RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Health Policy, Public Policy, Health Services Research
Area(s) of Expertise:
Frame Analysis, News Media and Public Opinion, Social Determinants of Health, Public Health Ethics, Values, Health Disparities, Mixed Methods
Selena Ortiz completed her Ph.D. in health policy and management at UCLA. Her research integrates frame analysis, a method of increasing importance in public policy and political science, to study how the public understands major social health issues and how public health can effectively address these health issues. As an RWJF Health & Society Scholar, Selena will examine how frames influence health care decision-making processes throughout the life course, including disease prevention and treatment-seeking behavior. More specifically, she will focus on mechanisms rooted within psychology and behavioral economics – cognitive dissonance and counterfactuals – which will allow for a more nuanced understanding of the extent to which frames, and the values embedded within, influence attitudes/beliefs, support for health policies, population health behavior change efforts (particularly around healthy eating and active living), and the consumption of health services. Selena will also examine how behavior change and health decisions are made in relation to the ideal of ethical consent, specifically the issue of voluntarism (i.e. consent given free of duress), which goes beyond the typical issues of informed decision-making and competence. Selena’s work has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Preventive Medicine, and Public Health Reports. She received her M.P.H from the University of Arizona and B.A. from UC Berkeley.