PHI50: Building a Healthier World Together

Our 50th Anniversary

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1962-09-27 00:00:00

'Silent Spring' Ignited Environmental Movement, 'Alters Course of History'

Marine biologist Rachel Carson's best-selling book “Silent Spring” awakened public awareness to the wildlife and human health dangers of synthetic toxic pesticides, particularly DDT. The book had a profound effect and is widely viewed as launching the environmental movement. It led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, establishment of Earth Day in 1970 – 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 – and a ban on DDT for agricultural use in 1972.

1964-01-08 00:00:00

President Johnson Declared War on Poverty

President Lyndon Johnson's declaration of a war on poverty led to many major laws and programs that became pillars of the nation's safety net. They included the Food Stamp Act, creation of Medicare and Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, creation of Head Start and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Fair Housing Act.

1964-01-11 00:00:00

Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health

The U.S. Surgeon General's landmark report on smoking and health for the first time linked smoking with lung cancer and heart disease. Surgeon General Luther Terry's report is credited with beginning decades of public health efforts to reduce tobacco use in the United States.

1964-01-20 00:00:00

Public Health Institute Founded

The California Public Health Foundation (CPHF) incorporated as a California nonprofit to assist the state Department of Public Health (CDPH) in carrying out its mission.

1965-01-01 00:00:00

Women Take Charge of Contraception

Birth control pill is most popular contraceptive method in U.S.

1965-01-01 00:00:00

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Historic Smoking Rates Shed Perspective on Gains

Percentage of Americans who smoke in 1965 is 42%.

1965-07-30 00:00:00

Medicare Created

President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law. The program provides American seniors 65 and older with low-cost health insurance, regardless of income level or health history.

1967-01-27 00:00:00

California Air Resources Board Created

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) was created in 1967. Its mission is to “promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the state.”

1968-01-27 00:00:00

'Population Bomb' Presented Dire Environmental Predictions

Paul Ehrlich’s best-selling book “The Population Bomb” alerted the public to looming environmental dangers, including massive food shortages, that it said would occur because the planet can't support the number of people living on it. Critics found the book alarmist and have said many of its dire predictions did not come true while others praised how it focused attention on the impacts to the environment and human health of the expanding global population.

1970-01-18 00:00:00

First 'Great American Smokeout'

First "Great American Smokeout" was held on this day. Observance became an annual national event in 1977.

1970-04-22 00:00:00

The First Earth Day

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, drawing 20 million people to demonstrate for a healthy environment at a “national teach-in on the environment” across the U.S.

1970-12-02 00:00:00

Environmental Protection Given Its Own Federal Agency

Wtih public concern about environmental pollution high, the U.S. created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to "protect all aspects of the environment.” This separate, autonomous regulatory agency would be devoted to protecting the earth, air, land and water.

1970-12-12 00:00:00

OSHA, NIOSH: Toward Healthier, Safer Workplaces

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970, the nation’s main workplace safety legislation, was enacted to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.”

1972-01-01 00:00:00

International Health Programs

Since 1972, PHI's International Health Programs (IHP) has trained an estimated 10,000 individuals from around the world to provide health and family planning services, both in-country and at training centers in Santa Cruz, California, and Alexandria, Egypt.

1972-01-01 00:00:00

CT Scanner Invented

The computerized tomography (CT) imaging machine was invented in 1972 - but it wasn't widely available until around 1980. The CT scanner "combines a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles and computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues," the Mayo Clinic said.

1972-02-01 00:00:00

First Medical Records System

The Regensteif Institute developed the first electronic medical record system.

1973-01-22 00:00:00

Abortion Becomes Legal Across U.S.

In its historic Roe v. Wade ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman's right to an abortion under the privacy protection of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1973-10-12 00:00:00

Impact of OPEC Oil Embargo

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an oil embargo on the U.S. and other nations that provided Israel with military aid during the Yom Kippur War. OPEC banned exports of petroleum to the U.S. and the other countries and also cut oil production. The embargo led to an energy crisis and economic difficulties as gas prices quadrupled but also increased production of small cars that guzzle less gas. The embargo ended in March 1974.

1974-01-01 00:00:00

The Western Consortium for Health Professions Incorporated

The other precursor organization of the Public Health Institute, the Western Consortium for Health Professions, incorporated and was associated with the schools of public health at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Hawaii. Located in San Francisco, it had eight employees.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

WIC Improves Diets of Women, Children

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) makes nutritious food as well as education on breastfeeding and healthy eating available to low-income women and children throughout the U.S., protecting them from malnutrition and harm to their long-term health. WIC is the third largest food assistance program in the nation.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

Protection from Toxics

Congress established the Toxic Substances Control Act in response to growing public awareness of the dangers of toxic substances.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

Nurses' Health Study

This landmark study would become one of the the largest and longest epidemiological examination of the factors influencing women's health. The focus at first was on the effects of oral contraceptives and smoking, but it later expanded to include the connections of diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors to the development of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases in women.

1977-07-03 00:00:00

First MRI Scan of the Body

The first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) full body scan was performed in 1977, taking almost five hours to create an image. Today, images can be produced in mere seconds.

1978-01-01 02:58:02

Period of Dramatic Expansion

From 1978 to 1996, the organization underwent dramatic growth largely because of CDHS sole sourcing contracts and external grants management.

1979-03-28 22:53:08

3 Mile Island Nuclear Accident Inspired Anti-Nuclear Movement

The partial nuclear meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania released radiation into the environment, galvanized the anti-nuclear power movement and led to safety improvements for nuclear plants.

1980-01-01 00:00:00

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Epidemiologists discovered a higher incidence of toxic shock syndrome among women who used high-absorbency tampons.

1980-01-01 00:00:00

Foundation Accepted First Grants

The California Publlic Health Foundation begins accepting its first external grants as a "designated" agent for the California Department of Health Services (DHS). DHS staff acted as principal investigators.

1980-06-01 00:00:00

Childhood Obesity Low in 1980

Obesity among children 6 to 11 years old was 6.5%; among adolescents 12 to 19 years old, obesity was 5%.

1981-06-05 00:00:00

CDC Officially Reported First Cases of AIDS

AIDS was officially reported for the first time in the Center for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).The report describes the first diagnoses of AIDS in five young gay men in the Los Angeles area.

1983-06-01 00:00:00

US Reports Linked Greenhouse Gases to Global Warming

The accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will likely cause global warming, reports by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US National Academy of Science concluded.

1984-12-03 00:00:00

Huge Pesticide Gas Leak in Bhopal, India

In the world’s worst industrial accident, an enormous poisonous gas leak at Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, killed and seriously injured thousands of people who lived in nearby communities. More than 40 tons of methyl isocyanate gas escaped into the air.

1985-05-01 02:58:02

State 'Sole Source' Contracts with CPHF

In the mid-1980s, the state of California began sole source contracts with the California Public Health Foundation.

1985-05-16 00:00:00

Giant Ozone Hole Over Antarctica

In the journal Nature, scientists revealed that they had discovered an enormous hole in the earth’s ozone layer in the upper atmosphere over the Antarctic.

1986-11-01 01:50:19

Californians Vote for Anti-Toxics Initiative

Reflecting increasing public concern about exposure to toxic chemicals, California voters passed on a 63% to 37% vote Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The law, commonly referred to as Prop. 65, was intended to protect the state and its drinking water from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other kinds of reproductive harm.

1987-01-01 00:00:00

First Independent Principal Investigators at PHI

For the first time, independent principal investigators - who didn't work at the state Department of Health Services - brought their projects to the California Public Health Foundation (CPHF).

1987-01-01 00:00:00

Survey Research Group Founded to Inform Decisions in Public Health and Healthcare

The Survey Research Group, a program of PHI, was founded to conduct population-based health-related surveys and other rigorous forms of research.

1987-01-01 01:50:19

Western Consortium Renamed

The Western Consortium for Health Professions, the other precursor organization to PHI, was renamed the Western Consortium for Public Health. The Consortium, located in San Francisco, was associated with the schools of public health at the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Hawaii.

1987-01-01 22:28:34

10-Year Management Contract Began

The Western Consortium for Public Health provided executive leadership and fiscal administration to the California Public Health Foundation under a management contract that lasted for 10 years.

1987-06-01 00:00:00

Project LEAN: From Low-Fat Diets to Expanded Reach Through Policy Change

California Project LEAN (CPL) started out as a pilot project to mount a public education campaign promoting low-fat eating.

1988-01-01 00:00:00

California Healthy Cities Program Launches

What began as a vision of bringing the World Health Organization’s Healthy Cities model to California, grew and flourished to become the largest and longest running statewide program of its kind.

1988-06-01 00:00:00

First Study of CA Teens' Nutrition and Exercise

PHI's “California Teen Eating, Exercise, and Nutrition Survey" (CalTEENS), was the first comprehensive survey of eating and exercise habits of California’s 2 million adolescents, 12-17 years old.

1988-07-01 00:00:00

California 5 A Day Becomes National Model, Root of Network for a Healthy California

PHI played a critical role in creating the groundbreaking California 5 A Day—for Better Health! Campaign together with the state Department of Health Services. This was the first-ever public health initiative aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to at least five servings each day through the use of social marketing. In 1991, the campaign became a national initiative of the National Cancer Institute and the Produce for Better Health Foundation, when the campaign expanded across the US and served as a model for programs worldwide. Today it is a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention known as Fruit and Veggies - More Matters!

1988-11-08 00:00:00

California Passes Cigarette Tax

Using a ballot initiative known as Proposition 99, the Tobacco Tax and Health Promotion Act of 1988, Californians voted to add a 25-cent tax to each pack of cigarettes sold in the state.

1990-01-01 00:00:00

Teen Birth Rate Climbed in Late '80s and Early '90s

The birth rate for U.S. teens reached a high point in 1990 of 62.1 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 after steadily declining for years from its all-time-high in 1957 of 96.3 per 1,000.

1990-01-01 00:00:00

Nutrition Labeling Began

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act required all packaged foods to bear nutrition labeling and provide per serving information by May 8, 1994.

1990-02-01 00:00:00

Adult Obesity in 1990

Less than 15% of adults are obese in most states.

1991-01-01 00:00:00

Training Health Departments to Be Strong Leaders

The Center for Health Leadership and Practice began in 1991 with the first National Public Health Leadership Institute for senior health officers.

1992-01-01 00:00:00

Food Pyramid's Daily Servings Recommendations

The US Department of Agriculture introduced the Food Pyramid Guide, which recommends the number of daily servings for each food group. It was updated in 2005 and 2011.

1992-02-01 00:00:00

Disability Technical Assistance Center Funded

Regional (Pacific) Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center funded to provide implementation of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) through technical assistance and training of the public.

1993-01-01 00:00:00

Pacific Institute for Women's Health

Established in 1993, the Pacific Institute for Women's Health completed research, advocacy and service delivery programs on abortion, emergency contraception and women's empowerment. Partnerships were established with local women's groups throughout the world that received funding and technical assistance. These partnerships continue today.

PHI50: Building a Healthier World Together

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