ERIE NEWS - The CDC will award Pitt's Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) $700,000 in funding annually for the next five years to create the Northwest Pennsylvania Veteran Suicide Prevention Program, a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention, focusing especially on service members, veterans, and their families. Led by Jan Pringle (EPI '86), PERU employs several Pitt Public Health alumni in its various programs.
Jessica Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) have created a new form of public health research called Collaborative Filmmaking. The six-step process engages its participants to create a detailed, multimedia form of study rarely seen in the field.
Baumann said she knew Pitt was the right fit for her studies when she came across the work of Jessica Burke , professor and associate chair in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Scienc...
Nicolle Nestler (BCHS ’11) joined Binghamton University in November 2019 as a senior staff assistant for both Decker’s School of Rehabilitation Science, established the same year, and its Master of Public Health program.
Michael Edmond (IDM ’91) has been appointed as the new chief medical officer for the WVU Health System. He is currently serving as chief quality officer, associate chief medical officer, and clinical professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa. Edmond will begin his new position in November.
Derek Angus (BCHS ’92) named as associate vice chancellor for healthcare innovation.
This new role will complement his recent appointment as UPMC’s chief health care innovation officer, and foster strategic linkages between the two organizations. Dr. Angus will work to stimulate the fusion of multiple disciplines and skills, blending expertise in clinical care delivery with organization science, decision psychology, machine learning, Bayesian...
WBHM - This proof-of concept study suggests that the strategy of blocking virus with antibodies holds promise. Inmaculada “Inma” Hernandez (HPM ’16), Pitt School of Pharmacy, is hopeful, but she doubts that these drugs will be a game-changer. “These drugs are so complex to produce, probably we will not have antibodies available for treating everybody who gets coronavirus. They’re probably going to be considerably expensive.”
NPR – Pitt Medical Center’s Derek Angus (BCHS ’92) said that while some worried that steroids could also prevent the body from fighting off the coronavirus, all the coordinated studies reached the same conclusion, which is, I guess we have to stop our trials. It is reassuring that we can get randomized trials executed successfully and rapidly in the face of a pandemic, and it definitely puts us on a sure footing.
LOS ANGELES TIMES – A comprehensive study from Iceland revealed that natural antibodies remained stable for four months, longer than was first thought. HPM’s Derek Angus (BCHS ’92), UPMC’s critical care chief, said that “will be encouraging for people working on vaccines.” He added that the infection fatality rate of 0.3 percent is in keeping with recent estimates here in the U.S.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you stayed connected and maintained community connections? BCHS' Jessie Burke and Sara Baumann asked the Pitt community to respond with art projects, which are now available for viewing in a new virtual gallery featured on Pitt Public Health's website. "[A]rt space interventions like this project can be powerful approaches for reducing adverse physiological and psychological health outcomes," said Baumann. ...
REUTERS - HPM’s Derek Angus (BCHS '92) and Pitt's Erin McCreary coauthored a study editorial raising questions about whether some patients get more benefit from remdesivir than others and whether it matters if patients receive remdesivir and steroids together. It is still possible that remdesivir could improve recovery for millions of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, they added, but more research is needed before that becomes clear.
MEDICAL XPRESS - "We started this as a feasibility study to see if we could identify barriers to short-term PrEP use and make adjustments. But we were excited when we got the results and discovered that almost all the participants were adherent to the point of protection against HIV," said BCHS’ James Egan (BCHS '14). "This gives us a promising strategy to pursue in engaging at-risk men in HIV prevention efforts that work for them."
THE TELEGRAPH - Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of critical care medicine and HPM distinguished professor, says hard conversations about who should be prioritized will be needed both within and between countries. It might be decided that frontline workers should be at the head of the queue, but you could say that minorities who have a disproportionate burden of the disease should have a chance. You must be transparent about your principles of fair...
PUBLIC SOURCE - A new Gender Equity Commission report lists 11 recommended actions to address gender and racial disparities in Pittsburgh.Gender and race are at the center of its recommendations but the report also mentions how people who are differently abled, elderly or trans, for example, can feel discrimination more acutely. India Hunter (BCHS '19) voiced her concerns. "We, as a city, we’re really good at making a lot of documents and talkin...
Rajesh Pandav (EPI ‘01) is currently a WHO representative for the Timor-Leste government. Pandav provided a COVID-19 update on the situation in the island nation, the preparedness and response measures put into place, and addressed continuing challenges in a recent update that was posted to the YouTube channel for the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia
PITTSBURGH CURRENT—"Green is associated with 'go,' 'all clear,' 'nothing to worry about'—but during this pandemic, green could not be further from the truth." Doctoral candidate Chantele Mitchell-Miland (EPI '20) and advisor EPI's Dara Mendez explain why we all still need to be vigilant and practice infection prevention precautions. The authors discuss transmission, testing and tracing, disparate impacts, and the mental health toll, calling for ...
Kyanna Williams-Pate (BCHS ’19) provided sound public health advice on protecting yourself from COVID-19 during a recent interview on The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show. She also shared information about the free COVID testing available at the Federally Qualified Health Care Centers (FQHC) in Allegheny County.
The fewer who attempt suicide, the fewer that die by suicide. These results have "important clinical implications" that should motivate healthcare systems to implement brief interventions, commented epidemiologist David Brent (’87 Hyg) and Nadine M. Melhem. “We need to be prepared with brief suicide preventive interventions that every clinician could deliver face to face or through telemedicine.”
WESA - Coalition scientists have pushed to get more coronavirus testing into communities of need. To get that done, EPI’s Tiffany Gary-Webb said they mapped out where Black families live in poverty and lack access to quality medical care, and then created an overlay showing where the federally qualified county health centers were located. That model allowed the council to effectively increase access to testing within that area.
Congratulations to Zack Papalia who received his PhD in Kinesiology at the 2019 winter commencement at Penn State University. Papalia earned his Master of Public Health from the Department of Health Policy and Management in 2012.
Congratulations to Justin A. Dutta (IDM '19, HUGEN '23) who was recently awarded a Critical Languages Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study Portuguese. With an acceptance rate of less than 10%, the Critical Language Scholarship is one of the country's most competitive scholarships and the most prestigious language program for U.S. citizens.
Since the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, social media misinformation appears to be spreading faster than the virus itself, prompting the WHO to declare an "infodemic" of misinformation. During this conversation, BCHS's Steve Albert and Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) will discuss how COVID-19 related misinformation fits within the framework of science denialism, and provide strategies to help public health professionals and othe...
CONTAGION LIVE – In response to concerns about analyses of the relationship between morality and time-to-recovery remdesivir data, Andrew Althouse (EPI ’13), assistant professor at Pitt’s Division of General Internal Medicine, said that “deaths were assigned a failure to recover and the ‘worst’ time possible, so this does not result in a biased estimate of recovery.”
NPR - Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92) says the problem is that our system rewards tribalism, with insufficient motivation for effective collaboration. He's leading a fast-track remap trial for COVID-19, part of an international effort involving hundreds of investigators. He has lots of opinions about which drugs might work best, but he'd rather focus on a trial design that can be as modular as possible and let as many people in as possible.
CNN – The scramble for successful treatments is disjointed and chaotic, according to Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92). There are two million people who already have this disease. If even one in 10 has been able to participate in a trial, we could have gone through 100 different drugs by now and known definitively which ones worked or not. The disorder is global, and there aren’t enough tests right now to practice effective public health.
WASHINGTON POST - “It’s a cacophony—it’s not an orchestra. There’s no conductor,” said Pitt Med and HPM faculty's Derek Angus (BCHS '92), who is leading a covid-19 trial to test multiple therapies. “My heart aches over the complete chaos in the response.” The lack of coordination puts the world at risk of ending up with a raft of inconclusive and conflicting studies and little idea of what interventions work for the next wave of illness.
BCHS's Jessie Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) created this virtual community art project as an opportunity for our Pitt students, faculty, and staff members to nurture a sense of community by creating, connecting, and sharing experiences navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that is significantly affecting our lives. While the past several weeks have been incredibly challenging, through flexibility, ...
ASSOCIATED PRESS - A dozen patients had serious problems but it’s not clear whether they were from the drug or their disease. UPMC critical care chief and HPM faculty member Derek Angus (BCHS '92) said the recovery rate is good but “there is no way of knowing from this series if the antiviral drug was helpful.”
WTAE – “The solution is to find an optimal tradeoff between doing something now, such as prescribing a drug off-label, or waiting until traditional clinical trials are complete,” said Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of Pitt Med's Department of Critical Care Medicine. “By building this one-stop solution at the point-of-care, we are rolling out an approach that can assure that every patient admitted with COVID-19 can be enrolled in the program.”
Congratulations to Gabrielle Kyle-Lion (IDM '21) and Claire McCreavy (IDM '21), two MPH students in the infectious disease management, intervention, and community practice track who selected as 2020-21 Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows. Working with the Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh, their project will address the lack of preventative breast cancer screenings for immigrant women. Our four graduating fellows will be recognized at the 2020 Pittsbu...
Congratulations to Dr. John Shaffer (HUGEN '08), assistant professor of human genetics and oral biology, on being selected for the 2020 James L. Craig Award for Teaching Excellence. Craig awardees are nominated annually by students and selected by a committee of students and past awardees.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/SPOTLIGHT PA - At Prevention Point Pittsburgh, staff have been trying to raise awareness of COVID-19 for weeks. “If someone shows symptoms, they’re given gloves, a face mask, and extra harm reduction supplies so they can self-quarantine,” said executive director Aaron Arnold (BCHS '13). If the person wants medical help, the staff can arrange that, too. Since early March, they've been including a tip sheet in supply bags tha...
MEDSCAPE - In an editorial issued just days after these new guidelines, Pitt Med's Derek C. Angus (BCHS '92), who is also an HPM distinguished professor and associate editor with JAMA, and Lamontagne of Canada say these "represent an excellent first step toward optimal, evidence-informed care for patients with COVID-19.”
90.5 WESA – Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16) said what’s concerning is that discounts are often paid directly to insurers. This means people who are un- or under-insured generally don’t benefit from the markdowns. “This is probably increasing disparities in health care access…. We are not doing a good job of protecting patients against increases in co-pays, out-of-pocket costs and certainly those that don’t have insurance.”
Congratulations to doctoral alumnus Taylor Poston (IDM '17). His undergraduate institution, Francis Marion University, honored him with their Professional Industry Award, presented annually to a graduate who serves as a practitioner or researcher in the natural or behavioral sciences, including fields like ecological and environmental sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and applied natural science. View video interview.
TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT - What can you do when faced with a deadly pandemic? Pitt Public Health alumna and Pitt-Johnstown professor Jill Henning (IDM '08) offers: You can socially distance yourself. You may get sick and be OK, but your elderly neighbor may not have it so lucky. Stay home. Wash your hands regularly.
GLOBE NEWSWIRE - Predictive Oncology Inc., an AI-driven discovery services company providing predictive models of tumor drug response to improve clinical outcomes for patients, today announced the unanimous appointment of doctoral alumnus Daniel Handley (HUGEN '08) to its Board of Directors. Handley serves as professor and director of the Clinical and Translational Genome Research Institute at the Southern California University of Health Scienc...
Yvette Conley (Hugen '93, '99) was recognized with a 2020 Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in the senior scholar category for the role she played in shaping the interface between genomics and nursing. A leader in molecular genetics, Conley was the first geneticist appointed in a nursing school to infuse genomics into nursing sciences. She serves as professor and vice chair for research in Pitt's School of Nursing and was previously reco...
WESA - Local residents voiced trepidation at a meeting in Homewood about the use of algorithms to guide criminal justice, law enforcement, and child welfare decisions. But left to their own devices, judges could be more arbitrary, countered University of Pittsburgh Public Health Professor Eric Hulsey (BCHS ’08). “On the flip side, you could use [algorithms] to take away that power from them and say, ‘No, you don’t get full discretion.’”
PITT NURSE MAGAZINE - Claudia Kregg-Byers RN, MPH (MMPH ’14), PhD teaches her senior students in Pitt Nursing’s Department of Health and Community Systems that health doesn’t begin and end at the bedside but encompasses where someone comes from—a whole confluence of communal and individual factors: environment, county, neighborhood, home, culture, standard of living, education, socioeconomic status, friendships, family, support systems.
POLITICO - “It comes back to financial incentives,” said Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16), who cited her paper published in JAMA a week ago. Once biosimilars entered the market, list prices for their biologic rivals stagnated while net prices began declining. This shows brand companies were offering bigger rebates to PBMs to try to keep market share away from biosimilars.
UNLV NEWS CENTER - Pitt Public Health doctoral alumnus Jason Flatt (BCHS ’13) is helping lead efforts on human sexuality while building a research program on LGBTQ and aging at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Public Health. "One of the best things about public health is its interdisciplinary nature,"
according to Flatt, who says it allows him to tap into fields as diverse as sociology, medicine, nursing, and psychology.
HULU - Available now on the streaming service, Vice Investigates “Anti-Vaxx Fever” explores the growing anti-vaccine movement. The documentary features in-depth looks at the varied work of professor Mark Roberts and of student Beth Hoffman (BCHS ’19 ’23). Each uses system science methods to investigate the dangers of this movement, generating compelling images that are powerful tools for communicating science to the public.
MEDPAGE TODAY – The chair of Pitt Med’s Department of Critical Care Medicine, Derek Angus (BCHS '92), sees the need for more evaluation of machine learning in medical practice. Just as computer scientists wrestle with the curse of dimensionality when generating an AI algorithm, clinical investigators wrestle similarly when evaluating the utility of the algorithm. Such evaluation could overwhelm standard RCT designs.
THE GUARDIAN – A 2019 report published in the journal Health Affairs found drug costs are driven largely by pharmaceutical manufacturers’ year-on-year price hikes on drugs already on the market rather than by innovation, as often claimed by the industry. Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16), lead author of the study, says, “Our results are relevant from a policy perspective because they show that price increases do not necessarily reflect innovation o...
PUBLICSOURCE - Until salary caps are removed, Heather Tomko (HPM ’19) must constantly choose between her career and her health. Right now, people with disabilities are barred from positions of power and influence because they can’t afford the accompanying salary. Without people with disabilities in these positions, the needs of people with disabilities aren’t represented in policy.
Congratulations to Kara Goyla (BCHS ') who graduated from Drexel's PA program on December 14 and passed her boards! She was inducted into Pi Alpha, the National Physician Assistant Honor Society and received the Benjamin Eskin Memorial Award "for the PA student who demonstrated exceptional effort and demonstrated qualities of personal dedication and integrity." Golya sends her gratitude and states she could not have made it through this arduous ...
Congrats to BCHS's Elizabeth Felter and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19). Their article "Development of a Community-Engaged Classroom for Teaching Health Communications: Lessons Learned from Nine Semesters of Implementation," has been selected as a Pedagogy in Health Promotion's 2019 Best Paper of the Year Award. This is a great honor!
EVERYDAY HEALTH - “Even when patients have insurance, these price increases result in very high out-of-pocket costs for them,” says study coauthor Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16). Twelve percent said they had to stop taking their medication for a time due to cost, and 8 percent have taken less than prescribed to stretch their drugs to last longer.
BBC - One in five deaths around the world is caused by sepsis, also known as blood poisoning. Derek Angus (’92 BCHS), now distinguished professor and Mitchell P. Fink Endowed Chair of Critical Care Medicine at Pitt School of Medicine, has contributed to a groundbreaking study finding that sepsis is twice as common as health officials have long believed, about 20 percent of all deaths worldwide.
More Pitt Public Health News
Jonnathan Busko (CHS '98) was selected as one of the NRHA's 2020 Rural Health Fellows. This year-long, intensive program is aimed at developing leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America. Since 2018 he's been working with the Jackman, Maine region to develop a locally controlled and community-supported urgent and emergency health care access plan based on Informed Community Self Determination principles using Expa...