HPM Alumni Stories

Department of Health Policy and Management alumni have crafted interesting career paths and are applying their wealth of professional and academic experiences in a variety of roles.

Papalia receives PhD in Kinesiology from Penn State

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Congratulations to Zack Papalia who received his PhD in Kinesiology at the 2019 winter commencement at Penn State University. Papalia earned his Master of Public Health from the Department of Health Policy and Management in 2012.  

Angus says disorganized research slows discovery of COVID-19 treatments

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NPR - Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92) says the problem is that our system rewards tribalism, with insufficient motivation for effective collaboration. He's leading a fast-track remap trial for COVID-19, part of an international effort involving hundreds of investigators. He has lots of opinions about which drugs might work best, but he'd rather focus on a trial design that can be as modular as possible and let as many people in as possible.  

Angus says the search for coronavirus treatments is jumbled

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CNN – The scramble for successful treatments is disjointed and chaotic, according to Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92). There are two million people who already have this disease. If even one in 10 has been able to participate in a trial, we could have gone through 100 different drugs by now and known definitively which ones worked or not. The disorder is global, and there aren’t enough tests right now to practice effective public health.  

Chaotic search for coronavirus treatments undermines efforts, says Angus

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WASHINGTON POST - “It’s a cacophony—it’s not an orchestra. There’s no conductor,” said Pitt Med and HPM faculty's Derek Angus (BCHS '92), who is leading a covid-19 trial to test multiple therapies. “My heart aches over the complete chaos in the response.” The lack of coordination puts the world at risk of ending up with a raft of inconclusive and conflicting studies and little idea of what interventions work for the next wave of illness.  

Angus comments on first results from Gilead coronavirus drug

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ASSOCIATED PRESS - A dozen patients had serious problems but it’s not clear whether they were from the drug or their disease. UPMC critical care chief and HPM faculty member Derek Angus (BCHS '92) said the recovery rate is good but “there is no way of knowing from this series if the antiviral drug was helpful.”  

Angus on launch of ‘learning while doing’ clinical trial to fast-track testing of coronavirus therapies

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WTAE – “The solution is to find an optimal tradeoff between doing something now, such as prescribing a drug off-label, or waiting until traditional clinical trials are complete,” said Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of Pitt Med's Department of Critical Care Medicine. “By building this one-stop solution at the point-of-care, we are rolling out an approach that can assure that every patient admitted with COVID-19 can be enrolled in the program.”  

Angus comments on top 10 ICU must-dos for COVID-19

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MEDSCAPE - In an editorial issued just days after these new guidelines, Pitt Med's Derek C. Angus (BCHS '92), who is also an HPM distinguished professor and associate editor with JAMA, and Lamontagne of Canada say these "represent an excellent first step toward optimal, evidence-informed care for patients with COVID-19.”  

Hernandez finds price of brand-name drugs has increased 3x faster than inflation

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90.5 WESA – Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16) said what’s concerning is that discounts are often paid directly to insurers. This means people who are un- or under-insured generally don’t benefit from the markdowns. “This is probably increasing disparities in health care access…. We are not doing a good job of protecting patients against increases in co-pays, out-of-pocket costs and certainly those that don’t have insurance.”  

Hernandez on barriers to biosimilars

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POLITICO - “It comes back to financial incentives,” said Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16), who cited her paper published in JAMA a week ago. Once biosimilars entered the market, list prices for their biologic rivals stagnated while net prices began declining. This shows brand companies were offering bigger rebates to PBMs to try to keep market share away from biosimilars.  

Roberts and Hoffman featured in Hulu documentary on anti-vaccine movement

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HULU - Available now on the streaming service, Vice Investigates “Anti-Vaxx Fever” explores the growing anti-vaccine movement. The documentary features in-depth looks at the varied work of professor Mark Roberts and of student Beth Hoffman (BCHS ’19 ’23). Each uses system science methods to investigate the dangers of this movement, generating compelling images that are powerful tools for communicating science to the public.  

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HPM Alumni Awards & Profiles

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Alumna profile: Diane Peterson  

Alumna profile: Diane Peterson

PITT PUBLIC HEALTH MAGAZINE — Looking back, Diane Peterson (HPM ’75) says her unconventional academic journey ended up being the perfect foundation for a career that has taken her all over the world and to the height of her profession. “I’m very proud to be a Pitt grad,” she says. “Even with the ci... (02/20/2020)
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Meet HPM alum Mina Kabiri 

Meet HPM alum Mina Kabiri

Mina Kabiri (HPM '17) is the associate director of global health economics and value demonstration at the Health Economics and Market Access division of Johnson and Johnson Medical Devices Companies. In her role, she leads the global efforst of developing health economic modeling tools for orthoped... (02/12/2020)
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Meet HPM alum Ray Van Cleve  

Meet HPM alum Ray Van Cleve

Ray Van Cleve (HPM '19) is working at the PRIME Center, a collaboration between Yale School of Medicine and The West Haven VA Hospital. He is working on the Pain and Opioids Consortium of Research (CORE) serving as the group's statistician and helping manage some of the group's day to day projects ... (02/05/2020)
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Morgan wins Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award  

Morgan wins Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award

Russell E. Morgan Jr (HSADM ’70) received the Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding lifetime achievements in international health from the International Health Section of the American Public Health Association. Morgan was presented with the award during the 201... (12/04/2019)
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Hernandez receives 2019 Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award 

Hernandez receives 2019 Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award

VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES - "As an exemplary leader in the field of managed care, Dr. Hernandez sincerely represents the values that the Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research award was founded on," said Mike Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of MJH Life Sciences, parent company of the p... (11/11/2019)
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Meet HPM alumna Cassandra Leighton 

Meet HPM alumna Cassandra Leighton

Cassandra Leighton (HPM '19) is a health services solutions analyst at AmeriHealth Caritas. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a managed care organization, serving over 5.1 million Medicaid, Medicare, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members across 11 states. In her... (10/17/2019)
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Garrison, Abdi, Litam win first place nationally in Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition 

Garrison, Abdi, Litam win first place nationally in Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition

Erika Garrison (MHA/MBA '20), Ilham Abdi (MHA '20), and Terrance Litam (MHA '20) took top honors in NAHSE's case competition held in Washington, DC. Competing among 29 teams representing the nation's top programs, the Pitt students developed a plan to address the health care needs of San Francisco'... (10/14/2019)
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Boehm selected as Pittsburgh Business Times' 30 Under 30 

Boehm selected as Pittsburgh Business Times' 30 Under 30

Congratulations to Meghan Boehm (HPM '18)! Award winners were selected for their successful efforts to grow a busines or nonprofit and for their contributions to the community and civic organizations. "I am so honored to be among this group of incredible leaders in the Pittsburgh community, and I a... (09/01/2019)
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