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CDC appoints BCHS's Bear to national oversight group on behavioral risk factor surveillance

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Assistant professor TODD BEAR has been appointed to the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) national workgroup which provides oversight for the BRFSS through annual reviews and recommendations concerning the content of the survey, sample design modifications, and protocol adjustments. Congratulations, Todd! 

Pitt Public Health teams up with Pitt Business for MHA/MBA joint degree

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POETS & QUANTS - In an uncertain healthcare landscape, the two schools are teaming up to address an overwhelming national need for quality health care managers.  “The synthesis between the two areas is pretty important, because of the increased competitiveness in health care and the uncertainty of federal funding programs,” says WES ROHRER, director of the MHA program. Says department chair Mark Roberts, “From the business school, it’s hard to i... 

HuGen's Nimgaonkar sheds light on shared roots of schizophrenia and rheumatoid arthritis

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NEWS-MEDICAL - According to an in-depth computational analysis published in the JOURNAL OF SCHIZOPHRENIA and co-authored by VISHWAJIT NIMGAONKAR, professor of psychiatry and human genetics, variants in eight genes implicated in both schizophrenia and rheumatoid arthritis may explain why susceptibility to one of the disorders could place individuals at lower risk for the other. "We wondered if individual genetic variants may exist that could have ... 

General construction update

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The North Parran renovation project is on schedule, and should be completed in November 2017. Framing of office walls is well underway on the upper floors, and demolition is almost complete on the lower floors. Student work and collaboration spaces in North Parran are in the design phase.  Due to change in the construction scheduling, the coffee shop will not open until sometime this summer.   

EPI's King reports that standing is a good start for very obese people

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KNOWRIDGE - “Adults with severe obesity often have difficultly following national guidelines to participate in at least 30 minutes per day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity for health benefits,” says lead author WENDY C. KING, associate professor of epidemiology.  

Fourth annual Alumni-Students Networking Breakfast

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On February 24, 2017, the Pitt Public Health Commons buzzed as 56 students practiced networking skills and 32 alumni shared career experiences, all to equip the next generation of public health professionals. 

EPI's Fabio finds TV habits may be sending you to the ER

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PASTE - “TV programs that show more high-risk behavior—whether it’s risk taking, violence, or using alcohol or drugs—seem to increase risk of injury in people predisposed to hostility,” according to a 15-year study of television viewing and hostile personality traits led by the EPI Data Center's ANTHONY FABIO. “We think it desensitizes folks to these behaviors, so the notion [of engaging in dangerous behaviors] becomes less high-risk.” 

HPM's Roberts encourages medical career choices that suit your personality

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U.S.NEWS - Speaking from experience, HPM Chair MARK ROBERTS says there are lots of things doctors can do beside taking care of patients. A nonclinical route as medical researcher allows those with a passion for innovation to have enormous influence on the future by discovering a drug or increasing understanding of a disease. 

AJPH focuses on academic public health and the firearm crisis

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH -  In its March 2017 edition, AJPH takes a closer look at academic public health and the firearm crisis. Click to view featured articles and plan to attend the Food for Thought screening and discussion of Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA   on Thursday, 2/23. 

EPI and BIOST researchers find wearable fitness devices don't make you more fit

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NY TIMES / JAMA - Epidemiology and biostatistics researchers WENDY KING, ABDUS WAHED, and STEVEN BELLE contributed to a two-year Pitt-led study which found that people who used wearable fitness devices for 18 months lost significantly less weight than those who didn’t. At the end of the IDEA Trial, study participants "without access to the wearable technology lost an average of 13 pounds. Those with the wearable tech lost an average of 7.7 pound... 

Arsenic work by EOH's Barchowsky cited as top paper of 2016

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ENVIRONMENTAL FACTOR - The NIEHS journal signaled out work by AARON BARCHOWSKY and co-authors as one of the top 25 "Papers of the Year" among 2,700 research papers funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The research, published in Stem Cells, found that chronic exposure to arsenic might alter the ability of muscles to regenerate after injury, and that NF kappa B, a protein involved in tissue repair, might play a role. 

A short history of humans and germs: Episode 3 (video)

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NPR - For most of human history, we had a lot of bad ideas about how we were getting sick and how to prevent it. Things started changing only about 200 years ago when an English doctor invented vaccination, our first safe and effective way to fight disease. So what did that do for us? Consider that in 1900, the average person lived only about 30 years. Today, most of us live to seventy. Have we closed the book on infectious disease? If only! 

Zimmerman’s CDC report: Flu shot is 48 percent effective

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TRIB LIVE - This year's flu vaccine cut infection risk by less than half, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention co-authored by RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, associate professor in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences and professor of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Zimmerman runs the Pittsburgh arm of a group that studies flu vaccine effectiveness for the CDC.  

BCHS's Ron Stall named a 2017 chancellor award winner for research

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UNIVERSITY TIMES - Selected for this award in recognition of his “pioneering efforts in the field of HIV pre-vention and LGBT health,” RON STALL is praised as a leader in the development of behavioral risk reduction interventions because he has “directed the field to look at HIV from a new angle, setting today’s standard.” The highly competitive Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award is given to Pitt faculty with an outstanding and continuin... 

New moms may be getting opioid painkillers they don't need, says HPM's Marian Jarlenski

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - "There are many guidelines for managing acute or chronic pain, but not for maternity care," said lead author MARIAN JARLENSKI, a Pitt health-policy researcher. "We have a public health crisis with opioid addiction. We were surprised to see more than 1 in 10 women were going home with an opioid prescription." 

EOH's Bernard Goldstein receives 2017 Society of Toxicology Public Communications Award

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Congratulations to Dr. Bernard D. Goldstein, dean emeritus, on receiving the Society of Toxicology's 2017 Public Communications Award! 

Epidemiology's Jane Cauley shows testosterone treatment can benefit old men

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KNOWRIDGE SCIENCE REPORT - “We showed that testosterone improved men’s impression that their sexual function and walking ability had improved, suggesting that these effects are clinically important.” said JANE A. CAULEY, coauthor and chair of the TTrials recruitment committee, and principal investigator at the study’s Pittsburgh site. 

CDC’s canceled climate change conference is back on — thanks to Al Gore (and APHA)

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THE WASHINGTON POST - It turns out there will be a conference in Atlanta this week about climate change and its effects on public health. It just won’t have the federal government behind it. "[Gore] called me and we talked about it and we said, ‘There’s still a void and still a need.’ We said, ‘Let’s make this thing happen,’ ” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “It was a no-brainer.” (1/27/1... 

Dean Burke's drop test could use shapes to spot cancer

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KNOWRIDGE SCIENCE REPORT - A new way to detect antibodies in blood opens the door to developing simple diagnostic tests for diseases for which no microbial cause is known, including autoimmune diseases and cancer.   “This ‘needle-in-a-molecular-haystack’ approach is a new way to develop diagnostic assays,” says senior author DONALD BURKE. IDM's chair CHARLES RINALDO is the study co-author.  

BCHS alumnus Jason Herring on how stigma prevents Pittsburgh sex workers from accessing resources

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CITY PAPER - PATF's JASON HERRING (BCHS '13), director of programs and communications, says “We really want people to be honest. We’re a harm-reduction facility, so at the heart of that, we don’t judge. I’m not going to tell you what to do or what not to do. I’m here to help you be healthier."  

EPI's Karen Matthews concurs: Relax in romance

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FIJI TIMES - Read what experts say about the effects of vacations to your health. "The more frequent the vacations, the longer the men lived," says KAREN MATTHEWS of Pitt Public Health's Department of Epidemiology.  Matthews analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study to assess the benefits of vacations.    

A short history of humans and germs: Episode 2 (VIDEO)

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NPR - Ten thousand years ago, at the dawn of the agricultural revolution, many of our deadly human diseases didn't exist. What changed? For the first time in history, humans were living in close contact with domesticated animals - milking them, taking care of them, living with them and eating them. All that touching and sharing gave animal germs plenty of chances to get inside of us. 

EPI student Beth Shaaban on Pittsburgh's probe into the PWSA flush and boil order

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90.5 WESA - As an organizer with the group Pittsburgh Lead Action Now, doctoral student BETH SHAABAN (EPI '18) is seeking to find solutions to the city’s lead issue. "We’d like to see the process be very transparent so that we can help monitor what’s going on,” she said. Shaaban and fellow students Abigail Cartus (EPI '20) and Ray Van Cleve (HPM) are among the community members who have been instrumental to the group's organizing committee.  

HPM's Walid Gellad agrees that leveraging Medicare's buying power could pull down drug prices

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NPR - The only government report that looks at the issue concluded that it would have a "negligible effect" on prices, but WALLID GELLAD of HPM disagrees. "There's a reason why the pharmaceutical industry does not want Medicare negotiation to happen, and the obvious reason is because it will lower prices." 

EPI's Jane Cauley finds bone marrow fat in older men with diabetes affects fracture risk

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HEALIO - Analysis of the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men study by JANE CAULEY reveals that older men with type 2 diabetes have higher levels of vertebral bone marrow fat vs. men without disease, and the increase is associated with both femoral neck and total hip bone mineral density.  

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