Epi Department News

Identical twin kidney transplants warrant gene sequencing, Jorgensen says

MEDICAL EXPRESS - Researchers including Dana Jorgensen (EPI '14) found that kidney transplants between identical twins have high success rates, but also high rates of immunosuppressant use. About half of patients were on immunosuppresant drugs a year after transplant, but survival rates were about the same regardless. "Once you confirm that the organ donor and recipient are identical, that's really a best-case scenario," said Jorgensen. "It's al... 

El Khoudary, Thurston recognized by North American Menopause Society

EPI's Samar El Khoudary was elected as a new NAMS board member and also received a poster prize for work presented during the meeting. El Khoudary is also faculty at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. EPI's Rebecca Thurston was elected 2019-20 President of NAMS. Thurston is also faculty in psychiatry and psychology. Congratulations!   

Brent’s findings help high school kids look out for one another

THE LACONIA DAILY SUN - We know that human compassion, connection, and kindness can make a difference for someone experiencing emotional distress. Studies now show that mental illness and its consequences affect 25 percent of the U.S. population. Of those, 50 percent develop mental illness by age 14, 75 percent by age 24. The fastest growing rate of suicide is in children age 10 to 14, said EPI’s David Brent, who has studied adolescent suicide s... 

Boston cites Chang, Kuller, and Matthews study that says optimists live longer

FORBES - As early as 2009, EPI’s Yue-Fang Chang, Karen Matthews, and Lewis Kuller carried out a personality test with 97,253 women that assessed their levels of optimism and pessimism. Researchers compared the top quartile of the most optimistic women with the bottom quartile of the most pessimistic women.  

Bodnar's study seeks to guide maternal weight gain in twin pregnancies

HEALTH NEWS DIGEST - An old adage urges pregnant women to “eat for two.” So with twins, is it “eat for three?” While that is likely bad advice, when it comes to twin pregnancies, EPI's Lisa Bodnar says, “Twin pregnancies have high rates of complications, so it is important to identify factors that we can modify during pregnancy to lessen these risks.”  

Faculty speak out on “Inequality Across Gender and Race” report

Faculty members Dara Mendez (EPI) and Tiffany Gary-Webb (EPI/BCHS) shared some thoughtful criticisms of the “Inequality Across Gender and Race ” report recently issued by the city.  These two Pitt Public Health faculty members were co-signers of a letter responding to the report and challenging city leadership to take this issue seriously. Find out more...  

Epidemiology students share internships and practica during “Epi-in-Action” symposium

Reporting on recent internships and practica, epidemiology students reported on summer research and practice experiences in our region and around the world. The O’Hara Student Center ballroom buzzed as faculty and staff learned about field initiatives, practical applications, and lessons learned.  

Former students and colleagues return to honor Dean Emeritus Burke

A Festschrift Symposium honoring Donald S. Burke was held on Friday, September 13, 2019, at the University of Pittsburgh. Burke served as dean of the Graduate School of Public Health and associate vice chancellor for global health at the University of Pittsburgh from 2006 to 2019, making him the longest-serving dean in school history. Invited speakers representing Burke’s major areas of scientific contribution include Jeanine Buchanich of Pitt P... 

Barkin Index measures how mother's are doing post-partum

MERCER NEWS - Jennifer Barkin (EPI ’09, BIOST ’02), has created a new tool that could help disrupt the maternal health crisis. During her time at Pitt Public Health, Barkin created the Barkin Index to measure how a new mother is functioning in her day-to-day post-baby life. Now her index is being used in clinical trials by a drug company which created a drug for post-partum depression. Additionally, her index is being used by a technology compan... 

Thurston shows more hot flashes could up odds for heart trouble

WEB MD - EPI's Rebecca Thurston ifound that frequent or persistent hot flashes are linked to higher odds of heart attack and stroke. The finding stems from a 20-year study of about 3,300 women during menopause. "The [heart events] were not explained by things like blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, exercise or smoking, which are our usual suspects," said Thurston.  

Burke talks about how to control the river of legal painkillers flowing through Allegheny County

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - There were 76 billion pills prescribed across the country from 2006-2012. In that time, prescriptions in Allegheny county went from 46 pills per person per year to 58. EPI's Donald Burke said that there is still a long way to go in terms of controlling this first step of the addiction process: prescribing of drugs.   

Study finds microplastics turning up in human stool. Adibi talks moving the research forward.

PHYSICIAN'S WEEKLY - Tiny bits of plastic may be getting into our bodies, a new study suggests. EPI's Jennifer Adibi point out that “[the study] does shine a light on a different way of looking at the impact of plastics on health. “Until now we have been focused on measuring and studying the health effects of the chemicals in plastics. “Now we need to extend that thinking to include the intact particles of plastics.”  

Taylor baked his way to first place and a book deal

PITT WIRE -  Chris Taylor (SHRS ’04, EPI ’10) originally started baking as a way to relax while studying at Pitt Public Health. After entering, and winning, their first competition on a whim, Taylor and husband Paul Arguin, who are both epidemiologists at the CDC, continued baking and competing as a creative release from their day jobs.  

Too old for president? Newman says health and fitness are better indicator than age

AP - “A healthier heart, for example, is going to translate to a healthier brain...you can have a group of people who at age 80 are still going to work every day, doing all the stuff they need to do. We’re not very good at understanding who’s going to be able to tolerate the stress in emergency situations,” like the 3 a.m. crises presidents so often must navigate, said EPI's Anne Newman as three Democrats in their 70s are vying to challenge the... 

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