HPM Department News

Pitt researchers find convalescent plasma "futile' in treating critically ill COVID-19 patients

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - “We speculate that it could be a combination of too few high-quality antibodies in the plasma and these patients being too far along in their illness with a runaway inflammatory immune response for those antibodies to turn the tide,” said co-senior author Derek Angus (BCHS '92), the chief innovation officer at UPMC and chair of Pitt’s Department of Critical Care Medicine and secondary faculty in HPM.   

Hospitals brace for an onslaught this winter, from flu as well as COVID

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NPR - The much-feared "twindemic" of flu and COVID didn't hit last winter. But some experts fear that last year's remarkably mild flu season has now set the stage for a big rebound in the coming months, because fewer people have built up immunity. "It could be really bad, and it could be really bad at a time when there's still quite a bit of COVID-19 filling up our hospitals," says HPM and PHDL’s Mark Roberts.  

Curry named Health System Executive of the Year in LA County

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EMANATE HEALTH - In the wake of a global pandemic, Emanate Health CEO Robert H. Curry (HADM '79), who oversees the largest health care system in the San Gabriel Valley, has been named 2021 Health System Executive of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal during its annual Health Care Leadership Panel and Awards. “I’m truly humbled and honored to be selected for this award from such a distinguished group of Los Angeles-area health care lead... 

The Most Important Vaccine I'll Get This Fall

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THE ATLANTIC - HPM's Mary Krauland said flu viruses, already a familiar threat to our immune system, spread less easily than SARS-CoV-2, which made them easier to stamp out with masks, physical distancing, school closures and international travel bans, even when adherence was spotty. Cases around the globe plummeted. But "no one expected flu to go away forever," she said.   

Two-for-one vaccine clinics fight flu and Covid, too

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CNN - Since there were relatively few flu cases last year, scientists including HPM's Mary Krauland and Kyu Lee have predicted in a pre-print paper that there will be a "large compensatory" flu season this year. A model based on previous flu seasons projects in the paper that there could be 102,000 additional hospitalizations this upcoming season due to flu illnesses, which corresponds to a 20% increase compared with the average number of hospit... 

Biden's Mandate Requires Weekly COVID-19 Testing for Unvaccinated Employees. That Will Get Expensive.

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WESA - "There are arguments that say...if they're not willing to get a fully authorized, now-approved vaccine, then they need to bear the brunt of the cost," said HPM's Tina Batra Hershey.  

Sevco named president of UPMC Hospitals

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UPMC - Mark Sevco (HPM '91) will assume the role of president, UPMC Hospitals, comprised of 40 academic, community and specialty hospitals and co-lead the Health Services Division. Sevco currently is president, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, which is nationally ranked as a top-ten pediatric hospital by U.S. News. He has served UPMC for 30 years in various capacities including chief operating officer of UPMC Pinnacle, president UPMC East... 

Cornelio awarded Dissertation Grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

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Noelle Cornelio (HPM '22) was awarded a Health Services Research Dissertation R36 grant from AHRQ to support her dissertation project, "Impact of Medicaid Policies on Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries: Evidence from State Reforms." Approximately 12 million low-income Medicare beneficiaries are dually enrolled in Medicaid, and this research will help inform policy by providing insights into the effects of changing Medicaid eligibility rules on en... 

Donohue on Planet Money: This is Your Brain on Drug Ads

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NPR - When laws changed around advertising prescription drugs to consumers in 1997, HPM Chair Julie Donohue was among those interested in studying the effects. “I was just fascinated by the rise of this new kind of promotion and the debate that ensued about whether or not it was appropriate. I think it’s clear that we are using more medicine because of direct to consumer advertising and in fact that’s what it’s designed to do.”  

Roberts - Health Care Budgets for Rural Providers—Opportunities for Payment Reform

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NEJM - HPM's Eric Roberts and a colleague present this Policy makers are beginning to test new payment models that establish budgets for rural health care providers. By implementing a fixed payment or setting a spending benchmark for health care organizations, budgets are intended to promote efficient care delivery. Rural health care systems have historically had little exposure to budget-based payment models. The emerging interest in health car... 

Chu and Hershey - Collaborative Public Health Strategies to Combat e-Cigarette Regulation Loopholes

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JAMA NETWORK - While the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey reported a decline in youth e-cigarette use, the use of disposable e-cigarettes has increased for children. This Viewpoint summarizes recent efforts by the FDA and state lawmakers to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic and offers a framework to further guide these efforts.  

Donohue looks to improve access to quality care for opioid addiction

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KDKA RADIO - "Health systems are making a more concerted effort to connect people to treatment," said HPM Chair Julie Donohue. "If someone goes to the emergency department and is treated for an overdose, hospitals are getting better and connecting individual's with treatment before they leave the hospital." Long-term support is critical for treating and conquering opioid addiction.  

Batra Hershey among legal experts that say Wolf administration has authority to issue mask mandate

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TRIB LIVE – Wolf is not invoking emergency powers. “We are no longer under a disaster declaration,” said HPM’s Tina Batra Hershey. “That is not what’s being invoked in this current face covering order.” Batra Hershey said the health code being cited is broad and likely supports the administration’s order. “It’s typical public health authority the Department of Health has,” she said.  

Roberts: Flu and COVID-19 'twindemic' is possible this winter

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Using two separate models, HPM’s Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory found that without an increase in flu vaccination rates this coming winter, the U.S. could be at risk of a "twindemic" with both seasonal flu and COVID-19 cases at high levels. That possibility is due to the "rather dramatic decrease in influenza last (2020-20) season that occurred because of the COVID-19 mitigation strategi... 

'Wisdom and Fear' Lead 90% of U.S. Seniors to COVID Vaccines

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KAISER HEALTH NEWS - HPM's Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Lab, cautioned that the success of the vaccination push among seniors doesn't mean others in this age group can grow complacent and think they are protected via herd immunity.   

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