News

Mendez talks to Pitt Med about why new mothers are dying at an alarming rate

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PITT MED - Between 2000 and 2015, the number of maternal deaths and near-deaths in the United States rose by 25 percent. And African American mothers are four times more likely to die or nearly die as a result of pregnancy than white mothers. Ways to address racial disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity, according to EPI's Dara Mendez, is to focus on institutional equity and call out racism as a core element.  

Sahu and Ambrosio find longevity protein rejuvenates muscle healing in old mice

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UPMC - New research, developed largely from Amrita Sahu's (EOH) thesis work, implicates the so-called “longevity protein” Klotho, both as culprit and therapeutic target to the inability for skeletal muscle to hear after injury as we get older. “We found that we were able to rescue, at least in part, the regenerative defect of aged skeletal muscle,” said lead author, EOH's Fabrisia Ambrosio.   

Gary-Webb ushers health equity policy into APHA Bylaws

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UPMC - For the first time since 1964, APHA has a policy specifically dedicated to health equity, giving its members key facts so they can push their legislators for policies to eliminate health disparities in the United States. Development of the policy was led by Tiffany Gary-Webb (BCHS). “Although health equity is an APHA priority and core value, until now there was no comprehensive, up-to-date policy to achieve that.”  

Cauley finds that how much sleep you get could influence fracture risk

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MEDICAL DAILY - In a new study led by EPI's Jane Cauley, sleeping over or under the recommended length was linked to a 25 percent increase in odds of experiencing recurrent falls. "Falls are an important public health problem among older adults and lead to moderate to severe injuries. Most fractures occur because of falls, and recent evidence shows that mortality from falls in the U.S. is increasing," said Cauley.  

Gellad on Pfizer's plans to raise drug prices in 2019

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THE FISCAL TIMES - When drug giant Pfizer announced in July that it would roll back price hikes on its drugs, it made clear that the change was temporary. The company said Friday it is planning to raise the list prices on 41 of its drugs effective January 15. “The drug price pledges made earlier this year were just for show — it was obvious at the time, and it's obvious now,” said HPM's Walid Gellad.   

Roberts comments on 'skinny plan' health insurance offered on the ACA individual market

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WESA FM - For the first time since 2013, taxpayers won’t be penalized for not having health insurance. Some people might decide ACA-compliant coverage isn't something they need and instead might select a lower-cost “skinny plan.” HPM's Eric Roberts said it’s important to read the fine print before choosing this type of insurance.  

Singh honored with achievement award for tackling global health problems

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PITTWIRE - Research duo Tushar Singh (EPI '14) and Pitt Medicine's P. S. Reddy accepted the 2018 Sheth International Achievement Award, which is given every year to a Pitt faculty member and alumnus who are increasing Pitt’s global footprint with their work. Singh referred to EPI's Anne Newman as a close friend and mentor. Singh admitted lacking confidence in himself in early years, but said that Newman always encouraged him.  

Mara Hollander shares her research on opioid prescribing and physician relationships with pharmaceutical companies at APHA 2018

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APHA  - Mara Hollander (HPM) presented a poster titled Financial Relationships with Pharmaceutical Companies are Related to Increased Opioid Prescribing at APHA's 2018 annual meeting. Hollander matched Medicare Part D claims from Pennsylvania clinicians with 2014 Open Payments data. The final sample included approximately 12,500 PA providers who had at least 50 opioid prescriptions and 10 beneficiaries.  

Thistle Elias and Yuae Park share their research at APHA 2018 examining barriers preventing participants in the WISEWOMAN program from implementing healthy lifestyle changes

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APHA - Professor Thistle Elias (and alumna, BCHS '12) and doctoral student Yuae Park (BCHS '20) share their research examining the barriers preventing some participants in the WISEWOMAN (WW) program from implementing healthy lifestyle changes at APHA's 2018 annual meeting. The researchers interviewed 9 WW clients that perceived as many as seven barriers to participating in lifestyle programs.   

Student Abigail Cartus shares the results of a study on Pittsburgh household characteristics and birth weights at APHA 2018

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APHA - Doctoral student Abigail Cartus (EPI) presented a poster at APHA's 2018 annual meeting titled Neighborhood-level housing characteristics and birth weight in Pittsburgh, PA, 2009-2013. In this study, Cartus, EPI professor Dara Mendez, and colleagues analyzed data on all singleton births in the city of Pittsburgh, PA from 2009-2013 in relation to neighborhood-level data from the 2010 Census.   

Student Noreen Chatta shares her analysis of endoscope procedures and bacterial cultures at APHA 2018

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APHA - Noreen Chatta (IDM) presented her research on Safety of Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopic Procedures at a Large Academic Medical Center during a poster symposium at APHA's 2018 annual meeting. In this study, she assessed and monitored the safety of endoscopic procedures using microbiologic cultures and electronic medical records, evaluating for 30-day microbiologic results after endoscopic procedures.  

Platt included in What's Next: Politics

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THE INCLINE - Julie Platt (BCHS/MSW '19) has been selected as one of 25 Pittsburghers making a difference in the third class of What's Next: Politics. Platt was one of the first to join Emily Skopov’s campaign to challenge Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai for Pa. House District 28. Platt recruited volunteers, organized issue-centric canvasses, knocked on doors, and led the way with new ideas for the campaign, including community roundtable discussi... 

Hoang receives new practitioner of the year award from Kappa Psi Mountain East Province

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Congratulations to Karen Hoang (MMPH '22) for receiving the practitioner of the year award from Kappa Psi Mountain East Province. This award recognizes a member of Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Inc. Mountain East Province who has graduated in the past seven years and best balances his/her professional career with involvement in Kappa Psi.  

BCHS team tries new technique to share research with LGBTQ youth (video)

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Post-doctoral researcher Robert Coulter (BCHS '17), BCHS's Jessica Burke, and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) tried using a video approach to share highlights of Coulter's recent research on how welcoming school environments reduce drinking among both LGBT+ -identified students and their heterosexual counterparts.   

Gary-Webb organizes “Health Equity for African American Populations across the Lifespan" at APHA

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UPMC - When BCHS's Tiffany Gary-Webb helped develop the “Health Equity Now” theme for this year's APHA annual meeting, she realized that Pitt Public Health had something special to contribute. She organized a session titled “Health Equity for African American Populations across the Lifespan" to share the breadth of groundbreaking research and partnerships the school has formed in the past several years.   

Pitt Public Health study finds murder of family, friends takes highest toll on Black teens

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U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - Pitt researchers analyzed the results of a 2014 survey of just over 1,600 teens, aged 14 to 19, in Allegheny County and found that 13 percent said a friend or family member had been murdered. Teens who lose a family member or friend to murder have an increased risk of suicide, and black teens are most likely to face this kind of heartbreak. Authors on the study include BCHS's ELIZABETH MILLER and ALISON CULYBA.   

Richardson comments on advice against marijuana for pregnant and breastfeeding women

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REUTERS - Even though there are still a lot of unknowns about the effects of marijuana exposure in the womb and from breast milk, research to date still suggests that pregnant and nursing women avoid cannabis. Earlier studies "were conducted when marijuana was not as strong as what is currently available, so we are probably under-estimating the effects of prenatal marijuana use on offspring development,” said EPI's GALE RICHARDSON.  

Merlin comments on the effect of chronic pain on HIV outcomes

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE ADVISOR - Chronic pain is a frequent comorbidity in people living with HIV and may adversely affect antiretroviral therapy adherence and retention in care. A recent study provided useful insights into the complex interaction. When asked about the main takeaways, BCHS's JESSICA MERLIN said "I hope that this means that HIV providers and researchers will pay more attention to this important problem."  

Creasy's study provides recommendations to reduce recidivism in transgender women

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MEDICAL XPRESS - Previously incarcerated transgender women can find themselves caught in a cycle that leads to repeat jail time. A new analysis of Allegheny County identifies potential solutions that could lead to transgender women being more successfully reintegrated into society. "I think we are having a moment right now where the needs of transgender people are more visible," said STEPHANIE CREASY (BCHS '17).   

Albert comments on new report that found most violent injuries seen in ER are not reported to police

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REUTERS - The vast majority of violent injuries seen by doctors in emergency rooms are not reported to police, a new report suggests. “The brilliance of this article is it shows that if we do not link these two kinds of data we’re never going to have a full and accurate account of the level of violence in a community,” said BCHS's STEVE ALBERT.  

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Mendez among those discussing maternal mortality rate in Pitt Med's podcast 

Mendez among those discussing maternal mortality rate in Pitt Med's podcast

PITT WIRE - As estimated 700 to 900 U.S. women die of complications related to childbirth each year, and at least 60,000 women nearly die of pregnancy-related complications. And African American mothers are four times more likely to die or nearly die. Hear perspectives from EPI's Dara Mendez and th... (03/25/2019)
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Hernandez study investigates rising drug prices 

Hernandez study investigates rising drug prices

PITT WIRE - A recent study led by Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16), assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, found that new drugs entering the market drive up prices, but drug companies are also hiking prices on older drugs.  (01/30/2019)
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Arthur Levine: 20 years of impact 

Arthur Levine: 20 years of impact

PITT WIRE - After more than two decades of transformative service to the University of Pittsburgh, Arthur S. Levine has announced his intent to exit his position as senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and the John and Gertrude Petersen Dean in the School of Medicine. In a message to the ... (01/24/2019)


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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Analysis by King identifies patients most at risk for weight regain after bariatric surgery 

Analysis by King identifies patients most at risk for weight regain after bariatric surgery

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - In the years following bariatric surgery, a person's overall eating behaviors and the amount of time spent watching television, playing video games, and using a computer for recreation are a better indication of long-term weight loss success than specific weight control practi... (04/15/2019)
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Mailliard develops 'Swiss Army Knife' immunotherapy that kicks and kills HIV by exploiting a common virus 

Mailliard develops 'Swiss Army Knife' immunotherapy that kicks and kills HIV by exploiting a common virus

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - In a first on the quest to cure human immunodeficiency virus, IDM's Robbie Mailliard and colleagues developed an all-in-one immunotherapy approach that not only kicks HIV out of hiding in the immune system, but also kills it. The key lies in immune cells designed to recognize ... (04/15/2019)
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USF latest to use FRED to simulate measles outbreak in Florida 

USF latest to use FRED to simulate measles outbreak in Florida

WUSF NEWS - University of Pittsburgh's Public Health Dynamic Laboratory teamed up with the University of South Florida College of Public Health to create a new online measles simulator that shows how quickly measles can spread from just one measles case over a nine-month period.  (04/05/2019)