Student Report Reflects on Japanese Disaster Preparation

Three years after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Japan, students from all three departments have produced an anthology of personal reflection and academic analysis of the disaster’s impact on the community.

“Telling our Story: UCLA Luskin Japan Trip 2013” collects writing from 22 students in Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning that traveled to the region last year. In a weeklong trip over Spring Break, the students toured disaster sites, examined official and community responses to the tragedy, and documented the country’s progress toward recovery.

“We, the authors, made promises to our sponsors and hosts to never forget Tohoku, and sharing our academic observations and personal experiences here not only immortalizes them but makes them accessible to those who cannot travel to the region themselves,” write the editors — Urban Planning student Vicente Romero, Social Welfare student Elizabeth Schaper and Public Policy student Keitaro Tsuji. “It is our hope that this body of work will help us achieve our promise to increase this region’s global visibility.”

The students also documented their trip in a video piece produced by Public Policy student Dustin Foster.

Students Get Up Close With Green Tech on City Hall Day

On Friday, Feb. 28, 24 students from all of UCLA Luskin’s academic departments traveled to City Hall for a day of briefings and interviews on the topic of “Can green technology help drive L.A.’s economy?”. The students gained experience in what it takes to make government work, and the city leaders benefited from the students’ new ideas and inspiration.

Follow the action through the Storify thread below.


Flexible Response to Calif. Budget Crisis Preserved HIV Testing

New research from a team led by Public Policy research professor Arleen Leibowitz shows that local health jurisdictions were able to maintain HIV testing near to pre-recession levels despite a substantial reduction in funding during California’s budget 2009 crisis.

As a direct result of state budget cuts that eliminated state funding for HIV prevention and testing, the number of HIV tests administered by California’s public health agencies declined dramatically between 2009 and 2011, the researchers write in the journal Heath Affairs. The state targeted remaining federal funds for HIV prevention to the 15 counties (other than Los Angeles and San Francisco) with the greatest prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Counties with lower HIV/AIDS prevalence lost all their state support — and the number of publicly funded tests in those counties plummeted by 90 percent as a result.

Although testing dropped precipitously, HIV diagnoses fell by a much smaller amount. The 90 percent drop in testing in low-burden areas from 2009 to 2011 resulted in a decline in new diagnoses of only 15.7 percent in those counties. New cases of HIV/AIDS “declined by 6.7 percent in high-burden jurisdictions, despite the fact that their HIV prevention funding was halved and the numbers of HIV tests supported by public funds fell by 19 percent,” the researchers write.

The level of new diagnoses remained high because public health officials responded nimbly to the elimination of state funding, the researchers report. “By targeting the remaining federal resources to the most affected areas and allowing local jurisdictions the flexibility to allocate support to the most effective strategies and the populations at highest risk,” the state reduced the impact of the cuts, Leibowitz said.

“Across-the-board cuts would have resulted in delivering many fewer tests and identifying smaller numbers of new HIV/AIDS cases,” she added.

Although the agencies were able to mitigate the impact of the cuts, prevention activities were still reduced. Agencies were forced to scale back or eliminate risk-reduction and education programs, restructure program staffing, and seek external funding for testing and operations. In the sea of red ink, public health officials clung to a raft of testing regimens above other prevention methods.

“HIV testing is a crucial first step in identifying people living with HIV, who can then begin treatment to maintain their health,” Leibowitz said. “Treatment is also a key prevention strategy because it dramatically reduces transmission of the virus to others.” Even with the increased emphasis on testing, however, the reduced funding pool meant that “fewer than 520 Californians a year were not informed that they had been infected with HIV,” the researchers write.

Now that California’s budget outlook is improving, HIV testing should be strengthened and expanded, Leibowitz said. “California’s improved fiscal situation could allow for restoring resources for free, publicly-funded HIV testing, so necessary to the ‘HIV treatment as prevention’ strategy,” she said.

The article, “HIV Tests And New Diagnoses Declined After California Budget Cuts, But Reallocating Funds Helped Reduce Impact,” appears in the March 2014 issue of Health Affairs. Leibowitz’s coauthors are Karen Byrnes, Adriane Wynn and Kevin Farrell of UCLA’s California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center. Support came from the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services, which is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. The California HIV/AIDS Research Program and the UCLA AIDS Institute also supported this research.

Bluestone Kicks Off FEC Lecture Series

By Stan Paul

From President Obama and the Pope to venture capitalists and billionaires, “everyone is talking about inequality,” said Northeastern University professor Barry Bluestone in his Feb. 25 talk at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

“This is new,” he added.

Bluestone’s presentation, “The Great U-Turn: Inequality in America 25 Years Later,” launched the Luskin School’s 2014 FEC Public Lecture Series. The events, which follow the theme of “Economic Inequality Through Multiple Lenses,” are sponsored by UCLA Luskin’s Faculty Executive Council, the Center for the Study of Inequality at UCLA Luskin, the Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, among others.

While inequality in the United States is certainly not a new subject, focus on disparities among Americans and their relative freedom to pursue the American Dream has sharpened recently. In addition to a historical view of inequality in the U.S., Bluestone, director of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern, provided new data that showed the situation has changed since he first reported his findings in the 1980s.

Among the headings of his presentation were insights such as: “Where inequality is greatest, so is the cost of living,” (Los Angeles was recently ranked ninth most unequal on a list American cities), and “Income Gains at the Top Dwarf Those of Low- and Middle-Income Households.” He presented data showing the percent change in real after-tax income since 1979 that resembled a craggy, but ever-growing mountain range of prosperity, culminating in a 201 percent increase for the top 1 percent. But, the categories of the next 19 percent, the middle 60 percent and the bottom 20 percent appear as relatively flat foothills in comparison.

As an explanation for the causes behind the divergent fortunes of the haves and the have-nots, Bluestone referenced an Agatha Christie novel to show that no one cause is to blame. Under the heading “Murder on the Inequality Express,” he ran through a top-ten list of suspects from technology to globalization to decreased union representation to trade deficits.

One chart, named “Income Growth and the Changing Distribution of Family Income,” came with a dour subtitle, “From Growth with Greater Equity…to Stagnation and Inequality.” Following World War II and decades of growth in income generally among most Americans, the “Great U-Turn” began in the 1970s, according to Bluestone, who used that term with his co-author Bennett Harrison as the title of their 1988 book. In the preface of the paperback version of that book, the authors wrote, “When we first wrote The Great U-Turn, we began with a simple and fundamental premise: what is essential to the American Dream is the promise of an ever-improving standard of living. Americans expect to find and hold higher-paying jobs as they get older, and they expect their children to fare even better…”

Prof. Bluestone put the “current concern about growing economic inequality into some historical perspective. He and Bennett were pioneers in this field,” commented Urban Planning professor Paul Ong, who directs the Center for the Study of Inequality at UCLA Luskin.

Counter to society’s expectations of ever-increasing prosperity, Bluestone showed evidence that family income mobility has stagnated in the decades since the 1970s. While expressing pessimism about any significant changes for “current generation income equality,” Professor Bluestone said that intergenerational improvement — or the prospects for children born into low-income families to advance to a higher level of wealth – might have more luck if major changes are made.

Bluestone suggested that universal quality prenatal care for all children and more spending on early childhood education would be the best investment to address the inequality gap. By better matching educational spending to the time when a child’s brain undergoes its period of most dramatic growth, the U-turn could be reversed, Bluestone said.

How much would this cost? “A fortune, but it would be worth it,” he said.

Bluestone’s presentation is available here.

The next FEC Public Lecture, scheduled for April 29, will feature William “Sandy” Darity of Duke University who will discuss “Race, Ethnicity and Economic Inequality.” 

The Art of Leadership: Madeleine Albright

Prior to delivering her Luskin Lecture and receiving the UCLA Medal in January, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke about the qualities that make good leaders — both today and in the future.

Watch the video below to see what Albright had to say about “The Art of Leadership.” More interviews from other noted leaders can be seen on UCLA Luskin’s YouTube channel.


Janine Berridge: Worldwide Roots, Worldwide Interests

By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Public Policy student Janine Berridge’s journey has taken her around the world, but along the way she’s achieved an impressive list of accomplishments — both in the workforce and as a master of public policy candidate at UCLA Luskin.

Beginning her story in Wales, where she spent her childhood, Berridge first received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Cardiff University. “I always wanted to become a broadcast journalist. However, I realized I had to eat, breathe and sleep ‘news’ in order to work in the journalism field . . . and I realized this might not be the thing for me,” Berridge explains. “So after I graduated, I took some time off traveling. I went all over the world and, along the way, discovered that I really enjoyed and thrived off meeting communities. When I returned I thought about how I could put my skills to work with these communities to solve certain issues.”

With these experiences in mind, Berridge took a leap of faith and started her career in a junior position at Plan UK, a children’s charity with which she had ties as a sponsor and passionate supporter. “At first, the job was hard because it was very repetitive. I had to phone 50 schools a day, saying the same lines with as much enthusiasm and energy as I could,” she recalls. Despite the high turnover rate of her position, Berridge continued with Plan UK, rising from assistant to senior executive within five years. “Ultimately, this came about from me thinking, ‘What are my skills? Where do I want to be?’, and then getting my head down and working hard.”

Working with Plan UK allowed Berridge to continue her passion for travel and meeting communities around the world. From working with a girl’s boarding school in Malawi to teaching young people about sexual and reproductive health in Zambia, Berridge devoted her efforts to creating change through her work.

Though her travels were mainly work-related, one specific trip was made for the sole purpose of self-discovery. “My grandfather was born in the Gambia and came to the UK as a stowaway on a ship,” she explains. Intrigued by her family’s origins, Berridge went on a solo journey to the West African country to discover her story — armed with a single photograph and an unfaltering sense of determination. She went from door to door in communities across the country, hopeful that someone would recognize her grandfather from the photograph, or from the story of his adventures as a stowaway. At the least expected moment, one woman grew excited at the sight of a familiar face in the picture, and took Berridge to another compound to meet the now elderly lady in the photograph. “All of a sudden, she just burst out in tears, and I ended up bursting out in tears as well. She was my grandfather’s cousin, and they were raised together by their grandmother after their parents died when they were young,” Berridge describes. She found the rest of her relatives in the Gambia through this point of connection and spent time there reconnecting with her family’s roots.

While working at Plan UK, Berridge met her husband, a filmmaker who traveled between London and Los Angeles for work. The couple decided to permanently relocate to L.A., and Berridge made the decision to apply to graduate school. “I always wanted to get my master’s but the money and the time were an issue,” Berridge explains. “Going through the GRE was absolutely petrifying, but I eventually got offered a position to study here.”

From the start, Berridge was determined to apply an equal amount of dedication and involvement at UCLA Luskin as she did in her previous jobs. “I wanted to be really involved and be a part of the experience in a way that I didn’t really get to do as an undergraduate,” she explains. During her time at UCLA, Berridge has taken on several leadership positions through campus organizations. Her roles include: vice president for professional development with the Association of Master of Public Policy Students; lead member of Policy Professionals for Diversity; Graduate Student Representative (GSA) for the LGBTQ UCLA-wide committee; leader in the development of foreign language options for graduate students; and member of the Luskin Senior Fellows Program, which Berridge describes as a program that “has really made my time at Luskin very special.” Berridge is also the recipient of a fellowship from the Wasserman Foundation, which provides funding for exceptional UCLA Luskin students.

On top of her active involvement within the school, Berridge was also offered the unique opportunity to intern with the Clinton Foundation last summer. “The internship was a good, holistic program that offered a great deal of knowledge on topics I’m interested in,” Berridge relates. “I really enjoyed the ‘brown bag’ events where highly accomplished individuals who worked in administration and the White House shared their insight on our work.”

As an intern, Berridge worked with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) team and CGI partners to formulate market-based approaches to global social issues. “The goal is to promote more practical, market-based, shared-value strategies to all levels of the income pyramid,” she says. “Companies will invest in a program that benefits both the company and the individual, unlike philanthropies that may dry up when the economy is in recession.”

Berridge’s work as a Clinton Foundation intern and work outside of UCLA continue to fulfill one of her first goals — to help communities around the world. Her Applied Policy Project, a team report that all Public Policy students submit at the conclusion of their studies, is focused on offering policy recommendations to a client working in Malawi who is facing “the challenges of employee absenteeism and petty theft in  their community development projects.” Berridge also serves as a consultant at InVenture, a social enterprise aimed to offer resources for entrepreneurs in India to reach out to unbanked individuals, and Wells Bring Hope, a nonprofit that funds boreholes in Niger.

Berridge has come a long way from her initial dream of becoming a broadcast journalist, but each step of her journey has been one of personal growth and discovery. “It takes hard work — and failure, sometimes — to figure out where you need to focus your strategy,” she concludes. “Like someone once said, if you’re not failing you’re not trying hard enough. Always push yourself until you’ve reached your maximum and then take a step back and see how you can improve from there.”

Madeleine Albright Speaks on Policy and Service at Luskin Lecture

By Max Wynn
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

On January 29th the UCLA community packed into a sold-out Royce Hall to take part in the third Luskin Lecture Series event of the 2013-14, “A Conversation with Madeleine Albright.”

In a list of achievements in public service spanning nearly four decades, Albright most notably served as President Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997-2001. When she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, she became the first woman to hold that position, and at the time was the highest ranking woman in the history of U.S. government.

Former Massachusetts Governor and visiting professor of public policy Michael Dukakis introduced Secretary Albright, describing how much he had enjoyed working with her during his 1988 presidential campaign. Albert Carnesale, a professor of public policy and engineering and former Chancellor of UCLA, then presented her with the UCLA Medal, an award given to those who have not only earned academic and professional acclaim, but whose works also illustrates the highest ideals of UCLA.

Upon receiving the honor, Albright joined Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, and basketball coach John Wooden in the exclusive club of UCLA Medal recipients.

Albright’s keynote address focused on the difficulty of creating effective foreign policy in the face of rapid technological change and growing global interdependence. These two megatrends, as she described them, are difficult to address from a policy standpoint because they create their own contradictions. They both share the potential to foster international cooperation and understanding, she said, and yet in many instances they have hardened sectarian, ethnic and regional divisions.

Conscious of her audience of students, Albright described her remarks as centering on “the challenges facing the next generation of global leaders,” saying “given all that’s happening across the globe, we have an awful lot to talk about.

“The world’s a mess,” she summarized.

Despite these weighty pronouncements, her light-hearted nature, sense of humor and inspiring closing statements made it clear that she retains an optimistic outlook for the future. “Higher stakes mean greater rewards,” she said.

“The leaders of today and tomorrow have a chance to examine the options before us, discard what is broken, adapt what can be made to perform better and create new mechanisms where they are needed so that the global system benefits us all,” she said.

In his opening remarks, UCLA Luskin Dean Franklin D. Gilliam. Jr., stated that “The mission of our school is to change the world. We do that by training the next generation of transformative leaders.” Albright echoed Dean Gilliam’s sentiment, recognizing the potential of Luskin’s students to do just that.

Describing the leaders that the 21st century landscape requires, Albright stated that we need “leaders who bring a broadened understanding of their role…men and women who understand the connections between policy, planning, and social welfare…who recognize the need for an interdisciplinary approach to an interdependent world.

“The Luskin School is the kind of place in which those leaders will be forged,” she said.

Early in her address Albright noted that she was particularly looking forward to the question and answer portion of the evening’s event. She explained that since she is no longer in government she was excited to be able to actually answer the questions students and members of the public asked her, and her answers were nothing if not candid.

After a conversation with Dean Gilliam in which the two discussed a series of topics ranging from the Syrian conflict to the revelation of National Security Agency spying practices to her father’s mentorship of Condoleezza Rice, Albright fielded questions from the audience, the majority of which came from UCLA Luskin students.

The questions touched on specific policy issues as well as covering more general inquiries about the experience of being one of the few women in the corridors of power. Lance Cpl. J. Vincent Barcelona, a Marine Reservist and a third-year undergraduate student, asked Albright what force she would recommend President Obama deploy in Afghanistan as he prepares to withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.

After thanking him for his service, Albright said she didn’t know of the exact number, but she knew it was important to protect the United States’ investment in the country. She also spoke of her own experience advising on military action, and how seriously she and others in her role take the responsibility of sending young people to war.

Vernessa Shih, a second-year Public Policy student, asked what advice Albright would give to young women interested in public service. Albright responded that she would encourage women to not be afraid to interrupt, because if an idea is important enough to be shared, it’s important enough to break up a conversation. She also passed along what she called her “most-quoted line:”

“There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women,” she said.

Members of the audience took part in the discussion on Twitter. See what they were saying:

ACCESS Magazine Wins National Planning Award

ACCESS Magazine, the publication housed at UCLA Luskin that reports on research funded by the University of California Transportation Center, has been named the recipient of a National Planning Excellence Award by the American Planning Association.

The award celebrates efforts to increase awareness and understanding about the planning profession, and “tell the planning story.”

Launched 21 years ago by Berkeley planning professor Mel Webber, ACCESS has consistently made transportation research useful for policymakers and planning practitioners. With a goal of translating academic research into readable articles intended for a lay audience, ACCESS helps bring academic research into the public policy debate. ACCESS is currently housed within UCLA Luskin’s Institute of Transportation Studies, and is managed by editor in chief Urban Planning professor Donald Shoup and managing editor John Mathews.

The biannual magazine has more than 8,500 subscribers and 1,000 website visitors per month from more than 60 countries. Its ease of reading and widespread fan based has led to numerous reprint requests and articles being translated by international publications, including the leading Chinese journal, Urban Transport of China.

“As a teacher, I regularly assign ACCESS articles because students love them,” said Joe Grengs, associate professor at the University of Michigan’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning. “In both style and substance, the articles are compelling enough to draw students into a conversation in ways that standard, dry academic writing cannot.”

Research published in ACCESS also inspires the implementation of new public initiatives. For example, San Francisco’s SFpark, a program that prices parking by demand, stemmed in part from ACCESS articles.

ACCESS Magazine has undoubtedly increased public awareness of the transportation and planning industry,” said Ann C. Bagley, FAICP, chair of the 2014 APA Awards Jury. “The magazine presents study findings in an engaging and comprehensible manner, helping to spread sustainable planning ideas to a global audience.”

ACCESS Magazine received the 2012 Organization of the Year award from the California Transportation Foundation and was nominated for the 2013 White House Champions of Change Award. The publication is funded by the California and U.S. Departments of Transportation.

The Communications Initiative Award will be presented at a special awards luncheon during APA’s National Planning Conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. The magazine also will be featured in Planning magazine, APA’s flagship publication.

To learn more about ACCESS and sign up for a free subscription, visit the publication’s website.

Behind America’s Incarceration Boom

By Stan Paul

Why are so many Americans in prison?

This is the question asked in the title of a recently published book by the policy scholars Michael Stoll and Steven Raphael. They discussed the question this past week at a lunchtime talk hosted UCLA Luskin’s Department of Public Policy.

Stoll, professor and chair of the department, and co-author Steven Raphael, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, said that while asking the question seems obvious, getting to the question took a long time.

Arriving at the question posed in the title involved getting past myths such as the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill between the 1950s and 1970s, or the introduction of crack into Americas cities and its supposed related effects on crime.

And, while “race does matter,” Stoll said, citing the disproportionately high incarceration rate of African American males, “this is an American problem and requires an American solution,” pointing out that the U.S. incarceration rate is “unparalleled” (more than 700 per 100,000) compared to Europe and the rest of the world.

Stoll and Raphael, who are longtime research collaborators, looked closely at the reasons why the incarceration rate has soared over the past decades into the millions nationwide, despite historically low rates in crime. Wading through all the popular conclusions and other factors that do not explain why incarceration has gone up so rapidly, their research pointed to political choices.

The bottom line for Stoll and Raphael is that since the 1980s, this increase is “attributable to changes in sentencing policy,” which has resulted in longer sentences, for example. New sentencing guidelines, “get tough on crime” policies and other politically driven efforts to address crime have only compounded the problem, pushing the system to the point where the costs of maintaining such a high incarceration rate begin to outweigh the benefits.

In their book, published by the Russell Sage Foundation, Stoll and Raphael explore alternatives aimed at reducing this incarceration trend.

The entire discussion is available for view on UCLA Luskin’s iTunes U channel.

Madeleine Albright to Deliver Luskin Lecture, Accept UCLA Medal

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will present remarks and participate in a public discussion hosted by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

Prior to her address, presented as part of the Meyer and Renee Luskin Lecture Series, Albright will receive the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor, from former UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale.

When President Bill Clinton appointed her as Secretary of State in 1997, Albright became the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. She led the country’s diplomatic corps during a dynamic period of expanding global engagement, advocating for democracy and human rights around the world. Her other government experience includes service as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council.

Today, Albright is chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. She is also the Mortara Endowed Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Pew Global Attitudes Project and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. In 2012 President Barack Obama honored her achievements with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“It is a privilege for the campus to bestow the UCLA Medal upon Secretary Albright, whose tireless commitment to expanding democracy and ensuring human rights around the world are an inspiration to countless people,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “”With principled vision, she has been a trailblazer for women and a champion for diplomacy throughout her life.”

The UCLA Medal is bestowed on those with exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement whose bodies of work or contributions to society illustrate the highest ideals of UCLA. Recipients have included national and international leaders in government, education, science, industry and the arts. Previous recipients include Nobel laureates, President Bill Clinton, UCLA alumnus and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, basketball coach John Wooden, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun and UCLA alumnus and astronaut Anna L. Fisher.

In her lecture, “The Next Generation of Global Leadership,” Albright will apply her unique perspective to the pressing questions of equality, democracy and leadership that face the next generation of diplomats, elected officials and public intellectuals. Her address will be followed by a question-and-answer period moderated by UCLA Luskin Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.

“The students and scholars at UCLA Luskin work to bring positive change to the world, and they stand ready to be a part of the changing face of leadership that is addressing challenges in an environment of rapidly shifting political and cultural landscapes,” Gilliam said. “I am delighted to welcome Secretary Albright to the UCLA community, and I look forward to a stimulating discussion.”

The event is the latest in the school’s signature Luskin Lecture Series, which has featured speakers including former Vermont Gov. and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, and Children’s Defense Fund founder and president Marian Wright Edelman.

Please note: This event is sold out. Click here for more information.