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Tomko crowned Miss Wheelchair USA

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CBS PITTSBURGH - Congratulations to HEATHER TOMKO (HPM '19), who was crowned Miss Wheelchair USA on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic neuromuscular disease, she graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor of science in mechanical and biomedical engineering. She also won the Invacare People’s Choice Award and the Dr. Georgi Hudson Smith Quest for Knowledge Award.  

Gellad comments as Merck joins the list of drug makers agreeing to freeze or lower some prices

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STAT NEWS - As political pressure on the pharmaceutical industry builds, Merck has become the latest big drug maker to commit to halting price hikes. In a brief statement, the company agreed not to increase the average net prices of its medicines by more than inflation annually. “We’re now seeing an effort to address pricing that we haven’t seen before,” said HPM's Walid Gellad.   

'Good cholesterol' may not always be good for postmenopausal women

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NBC NEWS - Postmenopausal factors may have an impact on the heart-protective qualities of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) – also known as ‘good cholesterol.' Higher HDL cholesterol may not always be as protective in postmenopausal women as we once thought, said SAMAR EL KHOUDARY, lead author and EPI professor. "High total HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women could mask a significant heart disease risk that we still need to understand.”  

Buchanich Finds 70K Opioid-Related Deaths Likely Went Unreported

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Several states are likely dramatically underestimating the effect of opioid-related deaths because of incomplete death certificate reporting, with Pennsylvania leading the pack, according to a new analysis by Pitt Public Health. “Proper allocation of resources for the opioid epidemic depends on understanding the magnitude of the problem,” said lead author, BIOST's JEANINE BUCHANICH.   

BCHS alum Chelsea Pallatino wins faculty development award supporting work on intimate partner violence & substance use

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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 ... 

The first-ever Health Sciences Network Night

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The first-ever Health Sciences Network Night held at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township welcomed Pitt alumni professionals working in fields related to health and health care. Alumni were able to get information on advanced degree and certificate programs in the health sciences, alumni volunteer opportunities, and continuing education.  

IDM’s Rinaldo discusses HIV wonder drugs and curing HIV in 1998 World AIDS Day interview (VIDEO)

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UPMC HEALTH NEWS – In the late 1990s, new and highly potent anti-HIV drugs emerged— including protease and reverse transcriptase inhibitors—which could for the first time control HIV infection. For this 1998 World AIDS Day, Pitt IDM AIDS researcher Charles Rinaldo and the late Bridget Murtagh of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force address transmission, drug resistance, and the radically prescient question of whether HIV could be cured.   

BCHS's Mair says alcohol's health benefits are hard to prove, but harms are easy to document

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LOS ANGELES TIMES / THE CONVERSATION - Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the world. While the rising opioid epidemic has been receiving a lot of attention in the past five years, it is important to remember that alcohol is involved in a greater number of deaths and physical and social problems, says CHRISTINA MAIR. Backed by a strong industry, alcohol's dangers may be underplayed and its benefits exaggerated.   

Government quit test of pricey cancer treatment amid concerns over industry role

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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).  

Anthrocon 2018: Pittsburgh welcomes this costumed community for a 13th consecutive summer party

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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER - Ever wondered when Pittsburgh — a football town with a drinking problem, a steel town-turned-medical/tech hub, a city of bridges and champions— became the furry-friendliest spot in this American Land? We did, too. So, let’s look back upon Anthrocon becoming as big a part of our summer routine as fireworks.  

Gellad's take on drugmakers defiance to Trump's call to drop prices

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POLITICO - President Donald Trump in May said that drugmakers would soon announce “massive” price cuts, and his administration rolled out a plan to bring down the cost of medicines. But the companies don’t appear to have gotten that message. “The bully pulpit can't make fundamental change — it can provide perhaps a short-term victory... but it can’t do what the administration said it was going to do,” said WALID GELLAD, HPM professor.   

HPM faculty researcher wins the 2018 AcademyHealth Article-of-the Year Award

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A recent study, led by HPM’s ERIC ROBERTS has been named the 2018 Article-of-the-YearAcademyHealth, a leading national research center focused on advancing the fields of health services research and health policy. Entitled "The Value-Based Payment Modifier: Program Outcomes and Implications for Disparities," the work studied a precursor to the merit-based incentive payment system, Medicare’s new pay-for-performance program for physicians.  

Tribal Legal Preparedness Project now available on CDC Web site

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The Tribal Legal Preparedness Project, created by HPM's TINA BATRA HERSHEY and the Center for Public Health Practice, is now available! Check it out and share with anyone who may be interested in emergency preparedness for Tribal Nations.   

Innovation Institute recognized at Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education

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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. 

Researchers identify factors that protect youth from violence

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THE CONVERSATION - A new study has found that teens who had a positive outlook on their future were less likely to report threatening someone or injuring someone with a weapon in the past nine months. “Designing youth violence prevention interventions to help teens develop a positive future orientation may be an important part of reducing violence perpetration,” said ALISON CULYBA, lead author of the study and BCHS professor.  

Alumna Elbeshbishi receives the Superstar Award from UMPC Health Plan

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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. 

Pittsburgh finds overdose risk quintuples with opioid and Benzodiazepine use

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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).  

Pitt names social and political philosopher Ann Cudd as new provost

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PITTWIRE - Pitt’s new provost and senior vice chancellor, ANN E. CUDD (A&S ’84G, ’86G, ’88G) has explored topics including capitalism, feminism, inequality and oppression in more than 50 books, articles and chapters. “Ann has a rare capacity to move among the roles of scholar, leader, collaborator and teacher with exceptional ease and remarkable impact. But, what has impressed me most about Ann, so far, is her vision for Pitt. It is bold, bright,... 

Pitt Trustees vote unanimously to remove Parran name from public health building

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INSIDE HIGHER ED  -   After an extensive and thoughtful review process, the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees moved unanimously on June 29 to end a racially painful chapter on its campus, voting to remove Thomas Parran Jr.’s name from the main building housing the Graduate School of Public Health.  

Updated osteoporosis screening guidelines cover only women. That could hurt men, says Cauley

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - The emphasis on screening women for osteoporosis has fostered a sexist view of the bone-weakening disease. That’s harmful to men, whose bones also weaken with age. Men are twice as likely to die within a year of breaking a hip. In a journal editorial accompanying the guidelines, EPI's JANE CAULEY, said screening men is justified and should target those 70 and older “who have a high probability of fracture.”  

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YNGBLKPGH. What does Pittsburgh mean to 140 young black professionals? 

YNGBLKPGH. What does Pittsburgh mean to 140 young black professionals?

PITTWIRE -   Pitt alum Brian Burley (BUS ’13G) continues to highlight young black leaders and create community ties through his www.YngBlkPgh.com site. This social enterprise started with his book “YNGBLKPGH” (Young Black Pittsburgh) which features more than 140 African-American professionals und... (07/23/2018)
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BCHS alum Chelsea Pallatino wins faculty development award supporting work on intimate partner violence & substance use 

BCHS alum Chelsea Pallatino wins faculty development award supporting work on intimate partner violence & substance use

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 B... (07/19/2018)
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Innovation Institute recognized at Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education 

Innovation Institute recognized at Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education

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 EVA... (07/02/2018)


Featuring the latest research, opportunities, and groundbreaking developments from CEPH-accredited schools and programs of public health. Review theFriday Letter submission guidelines then share your story ideas via publichealth.pitt.edu/share-news or contact phcomm@pitt.edu. 
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Pittsburgh finds current liver allocation system disadvantages children awaiting liver transplants 

Pittsburgh finds current liver allocation system disadvantages children awaiting liver transplants

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Children are at a considerable disadvantage when competing with adults for livers from deceased organ donors in the U.S. allocation system. “Using national, long-term data, our report is the first to demonstrate that the scoring system, on its own, dramatically underestimates ... (09/24/2018)
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Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016 

Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016

SCIENCE - In an effort to understand the epidemic dynamics and perhaps predict its future course, Pitt Public Health researchers analyzed records of nearly 600,000 overdose deaths. Dean DONALD BURKE, HPM's HAWRE JALAL, and colleagues concluded that the U.S. drug overdose epidemic has been inexorabl... (09/21/2018)
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Buchanich Finds 70K Opioid-Related Deaths Likely Went Unreported 

Buchanich Finds 70K Opioid-Related Deaths Likely Went Unreported

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Several states are likely dramatically underestimating the effect of opioid-related deaths because of incomplete death certificate reporting, with Pennsylvania leading the pack, according to a new analysis by Pitt Public Health. “Proper allocation of resources for the opioid e... (07/19/2018)
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