the outbreak of COVID-19, the United States continues to display some of the worst outcomes in the world: more than 23 million cases and 390 000 deaths.  

Daily, weekly, seasonal and menstrual cycles in women's mood, behaviour and vital signs

Daily, weekly, seasonal and menstrual cycles in human behaviour, health and vital signs affect health and happiness.  Jure Leskovec, Faculty Fellow, Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, Associate Professor of Computer Science, School of Engineering co-authored this study.

Interpregnancy Interval and Subsequent Severe Maternal Morbidity: A Population-based Study from California over 16 years

Interpregnancy interval (IPI) associates with adverse perinatal outcomes, but its contribution to severe maternal morbidity (SMM) remains unclear. We examined the association between IPI and SMM, using data linked across sequential pregnancies to women in California 1997-2012.  Suzan Carmichael, Faculty Fellow with the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences contributed to this study.

Implementation outcomes of Humanwide: integrated precision health in team-based family practice primary care

Humanwide was precision health embedded in primary care aiming to leverage high-tech and high-touch medicine to promote wellness, predict and prevent illness, and tailor treatment to individual medical and psychosocial needs.  Latha Palaniappan, Associate Faculty,Director, Education, Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, Professor of Medicine (Primary Care and Population Health), co-authored this study.

Potential Influences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Drug Use and HIV Care Among People Living with HIV and Substance Use Disorders

People living with HIV (PLWH) and substance use disorder (SUD) are particularly vulnerable to harmful health consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The health and social consequences of the pandemic may exacerbate substance misuse and poor management of HIV among this population.

The political and security dimensions of the humanitarian health response to violent conflict

Complex political affiliations, the systematic use of explosive weapons and sexual violence, and the use of new communication technology, including social media, have created new challenges for humanitarian actors in negotiating access to affected populations and security for their own personnel.  Stanford professor of pediatrics Paul Wise, co-authored this study along with other Stanford researchers.

Polygenic risk modeling with latent trait-related genetic components

Polygenic risk models have led to significant advances in understanding complex diseases and their clinical presentation.
This study was co-authored by Manuel Rivas, Faculty Fellow, Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Data Science, School of Medicine.

Birth hospital and racial and ethnic differences in severe maternal morbidity in the state of California

Suzan Carmichael, Faculty Fellow with the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences contributed to this study. Birth hospital has recently emerged as a potential key contributor to disparities in severe maternal morbidity, but investigations on its contribution to racial and ethnic differences remain limited.

The effects of armed conflict on the health of women and children

According to a study co-authored by PHS affiliated faculty member, Eran Bendavid, Associate Professor of medicine, women and children bear substantial morbidity and mortality as a result of armed conflicts.  It is estimated that nearly 36 million children and 16 million women were displaced in 2017, on the basis of international databases of refugees and internally displaced populations.

Digital health tracking tools help individuals lose weight, study finds

February 24, 2021. A new study led by Michele Patel, PhD, postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Prevention Research Center researcher makes at least one thing clear: No matter which weight loss tactic you choose, you’re typically more successful if you track your progress with digital health tools.
More media coverage:
Medical News Today
Everyday Health

Discovering our way out

E&PH Primary Faculty Sign Op- Ed: Pseudo-expertise should not guide America’s response to COVID-19

Stanford doctors issue a warning about a Trump adviser — a colleague — in an Open Letter. 

How swapping plant-based products for meat may improve cardiovascular health

A diet that includes an average of two servings of plant-based meat alternatives lowers some cardiovascular risk factors compared with a diet that instead includes the same amount of animal meat, Stanford Medicine scientists found. Lead researcher Christopher Gardner, professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, is quoted in this story.

PHS Reflections on the Deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor

The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have drawn new international attention to systemic racism in the U.S. and have again forced us to confront the fundamental contradiction of American democracy. 

Call To Action: Funding to WHO

On April 14, the US Administration announced its intention to withhold funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) pending an evaluation of its response to COVID-19. With over two million cases and almost 130,000 deaths, we are in the middle of the worst public health crisis of our lifetime. This is a dangerous step in the wrong direction and will ultimately affect the most vulnerable communities around the world, particularly in Low and Middle-Income countries where governments and health workers rely heavily on WHO. Michele Barry, Director, Center for Innovation in Global Health and the Senior Associate Dean for Global Health, Stanford School of Medicine, is part of a group trying to get the G20 to step in via a Call to Action. Well over 100 organizations and health leaders have already signed a letter which be accessed here. Please consider putting on your website or sending to your congressperson.

Collective Attitudes and Contraceptive Practice in Nine Sub-Saharan African Countries

According to a study published recently in the Journal of Global Health by Ivan Mejia-Guevara, senior research scientist with the Center for Population Health Sciences and colleagues, saw that findings offered new insights for understanding the role of sex-related attitudes and norms as important factors in shaping contraceptive practices and improving the effectiveness of family planning policies by targeting individuals as well as their groups of influence.

Regulating the spread of coronavirus: Are we ready for a pandemic?

Michelle Mello, professor of health and law discusses why the technical challenges with the first test developed by the CDC left the nation flatfooted. "The fact that CDC put all its eggs in that one basket made the manufacturing snafu highly consequential." 

How Taiwan Used Big Data, Transparency and a Central Command to Protect Its People from Coronavirus

Stanford Health Policy’s Jason Wang, MD, PhD, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford Medicine who also has a PhD in policy analysis, credits his native Taiwan with using new technology and a robust pandemic prevention plan put into place at the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Coronavirus: How to stop illness from becoming pandemic

Speculation continues to grow on whether the outbreak of the novel coronavirus will be declared a global pandemic. During this segment, Eran Bendavid, associate professor of medicine, was interviewed about what constitutes a pandemic and efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

Waiting for data: Barriers to executing data use agreements

Many academic researchers who use preexisting data to conduct research describe a common experience: waiting for university officials to finalize and sign contracts necessary to transfer the data. These data use agreements (DUAs) detail the terms under which data will be disclosed, transferred, stored, and used, specifying rights and obligations for both the data supplier and the recipient (1). Faculty members often struggle to understand why DUAs for transfers of seemingly low-risk data take so long to conclude. To understand reasons for delays and explore what might be done to streamline the process, we interviewed a sample of university officials responsible for negotiating DUAs. 

This work was supported by the Center for Population Health Sciences and funded by the Sloan Foundation.

Mental Health: How we've improved and where we need to do better in 2020

The article takes a look at some of the most significant breakthroughs in mental health in the last 10 years and areas that need improvement going forward. Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, provides comment.

In Australia, the air poses a threat; people are rushing to hospitals in cities choked by smoke

Australia’s bush fires have blanketed parts of the continent with pollution, affecting hundreds of thousands of people who are not in immediate danger from the flames. This article discusses the long-term health implications smoke exposure and quotes Kari Nadeau, the Naddisy Foundation Professor of Pediatric Food Allergy, Immunology and Asthma, professor of medicine and of pediatrics, and director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research at Stanford, and Mary Prunicki, instructor of medicine.

Our body systems age at different rates, study finds, pointing to personalized care to extend health life

Stanford scientists have identified specific biological pathways along which individuals age over time. Senior author Michael Snyder, the Stanford W. Ascherman, MD, FACS, Professor and chair of genetics, is quoted in this piece. 

What to know before resolving to eat less meat

While a growing number of people resolving to go vegan or vegetarian, nutrition studies have conflicting messages on meat. Christopher Gardner provides comment in this article.

The true cause of the opioid epidemic

New research supports the idea that economic distress led to an increase in opioid abuse, but some say the origins of the epidemic are far more complicated. Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial professor and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is quoted in this piece.

Experts say the keto diet isn't sustainable, so why is it so popular?

This article explores the keto diet and quotes Christopher Gardner, the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor and professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.

Global carbon emissions growth slows, but hits record high

The Global Carbon Project, led by Rob Jackson, reports that rising natural gas and oil use increased carbon dioxide emissions for a third straight year.

Predicting mental health using datasets from Born In Bradford (BiB) project

A link between levels of “bad” cholesterol at birth and subsequent childhood behavior could help identify people prone to mental difficulties.

Medical students surveys health of nomadic African group, thanks to goats

This post discusses how many health surveys omit nomadic African populations, leaving them undercounted for aid and resources. Michele Barry, senior associate dean for global health and director of the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, and first-year medical student Hannah Wild, are quoted in this post.

Marking World AIDS Day: A Q&A

In this Q&A, Eran Bendavid, associate professor of medicine, and Philip Grant, assistant professor of medicine, discuss prevention efforts and the importance of addressing the long-term health of people living with HIV.

Building Pathways to Impact

Lisa Goldman Rosas and Mike Baiocchi have been selected to be inaugural Social X-change Fellows, a program that will support faculty members to work in partnership with the public, private, and social sectors in tackling social problems using human creativity, rigorous evidence, and innovative technology. Lisa will be focused on food insecurity, while Mike will be focused on gender-based violence.

"Honorary Skou Professor" from Aarhus University awarded to Victor Henderson

Victor Henderson,  Professor of Health Research & Policy has received the title "Honorary Skou Professor".  The Honorary Skou Professor title was created in honor of Nobel Laureate and Professor Jens Christian Skou (1918-2018) with the aim of recognizing the importance and strengthening research collaborations across national boarders and universities. 47 professors worldwide have received this designation, representing 36 universities and 12 countries; 40 were on hand for inauguration ceremonies on October 8th on the Aarhus University campus.

'Sugar Tax' on sweet treats could slim waistlines

A new study suggests that a tax on sugary snacks could have an impact on weight loss. Lisa Chamberlain, professor of pediatrics, and Jayanta Bhattacharya, professor of medicine, who were not involved with the research, provide comment in this article.

Researchers question whether dirty air could spur a rise in mental illness

Looking at data on millions of people in the United States and Denmark, researchers found correlations between air pollution exposure and rates of certain psychiatric disorders. John Ioannidis, the C.F. Rehnborg Professor and a professor of medicine and of health research and policy, provides comment.

An ingenious microscope could change how quickly disease is detected

This article discusses Octopi, a microscope that can analyze blood samples 120 times faster than a traditional microscope and can lighten the load of overworked lab technicians. The microscope was created by Manu Prakash, associate professor of bioengineering, and graduate student Hongquan Li.

ACE Abraham Lilienfeld Award

Steven N. Goodman, M.D., M.H.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Professor of Medicine and Health Research and Policy, and chief of the Division of Epidemiology received the 2019 Abraham Lilienfeld Award from the American College of Epidemiology (ACE), epidemiology’s primary professional organization. This award is the ACE’s most prestigious recognition and is given in honor of Abraham Lilienfeld, a pioneer in epidemiology, renowned teacher, and founder of the College. Recipients of this award are senior leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of epidemiology over the course of their careers, through research, scholarship, teaching and mentoring.

How many steps should you take a day?

Humans are moving less than ever. Humans, once in constant motion as hunters and gatherers, are moving less than ever. At first, this trend seemed like progress: Transferring our heavy and dangerous work to animals, then machines, enabled more people to live longer. As recently as the 1950s, doctors considered exercise dangerous for people over age 40; for heart disease, which was then killing a record number of Americans, they prescribed bed rest. 
Abby King, professor of medicine and of health research and policy, provides comment.

The Heat: Opioid crisis

Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, participated in a roundtable discussion about the epidemic use of opioids and efforts to fight addiction.

How to reduce air exposure to pollution

This piece discusses ways to reduce exposure to air pollution. Kari Nadeau, the Naddisy Foundation Professor of Pediatric Food Allergy, Immunology and Asthma, professor of medicine and of pediatrics, and director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research at Stanford, is quoted here.

Stanford researchers propose a way to build nature into cities for better mental health

An international team led by Stanford University and the University of Washington is working to bring the mental health benefits of nature to city-dwellers.  To do so, the team has created a way of helping city planners, landscape architects, developers and others anticipate the mental health impacts of conserving nature and incorporating it into urban areas. 

Paul Wise heads up global initiative to boost humanitarian health response to violent conflict

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences recently appointed Stanford professor of pediatrics Paul Wise and two other global health experts to lead a new initiative, Rethinking the Humanitarian Health Response to Violence Conflict, to develop new strategies to protect civilians, health care and cultural heritage in areas of extreme violence.

Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs) will never be enough

In this video, Dr. Mark Cullen, Director for the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, discusses the limits of randomized trials to produce the evidence needed for clinical and public health interventions, and evolving methods to produce evidence comparable to that of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) from observational data. (skip to 4:00) WATCH NOW

The health effects of wildfire smoke may last a lifetime

This piece discusses a recent study on the harmful effects of wildfire smoke and includes lead author Mary Prunicki, instructor of medicine.

Stillbirth linked to more childbirth complications for mom, Stanford study finds

Life-threatening delivery complications are more than four times as common during and after a stillbirth than a live birth, and some of these complications are more than 10 times as likely with stillbirths, a new Stanford study has found.

The research, which was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, is the first large, population-based study to ask whether stillbirth puts women at greater risk than live birth. The researchers used data from more than 6 million California births between 1999 and 2011.

"We really need to start thinking more about the quality of maternity care for women whose pregnancies don't result in a live birth," said Elizabeth Wall-Wieler, PhD, the lead author of the new study. Maternal complications in stillbirth have seldom been studied because stillbirths themselves are rare, affecting six of every 1,000 births, she said.”

U.S. 'gag rule' linked to 40% jump in abortions in parts of Africa

New research finds that U.S. foreign policy that cuts money to nongovernmental organizations performing or promoting abortions abroad has actually led to an increase in abortions, because loss of funding cuts availability of contraceptives, with unwanted pregnancies the result. The study, which was led by Eran Bendavid and Grant Miller – both associate professors of medicine – and doctoral candidate Nina Brooks, is highlighted here.

Burns in India; Emergency care improving, but patients often too injured to benefit

India suffers more than twice the number of deaths per year as a result of burns than any other country globally. Women suffer disproportionality from self-inflicted burns and are more likely to die from their injuries.

Jennifer Newberry, MD, JD, a Stanford emergency medicine physician and researcher, and collaborators are working to understand and help those affected by burns in India. Their study, published in BMJ, provides insight into the need for greater mental health and gender-based violence support services for women in India.

Your zip code is a better indicator of lifespan than genetics, says Stanford Dean of Medicine

In a recent interview, Dean Lloyd Minor discussed the vision of precision health and how healthcare systems should be asking themselves not how to cure people but how to help them be healthy.

Senators seek drop-in centers for youth in mental health crisis

A bill making its way through the California legislature seeks to establish 100 youth drop-in centers across the state to support young people with mental health, substance use and physical health issues. Steven Adelsheim, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing, is quoted in this article.

Big data, from computer models to clinic, is focus of conference

What can big data do for you?

That was the question animating the seventh annual Big Data in Precision Health Conference, which ran May 22-23 at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge. The event drew health care and data experts from across industry, academia and government to the School of Medicine.

Study shows how big data can be used for personal health

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and their collaborators followed a cohort of more than 100 people over several years, tracking the biology of what makes them them. Now, after collecting extensive data on the group’s genetic and molecular makeup, the researchers are piecing together a new understanding of what it means to be healthy and how deviations from an individual’s norm can flag early signs of disease.

Gender inequality and rigid norms linked with poor health, global research shows

Rigid gender expectations hurt everyone’s health. A series of papers in the Lancet works to clarify how this happens and spur improvements. The series was led by Gary Darmstadt, professor of pediatrics and associate dean for maternal and child health at Stanford.

Wildfire smoke worse for kids' health than smoke from controlled burns

Immune markers and pollutant levels in the blood indicate wildfire smoke may be more harmful to children’s health than smoke from a controlled burn, Stanford researchers found. Mary Prunicki, instructor of medicine, is lead author of the study, and Kari Nadeau, the Naddisy Foundation Professor of Pediatric Food Allergy, Immunology and Asthma, professor of medicine and of pediatrics, and director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research at Stanford, is senior author of the study.

How the microbiome might predict diabetes, premature birth and gut diseases

A growing body of research is finding links between how diet, weight, and environmental exposures, among other things, can affect the mix of bacteria that make up our microbiomes. Michael Snyder, the Stanford W. Ascherman, MD, FACS, Professor and chair of genetics, is quoted in this story.

To get kids and adults to exercise, here's what works

Abby King, professor of medicine and of health research and policy, shares evidence-backed strategies to get people to exercise more and sit less.

mHealth resources for cancer survivors need to be personalized

mHealth apps that promote physical activity and exercise could be a great benefit to cancer survivors, according to European researchers – but few mobile health resources currently exist for that particular population. Lorene Nelson,  phs associate faculty director and associate professor of health research and policy, is quoted in this article.

Health in the rural West: Workshop explores how digital tools can help

The Digital Health in the Rural American West workshop addressed health disparities that are often overlooked and understudied in the vast region. Dean Lloyd MinorLisa Chamberlain, associate professor of pediatrics; Mark Cullen, professor of medicine, of biomedical data science and of health research and policy, senior associate dean of research in the School of Medicine, and director of the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences; and Abby King, professor of medicine and of health research and policy, are mentioned in this post.

Congratulations Biomedical Data Science (BDS) Opioid WorkingGroup!

The BDS Opioid Working Group, led by PHS Assistant Faculty Director Suzanne Tamang, has won the "Best Poster Award" at the Seventh International Conference on Learning Representations.  The group, using data from PHS data partner Foundation for Precision Medicine, presented their poster, "A Knowledge Graph-Based Approach for Exploring the US Opioid Epidemic."  Team members include, Maulik R. Kamdar, Tymor Hamamsy, Shea Shelton, Ayin Vala, Tome Eftimov and James Zou. 

For more information on the poster, contact Shea Zhao, Co-chair, Stanford University Statistics for Social Good.

Senators seek drop-in centers for youth in mental health crisis

A bill making its way through the California legislature seeks to establish 100 youth drop-in centers across the state to support young people with mental health, substance use and physical health issues. Steven Adelsheim, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing, is quoted in this article.

Genetic roots of psychiatric disorders clearer now thanks to improved techniques

New technology and access to large databases are fundamentally changing how researchers investigate the genetic roots of psychiatric disorders. This post highlights a recent commentary written by Laramie Duncan, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, that explains how genome-wide association studies have demonstrated the inadequacy of previous methods.

Congratulations PHS postdoc Tome Eftimov for winning "Hot Off the Press" Award

PHS Postdoc Tome Eftimov was selected as the "Hot Off the Press" winner by the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2019), for his paper Understanding Exploration and Exploitation Powers of Meta-heuristic Stochastic Optimization Algorithms through Statistical Analysis. The award showcases a recently published article in top-tier journals based on the scientific quality and the relevance to the GECCO community. Each year only 10 papers with most innovative and new ideas are selected. GECCO together with IEEE CEC are the largest conferences related to stochastic optimization algorithms. The paper was published in the top 5% of ranked Computer Science journals (“Information Sciences”). 

The long and winding road to mental health care for your kid

Steven Adelsheim, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing, is quoted in this article that discusses the limited access to psychiatrists and therapists.

Redrawing the Frontiers of Population Health and Medicine

In this LinkedIn post, Dean Lloyd Minor explores the promise of precision population health, an effort that uses data to identify health challenges and intervene before they develop into medical emergencies.

Congratualtions "2018 Best Young Scientist" Tome Eftimov

PHS Postdoc Tome Eftimov has recieved the "2018 Best Young Scientst" Award from Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov.  

The common denominator to improving health in developing countries: Democracy

Most studies that look at whether democracy improves global health rely on measurements of life expectancy at birth and infant mortality rates. Yet those measures disproportionately reflect progress on infectious diseases — such as malaria, diarrheal illnesses and pneumonia — which relies heavily on foreign aid.

A new study led by Stanford Health Policy's Tara Templin and the Council on Foreign Relations suggests that a better way to measure the role of democracy in public health is to examine the causes of adult mortality, such as noncommunicable diseases, HIV, cardiovascular disease and transportation injuries. Little international assistance targets these noncommunicable diseases.

Explore steps you can take to talk to your doctor and get the most of your health care

During this Facebook Live discussion, VJ Periyakoil addressed how patients can talk to their doctor about what matters most to them. Periyakoil is associate professor of medicine and director of palliative care education and training.

The microbiome: The next target in cancer therapy

This piece examines the role of the microbiome in cancer immunotherapy. Ami Bhatt, assistant professor of medicine and of genetics; Tessa Andermann, postdoctoral research fellow in infectious diseases; and Andrew Rezvani, assistant professor of medicine, are mentioned in this article.

Which blood-based method works best to detect TB?

Scientists at Stanford and beyond are working toward a new type of tuberculosis diagnostic that utilizes blood samples. In a recent study, Purvesh Khatri, associate professor of medicine and of biomedical data science, and Niaz Banaei, associate professor of pathology and medicine, compared several of these techniques.

Immune cell turned biomarker: Prediciting severity of lung scarring

By crunching a massive amount of patient data, scientists have found a marker that can predict survival of a life-threatening lung disease. The disease, called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, develops without warning and leads to irreversible scarring in the lungs, ultimately cementing the stretchy tissue over time until it can no longer expand.
Now Purvesh Khatri, PhD, and Nigam Shah, PhD, associate professors of medicine and of biomedical data science, have found a biomarker that flags which patients with pulmonary fibrosis are most at risk for imminent lung failure.  A paper detailing the research was published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Khatri and Shah are the senior authors, and graduate student Madeleine Scott is the first author.

Flagging a cholesterol-raising disease using AI

Stanford researchers have created an algorithm to detect familial hypercholesterolemia, a hard-to-diagnose genetic disease. Joshua Knowles, assistant professor of medicine, and Nigam Shah, associate professor of bioinformatics and PHS's  Analytics working group co-chair, share senior authorship of the research.

Study:  Primary care doctors increase life expectancy, but does anyone care?

Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine, faculty fellow at the Center for Population Health Sciences at Stanford,  is quoted in this article on the declining number of primary care physicians in the U.S.

There's a serious problem plaguing some older people: Loneliness

This article discusses how new approaches are needed to address loneliness among the elderly. VJ Periyakoil, associate professor of medicine and director of palliative care education and training,  & faculty fellow, stanford center for population health sciences, is quoted here.

Simple tuberculosis test

A new inexpensive tuberculosis test could identify infection in kids, people with HIV/AIDS and others who can't take the routine test

Taking on poor air quality in South Asia brick by brick

This post highlights a story in the latest issue of Stanford Medicine magazine, that describes how Stephen Luby is working to improve air quality by reforming a production in Bangladesh and South Asia. Luby is a  professor of medicine and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

How can doctors be sure a self-taught computer is making the right diagnosis?

This segment discussed the promises and pitfalls of applying artificial intelligence (AI) to medical care. Matthew Lungren, assistant professor of radiology and associate director of the Stanford Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Imaging, and graduate student Pranav Rajpurkar, who developed a deep learning algorithm that evaluates chest X-rays for signs of disease, were featured. The work of  Nigam Shah, associate professor of bioinformatics and PHS's  Analytics working group co-chair, and Stephani Harman, clinical associate professor of medicine, on the use of AI in palliative care, is also referenced here.

Climate change and suicide

In warmer temperatures suicide rates increase, leading to concerns about an uptick in suicides as the globe continues to warm.
Adding to the concern, a Stanford study led by economist Marshall Burke also finds a link between increased temperatures and suicide rates.

The opioid epdemic is increasingly killing black Americans.  Baltimore is ground zero.

As Baltimore sees an increase in drug overdose deaths, city officials are trying to take steps to get people into care. Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is quoted in this story.

Women diagnosed years later than men for some diseases

For a wide range of diseases, diagnosis comes later in life for women than for men.  Professor of medicine & PHS Sex and Gender working group co-chair, Marcia Stefanick, provides comment.

Stanford scientists have measured the human "exposome" or the particulates, chemicals and microbes that individually surround us all, in unprecedented detail

Senior author Michael Snyder, co-chair of the PHS Gene Environment and the Stanford W. Ascherman, MD, FACS, professor and professor and chair of genetics, and Chao Jiang, a postdoctoral fellow in genetics, are featured in this video.

Sanjay Basu on how precision medicine can transform global health care

The email to Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine, faculty fellow at the Center for Population Health Sciences at Stanford, appeared out of the blue. A senior United Nations official working on the ground in the Middle East had come across research that Basu had done on more effective ways for public health systems to improve patient outcomes through more personalized care.

Climate change can affect nutrient content of crops, harming human health

Elevated carbon dioxide levels may lead to reductions in the nutrients in common crops such as barley, wheat and rice, increasing malnutrition, according a study co-authored by PHS affiliated faculty member, Eran Bendavid, associate professor of medicine.

The common denominator to improving health in developing countries: Democracy

A new study led by Stanford Health Policy's Tara Templin and the Council on Foreign Relations suggests that a better way to measure the role of democracy in public health is to examine the causes of adult mortality, such as noncommunicable diseases, HIV, cardiovascular disease and transportation injuries. Little international assistance targets these noncommunicable diseases. 

Gestational age estimated without a scan

Preterm birth is a leading cause of death among children under the age of five, with low resource countries facing the greatest challenge. Gary Darmstadt, professor of pediatrics in neonatal and developmental medicine, provides comment.

Sub-Saharan Africa is not on pace to reach goals for neonatal mortality reduction

The relatively slow pace of neonatal mortality reduction could prevent most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG-3) by 2030, according to a study published March 12 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Ivan Mejia-Guevara, senior research scientist with the Center for Population Health Sciences of Stanford University, and colleagues.

Promoting safer routes to school through citizen science

Documenting the safest routes to walk to school through a phone app can increase the likelihood that kids will bike or walk to class. Abby King phs' working group co-chair , professor of health research and policy and of medicine, led the study.

The consequences of teen motherhood can last for generations

This article discusses new research looking at the multigenerational effects of adolescent motherhood on school readiness. The study is co-written by several public-health scholars, including Elizabeth Wall-Wieler, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Pediatrics. She is quoted here.

Life threatening birth complication rate increasing across US racial, ethnic groups

Study shows racial and ethnic disparities in severe maternal morbidity, and life-threatening maternal complications associated with childbirth have persisted and increased at high rates among U.S. women. The study was led by Stephanie Leonard, postdoctoral research fellow in neonatal and developmental medicine.

Resilience in children

A Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) study identifies factors that promote executive function skills like impulse control or ignoring distractions in disadvantaged kids facing adversity. 

A skeptical look at popular diets: Hurrah for raw food?

In the sixth post in the series A Skeptical Look at Popular Diets, Randall Stafford, professor of medicine and director of the Program on Prevention Outcomes and Practices, along with Christopher Gardner, the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor and a professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and PHS' chair of the Food and Nutrition working group, examines the pros and cons of a raw food diet. 

These states have been hit the hardests by America's opioid epidemic

While there's early evidence that the explosive rate of opioid deaths has started to slow, opioids killed more than 49,000 people in the United States in 2017, according to preliminary data. A new study reveals which part of the country has been affected the most by the ongoing epidemic. Lead author Mathew Kiang, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University's Center for Population Health Sciences, is quoted in this article.

Genetics in education

GSE scholars Benjamin Domingue & faculty fellow at the Center for Population Health Sciences and Sam Trejo are encouraging discussion about the role genetics research should play as it expands into education.

More primary care physicians leads to longer life spans

Life expectancy grows when there are more primary care physicians in the field.  But their numbers are shrinking, according to a study led by Sanjay Basu, assistant professor of medicine, faculty fellow at the Center for Population Health Sciences.

A skeptical look at popular diets: How ketogenic should you go?

In the fourth post in the series A Skeptical Look at Popular Diets, Randall Stafford, professor of medicine and director of the Program on Prevention Outcomes and Practices, along with Christopher Gardner, the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor and a professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and PHS' chair of the Food and Nutrition working group, examines pros and cons of a ketogenic diet.