Pitt Public Health is one of the host sites for the upcoming Pennsylvania Opioid Code-a-thon, running via virtual videoconferencing in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. Using data, content, and questions developed by the state and other organizers, teams will compete to create new software tools to help Pennsylvania address an issue related to the opioid epidemic, and then pitch their product to a team of judges.
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation approved a two-year, $300,000 grant to establish a Healthy Aging Program within the Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh. The program aims to modify the aging trajectory for seniors, identifying the key characteristics of aging and developing new interventions that enhance quality of life for older adults. ANNE NEWMAN, EPI professor, is the clinical director.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE ADVISOR - "Depending on whether they've been diagnosed and treated, people with HIV now have a higher life expectancy, but they still live with pain — especially chronic pain — and other symptoms," says BCHS's JESSICA MERLIN. These issues underscore the need for palliative care in this population at various stages, including end of life.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - With the help of a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, Carnegie Mellon University's Marcel Just and EPI's DAVID BRENT will analyze the differences in brain scans of suicidal and non-suicidal young adults to detect those most at risk and develop personalized therapies. "It could give us a window into the suicidal mind that we don't have now," Brent said.
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.
PBS - After controlling for certain lifestyle factors, a 2010 investigation found that workers exposed to 0.6 to 2.5 parts per million of formaldehyde had fewer red and white blood cells and a higher prevalence of DNA mutations in the blood stem cells. BERNARD GOLDSTEIN, EOH professor said the mutations found in these studies resemble ones made by benzene, a known leukemia-causing agent that also lowers blood counts.
BIOPHARMA DRIVE - Scott Gotlieb, FDA commissioner, has been very vocal on twitter as a way to communicate the FDA's goals and to invite public comment and scrutiny. Stakeholders both inside and outside the agency have given Gottlieb credit for both transparency and effort. However, there are risks to the volume and pace of Gottlieb's methods, says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
NEW YORK TIMES - A group of economists is suggesting that many small tweaks, such as reigning in long-term care hospitals, could tame health care spending. HPM's JEREMY KAHN said there are some patients with particular ailments who benefit from the setting, but agreed with the economists that the hospitals are a historical accident, defined more by payment rules than patient needs.
U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - A new analysis from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that 10 percent of adults ages 60 to 69 whose parents are alive serve as caregivers, as do 12 percent of adults age 70 and older. “If older caregivers have health problems themselves and become mentally or emotionally stressed, they’re at a higher risk of dying,” said EPI and BCHS's RICHARD SCHULZ.
LU TANG joined the Department of BIOSTATISTICS as an assistant professor on August 1. He received his PhD in biostatistics from the University of Michigan. He is developing an outstanding research program in statistical machine learning and methods for modern high dimensional data. These are extremely important areas for the department as we build for the future.
WPXI - The annual “Livability Survey,” which ranks 140 cities on factors like stability, health care, culture, education and infrastructure on a scale of 1-100, was released this week. Pittsburgh came in at number 32 overall, the top city in the continental United States and only behind Honolulu for the entire country.
THE PITT NEWS - After encountering pressure throughout the 2018 spring term from the Pitt community, Pitt’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to rename Parran Hall in July. With another school year starting, the question of what the building’s new name should be remains. One potential candidate would be Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy in football players.
THE DAILY MEAL - A hardcore sports town, Pittsburgh’s healthy economy has resulted in a lot happening here, from great food to extensive entertainment. Home to many colleges and universities, Pittsburgh is a bastion for arts and culture, as well as academia, and in addition to the many events on campuses, the city has music venues of every kind, as well as art galleries, museums, and casinos.
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).
THE INCLINE - Scent with Love, the all-volunteer organization takes donated flowers from weddings and other events and brings them to places like the Children’s Home in Bloomfield, Bethlehem Haven in Bluff, and Family House in Oakland and Shadyside. The organization was founded by SHANNON HALDEMAN (HPM '20), who knows that walking in to a new hospital can be intimidating for some patients and families. The flowers are a welcome addition.
NEW YORK TIMES - The country is in the grips of an escalating housing affordability crisis. Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70 percent or more of their incomes for shelter, while rents continue to rise and construction of affordable rental apartments lags far behind the need. Ben Carson has privately told aides that he views the shortage of affordable housing as regrettable, but as essentially a local problem.
PUBLIC SOURCE - As housing prices and rents rise in the Pittsburgh region, residents with convictions are often denied housing they can afford. Discrimination against people who have been incarcerated or have any marks on their rap sheet is one of several barriers the region’s fair housing task force is trying to reduce through a series of 12 policy recommendations being introduced this summer for public comment.
WBUR - "It makes me feel comfortable about myself," says Chuck Gyukeri, "that I'm able to come in and out of my own home. And I’m getting my health issues together. "Gyukeri's apartment is in one of four brownstones on Waldeck Street — 35 units that came close to losing their affordable status.
HOW HOUSING MATTERS - The national homeownership rate rose in 2017 for the first time in 13 years. Other housing trends include enduring constraints on the single-family market, racial disparities in neighborhood poverty levels, lagging household growth, trade-offs between housing, etc.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - According to a United Way study, more than 40 percent of Pennsylvania households can’t afford basic household necessities. While 12.3 percent fit the government’s definition of poverty, an additional 29.4 percent fall into the ALICE category: people who clear the poverty line but still struggle to afford expenses like rent, child care, medical expenses, transportation, and a cell phone.