UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Biased Algorithms Exacerbate Racial Inequality in Health Care

From the beginning, it was an ambitious idea. Computer automation would remove the taint of human emotion or prejudice from everyday life. Algorithms—the series of instructions that tell computers what to do—would make important decisions about everything from hiring to health care.

The reality, as Ziad Obermeyer discovered, is not quite that simple.

The Do’s and Dont’s: Health Experts Answer Your COVID Questions

On Wednesday, March 25, Michael Lu, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, hosted a virtual Q&A, “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears,” open to the public. For 90 minutes, experts from the school and other campus health services responded to listeners’ day-to-day fears and practical concerns about navigating life during the pandemic.

What’s the Big Deal? Experts Unpack the Coronavirus Outbreak

Listen to the news and you may fear a plague or a zombie outbreak. A cruise ship off Japan’s coast has been quarantined with nearly 3,700 passengers. Its American passengers were just evacuated, including 14 infected with the virus. In Wuhan, China, the very doctor who tried, unsuccessfully, to warn people about the disease, is now dead.

Chancellor’s Letter: Developing People’s Park

Even though college students and faculty rarely wear the long, black medieval gowns symbolic of their status, the term “town and gown” still denotes the relationship between a college or university and its local community. The quality of that relationship can vary over time, as it has here, when interests converge and diverge. Yet, our campus and neighboring communities all benefit when we are able to collaborate for the greater good. And that is exactly what we are now doing to address the paired, pressing challenges of housing and homelessness, on our campus and in our city.

From the Summer 2018 Our Town issue of California.

Righto: UC’s Trigger Warnings and Microaggression Labels Outrage Conservatives

UC Berkeley has been a burr under the Right’s saddle ever since Mario Savio declaimed freely on free speech in Sproul Plaza back in 1964. Cal, in fact, remains the default example for conservatives fulminating about the deficiencies of American higher education. Most recently, they’ve railed against Cal policies on microaggression and trigger warnings.

Not Just Skin Deep: UC Berkeley Researchers Study Dangers of Makeup

Spikes in sex hormones drive teenage development and desire. They fire up the physiology of reproduction and push teens toward adulthood. These dramatic physical changes can make for emotionally—and biologically—vulnerable times.

Research shows that a class of chemicals found in many household and personal care products mimic or block the normal effects of hormones such as estrogen—a key player in breast cancer. These “endocrine disruptors” may pose a particular threat to teenagers during the years when their hormone levels are on the rise.

From the Fall 2014 Radicals issue of California.

Why is California Suffering a Record Outbreak of West Nile in Midst of Drought?

West Nile infections are spiking to record levels in California, making it the country’s hot spot for the virus. And that’s something of a conundrum, given the state’s drought. Logic would dictate that the dread mosquito-borne disease would fall off during dry periods. But mosquitoes don’t need much water to propagate, and indeed, some evidence suggests that the drought may be exacerbating the problem.

Ebola and the Endgame: Whatever the Next Plague, It’s Not a Question of If, But When

Editors’ Note: This summer has seen the most widespread, deadly outbreak of Ebola in recorded history as the virus has ravaged West Africa. This week we learned that a U.S. doctor and missionary who contracted Ebola while working there and were flown to Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital have been successfully treated and released. Medical experts have downplayed concerns about an Ebola epidemic striking here, given that the disease doesn’t spread easily from person-to-person and the U.S. health care system is better equipped to track, isolate and treat the infected.

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