HPM Faculty News

Improving access to maternal care

POST-GAZETTE - HPM's Marian Jarlenski calls for Medicaid policies to shift from pregnancy-specific benefits and toward a comprehensive approach that enables management of chronic conditions before, between and after pregnancies; enhances the ability to access and use contraception to avoid or delay pregnancy; and allows for people to obtain abortion care when faced with an undesired or medically risky pregnancy.  

Pitt public health expert anticipates surge in COVID cases

WTAE NEWS — Like ACHD, HPM's Mark Roberts anticipates a surge in cases after Thanksgiving. "I would say that we should start seeing something in the next couple of days," he said. "Right now, the only way we can stop the spread is if people behave in a way that decreases their likelihood of spreading the virus: That’s socially distancing, wearing the mask, washing your hands. All the things that Dr. Bogen is suggesting."  

COVID-19 deaths in PA more than triple what CDC expected a month ago

ABC27 News — Why were CDC forecasts for the “fall resurgence” of COVID-19 off by so much? Possibly because the biggest variable of all isn’t molecular. “In essence, models that do this kind of prediction, you have to predict human behavior, which is hard,” said HPM's Mark Roberts, who also directs Public Health Dynamics Laboratory. And human behavior, Roberts said, has been unhelpful.  

Trump to FDA: Why is Europe beating us on vaccine?

POLITICO — A president who preached "America First" is demanding to know why the U.S. could end up third in the global vaccine race. Meanwhile outside public health experts also urge haste as the pandemic worsens. "Every day that goes by is 2,000 people dead. I don't know another circumstance where waiting on drug approval has such an impact on mortality," said HPM's Walid Gellad . "Sometimes in a crisis, you might have to cut corners."  

Monoclonal antibody drugs raise hopes for keeping high-risk COVID-19 patients out of the hospital. But it’s complicated.

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER — Monoclonal antibodies are not magic bullets. They must be given intravenously in a hospital or infusion center where COVID-19 poses a particular danger to immune-compromised chemotherapy patients. HPM's Walid Gellad summarizes “We don’t want people running to the emergency room to get this therapy. We don’t want people running to infusion centers, where there are patients with cancer."  

A look inside schools’ reopening decisions, HPM's Donohue weighs in

TRIB LIVE - HPM's Julie Donohue said certain protocols are critical to stemming potential transmission, naming strategies such as universal mask-wearing, heightened sanitizing and hygiene practices, and “cohorting”—dividing students and staff into distinct groups with minimal interaction between each other—to reduce their number of contacts throughout the day. “It’s an incredibly challenging set of decisions to make,”  

As the pandemic worsens, ‘Please…just stay home’ advises Roberts

MOUNTAIN STATE SPOTLIGHT -  As COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in West Virginia are rising and the holidays loom, the worst may be ahead. Regardless of all else, the most important thing going forward is our individual behaviors, said Mark Roberts, chairman of health policy and management.    

Pitt researchers find Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansions led to earlier detection of cancer

TRIB LIVE - Findings from a research team led by HPM's Coleman Drake provide evidence that expanding insurance coverage is a potential avenue to improve cancer outcomes. “It’s really about getting people into the normal health care system rather than presenting at the ED (emergency department) or some other environment when things go wrong,” Drake said. “It allows people to access preventive health care.”  

Why do COVID death rates seem to be falling? Derek Angus weighs in.

NATURE - Critical-care physician Derek Angus (BCHS ’92) of the University of Pittsburgh says that his hospital’s statistics team also saw reductions over time. “Without question, we’ve noticed a drop in mortality,” says Angus. “All things being equal, patients have a better chance of getting out alive.”  

Gellad weighs in on implications of latest COVID-19 treatment and vaccine options

NEW YORK TIMES - “It’s kind of the best times for these therapies to enter, because they can have an impact,” said HPM's Walid F. Gellad, who leads Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing. “It’s also the worst time because we don’t have enough doses, and it’s going to add to the backlog of testing.”  

Gilead’s Covid drug win could clog pipeline for other treatments

BLOOMBERG LAW - The future of Covid-19 treatment research is cloudier after the FDA approved Gilead Sciences Inc.'s remdesivir. The approval solidifies the standard of care for hospitalized virus patients in the U.S. Shortages of remdesivir could slow down the development of other new Covid-19 drugs that might now be required to use it in their clinical trials. The approval doesn’t necessarily block other virus treatments from being authorized, ... 

Gellad criticizes how Science gets political as Trump touts experimental coronavirus drugs

AXIOS - "We have an emergency use authorization that I want to get signed immediately," Trump said in a video Thursday. "The problem is every therapy for coronavirus has become politicized—every single therapy, and that's the last thing you want in a pandemic, so this is just next in line," said the Department of Health Policy and Management's  Walid Gellad , director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of P... 

Roberts says Gov. Wolf’s restrictions saved many lives

PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE - Nearly 8,000 COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed in Pennsylvania. Had fewer restrictions been imposed, that toll likely would have been several times higher, said Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Lab. “It’s easy to project that there would be two to three times the deaths, at a minimum, with less social distancing.” His team developed a model to estimate the impacts of closings and reopenings.  

Jalal research shows fatal overdoses in U.S. rebounded in 2019

TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT – “We are concerned that policymakers may have interpreted the one-year downturn in 2018 as evidence for an especially effective national response or the start of a long-term trend,” said lead author Hawre Jalal, HPM. “Unfortunately, that isn’t supported by the data.” The data suggests there has been a 5.6 percent increase in fatal overdoses nationwide since 2018.  

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