Posts Tagged: October 2016
“We focused on fostering a good dialogue and facilitating co-learning among attendees,” said event co-chair Leslie Roche, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist in rangeland management. “We hosted university faculty, statewide CE specialists and academics, and county-based CE advisors—as well as local policymakers and leaders from non-governmental organizations and statewide programs.”
UC researchers who have successfully engaged in the public policy arena provided numerous models of linking research and policy. There were five key take-aways for scientists:
- Honest broker role – Present policymakers with various policy options, based on sound research. Have a clear understanding of the science behind your messaging. Use qualitative data to tell the story of the hard quantitative data.
- Active engagement – Be part of informational and oversight hearings. Empower communities to take action and foster community engagement.
- Build coalitions – Collaboration is imperative. Develop unexpected allies and foster long-term relationships, realizing it may take some time to bear fruit.
- Disseminate information – Share your data in user-friendly formats. Target local community, Legislature and state agencies to inform policies. Get your science into trainings and continuing education programs. Leverage your coalition to expand the circulation of your research results.
- Target messages – Develop a strong, concise message to deliver your research. Use an emotional connection – “Old-growth oak woodlands” versus “oak woodland.”
Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted the multiple levels of engagement for researchers in the policy arena, with different roles matching different needs – some take a center stage, while others play imperative behind-the-scenes roles.
Keynote speaker Jason Delborne, associate professor of science, policy and society at North Carolina State University, encouraged engaging the public. “Science is a social process,” he said, noting that community and public engagement is often key to successfully applying research to policy. Delborne also touched on the tension between expertise and democracy, commenting that we can't always resolve it and often we have to learn to live with this tension.
A diverse set of researchers shared their perspectives from experiences in engaging in policy. The panel included Thomas Harter, Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy and UCCE specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis; Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute; Mindy Romero, founder and director of California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis Center for Regional Change; and Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor and county director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. They discussed the importance of building strong science-based programs, actively engaging local communities and building coalitions of support.
Guests from both government and non-government organizations who use research to shape policy shared their perspectives on translating science to decision-making.
“Science is the foundation for developing programs,” said Amrith Gunasekara, science advisor for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Tina Cannon Leahy, attorney with the State Water Resources Control Board, noted that policymakers and decision-makers are often looking for a clear, “black-and-white” answer, while for scientists, there is “no answer,” but rather information.
Anne Megaro, consultant to the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Rebecca Newhouse, consultant to the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, both emphasized the importance of making sure science is accessible and digestible.
Juliet Sims of the Prevention Institute explained how her organization uses both published scholarly literature and community stories to effectively inform its advocacy platform.
Keynote speaker Rachel Morello-Frosch, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, introduced the concept of moving from “translational research” to “transformational research,” a shift that requires deep community engagement in meaningful ways to effect policy change.
In the afternoon, four breakout sessions were offered: “Policy structures and opportunities for engagement” with Robert Waste, “Relational approaches to science communication and engagement” with Faith Kearns, “Putting it into practice–UC ANR case studies” with Dave Campbell, Clare Gupta and Lucas Frerichs, and “Navigating policy engagement: Education vs advocacy,” with Adrian Lopez and Kit Batten. These training modules helped participants build technical skills and analytical frameworks for successful policy engagement.
The Research to Policy Conference was a forum to exchange ideas and share perspectives, continuing to bridge the gap between science and policy communities. It challenged attendees to be open to new ways of thinking, shared innovative outreach methods and showcased how research can have an impact in the policy arena.
“The event brought cross-fertilization and co-learning between disciplines – nutrition, forest management, water quality – and there were common themes that resonated for all participants,” said event co-chair Gupta, assistant UCCE specialist in public policy and translational research.
VP Glenda Humiston wrapped up the policy conference by saying, "Good science is vital for good policy. It's great to see UC folks enhancing these skills to bring science together with policy."
For more information on applying research to policy, contact Frerichs, UC ANR government and community relations manager, at (530) 750-1218 or email@example.com, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at firstname.lastname@example.org and Roche at email@example.com.
Rebecca Ozeran joined UCCE on Sept. 12 as the area livestock and natural resources advisor in Fresno and Madera counties.
Raised in Yuba City with a passion for animals and the land that supports them, Ozeran plans to focus her research, outreach and extension education efforts on current issues impacting livestock producers and land managers in both counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Ozeran was a range management intern for the Bureau of Land Management in the Salt Lake City field office. Her duties included collecting inventory, utilization and rangeland trend data, checking livestock compliance on BLM allotments and collaborating with local archaeologists to ensure compliance with archaeology requirements before grazing permit renewal. From July 2014 to May 2016, Ozeran was a graduate research and teaching assistant for the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University.
She earned a B.S. in animal science with a minor in Spanish from Cal Poly, and an M.S. in animal and range sciences with a certificate in applied statistics from Montana State University. Her thesis studied patterns and risk factors of cheatgrass invasion in Montana foothills rangelands.
Ozeran is based in Fresno and be reached at (530) 415-2555 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Axelson joins UCCE as forest health specialist
Jodi Axelson joined UCCE on June 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in forest health in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at UC Berkeley.
Axelson's broad research interests include forest resilience, adaptive management and forest disturbance; specifically, she is focused on forest dynamics and response to insect disturbances from outbreaks of bark beetles and conifer defoliators using a range of methods including dendrochronology. Learn more about her research at http://ourenvironment.berkeley.edu.
Prior to joining UCCE, Axelson was employed by the British Columbia government as a forest entomologist with Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In this position, she was responsible for forest health issues in an area covering 42,000 square miles comprised of distinct wet- and dry-belt ecosystems. She gained considerable experience in taking into consideration timber, wildlife and land stewardship objectives when performing insect monitoring, treatment and risk-mitigation.
She earned her B.S. in geography from the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), an M.S. in geography from the University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Victoria.
Axelson is based at the UC Berkeley campus and can be reached at (510) 642-8459 and email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @DisturbedDendro.
Haghverdi joins UCCE as urban water specialist
Amir Haghverdi joined UCCE on July 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at UC Riverside. His research focuses on integrated urban water management.
Prior to joining UCCE, Haghverdi had been an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, performing research and extension on irrigation and water management, since July 2015.
Haghverdi earned his B.S. in irrigation engineering from University of Tehran, Iran, an M.S. in agricultural engineering - irrigation and drainage from Bu-Ali Sina University, Iran, a Ph.D. in irrigation and drainage engineering from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, and a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Haghverdi can be reached at (951) 827-4774 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saitone named ag economics specialist
Prior to joining UCCE, Saitone had been a project scientist for ARE since July 2015. Before returning to UC Davis, she worked for OnPoint Analytics, an economic consulting firm in the Bay Area, where she conducted research on a wide variety of agricultural industries including meatpacking, dairy, eggs, broilers and sugar beets.
Saitone earned her B.A. in economics at Sonoma State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis.
Saitone can be reached at (530) 752-1870 and email@example.com.
Bautista named 4-H STEM coordinator
Jessica Bautista joined ANR on July 5 as the 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) academic coordinator.
Prior to joining ANR, Bautista was a graduate research assistant in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside. Bautista's area of research interest focused on molecular biology and genetics in plant developmental biology.
As a native Californian and a first-generation student born to Mexican migrant parents, Bautista speaks Spanish and has fostered various methods to make her research accessible and advocate for STEM career paths for underrepresented communities. In 2012, Bautista co-founded UCR's Plant Discovery Day in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. This annual outreach event is filled with interactive science demonstrations for elementary school students in the community. She has also presented her research and discussed her career path annually since 2013 at workshops geared towards teaching and empowering young Latina women to pursue higher education and various career options.
Bautista completed a B.S. in biotechnology (chemistry minor) from California State University Northridge and a Ph.D. in plant biology from UC Riverside.
Bautista is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1341 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pourreza wins international prize for HLB detection
Newly appointed UC Cooperative Extension agricultural engineering advisor Alireza Pourreza has been awarded the 2016 Giuseppe Pellizzi Prize by the Club of Bologna, an honor presented every other year to the best doctoral dissertations focused on agricultural machinery and mechanization. The Club of Bologna is a world taskforce on strategies for the development of agricultural mechanization.
Pourreza, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2014, worked on early detection of Huanglongbing disease of citrus. Huanglongbing, an incurable disease that is spread by Asian citrus psyllid, has seriously impacted citrus production in Florida. The disease has been found in commercial and residential sites in all counties with commercial citrus.
Early detection allows growers to remove infected trees before the disease can spread to healthy trees. Currently HLB infection is confirmed when leaves with yellowing blotches are submitted for PCR testing, which is expensive and time-consuming. However, the yellowing can be also symptomatic of other conditions, such as nutrient deficiency.
"We discovered we could see the symptoms of Huanglongbing using a camera, a set of cross-polarizers and narrowband lighting before it is visible to the human eye," said Pourreza, who is based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
He said the yellow blotches on HLB-infected leaves are caused by starch accumulation.
"If we could detect abnormal levels of starch in the leaf, we could tell it is affected with HLB," Pourreza said. "Starch showed the ability to rotate the polarization plane of light. We used this optical characteristic to develop the sensing methodology."
Pourreza said the team has patented the technique and is working on developing a commercial product. He is seeking funding to continue the research in California, where, to date, HLB has only been detected in isolated Los Angeles neighborhoods. Asian citrus psyllid is found in important California commercial citrus production regions from the Mexican border to as far north as Placer County.
4-H Youth Development team wins national diversity award
4-H Youth Development advisors Dorina Espinoza, Russell Hill, Fe Moncloa and Keith Nathaniel and 4-H associate director Shannon Horrillo have won the National Extension Diversity Award for systematically enhancing the intercultural competency of 4-H personnel and others in California.
The award, given by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), honors the team for creating and using Intercultural Development Inventory© to shift organizational culture. This shift includes mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among diverse people.
To meet the needs of a culturally and ethnically diverse youth population in California, they created a professional-development intervention for 4-H academics and staff. The Intercultural Development Inventory© is a cross-culturally generalizable, valid and reliable assessment of intercultural competence. Calling themselves the Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrators, they applied the strategy over three years, providing 176 hours of intercultural communication feedback sessions, learning communities and regional conferences to enhance the intercultural competence of 65 4-H personnel.
Evaluations demonstrated that after the intervention UC 4-H Youth Development Program personnel had acquired skills and characteristics to become more culturally competent. The program has moved from focusing on similarities across diverse people that can mask deeper recognition of cultural differences to recognizing the complexity of dimensions of diversity.
The action plan and resulting positive change provides the potential to improve hiring and professional development nationwide by replication in other states. A summary of California's IDI professional development activities can be found in the National 4-H Latino Youth Outreach: Best Practices Toolkit, Professional Development.
The National Extension Diversity Award will be presented on Nov. 13 at the 129th APLU Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.
Global Food Initiative fellows: UC Berkeley graduate students Gemma DiMatteo, Reid Johnsen, Alana Siegner and Laura Ward and UC Davis graduate student Mingxuan (Elaine) Liu. The GFI fellows will work with ANR academics and staff to address the issue of how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach 8 billion by 2025.
DiMatteo, a UC Berkeley graduate student in the School of Public Health, is working closely with Lorrene Ritchie, Nutrition Policy Institute director. DiMatteo will help analyze data on the foods provided to young children in early care and education settings to help inform policies related to healthful eating in this age group. She will also work on the evaluation of newly developed nutrition standards being piloted in family child care homes.
Money Talks” nutrition-education fact sheets for teachers.
Graduate Students in Extension pilot program, sponsored by UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources and ANR. For students interested in careers in Cooperative Extension, they will organize seminars, workshops and training opportunities to improve graduate student preparedness for extension, outreach and applied research. The fellows will conduct an assessment to document best practices and lessons learned from the GSE program, which is in the last year of its three-year pilot. To share the outcomes and accomplishments of the GSE program, they will also develop a publication, policy recommendations and coordinate a complementary seminar.
For more information about the UC Global Food Initiative student fellows, read the article at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/student-fellows-help-shape-future-food.
UC World Food Day Video Challenge
To raise awareness of the depth and breadth of food-related research and outreach being performed across the UC system, the Nutrition Policy Institute partnered with the World Food Institute at UC Davis to sponsor the UC World Food Day Video Challenge. Students from all UC campuses were invited to submit videos up to three minutes long that featured UC research. UC Davis students Carlos Orozco-Gonzalez and Umayr Sufi won with a video about advancing the science behind drying and storing food to improve food safety in developing countries.
“We are wasting a lot of food, regardless of where we are in the world,” said Irwin Donis-Gonzalez, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis, who is featured in the video. “With Carlos and Umayr, we are combining biological and engineering sensing concepts that can be applied to solving world issues.”
The winning team received $1,000 and a trip to attend the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in Des Moines.
To view the top five videos, visit http://worldfoodcenter.ucdavis.edu/nutrition/uc-davis-teams-awarded-top-prizes.html.
Higher education collaborates to fight student food insecurity
Representatives of the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems met in Fresno on Sept. 6 to discuss food access and basic needs security for students.
As part of UC's Global Food Initiative, the Nutrition Policy Institute recently published a report based on a survey of food security among UC students at all 10 campuses. The “Student Food Access and Security Study” includes the survey results and UC's plans for addressing food security issues. CSU is currently conducting a systemwide survey of its student population and CCC is planning to conduct a survey of its students. UC was represented by Ruben Canedo of UC Berkeley, Tim Galarneu of UC Santa Cruz, and NPI's Ritchie and Suzanna Martinez.
After CSU and CCC complete their surveys, the group will meet again in December to discuss best practices to ensure food security in California public higher education.
In recognition of World Food Day, National Food Dayand the UC Global Food Initiative, ANR, UCOP Staff Assembly and UCOP Professional Community have partnered with the Alameda County Community Food Bank to help feed the hungry. From Oct. 17 to 31, we are collecting food items in bins located near the elevators on each floor of UCOP's Franklin building, and on UCOP floors at the Kaiser, Broadway and 20th St. buildings in Oakland.
There are two ways you can participate:
- Donate non-perishable food items to the bin located near the elevators on the 10th floor of the Franklin building
- Donate online via the ACCFB Virtual Food Drive website set up for UCOP at
www.vfd-accfb.org. Select “UCOP” in the dropdown menu on the right side of the page and choose "10th floor Franklin building.
Donations will be collected and counted at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31. The floor that collects the most donations will win a $100 gift basket from the Oakland Farmers Market.
For more information, contact Suzanna Martinez, Nutrition Policy Institute, at email@example.com
Several program teams and workgroups will be meeting before the end of the year. See below.
Viticulture Program Team Meeting
Thursday, Nov. 3
J. Lohr Wine Center in Paso Robles
Discussion topics include wine grape production manual, GiESCO meeting and tour in Argentina/Chile, November 4 seminar and potential future seminars in other areas.
Program Contact: Mark Battany
SNE and EIPD Joint SI Conference
Wednesday, Nov. 16
The Conference Center, UC Davis
the Joint Strategic Initiatives Conference for Sustainable and Natural Ecosystems (SNE) and Endemic & Invasive Pests & Diseases (EIPD) provides an opportunity for colleagues to learn about the projects, programs, and research efforts happening throughout the Division that are at the intersections of pest management and natural resources. Several work groups will meet and an in-service training will be held in conjunction with this conference. The full agenda is here.
Meat Production and Food Safety Program Team Meeting
Wednesday, Nov. 30, through Thursday, Dec. 1
Nugget Hotel and Casino in Sparks, Nevada
Discussion topics include Taurus, livestock economics, water use by cattle on California rangelands, greenhouse gas emission and the livestock industry and more. See the full agenda here.
Vegetable Crops Program Team Meeting
Monday, Dec. 5 through Tuesday, Dec. 6
UC Davis, ARC Ballroom
The Weed Workgroup will meet with the Vegetable Crops PT on Dec. 6, and individually on Dec. 7 at the Lecture Hall in Bowley Center.
Open Enrollment is Thursday, Oct. 27, 8 a.m. to Tuesday, Nov. 22, 5 p.m. It has some significant changes and new options for you and your eligible family members.
“There's a lot of good news this year,” said Dwaine Duckett, UC vice president of human resources. “We've worked hard to manage costs, and offer the protection of disability insurance to more faculty and staff than ever before. I encourage everyone to take a careful look at their options this year, to make sure they're taking full advantage of their UC benefits.”
- Employees will see small increases, or even decreases, in their contributions toward medical premiums this year. Over 90% of employees will see increases under $10 a month, and no increases are over $12 a month. The news is even better for members of UC Care, whose monthly contributions will decrease. Dental and vision plans are still offered by UC at no cost for employees.
- Don't miss your one-time opportunity to change or add UC's Voluntary Disability Insurance during Open Enrollment, with no statement of health required. UC has expanded eligibility for this coverage, so this may be your best opportunity to enroll. Disability coverage can help protect your income if you miss work because of a pregnancy, illness or injury — see details below.
- UC's preferred provider organization (PPO) medical plans (Core, UC Care and UC Health Savings Plan, as well as UC High Option Supplement to Medicare, UC Medicare PPO and UC Medicare PPO without Prescription Drugs) will have new administrators next year for behavioral health and prescription drug benefits. UC has worked to minimize disruption for members, but there are a few steps you should take to make sure you're prepared for the change. Please look for further details during Open Enrollment.
- Kaiser Permanente is expanding into Santa Cruz County, with three new medical offices.
- Health Net Blue & Gold has added several new provider groups in Southern and Northern California, and members in the San Francisco Bay Area will benefit from the Canopy Health alliance formed between Hill Physicians-SF (UCSF), John Muir Health, Meritage Medical Network and the affiliated hospitals.
Disability insurance — Take this opportunity to protect your finances
Time away from work for an illness, injury or pregnancy could mean months without a paycheck. While UC's basic employer-paid disability insurance offers some protection – a benefit capped at $800 per month for six months — it probably won't be enough to cover your expenses. For a modest monthly premium, UC's Voluntary Disability Insurance replaces much more of your income — 60 percent of your eligible pay up to $15,000 per month — for additional financial security when you need it most.
UC is changing its disability insurance offerings to give all benefits-eligible employees (full, mid-level or core) new options for protecting their finances. During Open Enrollment, you'll have a one-time opportunity to enroll in Voluntary Short-Term Disability (benefits up to six months), Long-Term Disability (benefits after six months, up to your Social Security retirement age) or both.
The flexibility of UC's new disability options allows you to tailor your coverage to your needs and budget. For example, choosing only Voluntary Long-Term Disability Insurance might be a good option for faculty eligible for paid medical leave (see APM 710-11PDF) or employees with a substantial balance of sick leave accrued. Choosing both Short- and Long-Term Disability provides the most comprehensive protection for all types of disability leaves.
If you've never thought about disability insurance, this is the year to take a look. During Open Enrollment, you cannot be denied enrollment in Voluntary Disability Insurance due to an existing medical condition. If you wait to enroll (after Open Enrollment ends), you'll need to submit a statement of health to enroll, and you may not qualify. To ensure continuing protection, those who are currently enrolled in Supplemental Disability and don't take action during Open Enrollment will be automatically enrolled in both Short- and Long-Term Voluntary Disability Insurance. This change will affect your premium costs, though, so take the time to choose the coverage you need. You can reduce or discontinue coverage at any time.
Learn more about your 2017 disability insurance options here.
PPO administrator changes
The administrator of your plan processes claims, creates a network of health care providers or pharmacies and sets clinical policies and guidelines. For 2017, a number of administrators will be changing for UC's PPO plans (Core, UC Care and UC Health Savings Plan, as well as UC High Option Supplement to Medicare, UC Medicare PPO and UC Medicare PPO without Prescription Drugs):
- Medical — Anthem Blue Cross replaces Blue Shield as the administrator of medical benefits for UC's PPO plans. HealthEquity will continue as the health savings account custodian.
- Behavioral health — Anthem Blue Cross replaces Optum as the administrator of behavioral health benefits for UC Care and UC Health Savings Plan. Anthem replaces Blue Shield as the administrator of behavioral health benefits for Core, UC High Option Supplement to Medicare and UC Medicare PPO.
- Prescription drugs — OptumRx replaces Blue Shield as the administrator of prescription drug benefits for UC's PPO plans.
During Open Enrollment, members will learn more about how best to prepare for the change. For example, you'll want to confirm your current doctors and other providers (including behavioral health) are in-network in 2017, and to check the OptumRx formulary to confirm the costs of your prescription medications. If you're currently receiving treatment, you may be eligible for transition assistance, depending on your situation.
Growing HMO options
There will be no significant HMO plan changes in 2017, but some new choices may make an HMO plan a better option for some members:
- Kaiser Permanente is opening new medical offices in Watsonville, downtown Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley. Local hospital services and inpatient care will be provided by Watsonville Community Hospital as well as at nearby Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Santa Clara and San Jose. Kaiser Permanente Santa Cruz County facilities provide services to non-Medicare members only, so this option is not available if one or more family members is enrolled in Medicare.
- The Canopy Health alliance formed between Hill Physicians-SF (UCSF), John Muir Health, Meritage Medical Network and the affiliated hospitals will increase access to providers for Health Net Blue & Gold members in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you choose a PCP within one of these medical groups, you will have access to the entire Canopy Health alliance and your PCP can offer referrals to any clinically appropriate specialist within Canopy Health.
- New Blue & Gold medical group choices in 2017 include Facey Medical Group in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, Monarch HealthCare Medical Group in Orange County, and Primary Care Associates Medical Group in San Diego County. Members of Direct Network — Merced will now have access to physicians located at Dignity Health Medical Group — Merced.
Your Open Enrollment website and booklet will be available the week of Oct. 24, with all of the details about your options and costs. Take time to review your choices, so you'll have the right benefits for you and your family in 2017.