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Health Care Research Center Opens at School of Public Health

Posted July 14, 1999

Photo: State Senator Nicholas Petris, right, congratulated here by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer

The new center is named in honor of former California State Senator Nicholas Petris, right, congratulated here by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

A new research center aimed at protecting consumers and studying market regulation in the context of a revolutionized health care system has been established at the School of Public Health.

Money to launch the center -- $2 million from settlement of a 1970s antitrust case brought by the state against Levi Strauss and Company -- was announced by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer at a June 23 press conference on campus.

"We know there is a great need for good, solid, rigorous research and analysis of public health issues," said Lockyer. "There is no more significant part of a person's life than seeing that health issues are addressed from birth to the end."

The $2 million is part of a $4.4 million settlement which set aside funds for individual consumer claims based on the lawsuit. It had been sitting unused for more than a decade.

Named the Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare, the new center has been named in honor of former California State Senator Nicholas C. Petris, who attended the event.

"Nick Petris is a fighter for the underdog, a champion of consumer welfare, so it's not surprising that he touched the lives of millions of Californians through groundbreaking laws," said the center's new director, Richard Scheffler, professor of health economics and public policy in the School of Public Health and the Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy.

Scheffler said research at the center will tackle the question of what Californians are buying with their trillion-plus dollars per year in health care. It will focus on consumer protection, affordability and access to health care -- especially by low- and moderate-income consumers -- and the role of information in consumer choice. The center also will assess concentration, regulation and competition in the health care sector.

"High quality information and analysis is critical to inform and guide health policy for the state in this period of major change in the delivery of health care," said Edward Penhoet, dean of the School of Public Health.

"Petris's career has been characterized by a deep concern for the health and education of Californians," said Penhoet. "He was a leader in developing policies that addressed the health care needs of people from all walks of life, and also was a strong supporter of the University of California."


July 14 - August 17, 1999 (Volume 28, Number 1)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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