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What drives 'anti-vaxxer' parents? It's a mixed bag, Hoffman shows

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U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - People who voice their anti-vaccine sentiments online range from conspiracy theorists to parents who have safety worries or interests in alternative medicine. Investigators, including Beth Hoffmann (BCHS '19), came to that conclusion after looking into a viral Facebook attack targeting a Pittsburgh pediatric practice that posted a video encouraging HPV vaccination.   

A Multisite Case Study of Caregive Advise, Record, Enable Act Implementation

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THE GERONTOLOGIST - Leighton C, Fields B, Rodakowski JL, Feiler C, Hawk M, Bellon JE, James AE's results showed that organizational context and electronic health record capability were instrumental to the CARE Act implementation and integration into workflow. This study can help to inform others as they design and improve their compliance and implementation strategies.   

BCHS's Hawk and Gary-Webb participate in event honoring recently promoted women faculty

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BCHS associate professors Mary Hawk and Tiffany Gary-Webb participated in the provost's recent event, “A Celebration of Newly Promoted Women Faculty.” Sponsored by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Concerns (PACWC), the event featured a panel of accomplished women professors offering perspectives and advice for successful academic careers and then introduced the recently promoted women among the faculty. The event was part of Pitt's on... 

Pitt MHA rises in national rankings

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US NEWS & WORLD REPORT- In the 2020 rankings of best graduate schools, Pitt's Master of Health Administration (MHA) program surged from 29th to 17th nationally among programs in health care management. The move was one of the largest in the country, positioning the Pitt MHA as the highest-ranked program in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  

Pyne to give inaugural Dipankar Chakraborti Memorial Lecture

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BIOST's Saumyadipta Pyne, scientific director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, will deliver the first lecture in the series on geostatistical prediction models in public health at Jadavpur University in India on March 15, 2019.   

Everette James appointed to serve as interim dean

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Sr. Vice Chancellor Levine announced his appointment of Everette James as interim dean, effective upon the stepping down of Dean Donald Burke on July 1, 2019. "I am confident that Everette will provide strong leadership for the school during this important transition period." Levine also appointed Eleanor Feingold as executive associate dean, working "with Everette to build upon GSPH’s history of excellence in education, research, and community ... 

Gellad talks about rising cost of prescription drugs

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MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO - Americans spend more on prescription drugs than anyone else in the world, a fact attributed to the ever rising costs of pharmaceuticals. HPM's Walid Gellad discusses a recent Congressional hearing, in which pharmaceutical executives claim that their hands are tied by the current health care system, and that they need profits to fund new research.  

Wenzel identifies corticosteroid response phenotypes for severe asthma

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MEDPAGE TODAY - With the aid of a computational tool, Wenzel says they have identified key phenotypes among patients with severe asthma that can help predict who may benefit and not benefit from treatment with systemic corticosteroids (CS). Aware of the possible side effects, EOH's Sally Wenzel said, “physicians would like to prescribe them only to patients they know will benefit from them.”  

Hernandez comments on new poll: Americans Support Government Action to Curb Prescription Drug Prices

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NPR - "With the current awareness and the bipartisan agreement in the recognition of drug prices as a major concern, we are in an optimal environment for the design and implementation of policies targeted at controlling prices, and assuring the affordability of medications to the U.S. public,” states Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16). "Financial barriers for medication…are having a detrimental effect on our fellow citizens' health."  

Marques finds that previous exposure to Dengue Fever protects against Zika

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90.5 WESA - Pitt researchers have found that previous exposure to Dengue Fever lowers the risk of infection from the Zika virus. “If we use currently approved Dengue vaccines or vaccines that are already close to become approved, you could boost Dengue responses... and could provide some degree of protection [against the Zika virus]” said IDM's Ernesto Marques, the study’s senior author.  

Examining the Impact of a Psychosocial Syndemic on Past Six-Month HIV Screening Behavior of Black Men who have Sex with Men in the United States

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AIDS AND BEHAVIOR - Chandler C, Bukowski LA, Egan JE, Hawk M, Matthews D, Markovic N, Stall R revealed that tere were synergies among depression, problematic binge drinking, and poly-drug usebut these pschosocial factors cannot entirely explain testing patterns and excess disease burden among BMSM.   

Multifactorial discrimination, discrimination salience, and prevalent experiences of internalized homophobia in middle-aged and older MSM

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AGING AND MENTAL HEALTH - Meanley SP, Stall RD, Hawk ME, Surkan PJ, Shoptaw SJ, Matthews DD, Teplin LA, Egan JE, Plankey MW's study underscores internalized homophobia as a persisting concern among MSM in midlife and older adulthood. Their findings suggest that saliences, as a characteristic of discrimination experiences, may have a greater impact on internalized homophobia compared with exposure.   

I Don't Want the Tray to Tip: Experiences of Peer Evaluators in a Multi-Site HIV Retention Care Study

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AIDS EDUCATION AND PREVENTION - Dr. Mary Hawk and co-authors found that peers are well-positioned to collect client-level data, best practices, standards, and trainings for peer-based evaluation should be developed.   

Burke on overdose deaths in Pittsburgh declining sharply

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW - "At this point, I'm not confident it is a permanent change for the good or if we're just returning to the expected curve," Dean Donald Burke said. "In our paper in Science a few months ago, we showed overdoses from all drugs, not just opioids, have been growing exponentially for 40 years. Occasionally it speeds up and slows down, but the growth curve always snapped back."   

Burke talks to The Economist about charting "the death curve"

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THE ECONOMIST - Charting overdose deaths shows an exponential curve increasing at a constant clip of 7.6% per year. Some modellers argue that the death curve might even continue its acceleration. “Anyone who tells me otherwise has to show me why that curve should bend now when it hasn’t in the face of the war on drugs and the rise and fall of other drugs,” says Dean Donald Burke.  

Padiath and colleagues 'see' dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Our cells sometimes have to squeeze through pretty tight spaces. And when they do, the nuclei inside must go along for the ride. Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, HUGEN’s Quasar Padiath made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear envelope and gives tantalizing clues as to how cells squish through narrow openings without springing a leak.  

Wenzel's new method identifies which asthma patients respond to system corticosteroids

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While important in the treatment of the common and often life-long respiratory disease, corticosteroids aren't without side effects and for some patients, the treatment just isn't as effective. EOH Chair Sally Wenzel and colleagues used a machine learning algorithm and identified variables that allowed them to cluster patients based on response.   

MMPH alumna honored with Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award

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Tammy Haley (MMPH '13) was honored with the 2019 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award at Pitt's Honors Convocation ceremony.  The annual award recognizes teaching excellence and includes both a cash prize of $2,000 and a grant of $3,000 to support the faculty member's teaching activities.   

Grubs receives 2019 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award

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Human genetics professor Robin Grubs was honored with the 2019 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. Presented at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony in February, the award recognizes excellence in teaching by members of the University of Pittsburgh’s faculty as evidenced by students, colleagues, department chairs, and deans. Each faculty awardee wins a cash prize of $2,000 and a grant of $3,000 to support his or her teaching activities.... 

Meet Alexa Meinhardt (EPI '19), Dean's Scholar

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"I love that public health is a perfect blend of science and humanity," says Alexa Meinhardt (EPI '19). "Public health touches literally everything in our daily lives--from the fluoride in our water, to the seatbelts in our cars, to the after-school programs for children, to insurance coverage, and so much more," she says. "I love knowing that my work is interdisciplinary and requires collaboration with many different people."  

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EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe. 

EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe.

PITT MAGAZINE - Lauren Chubb, DrPH, MPH (EOH ’16, ’13) occasionally dons a hard hat to see the results of her work in the lab. Her team at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Mining Program has developed software to analyze respirable dust samples in just a few minutes, rath... (08/05/2019)
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Chaves-Gnecco Named 2019 Pediatrician of the Year 

Chaves-Gnecco Named 2019 Pediatrician of the Year

PITTWIRE - Diego Chaves-Gnecco (MMPH '00) has been named 2019 Pediatrician of the Year by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania Chapter. The award recognizes a chapter member who exemplifies excellence in the profession. (05/29/2019)
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National, county research partnerships use AI to better predict opioid overdose risk 

National, county research partnerships use AI to better predict opioid overdose risk

PITTWIRE - HPM's Walid Gellad is using machine-learning algorithms to predict who is at risk of opioid misuse and overdose, teaming up with Allegheny County officials and national health care databanks in two separate studies.  (05/29/2019)


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. 

Pitt Public Health finds weight-loss patients at higher risk of death from substance use disorders 

Pitt Public Health finds weight-loss patients at higher risk of death from substance use disorders

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - The death rate from drug- and alcohol-related causes in people who've had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is nearly triple that of the general public, according to research led by EPI's Wendy King. The study also found that fewer than half of those who died had triggered a sa... (06/27/2019)

Pitt Public Health sheds light on 'black box' of inpatient opioid use 

Pitt Public Health sheds light on 'black box' of inpatient opioid use

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - People who receive opioids for the first time while hospitalized have double the risk of continuing to receive opioids for months after discharge compared with their hospitalized peers who are not given opioids, according to research led by HPM's Julie Donohue.  (06/27/2019)
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Pitt Public Health epidemiologist to lead creation of global infectious disease data system 

Pitt Public Health epidemiologist to lead creation of global infectious disease data system

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Backed by a five-year, $6.7 million National Institutes of Health grant, PHDL's Wilbert Van Panhuis will lead a culture shift in data-sharing rippling through scientific fields and harness it to improve global knowledge of infectious diseases.  (06/06/2019)