Epi Department News

Maseru and Mendez agree that racism as a public health crisis should be focus of city council meetings

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Noble A-W Maseru of BCHS and director of the Center for Health Equity, noted the life expectancy difference between mostly white Highland Park (84 years) and nearby, mostly black Larimer (62 years). Dara D. Mendez, EPI, added that racism weathers the body, accelerating aging, and sapping the strength of society through a waste of community resources. Likely coming later this month: votes on a trio of bills that would de... 

Students present interdisciplinary content in community session on health justice

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On a wet Wednesday night, December 4, Pitt Public Health student advocates Sarah Sanders (BCHS ’22), Sarah Bigelow (BCHS ’20), Paris Ekeke (EPI ’20), and Amy Raslevich (HPM ’22) joined peers from the schools of law and nursing for a Health Justice Night at Pitt's Community Empowerment Center in Homewood. The evening was powered by PechaKucha, aimed to spark community level engagement and inter-professional collaboration by offering a unique look... 

Bodnar named committee member for infant feeding study

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PITTWIRE - EPI’s Lisa Bodnar has been named a full member on the National Academy of Medicine's “Committee on Scoping Existing Guidelines for Feeding Recommendations for Infants and Young Children Under Age 2.” Bodnar’s research focuses on discovering the healthiest weight and dietary patterns for pregnant women and their children.  

Zhang wins Arlene Caggiula Student Award in Nutrition

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Xiao Zhang (EPI '23) won this award for outstanding epidemiology students conducting nutrient-related research. Zhang was honored for her contribution to exploring the effect of high-dose marine omega-3 fatty acids on atherosclerosis. This work was published in the journal Nutrients in November 2019 with Zhang as senior author.   

Thurston in study of why it's not just menopause to blame for older women's flagging sex drive

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U.S. NEWS - Postmenopausal issues definitely put a damper on a woman's desire. But just as often, it’s issues with a partner that brings sexual activity to a halt. EPI’s Rebecca Thurston contributed to a study that found that low libido has a lot of causes. The most common reasons for a lack of desire include postmenopausal conditions, erectile dysfunction, self-image, life stress, and fatigue and body pain. The good news is that many of these i... 

Identical twin kidney transplants warrant gene sequencing, Jorgensen says

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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... 

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