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Cut off: A bereft nervous system may eat away at the will to live

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PITTMED MAGAZINE - Someone once told Eve, a teen with severe intractable depression, "You just aren’t working hard enough in therapy." And then her doctor, HuGen’s LISA PAN—along with fellow Human Genetics faculty member DAVID FINEGOLD—learned that she can’t seem to make critical neurotransmitters. As it turned out, Eve’s CSF level of biopterin, a chemical the body uses to synthesize several neurotransmitters, was through the floor. 

Pandav honored for work with the WHO in TImor-Leste

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Alumnus RAJESH PANDAV (EPI ’01) has now completed two years as the World Health Organization’s country representative to East Timor. Along with updates on his accomplishments, Pandav sent in a nice shout-out to his mentors at Pitt: “All this has been possible because of the excellent education I received when I was at Pitt Public Health. I would like to specially thank Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, MARY DERKACH, and my mentor, MARY GANGULI... 

Johns joins Stormont Vail Health medical team

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Alumna BETSY JOHNS (MMPH ‘99) recently joined the Stormont Vail Health medical team and will practice as a family medicine physician at Cotton O’Neil Corporate View. She received her medical degree at the Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia in 1994. She completed a residency training in family practice at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and a faculty development fellowship at University of Pittsburgh Medic... 

More data needed in fight against opioids use, Burke says

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PITTSBURG POST-GAZETTE - The numbers are staggering, and yet DONALD S. BURKE wants more of them. He believes good data is essential in fighting the opioid crisis that is growing exponentially across the country — and nowhere faster than the Appalachian region that includes Western Pennsylvania. Burke, dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, took his case to Washington, where he participated Monday in a panel discu... 

Dean Burke addresses congressional hearing on the opioid epidemic

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On Monday, June 19, 2017, Dean Burke joined four other public health deans from Appalachian universities to speak at a U.S. congressional hearing on the national opioid epidemic. Addressing the standing-room-only crowd, he spoke about the epidemiology of the crisis and the need for better info on costs. “Billions [of dollars] are needed, and we don't have a good handle on the magnitude of the epidemic. We need data.” 

HPM’s Jarlenski on arguments, evidence, and abortion policy

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PUBLIC HEALTH POST - In a public health article, HPM’s MARIAN JARLENSKI says fake scientific arguments should not shape abortion law. She asks “why it is that so much un-scientific medical guidance is being codified into state statutes. Six state laws require that women seeking an abortion be counseled that induced abortion may result in adverse mental health effects, four require counseling that induced abortion reduces future fertility, and fiv... 

Burke keynotes for Erie’s opioid crisis psychiatry conference

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GO ERIE - A presentation and discussion of Erie’s opioid epidemic will highlight Thursday’s Challenges & Innovations in Rural Psychiatry Conference at the Bayfront Convention Center, sponsored by Stairways Behavioral Health. DONALD BURKE, dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, will give the keynote address. Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper will join Burke and Stairways professionals during a roundtable discus... 

Pallatino to begin postdoc research at Magee Women's Research Institute

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We hear that new doctoral alumna CHELSEA PALLATINO (BCHS ’17) will begin a position as a postdoc researcher with Magee Women’s Research Institute in July. She’ll be studying unintended pregnancy, Hep C prevalence, and intimate partner violence among opioid-dependent mothers. 

Gellad says Medicare could learn a thing or two from the VA

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WALL STREET JOURNAL - In a piece by HPM's WALID GELLAD, he says, "Everyone agrees prescription drugs are too expensive, but what to do about it? One popular idea—supported in the past by President Trump, and by 80% of the public in some polls—is for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices directly. But such negotiation would work only if there were some limitations on the drugs available to patients, raising many questions about the feasibility ... 

HPM alumni gather in Pasadena

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What a lovely evening of connections! On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, HPM alumnus Rob Curry welcomed Pitt Public Health friends DAVID TYE, DAREEN MEYERS, MARK MEYERS, WEN TA CHIU, KRISTIN LAZZARA, KEVIN BROOM, and MARK ROBERTS to his Pasadena home for cocktails and talk about great memories, current issues, and the newest school happenings. 

Facts alone won’t convince people to vaccinate, but FRED can

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ESPN - There was something about showing a movie of your hometown that people relate to,” said DON BURKE, dean of Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health. It was his idea to break the data modeling down by county.The FRED platform allowed researchers to build a simulation of human interaction dynamics, said MARK ROBERTS (Public Health Dynamics Lab director and HPM chair) wherein virtual people in 116 million households across the country live, wo... 

Tucker’s pregnancy-focused startup wins $2500 at Blast Furnace Demo Day

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Congratulations to BCHS student ALYSIA TUCKER, who took home $2,500 for her Best4Baby startup that connects soon-to-be mothers with local, affordable doulas. Tucker said her company will only match expecting mothers with fully-trained doulas who have undergone 30 hours in classes and have completed a certain number of births successfully.  

Buchanich and Burke on fatal ODs across Pa.

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - “For the first time in Allegheny County, fentanyl was found in more people than heroin,” said Pitt Public Health epidemiologist JEANINE BUCHANICH. There appear to be two distinct epidemics in Pennsylvania, said DONALD BURKE. Southeastern Pennsylvania historically has been a source of extremely pure and cheap heroin, which is now drawing some users whose addictions began with prescription pain pills.  

Alumna Lo-Cignic working to identify individuals at risk of inappropriate prescription opioid use

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KVOA NEWS 4 - New prediction tools to identify patients at risk of inappropriate prescription opioid use, while allowing safe administration of legitimate pain management are being developed by alumna WEI-HSUAN JENNY LO-CIGANIC (BIOST '10, EPI '05), now an assistant professor with the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. Her newly-funded work builds on research she completed as a postdoctoral associate at Pitt's HEALTH POLICY INSTITUTE. 

King finds 1 in 5 surgical weight-loss patients take preseription opioids

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UPI - Research led by EPI's WENDY KING found that while the number of adults with severe obesity using prescription opioids initially declines in the months after bariatric surgery, it eventually increases to surpass pre-surgery rates. "Almost half of patients reporting opioid use at the time of surgery reported no such use following surgery. However, among the much larger group of patients who did not report opioid use pre-surgery, opioid use gr... 

Trump wants to represent a Pittsburgh that doesn't exist

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 CBS MONEY WATCH - President Donald Trump pointed to Pittsburgh as a reason for pulling out of the Paris climate accord, but some residents in the former steel town are calling him rusty and out-of-date. The one-time industrial center is now a thriving city focused on health care, tech, and clean energy.  

BCHS alumnus Broughton improving regional health services through consistent assessments

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EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY - Alumnus WILL BROUGHTON (BCHS '14) is coordinator for the Office of Health Access in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University as well as future project coordinator for an apples-to-apples project to standardize the methodology and synchronize the assessment process for regional community health needs assessment in eastern North Carolina. He will be facilitating the day-to-day implementation efforts. He sa... 

Fabisiak and Brink: Air pollution increases regional health risks

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PITTSBURGH TODAY - “PM2.5 is probably the chief concern for the region, mainly because of its contribution from a source as big as the Clairton plant has an effect over a fairly large area,” said EOH associate prof JAMES FABISIAK.... “Everything that’s a risk factor for bad health is showing up high in that area,” said LUANN BRINK, Allegheny County Health Department deputy director and chief epidemiologist (as well as EPI alum and assistant prof)... 

Zimmerman, Nowalk, Hawk, and Ricci receive Adult Immunization Publication Award

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Kudos to (photo front, left to right) alumna PATRICIA NOWALK (EPI '81, ’93) and BCHS faculty MARY HAWK, ED RICCI, and (back) RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, who received the Immunization Publication Excellence Award presented during the National Adult Influenza Immunization Summit, May 10, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. The award was in recognition of their work on the Four Pillars Practice Transformations Program for adult influenza immunization. 

Toward Curing HIV: Test Finds Hidden Virus

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PITTWIRE - A team of Pitt scientists led by IDM's PHALGUNI GUPTA developed a test to detect "hidden" HIV that is faster, less labor-intensive and less expensive than the current "gold standard" test.  

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Online Service Aiming to Match Moms-to-Be With Doulas Wins Student Pitch Competition 

Online Service Aiming to Match Moms-to-Be With Doulas Wins Student Pitch Competition

PITTWIRE - Finding a suitable doula — a professional who gives physical and educational support before, during and after childbirth — can be difficult, said Pitt Graduate School of Public Health Student ALYSIA TUCKER of BCHS. Her prize-winning idea could make the process easier. (07/07/2017)
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Toward Curing HIV: Test Finds Hidden Virus 

Toward Curing HIV: Test Finds Hidden Virus

PITTWIRE - A team of Pitt scientists led by IDM's PHALGUNI GUPTA developed a test to detect "hidden" HIV that is faster, less labor-intensive and less expensive than the current "gold standard" test. (05/31/2017)
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