Epi Faculty News

Challenges we face against the next public health crisis? Gary-Webb says preparation is key

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - "Preparation is key. There has been disinvestment in our public health infrastructure over the past decade including systems for data collection and dissemination, workforce development, and coordination which prohibited an efficient or effective response to this COVID-19 crisis," said EPI's TIffany Gary-Webb. "Further, the delays in tracking and mitigating the impact of the pandemic in Black, brown, and other vulnerabl... 

Nachega among experts looking at 'Shocking imbalance' of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, underscoring inequity

HEALIO - IDM and EPI's Jean Nachega and colleagues published a perspective in The New England Journal of Medicine that said concerns about access to COVID-19 vaccines in Africa resemble concerns regarding access to ART for HIV in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, when it was more accessible in high-income countries than African countries – “a disparity that resulted in many preventable deaths in these high-burden settings,” they wrote.  

A fun, rewarding way to give back and make the public healthier

EPI's Nancy Glynn (EPI '94) is the PittCoVax volunteer coordinator and has volunteered herself with students and staff from Pitt Public Health. "I was thrilled to work side-by-side with an awesome, energetic group of faculty, staff, and students," said Glynn. She also talked about building community and the importance of the vaccine.   

CDC Limits Review of Vaccinated But Infected. Harrison Among Those to Express Concern

BLOOMBERG - Clinical trials weren’t designed to study how the vaccines perform in specific subgroups and people with certain medical conditions weren’t included, said EPI and IDM's Lee Harrison, also with Pitt Medicine.   

Kamboh co-PI on $10.7M for Alzheimer's Disease Genetic Research

UPMC - A new project with Washington University School of Medicine funded by the NIH aims to advance Alzheimer's research using whole genome sequencing to address a critical knowledge gap. HUGEN and EPI's Ilyas Kamboh is part of a research team that plans to identify the genetic variants, genes and pathways that lead to formation of plaques and tangles - two biomarkers that appear 15-25 years before symptoms.    

King discusses vaccine hesitancy paper and looking at hesitance by occupation

KDKA AM - "Our hope as public health professionals is that overtime, people that are vaccine hesitant now will be willing to take the vaccine [in the future]," said EPI's Wendy King, lead author on a recent paper looking at vaccine hesitancy by occupation.   

Newman: Remote Research and Clinical Trial Integrity During and After the Coronavirus Pandemic

JAMA NETWORK - EPI Chair Anne Newman is co-author on a recent publication evaluating the affect of remote research needs through coronavirus mitigation efforts on clinical trials, finding that reducing unnecessary participant travel may be beneficial but that other factors can compromise the validity and integrity of certain trials and that deciding to conduct future trials remotely should be considered carefully.   

Mendez talks Black Maternal Health in Adagio Health's Better Health Outcomes Speakers Series

In observance of Black Maternal Health week, EPI's Dara Mendez presented Black Maternal Health in Pennsylvania and the U.S., presenting data, discussing the implcations of racism and next steps. Open for the full recording.   

Gary-Webb on vaccine inequity between Black and White Allegheny County residents

WESA - Gary-Webb agrees that the mass vaccination sites were an important and effective way to quickly inoculate a large number of people. But now that nearly half of Allegheny County’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, she said it is time to shift efforts to clinics that target specific populations. This is due not only to vaccine hesitancy concerns, but also to the fact that some people who are still unvaccinated face m... 

Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition report shows disparity in vaccine rollout in Allegheny County

Though they've been working since long before vaccines were available - for 57 weeks - the Black COVID-19 Equity Coaltion recently released a report on equity in vaccine distribution in Allegheny County. "This particular report...is focused on data related to vaccine distribution, understanding the disparities in distribution so far and making recommendations on what we can do, not only on data infrastructure issues but how we can use data to un... 

Harrison explains need for COVID vaccine boosters (video)

WPXI - "We will definitely need boosters," said EPI's Lee Harrison, who is also faculty at Pitt Medicine. Because of "the efficacy over time against standard straings of COVID-19 and then also what's going to happen with all of these variants that have been circulating globally," we'll need additional vaccine doses. "I think it will be more like the annual flu shot. And there's even some discussion about trying to combine the COVID vaccine with ... 

Sundermann and Harrison describe genomic surveillance and ending the COVID-19 pandemic

THE CONVERSATION - Knowing the genome sequence helps researchers understand how the virus is mutating into variants and how it's traveling from person to person. Alexander Sundermann (IDM '14, EPI '22), EPI and IDM's Lee Harrison, and Pitt Medicine's Vaughn Cooper explain genomic surveillance - what it is and why we need more of it to track coronavirus variants and help end the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Burke: First COVID-19 vaccine shot just as effective as the second

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Two of the three COVID-19 vaccines being administered to curb the spread of the disease require two shots for full protection, but some experts say one shot may be enough, at least for now. "As soon as I saw the reports on the Moderna and Pfizer applications for emergency use authorization, I saw both had striking effectiveness," said EPI's Donald Burke.   

Bodnar receives SER Carol J. Hogue Mid-Career Award

Congratulations to EPI's Lisa Bodnar for receiving the 2021 Society for Epidemiologic Research Carol J. Rowland Hogue Award recognizing a mid-career scientist who has made an exceptional contribution to the practice of epidemiology. Hear from the 2021 awardees at the SER 2021 Virtual Conference June 23-25.   

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