SDG 3

Major progress has been made in improving the health of millions of people, increasing life expectancy, reducing maternal and child mortality and fighting against leading communicable diseases. However, progress has stalled or is not happening fast enough with regard to addressing major diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, while at least half the global population does not have access to essential health services and many of those who do suffer undue financial hardship, potentially pushing them into extreme poverty. Concerted efforts are required to achieve universal health coverage and sustainable financing for health, to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases, including mental health, and to tackle antimicrobial resistance and determinants of health such as air pollution and inadequate water and sanitation.

Recent research at the School of Global Policy and Strategy

Technological transformations open new opportunities and disrupt old patterns. Founded in 2006, Center on Global Transformation (CGT) provides a new framework for vanguard exploration of topics critical to analyzing and shaping the forces of economic change in a deeply interconnected, thoroughly dynamic world. CGT and its Pacific Leadership Fellows program focus on academic inquiry and policy analysis of international issues. CGT’s core mission is to: Foster and disseminate research that addresses global economic and technology transformation Develop and maintain a network…
The Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL) is an international focal point for rigorous empirical research on the interplay of public policy, technology, and economic development. PDEL combines advanced social science methodology with the power of information technology to design policies and programs that alleviate poverty; promote health, welfare, and security; and enhance accountability. Why PDEL? UC San Diego and its scholars are at the leading edge of a movement to develop a new class of solutions to some of…
Today’s global food and land-use systems are not meeting the needs of food security, healthy diets, adequate incomes for farmers,  zero emissions, protection of biodiversity, chemical pollution and sustainable use of water resources. Countries need to understand how to fix their land-use and food systems while considering the impacts on other countries. Overview FABLE mobilizes scientific teams from countries around the world to inform their governments’ policy choices on land use. The consortium pursues three objectives: Capacity development and…

RESEARCH

Jennifer Burney

Estimation of pollution impacts on health is critical for guiding policy to improve health outcomes. Estimation is challenging, however, because economic activity can worsen pollution but also independently improve health outcomes, confounding pollution–health estimates. We show that future climate change driven changes in Saharan rainfall—a control on dust export—could generate large child health impacts, and that seemingly exotic proposals to pump and apply groundwater to Saharan locations to reduce dust emission could be cost competitive with leading child health interventions.

RESEARCH

Joshua Graff Zivin

We investigate the effect of pollution on worker productivity in the service sector by focusing on two call centers in China. Using precise measures of each worker’s daily output linked to daily measures of pollution and meteorology, we find that higher levels of air pollution decrease worker productivity. These results manifest themselves at levels of pollution commonly found in large cities throughout the developing and developed world.

RESEARCH

Craig McIntosh

This study was designed to ‘benchmark’ a major USAID-funded child malnutrition program against what would have occurred if the cost of the program had simply been disbursed directly to people to spend as they see fit. The results indicate that programs targeted towards driving specific outcomes can do so at a lower cost than cash, but large cash transfers drive substantial benefits across a wide range of impacts, including many of those targeted by the more tailored program.

2018

RESEARCH

Teevrat Garg

Waterborne diseases are the leading cause of mortality in developing countries. This paper emphasizes a previously ignored cause of diarrhea – upstream river bathing. Using newly constructed data on upstream-downstream hydrological linkages along with village census panel data in Indonesia, the paper finds that upstream river bathing can explain as many as 7.5% of all diarrheal deaths

RESEARCH

Gordon McCord

In a review of economic arguments for cigarette taxation this paper finds that increases in tobacco excise tax can result in substantial smoking cessation particularly among people on low incomes. Tax increases can also decrease the risks of catastrophic medical costs and can also reduce years of life lost.

2018

BMJ

RESEARCH

Joshua Graff Zivin

Climate variability and change are issues of growing public health importance. We analyzed hospitalization data for three unique climate regions of San Diego County alongside temperature data spanning 14 years. Within the milder coastal region where access to AC is not prevalent, heat-related morbidity was higher in the subset of zip codes where AC saturation is lowest. We detected a 14.6% increase in hospitalizations during hot weather in comparison to colder days in coastal locations where AC is less common, while no significant impact was observed in areas with higher AC saturation. Disparities in AC ownership were associated with income, race/ethnicity, and homeownership. Given that heat waves are expected to increase with climate change, understanding health impacts of heat

2018

RESEARCH

Peter Cowhey

Many researchers around the world are working to apply gene editing technologies with the hope of safely and effectively engineering populations of insects and other pest arthropods in the wild either to reduce diseases, such as malaria or dengue fever, or to control agricultural pests, such as those that transmit the bacterium that causes citrus greening disease. Important benefits could be realized if these research efforts are successful, but realizing these benefits requires sustained, open, and inclusive attention to potential environmental and social impacts and regulatory and implementation challenges.

RESEARCH

Gordon McCord

Researchers developed a Malaria Ecology Index using climatological and ecological data and found strong associations between malaria ecology and malaria testing data. Using both insecticide-treated nets or indoor residual spraying reduces the added risk from adverse malaria ecology conditions by half. Readily available climate and ecology data can be used to estimate the variation in malaria disease burden, providing a feasible alternative to direct surveillance.

RESEARCH

Gordon McCord

Integrating HIV and nutrition programming leads to a positive impact on health outcomes. A small-scale pilot program that integrated HIV and nutrition service delivery, Malawi’s program had a cost-effectiveness of $11–29 per disability-adjusted life year, while Mozambique saw a cost effectiveness of $16–59 per disability-adjusted life year.