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Epi Department News

Dean Burke honored with John Snow Award for excellence in public health

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The annual award recognizes outstanding scientists for excellence in epidemiologic practice or research, and is one of the oldest in the field. It commemorates John Snow, one of the founding fathers of epidemiology. Burke said, "I find great personal satisfaction in the knowledge that my life-long research efforts have helped to improve the health and well-being of mankind." Congratulations, Dean Burke!   

Cauley wins prestigious service award

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PITT WIRE - The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research has awarded JANE CAULEY, vice-chair of EPI, with the 2018 Shirley Hohl Service Award. Cauley received the award after volunteering for numerous positions and projects with the society.   

Overdose deaths have fallen for six months, Dean Burke comments

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STAT - The number of fatal drug overdoses nationwide has fallen for six consecutive months, fueling hopes that the downturn marks not just a reprieve but a long-lasting shift in the tide of the addiction crisis. “After 40 years of this predictable growth pattern, we can hope that the curve is finally bending downward for good,” DEAN BURKE, wrote in an e-mail. “But history tells us to interpret these wobbles cautiously.”  

Turning ideas into transformative action: Pitt Public Health students selected as Future Health Leaders

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Complex health issues are easy to determine, but finding solutions can be challenging. Three Pitt Public Health students, ASHLEY SIMENSON (EPI ’19), JESSICA SALERNO (IDM ’20), and KAITLYN SAAL-RIDPATH (HPM ’20) were chosen as part of the inaugural class of Future Health Leaders to present their ideas at the Milken Institute's Future of Health Summit 2018 in Washington DC.  

Newman honored by UPMC as Champion of Seniors

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UPMC -  Congratulations to EPI chair ANNE NEWMAN, clinical director of the Aging Institute, honored by UPMC Senior Services as its 2018 Grand Champion for her work in the epidemiology of aging, longevity, and disability. This is the highest honor awarded by UPMC Senior Services. "The field of aging science is advancing rapidly, and we expect that many of those advances will make aging better for all,” said Newman.  

FRED takes 1st place of the Kuzneski Innovation Cup

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Congratulations to the winners of the Kuzneski Innovation Cup, HPM and PHDL's MARK ROBERTS and JOHN GREFENSTETTE, JOHN CORDIER (HPM '18), and DEAN DONALD S. BURKE! 1st place went to FRED (a Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), a software platform that simulates the spread of disease, mitigation strategies, & policy implications.The Kuzneski Innovation Cup is for Pitt students who are developing innovations that can positively ... 

Long-term study identifies Dementia risk factor

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PITTWIRE - New research from Pitt Public Health has identified a dementia risk factor among older adults that should be modifiable even well into old age. “As the large arteries get stiffer, their ability to cushion the pumping of blood from the heart is diminished, and that transmits increased pulsing force to the brain, which contributes to silent brain damage that increases dementia risk,” said EPI's, RACHEL MACKEY.  

Simenson, Salerno, Saal-Ridpath selected for future health leaders program

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PITT WIRE - Three students from Pitt Public Health were selected for the inaugural class of The Milken Institute’s Future Health Leaders Program. The students, ASHLEY SIMENSON (EPI '19), JESSICA SALERNO (IDM '20), and KAITLYN SAAL-RIDPATH (HPM '20), are among a dozen of fellows selected nationwide. The program aims to give the students exposure to health leadership to help accelerate their future work tackling complex public health challenges.... 

Alcohol screening tests fail to work in RYGB patients

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BARIATRIC NEWS - People who undergo Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery are at increased risk for alcohol-related problems and common screening tools that help physicians identify patients at high risk for alcohol use disorder fail to work well in this population, according to a new study. EPI's WENDY KING says specific symptoms of alcohol use disorder, such as being unable to remember because of drinking, should be assessed.  

Pitt Public Health study identifies modifiable dementia risk factor in older adults

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SCIENCE DAILY - New research from Pitt Public Health found that arterial stiffness is a good proxy for predicting who will go on to develop dementia. Even minor signs of brain disease were not as telling. Since arterial stiffness can be reduced by antihypertensive drugs, and likely also lifestyle interventions, these findings suggest that at-risk patients may have the power to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.  

Bariatric surgery can reduce risks - but King's study finds it depends how much they can keep off after their operation

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FORBES - Bariatric surgery can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death in obese people. But those who gained back 20 percent of weight lost were more than one-third more likely to develop diabetes and two-thirds more likely to have high cholesterol, according to a study conducted by a research team including EPI and BIOS professors, WENDY KING, STEVEN BELLE, ABDUS WAHED, MPH student, AMANDA HINERMAN (EPI '19), and other colleagues.  

King finds alcohol disorder tests fail in weight-loss surgery patients

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UPMC - Given the increased risk of alcohol use disorder associated with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, it is recommended that clinicians screen for alcohol use disorder before and after surgery, but there is no guidance on how to do that screening, said EPI's WENDY KING. According to a long-term, multicenter analysis, common screening tools fail to work well in this population.  

Are Osteoporosis Drugs Linked With Survival? Cauley weighs in

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MEDSCAPE - A debate took place on whether osteporosis treatment is associated with mortality took place at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2018 Annual Meeting. Most (72%) of the bone doctors agreed with the motion that "osteoporosis treatments are associated with improved mortality [rates]." Although unmeasured confounders may be present, "I believe there is an association," said EPI's JANE CAULEY.   

Allegheny County gets $1.7M in grants to combat opioid crisis

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TRIB LIVE - The Allegheny County Health Department has received two federal grants totaling nearly $1.7 million that will assist in addressing health inequality and the opioid epidemic across the county. Several Pitt Public Health alumni are a part of this initiative, along with BCHS's TIFFANY GARY-WEB, and EPI's DARA MENDEZ as co-investigators on the research and evaluation of this important work.  

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