Public Health Commissioner for LA County


Patrick T. Dowling, MD, MPH is Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and the Kaiser Endowed Chair of Community Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. A graduate of the Medical College of Ohio and the University of Michigan School of Public Health, he completed his residency training in Family Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and is board certified in Family Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Public Health.

His clinical, educational and research interests include prevention, specifically via screening for common conditions such as breast, lung, colon and skin cancers, all of which have much better outcomes if diagnosed and treated early, as well as the major conditions related to lifestyle that are ravaging the health of many Americans – type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels.

He is a strong advocate of prevention through the widespread use of the miracles of American scientific medicine – vaccinations – especially for those at the beginning of life and those in the twilight of life. He has found that the most effective approach to prevention involves the integration of the following: 1) widespread public education via mass media – TV, radio, social networks; 2) community-based outreach, including large health fairs which offer free or low-cost screenings and vaccinations; and 3) direct patient care, seeing patients in the UCLA Family Health Center and engaging them one-on-one to discuss prevention and lifestyle changes.

His other professional interests include health policy and the provision of care to underserved and minority communities through linkage of graduate medical education training programs to their communities. Presently, he is a Public Health Commissioner for LA County and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Charles Drew University of Medicine in South LA. 

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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