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Pitt Public Health surpasses 7,000 alumni with 2018 Convocation ceremony

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On Sunday, April 29, Pitt Public Health welcomed over 200 graduates into the school's alumni community at our annual Convocation. “Our alumni cohort is now 7,000 people deep, since the school’s founding 70 years ago. Our impressive alumni give the school an international network of influence and the ability to impact a huge spectrum of public health issues,” said Senior Associate Dean ELEANOR FEINGOLD.  

How ‘price transparency’ could affect high cost of U.S. prescription drugs

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WIKITRIBUNE - The White House released a rough plan to rein in drug prices that included price transparency. The argument is that drug companies might shy away from raising prices if they knew the public was watching. "Just notifying us whether there’s a price increase, that’s not really going to have any effect,” says HPM's WALID GELLAD. “Many of these state laws also have very low fines if they don’t report this data.”  

Kahn speaks on the challenge to report new CMS sepsis measure

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THE HOSPITALIST - In October 2015, CMS implemented its first meaningful policy to attempt for addressing sepsis, however, not everyone has embraced it thus far. “Sepsis is indeed a critical public health problem, and it’s appropriate and valuable that Medicare and other policy makers are focusing on sepsis,” said HPM's JEREMY KAHN. "But at 85-pages long, it really is an enormous effort for hospitals to adhere to this measure."  

Power from the ground up: A garden in Larimer shows collaboration across fault lines

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PUBLIC SOURCE - At first, some were skeptical about the African Healing Garden in Larimer. Too often outside forces dropped projects into the neighborhood without knowing the people there. However, EPI's HEATHER ENG says the garden is a “bridge” for the people that live there. Sharing Facebook posts of its progress has "helped us all have something that we can talk about with enthusiasm and appreciation.”   

Is there a connection between Pittsburgh's high rates of asthma and autoimmune disorders?

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Environmental Health News - Pittsburgh would be an ideal place for further study on the links between air pollution, asthma, and autoimmune disease, says EOH chair SALLY WENZEL. "There's a lot of evidence now that what you breathe may impact your lungs in many ways, and could actually start an autoimmune process. That's a link we haven't fully explored in this region yet."  

Swayze weighs in on 5 things community paramedics need to know about the opioid epidemic

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EMS1 - Many EMS agencies are reporting record numbers of overdose-related 911 responses and unprecedented amounts of naloxone being administered during resuscitative efforts. Many systems are turning to new mobile integrated health care and community paramedicine approaches to help. DAN SWAYZE (BCHS '09) shares the 5 things community paramedics should know to be effective.   

Rift Valley fever in animals and humans: Current perspectives

ANTIVIRAL RESEARCH - McMillen and Hartman discuss the historical role of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) as a biological weapon and conclude with an outline of the important unanswered questions for ongoing research into this important zoonotic disease.  

Pan on suicide stats from Allegheny Country getting worse

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Suicides in Allegheny County have increased 66 percent over just eight years from 2010 to 2017. The increase is far higher than the 25 percent national increase, or the 30 percent increase in Pennsylvania over 18 years between 1999 and 2016. “This is really upsetting to me because for so long our [suicide] rates were going down,” said HUGEN's LISA PAN.   

Lin receives best poster award at SAGES 2018 conference

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BIOS student, HUANG LIN (PhD '21), won the prize for best poster presentation at SAGES 2018, the Symposium on Advances in Genomics, Epidemiology, and Statistics conference. Huang presented his work on developing a novel methodology for analyzing microbiome data. The title of his poster was "Analysis of Differential Abundance of Taxa in Microbiome Studies Using An Off-Set Based Linear Regression."  

Brent on suicide rates climbing across the nation

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NY TIMES - Suicide rates rose steadily in nearly every state from 1999 to 2016, increasing 25 percent nationally. Studies found that slightly more than half of people who had committed suicide did not have any known mental health condition. “The reason most suicide decedents don’t have a known mental disorder is that they were never diagnosed, not that they didn’t have one,” said EPI's DAVID BRENT.   

Belle honored for contributions to clinical trials

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UPMC - EPI's STEVEN BELE has been named a fellow of the Society for Clinical Trials, recognized for outstanding leadership for several multicenter studies of surgical outcomes and other treatment trials across a wide range of conditions and applications. “It’s an honor to be recognized by those who themselves are leaders in the premier international society devoted to clinical trials and other health care research."   

Chernoff plays Belle in "Beauty and the Yeast Infection"

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THE PITT NEWS - This year's play from Pitt Medicine's theater group Scope and Scalpel was a classic tale of "Beauty and the Beast" revamped in a satirical production called "Beauty and the Yeast Infection." EVA CHERNOFF (MMPH '19) starred as Belle.   

New roles for Cauley and Ayyavoo

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JANE CAULEY, who has served as the associate dean for research, will be stepping down from that position to take on additional responsibilities as the executive vice chair of EPI. Cauley is also a distinguished professor of epidemiology. VELPANDI AYYAVOO, currently associate dean for faculty affairs and IDM professor, will become the associate dean for research and faculty affairs. Congratulations!   

Gary-Webb and Mendez talk Project Hunger (Video)

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WTAE - More than 325,000 people in southwestern Pennsylvania are food insecure according to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Rural areas are particularly vulnerable. "If groceries stores are miles away, it'll be very difficult to get to those," says BCHS's TIFFANY GARY-WEBB. "Some do have access to food but it may not be the most helpful food," says EPI's DARA MENDEZ.   

MHA alumna MonaLisa Beckford talks about deciding to go to grad school

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LINKEDIN - Wondering about graduate school? Here are four factors that make graduate school worth the risk.  

'Invisible workforce' of caregivers is wearing out as boomers age

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STAR TRIBUNE - Growing numbers of Americans face the challenge of caring for an aging parent or other loved one, a burden that will skyrocket as 76 million baby boomers move into their 80s and need help coping with dementia, cancer, heart disease, or just plain frailty and old age. “I don’t think people have really connected all those dots, other than those of us who are doing this work,” said RICHARD SCHULZ, EPI and BCHS professor.  

Pittsburgh #15 best big college town in America

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MSN - Schools that boast a great campus environment and also happen to sit in an exceptional college town truly have the best of both worlds. Of 415 cities evaluated including looking at each area’s “wallet friendliness” (cost of living), “social environment” (demographics, entertainment options), and “academic and economic opportunities” (education quality, job opportunities, earning potential), Pittsburgh came in at #15.   

Why aren't we spending more on public health?

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NEW YORK TIMES - Not only have many public health interventions been hugely successful, but they’ve also saved more money than they’ve cost. And yet Americans spend relatively little money in that domain and far more on medical care that returns less value for its costs. Instead of continually complaining about how much is being spent on health care with little to show for it, maybe we should direct more of that money to public health.  

Roberts on one way people who inject drugs can avoid HIV and Hepatitis C infections

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US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - Tens of thousands of people (if not more) who inject heroin, fentanyl and other opioids are at risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C from a contaminated syringe. Research shows that programs in which people who inject drugs turn in their used needles in exchange for clean ones are effective in preventing the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, says HPM chair MARK ROBERTS.  

Some good news from the fight against opiods

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THE ECONOMIST - Prescription medications are likely to have been pushed down by lower availability of those drugs. Official data from the CDC show that prescription rates were nearly 20% lower in 2016 than at their 2012 peak. IQVIA, a health consultancy, reckons that prescriptions fell by another 10% in 2017. DEAN BURKE thinks there is “almost certainly cause and effect” between prescription rates and deaths.   

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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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