Category Archives: Public Health

What is in the Air We Breathe?

“What we do in my group is we zoom in on the aerosols.”

Vicki Grassian and her team look at aerosols at a microscopic level to determine their impact on our health and our climate. Aerosols can be mineral dust and sea spray from the ocean or created by human activity or stem from any number of sources. They can travel across the globe impacting people, animals, and the planet in their wake.

Grassian’s work seeks to understand how aerosols and other gases not only affect us but how we might harness them for solar geoengineering.

Watch — What is in the Air We Breathe? – Exploring Ethics

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Climate Change


“When you talk about diversity of the soil, human beings we carry our soil with us. And we give that a very fancy term which is all the rage these days which is ‘microbiome.’ And as we see microbes diminishing in the soil, we are also seeing the same things happen in ourselves,” says Kelli Gray-Meisner, RDN.

Super blooms, extreme weather, fires, insects, and human health, these seemingly separate things impact each other – for better or worse. Join a panel of experts as they tease out the relationships being built and destroyed by climate change. They also share how we as individuals can work to limit negative impacts and create positive outcomes.

Watch — Climate Change: What it Means for Our Agriculture & Our Health – Future Thought Leaders Series Presented by the Berry Good Food Foundation

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Developmental Disabilities Update

Check out highlights from this year’s conference addressing a variety of topics, including the impact of trauma and immigration on child development and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Offering a unique update for primary care and subspecialty health care professionals and others who care for children, youth, and adults with developmental disabilities and complex health care needs, the conference covered a broad spectrum of developmental disabilities across the lifespan including autism spectrum disorders, mental health, genetic screening and diagnoses, and intervention and therapeutic consideration. Focus on special education, law enforcement, and policy from a variety of specialists adds to the content.

Presentations by expert faculty should be of interest to pediatricians, family physicians, nurse clinicians, psychologists, and internists who are involved in the healthcare of individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as to those in other health-related disciplines including health policy, epidemiology, psychiatry, school health, social work, and case management services.

While the conference is designed for health care professionals, families and individuals with developmental disabilities will also learn from the various represented disciplines. The conference was held at UCSF on March 14 and 15, 2019.

Browse more programs in Developmental Disabilities Update

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Trust in Nutrition Science

Can scientists research nutrition if they take money from the food industry? Nutrition scientist and author Marion Nestle has long been concerned about the way food company sponsorship influences (or, at best, appears to influence) the outcome of research on nutrition and health. She says that the idea that one food or food product has a big impact on health doesn’t really make sense, yet we see these claims all the time.

Marion Nestle sat down with Laura Schmidt, UCSF Professor of Health Policy, for this lively conversation that explores the conflicts of interest behind food studies funded by food corporations, the proven biases they create from the get-go, and how this directly affects the way we eat. They also talk about how to be more aware of misleading publications about nutrition and how to identify industry-funded research.

You’ll also get a preview of the upcoming dietary guidelines and hear more about global food systems. Find out how Marion knows there are industry “spies” at most of her talks – confirmation of this came about through the Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Nestle is the author of ten books, most recently “Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat” and “Food Politics 2018: Food Industry Influence on Nutrition Research.”

Watch — Food, Nutrition and Politics: A Conversation with Marion Nestle

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Beyond Food and Exercise: the Other Factors in the Obesity Epidemic

Everything you come in contact with, every second of every day, makes an impact on your health. It’s known as the exposome. It’s a relatively new concept, first defined in 2005. The exposome includes the food you eat, the beauty products you use, the air you breathe, your friends and family, and everything in between. Studying it, could be the key to understanding the obesity epidemic.

That was the focus of the 12th Annual Sugar, Stress, Environment & Weight Symposium put on by The Consortium for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment at UCSF. Popular opinion would have you believe that obesity is a simple equation of too much food and not enough exercise. But, researchers say the problem is far more complex. In this eye-opening lecture series, you will hear how polluted air has been linked to obesity in children living in California’s Central Valley. You will learn about obesogens – chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system. And, you will understand how stress can create a vicious cycle of weight gain.

The final talk focuses on how you can remove toxins from your personal exposome and the progress being made around the world. New labeling in the food and beauty industries allows you to make smarter decisions. LEED buildings are becoming more common in the United States. And, monitoring systems for exposome pollutants are getting better. There is plenty being done, and plenty you can do, to make an impact.

Browse more programs in UCSF Consortium for Obesity Assessment, Study and Treatment

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