CAROLYN BYRNES (EPI ‘11), NANCY NIEMCZYK (EPI ‘14), and EPI's DARA MENDEZ are to serve in a new effort to collect information to investigate and disseminate findings related to maternal deaths. “With the alarming rate of maternal deaths in Pennsylvania, establishing this committee will help take immediate action in determining the reasons for this phenomenon,” Governor Wolf said.
BCHS's ELIZABETH FELTER and JASON FLATT (BCHS '13) recently published a study guide for the Certified Health Education Exam. The 200-page book serves as the primary resource for any student taking the CHES exam and is now available through Springer Publishing Company.
WESA-FM - Pennsylvania is asking coders and designers to look at its data on the opioid crisis as part of a month-long hackathon to find new strategies to fight the epidemic. Teams are encouraged to focus on 1 of 3 tracks dealing with the opioid epidemic: preventing opioid use disorder, saving lives and ensuring access to treatment. Pitt Public Health will participate this year and in total some 260 Pennsylvanians are taking part.
NATIONAL LAW REVIEW - Alumna MELISSA FAN (HPM '12) is hired as an associate at Dinsmore Law Firm. Melissa focuses her practice on health care law, corporate law, regulatory and compliance issues and food and drug law. She received her JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Before joining the firm, Melissa interned with Judge Michael Wojcik of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.
HEALIO - During a shortage, drug prices increase two times as quickly as they would have in the absence of a shortage, according to findings published in Annals of Internal Medicine. “Prescription drug shortages may result in substitution of less effective drugs, delays in necessary treatments, and omission of or reductions in doses,” INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16) and colleagues wrote.
TIME - Omega-3 is easily the most popular supplement in America. “We have a lot of evidence that omega-3’s may have favorable effects on the brain, but the evidence on dietary intakes and supplements is inconclusive,” says Aron Barbey at the University of Illinois. MATTHEW MULDOON (EPI '94), says “the high numbers of people taking supplements would probably be better off spending money on getting fish into their diets.”
NASHVILLE LEDGER - Brentwood-based Quorum Health Corporation's board of directors has appointed JON KAPLAN (EPI '80) as an independent, non-employee director. Kaplan has extensive business experience consulting and advising health care companies. Since 2007, he has served as a senior partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Congratulations Jon!
PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - The winners of Pittsburgh Business Times’ 30 Under 30 awards program represent a diverse group of young professionals who are being recognized as up-and-coming executives, innovators, and thought leaders who will shape the future of Pittsburgh. ABBY MILES (HPM '13), manager of business analytics at Jewish Association on Aging is among the 2018 class.
THE INCLINE - Out of dozens of nominations, SARAH PAPPERMAN (BCHS '15) was selected among 17 individuals for the What's Next: Transit class of 2018 for impacting how Pittsburghers get around. Papperman co-facilitates the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh transportation working group and is redefining transportation for people with mobility challenges in Allegheny County.
Congratulations to YARA ELBESHBISHI (HPM '16) for receiving the 2018 Ivan and Mary Novick Award for Young Alumni Leadership. This is a highly competitive award that was established by the Novick family to recognize and honor young alumni who have enriched the life of the University of Pittsburgh though their volunteer leadership efforts. The award will be presented at the Alumni Association's 2018 Homecoming Awards Luncheon in October.
GREAT LAKES NOW - Last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s office declared two townships in Kalamazoo County a state of emergency due to elevated levels of the chemicals called “PFAS.” The amount is 20 times what the EPA says is unsafe. To find out more about PFAS contamination and what it can do to water and to the human body, Great Lakes Now talked with PFAS expert DAVID SAVITZ (EPI '82).
PITTWIRE - Under the leadership of EVAN FACHER (HUGEN '97), Pitt innovators started a record 23 new companies in FY18. Facher now moves into the new position of vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship. “Pitt faculty and students are constantly pushing the boundaries of discovery across multiple disciplines," says Facher. “I am grateful for the opportunity to build on the positive momentum that has been established."
PITTWIRE - Doctoral alumna CHELSEA PALLATINO (BCHS ’17) has been awarded the Steven D. Manners Faculty Development Award by the University Center for Social and Urban Research to support her pilot research project entitled “Co-occurring Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Use: Understanding Barriers to Collocated Integrated Services.” Pallatino is now a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive ...
POLITICO - The payment deal for Kymriah therapy drew internal HHS scrutiny and is the target of current congressional investigations of Swiss drug giant Novartis. The company's pivotal study of the drug's in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia found that at one year, about one out of every three patients the government would be covering would get sick again, said INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16).
PITTWIRE - The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute was recognized for its commitment to building programs that accelerate innovations from the laboratory and research into commercialization at the recent Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. Alumni EVAN FACHER (HUGEN ’97) is interim director for the institute.
YARA ELBESHIBISHI (HPM '16) was nominated for 1st Quarter of the Superstar Award through UPMC Health Plan. UPMC celebrates and honors individuals for their dedication to UPMC Insurance Services Division PRIIDES values. Yara is recognized as a valuable contributor and quickly becoming a subject matter expert for multiple channels within the Exchange Operations Department.
ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - In the first 90 days of concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use, the risk of opioid-related overdose increases five-fold compared to opioid-only use among Medicare recipients. "Having multiple prescribers who are not in communication increases the risk for overdose,” says HPM's YUTING ZHANG. "Policy interventions should focus on preventing concurrent exposure,” says INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16).
US NEWS - Death certificates that did not specify the drugs involved in fatal overdoses may have masked more than 70K opioid-related deaths across the U.S. from 1999 to 2015. "Coroners... do not necessarily have medical training useful for completing drug information for death certificates based on toxicology reports," says BIOS' JEANINE BUCHANICH . DEAN BURKE and LAURAN BALMERT (BIOS ’17) coauthored the study.
PITTWIRE - Pitt is taking a leading role in tackling the public health crisis by strengthening its prevention, treatment and recovery programs to bring meaningful change to the lives of students. "While opioid abuse is lower on university campuses, we can't be complacent," said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. Pitt Public Health was represented on the task by BRADY BUSHOVER (EPI '18) and project coordinator MICHAEL MALLON (BCHS '13).
ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Postmenopausal factors may have an impact on the heart-protective qualities of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) – also known as ‘good cholesterol.' “The results of our study are particularly interesting to both the public and clinicians because total HDL cholesterol is still used to predict cardiovascular disease risk,” said lead author and EPI's, SAMAR EL KHOUDARY (EPI '08).
EMS1 - Many EMS agencies are reporting record numbers of overdose-related 911 responses and unprecedented amounts of naloxone being administered during resuscitative efforts. Many systems are turning to new mobile integrated health care and community paramedicine approaches to help. DAN SWAYZE (BCHS '09) shares the 5 things community paramedics should know to be effective.
A $75,000 Team Science RAP Grant was awarded to alumnus JASON FLATT (BCHS '13) and colleagues on The Role of Affordable LGBTQ Age-Friendly Housing on the Health of LGBTQ Older Adults: A Natural Experiment. The study will be funded jointly by the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and the Academic Senate. They are partnering with Openhouse, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco.
WESA-FM - Black babies in Allegheny County are nearly three times more likely than white babies to die before their first birthdays. Making doula services in Pennsylvania more affordable could help close the gap, says alumna DEMIA HORSELY (BCHS '18). Black moms especially need the advocacy of a doula because it’s not uncommon for them to be treated poorly in medical settings.
WESA-FM - A new study found that women who had preterm births and a pattern of increasing blood pressure were also more likely to have greater calcium buildup in their hearts, putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Associate professor, alumna, and lead author JANET CATOV (EPI ’05) said it’s interesting that women who also had increasing blood pressure but gave birth to full-term babies didn’t have as much plaque...
NPR - After weeks of warnings to toss out romaine grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region, the CDC says there are no longer any greens coming from this region. Now that lettuce grown in the Yuma region is likely no longer being sold in supermarkets or served in restaurants, LAURA GIERALTOWSKI (EPI '09) head of the CDC's foodborne outbreak response team says, "We hope people can enjoy their romaine lettuce again."
Connections4Health (formerly Birmingham HealthLinks) was developed by JENNIFER SLOAN (BCHS ’14) while she was a Pitt Public Health student. The program works to address the social health needs of underserved people by focusing on issues such as housing, food security, job training, and utility assistance. The program is celebrating its five year anniversary with a fundraising event on May 23, 2018.
To ensure the continuity of the Chicago Women in STEM and Academia Initiative, and represent postdoctoral women, Northwestern University welcomed IDM's COLLEEN ZACCARD to the Northwestern University Postdoctoral Forum (NUPF) Executive Board as the Chair of the Chicago Women in STEM Initiative.
HEALIO - Patients treated with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy will incur on average $30,000 to $36,000 in additional costs aside from drug expenses, according to a research letter published in JAMA Oncology. "It is important to quantify the total costs of these therapies to account for them when doing pharmacoeconomic evaluations and deciding on their coverage," said INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16).
PITT WIRE - In Pitt's graduate student address, EPI doctoral graduate LARA SIMINERIO LEMON told the audience: "You only have one life. So do what you choose with it but remember: it's the only chance you'll get ... Please do not lose the momentum that Pitt has provided to each one of us ... get out there and do what you're trained to do." (View photo gallery)
Doctoral candidate, DIANA DeLUCIA (IDM '19), presented some of her dissertation research on how the cholesterol levels in immune cells might be impacting HIV infection and disease progression to AIDS. It was found that antigen-presenting cells in nonprogressors have lower cholesterol levels which is associated with their inability to pass virus on to other cells.
ARIZONA SONORA NEWS - Nationwide studies of sexual assault indicate that racial minorities, transgender people, and people with disabilities are targets of sexual violence at greater rates than the general population. Transgender students were three times as likely to be sexually assaulted than non-transgender men, according to a study conducted by BCHS' ROBERT COULTER and colleagues.
Dean DONALD BURKE talks about the history of Pitt Public Health and looks to a future full of continued success of our alumni and faculty. DAVID SATCHER (HON '01), 16th United States Surgeon General, presents the keynote, "Informing and Influencing Public Health Policy and Practice." Satcher is also the founding director and senior advisor for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.
PITTWIRE - Doctoral alumna MALIHA ZAHID ( HUGEN '09) aims to reduce the amount of radiation that patients are exposed to when undergoing diagnostic imaging. Her creation, to be used during cardiac stress tests, was a previous Pitt PInCh winner.
In charming footage from an early episode of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," famed Pittsburgh muralist and sculptor, Virgil Cantini shares the maquette for his scientific "Man" sculpture and explains his vision for the work. The angular, larger-than-life metallic figure has adorned the Fifth Avenue facade of the school for the last half century, showing Man ever-reaching for the expansion of knowledge. (Excerpt courtesy of The Fred Rogers Company...
HEALTH AFFAIRS - "Identifying Gender Minority Patients' Health and Health Care Needs in Administrative Claims Data" is the title of a recent article by ANA PROGOVAC (HPM '15) appearing in the top-tier health policy journal. Progovac was also invited to speak on her work as part of a press briefing panel focused on advancing health equity.
University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston has offered KEVIN MELODY (IDM '17) a postdoctoral fellowship in a BSL-4 research group headed by Thomas Geisbert. Due to the security and proficiency needed to perform the work, Kevin will undergo extensive training before beginning high-containment pathogen-related research.
"A great company in a great industry," says ZACHARY SWAN (IDM '16) who has recently secured a position as a Regulatory Affairs, Clinical Strategy Scientist at a CRO in the Research Triangle Park named Cato Research.
Helping out with The United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Country Operational Plan submission, EMERSON EVANS (IDM '12) is currently working in South Africa on detail with the CDC.
The San-Pin Wang Award for the best graduate student oral presentation at the Chlamydia Basic Research Society 2017 conference was given to TAYLOR POSTON (IDM '17). This award was established in honor of the memory of Dr. San-Pin Wang and a cash prize was generously donated by the San-Pin Wang Endowment Fund.
MEGAN KAVANAUGH (BCHS ’08) became a principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute in 2017. Her research portfolio has focused on contraceptive use and service delivery, unintended pregnancy and abortion. In her most recent studies, she has been tracking national trends in contraceptive use, examining the consequences of unintended pregnancy and understanding the impact of travel on women seeking abortions.
COLLETTE NCUBE (BCHS ’14) is a future faculty fellow in the Department of Health Sciences and the Institute of Urban Health Research and Practice at Northeastern University. Ncube’s research focuses on determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in adverse birth and pregnancy outcomes and later life cardiovascular/metabolic disorders, with particular focus on lifecourse and intergenerational factors.
CHONGYI WEI (BCHS '09) recently moved from the University of California, San Francisco to join the faculty at the Rutgers School of Public Health. His primary research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Asia and in the U.S. He is interested in creating innovative strategies to increase HIV testing uptake among MSM and improve access to care and treatment among HIV-infected MSM.
CHRISTINA WILDS (BCHS '06) serves as senior program officer of the Highmark Foundation. Prior to joining Highmark, Wilds served as program evaluator in Highmark Inc.'s division of community affairs, where she was responsible for all phases of program evaluation. Before joining Highmark, she worked for a world-class medical center where she served in various fundraising positions.
Kent State College of Public Health faculty member, TINA BHARGAVA (BCHS, '12) is the coordinator for the Prevention and Control of Diseases course, which is taught online. She is interested in improving online teaching methods. Her research interests include health behavior change and the cognitive limitations that may affect success with behavior change. Her current work focuses on re-envisioning the standard for student success.
ELIZABETH FELTER (BCHS ’09) joined the faculty as assistant professor in 2010. She has been a Certified Health Education Specialist since 2001 and leads the department’s health communication/health risk communication curriculum. Her teaching portfolio has expanded to include development of infographics, preparation of public service announcements, and use of video for public health communication.
DIDIER CHALHOUB (MMPH ’12, EPI ’15) is a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging Interdisciplinary Studies Aging Section. His areas of research include aging, osteoporosis, and sarcopenia, concentrating on osteoporosis and body composition with a special interest in understanding the effect of muscle-bone interaction on outcomes such as fractures.
While completing her MPH and PhD degrees, JEANINE BUCHANICH (EPI ’98, ’07) worked full time for the Department of Biostatistics at Pitt Public Health and was appointed research assistant professor and deputy director of the Center for Occupational Biostatistics and Epidemiology in 2008. She has served as principal investigator or coinvestigator on many studies in occupational health epidemiology, vital status systems and tracing, and other topic ...
TODD BEAR (BCHS ’07, ’13) joined the Pitt Public Health faculty as an assistant professor immediately upon earning his PhD in 2013. His primary research interest is the study of adversity, including child maltreatment and exposure to violence, and its effects on health over the lifespan. He utilizes a life-course perspective to study the behavioral and psychosocial pathways by which childhood adversity affects adolescent and adult health.
MICHAEL TALKOWSKI (HUGEN ’08) is associate professor of neurology (genetics) at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate member of the Broad Institute of the Massachusettes Institute of Technology and Harvard where he directs the Broad Structural Variation and Assembly Group. His research has led to paradigm-shifting discoveries that have left a mark on the field of genetics.
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In 2012, a year before completing her MPH, CHRISTINA FARMARTINO (IDM ’13) was hired as executive director of The Open Door, which provides supportive housing and representative payee services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS—including active injection drug users—to improve their health and housing stability. Among other duties, Farmartino has raised more than $250,000 over three years in additional, diversified funding.