Faculty Stories

Faculty Spotlight: Jenna Colavincenzo Carlson

JENNA CARLSON (BIOST '17) is a familiar face to the Department of Biostatistics since receiving her PhD with us a few years ago. After finishing her PhD, she worked as a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Human Genetics for a year before joining Biostats as an assistant professor in August. Carlson is an outstanding educator and researcher with expertise in both statistical education and in population genetics.   

Bariatric surgery can reduce risks - but King's study finds it depends how much they can keep off after their operation

FORBES - Bariatric surgery can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death in obese people. But those who gained back 20 percent of weight lost were more than one-third more likely to develop diabetes and two-thirds more likely to have high cholesterol, according to a study conducted by a research team including EPI and BIOS professors, WENDY KING, STEVEN BELLE, ABDUS WAHED, MPH student, AMANDA HINERMAN (EPI '19), and other colleagues. ... 

Youk elected to International Statistical Institute

Congratulations to BIOST's Ada Youk who was recently elected to the International Statistical Institute (ISI). The ISI Mission is to lead, support and promote the understanding, development, and good practice of statistics worldwide, by providing the core global network for statistics.  

Biostatistics and Biomedical Informatics hold joint retreat

Pitt's departments of biostatistics and biomedical informatics held a half-day joint faculty retreat to share respective areas of work, identify common interests, and foster collaborations in research and education.  

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 inexorably tracking along an exponential growth curve since at least 1979.   

Faculty Spotlight: Lu Tang

LU TANG joined the Department of BIOSTATISTICS as an assistant professor on August 1. He received his PhD in biostatistics from the University of Michigan. He is developing an outstanding research program in statistical machine learning and methods for modern high dimensional data. These are extremely important areas for the department as we build for the future.   

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 epidemic depends on understanding the magnitude of the problem,” said lead author, BIOST's JEANINE BUCHANICH.   

Pitt Public Health study suggests there are thousands more opioid deaths than are being reported

US NEWS - Death certificates that did not specify the drugs involved in fatal overdoses may have masked more than 70K opioid-related deaths across the U.S. from 1999 to 2015. "Coroners... do not necessarily have medical training useful for completing drug information for death certificates based on toxicology reports," says BIOS' JEANINE BUCHANICH . DEAN BURKE and LAURAN BALMERT (BIOS ’17) coauthored the study.  

Racial disparity in premature deaths has narrowed since 1990

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - The past quarter century has brought a striking decline in earlier-than-expected deaths among blacks in the U.S. “We were surprised by these findings because they demonstrated such dramatic improvement,” said DEAN DONALD BURKE. “Our study shows that racial disparity in health outcomes is not inevitable. It can change, and the gap can be narrowed,” said BIOST's JEANINE BUCHANICH.   

Black Americans living longer, more whites fatally overdosing, says Buchanich

WESA-FM - Black Americans have historically lived shorter lives than whites, but BIOS’s JEANINE BUCHANICH found that the years of life lost gap has narrowed significantly since 1990. “It seems to show us that racial disparity and health outcome is not inevitable. Now it’s time to do some further study to see why this happened and how we can build on it.”  

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