Epi Department News

The Struggle to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines for Health Care Workers

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CNN - EPI's Wendy King said people indicated they were receptive to the vaccine if they were familiar with its science. Educators, overall, displayed the least hesitancy; workers in construction, mining and oil/gas extraction showed the greatest. Half of those who were hesitant cited possible side effects—a fear that could be eased by education, King said.  third among the hesitant group gave other reasons: They didn't believe they needed the  

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

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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

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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.  

Robinson and Schiff win at Health Disparities and Social Justice Poster Competition

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Taylor Robinson won the master's prize at this year's poster competition from the Office of Health Sciences Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for her poster Examining Role of Environmental Pollution, Healthcare Access, and Social Vulnerability in Asthma Emergency Department Visits in Allegheny County. Mary Schiff won the doctoral award with her work The Differential Impact of Residential Segregation on Gestational Hypertension Development Among M... 

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

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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.   

Sundermann named APIC Fellow

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Alexander Sundermann (IDM '14, EPI '22), was named a 2021 fellow of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The status is "a distinction of honor for infection preventionists who are not only advanced practitioners of infection prevention practice, but also leaders within the field." Fellows are selected by their years of experience and contributions to the field of infection prevention. Congratulations!   

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

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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

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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.    

Special Report: Dementia wards in PA were ravaged during the pandemic. Nace explains.

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US NEWS/POST-GAZETTE - Sixy-seven percent of big outbreaks were in personal care and assisted living homes with dementia units. Just keeping infections from dementia wards has been daunting, said David Nace (EPI '95), chief medical officer for UPMC Senior Communities and co-lead of the state's regional collaborative that responds to outbreaks in long-term care homes in Western Pennsylvania.   

Althouse: Why Number Needed to Treat Can be Misleading for Vaccines

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MEDSCAPE - Andrew Althouse (EPI '13) authored a piece discussing how the "number needed to treat" (NNT) concept is misleading when applied blindly to vaccine trials for COVID-19.   

King discusses vaccine hesitancy paper and looking at hesitance by occupation

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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

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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

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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

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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... 

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