Epi Department News

McTigue finds gastric bypass boasts greater benefit for diabetics than sleeve gastrectomy

MD MAGAZINE - Led by EPI’s Kathleen Mctigue, investigators studied 9710 diabetes patients to determine how outcomes differed between the two procedures. Results revealed patients who underwent RYGB experienced significantly greater weight loss at 1 and 5 years when compared to those who underwent SG.  This study, “Comparing the 5-Year Diabetes Outcomes of Sleeve Gastrectomy and Gastric Bypass,” is published in JAMA Surgery.  

Mertz of Allegheny County Health Department answers questions about coronavirus preparations (video)

WTAE - “We expect to detect cases in Pennsylvania during the coming weeks,” said Kristen Mertz, medical epidemiologist with the Allegheny County Health Department and adjunct faculty at Pitt Public Health. She’s most concerned about outbreaks at long-term health care facilities as well as other places with a large amount of elderly people because “that population is so vulnerable.”  

O'Neal Summons Satan for Starring Role

PITTWIRE - Pitt Public Health staff member Scott O'Neal recently took center stage to sing the title role in the world premiere of "Satan's Fall," composed by Steward Copeland, founder of the iconic New Wave band The Police. The metal opera, based on "Paradise Lost", was co-commissioned by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, where O'Neal sings bass as part of the group's professional core. The choir includes Pitt staffers Matt Borkowski (also f... 

King confirms relapse is common for bariatric surgery patients who quit smoking

NEWS-MEDICAL – “Smoking cessation prior to surgery is strongly recommended to reduce surgical complications. But there isn't the same emphasis on maintaining cessation after surgery. Our findings show that there is a need for ongoing support in order to reduce and quickly respond to relapses," says EPI’s Wendy King, lead author of a study published in Annals of Surgery. Just as gastric bypass increases the risk of alcohol use disorder due to cha... 

Thurston on why your hot flashes may put you at risk for heart disease

CAPE COD HEALTH NEWS - Women who reported more persistent hot flashes over the course of the menopausal transition were associated with an 80 percent increased risk for cardiovascular disease events. EPI's Rebecca Thurston, lead investigator on a study of more than 3,000 women for 20 years, called the magnitude of the increased risks “substantial.” She says, “The [hot flashes] are telling us something about the health of women’s cardiovascular s... 

Samargandy and El Khoudary find that running can help aging women at increased risk of heart disease

RUNNER’S WORLD – New research adds to growing evidence that the menopause transition is a critical stage for the acceleration of cardiovascular disease risk, according to lead author and epidemiology doctoral student Saad Samargandy. Senior author and associate epidemiology professor Samar El Khoudary says these shifts may be related to hormonal changes affecting arteries and veins that carry blood throughout the body, but exercise can be crucia... 

Mertz joins Pitt experts to dispel myths about Coronavirus

KDKA – During the information session, Kristen Mertz, assistant professor of epidemiology and medical epidemiologist at the Allegheny County Health Department, highlighted more aggressive measures currently in place to prevent spreading the disease. “Those are really the travel ban for foreign nationals so they are not coming to the U.S. and restrictions on U.S. citizens and residents who have been overseas,” Mertz said.  

El Khoudary discovers women at greater risk of CV disease around menopause

MEDICAL DIALOGUES - “Midlife is not just a period where women have hot flashes and experience other menopausal symptoms, it’s a time when their cardiovascular disease risk is increasing as we see significant changes in multiple clinical measures of their physical health,” said EPI's Samar R. El Khoudary. “Our study is not able to tell us why we’re seeing these changes … but we can say, right now, that women should be made aware that their cardio... 

Newman on why Ruth Bader Ginsburg Maintains Busy Public Life

U.S. NEWS - It's reasonable for Ginsburg's fans to wonder if she should be taking it easy if her goal is to outlast the current administration? EPI's Anne Newman says, "She's definitely from the use-it-or-lose-it school," adding that research evidence suggests that “periods of rest, stopping, or temporarily slowing down make it a lot harder to gear up. So it's a lot better to keep going."  

Mendez on addressing Pittsburgh's public health crisis: racism

90.5 WESA - The report brought attention to issues that already existed, says EPI's Dara Mendez. She made recommendations to Pittsburgh City Council at a hearing earlier this month about how to frame legislation passed Tuesday. To address these inequalities correctly, Mendez says that the women who are currently working on racism as a public health crisis need to be centered in the reporting of the issues and in finding the solutions. She adds t... 

Washington to speak in Philly

Raynard Washington (EPI '09, '12) is the chief epidemiologist at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In this role, Washington is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data that provides actionable information on the health status of Philadelphia residents. He coordinates and provides guidance across the department and works internally and externally to enhance existing and establish new health surveillance systems. He... 

Mendez addresses contributing factors to the racial inequalities in pregnancy, birth, and women's health

NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER - The CDC also found that about 3 out of 5 pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths are preventable. The work of Dara Mendez examines how the environment, policies, and systems affect pregnancy outcomes. "If we’re trying to center the experiences of the most marginalized, then they also need to be at the forefront of research." Practitioners, researchers, community members and organizers need to review the data and understa... 

EPI's Meg Carr awarded Goldstein scholarship for work on Hepatitis C surveillance

MPH student Margaret Carr (EPI ‘20) has been awarded the 2019 Bernard D. Goldstein Student Award in Environmental Health Disparities and Public Health Practice in recognition of her project, "Hepatitis C Surveillance at Allegheny County Health Department". In the award citation, CPHP Director Wendy Braund cites, “Your work with ACHD is an outstanding example of the actively involved Pitt Public Health student-taking your learning from the classr... 

Brent using MRI scans to reveal the physical makeup of thoughts and feelings

CBS - Who among us hasn't wished we could read someone else's mind, know exactly what they're thinking? Well that's impossible, or at least that's what we've always, well, thought. EPI’s David Brent runs a clinic for suicidal adolescents. He happened to attend a talk Marcel Just was giving about his autism findings and immediately wondered about his own patients. Just and Brent began planning a pilot study to see if the scanner might reveal what... 

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