HPM Department News

Van Nostrand presents big data resources at APHA

Although studies show that using information technology to analyze big health datasets and guide public health decisions can improve health equity, most community health center staff report receiving little to no training in health informatics. At the American Public Health Association (APHA) 2017 annual meeting, HPM’s ELIZABETH (BJERKE) VAN NOSTRAND shared four free, open-access public health informatics tools to aid public health workers prepar... 

Alumna Shirlene Tolbert-Moten appointed medical director in NJ

CAPE MAY COUNTY HERALD — SHIRLENE TOLBERT MOTEN, MD, MPH ('93), has been appointed  medical  director for outpatient physician practice at Cape Regional Physicians Associates, a medical group of primary care physicians and specialists serving 13 locations in southern New Jersey. Dr. Moten earned her MPH from the Graduate School of Public Health and her medical degree from New Jersey Medical School.   

Jalal forecast: No end in sight to rising overdose deaths

GO ERIE - The ultimate goal of the research, says PHDL's HAWRE JALAL, is to be able to recommend solutions to communities — such as making treatment more available or distributing naloxone, an opioid-overdose reversal drug — based on localized data. 

Gellad thinks there's reason that Medicaid can't get VA drug pricing

NPR - “You can't get the VA prices if you don’t do VA things,” said HPM’s WALID GELLAD, co-director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh. “To just say, ‘We’re not going to pay more than the VA’ is difficult.” But those are nuances that are tough to explain in a radio spot or on a mailed flyer. 

Mair Facing overdoses, neighborhoods not giving up

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - “The fact that they are recognizing the challenge before them, coming together and collaborating to solve this problem, is hopeful,” said KAREN HACKER, HPM faculty and Allegheny County Health Department director. “It’s a very clear signal that’s emerging” from data on drug use, said CHRISTINA MAIR, BCHS associate professor. She has pored over hospitalization data statewide and, along with colleague JESSICA BURKE, probed ... 

Donohue comments on Trump health official's plan to slash Medicaid rolls

STAT NEWS - The director of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promises to give states an “unprecedented level of flexibility” to design their Medicaid programs as they see fit. HPM’s JULIE DONOHUE, director of the Medicaid Research Center at Pitt, says,  “The federal rules are in place to make sure basic access and quality standards are met. The devil is really in the details in terms of how much additional flexibility to giv... 

PHDL essential in forecasting the opioid epidemic

THE ECONOMIST - When will it peak? And how many will it kill? Epidemiologists are frantically scrambling to go beyond simple best-guess estimates to dynamic models that can forecast addiction and overdoses more accurately. Scientists from the PUBLIC HEALTH DYNAMICS LABORATORY are developing a “dynamic transmission disease model of the opioid epidemic,” matching data in the national drug-use survey to outcomes in mortality. It predicts that prescr... 

The shifting toll of America's drug epidemic, a PHDL model

THE ECONOMIST - Today’s Daily Chart, sourced from “Sub-epidemics within the Opioid Epidemic” by H. JALAL, J. BUCHANICH , L. BALMERT, M. ROBERTS, and D. BURKE, shows red alerts for U.S. drug overdose deaths per 1000,000 population, by age, demographics, and drug type. The study points out that the number of fatal drug overdoses has doubled every eight years for the past 37 years. A continuation of that trend would see annual opioid deaths rising ... 

Van Nostrand on how the government can fight the opioid epidemic under a public health emergency

WASHINGTON POST - “Unless you keep people alive, you can’t get them into treatment,” said HPM’s ELIZABETH VAN NOSTRAND. According to the White House, 175 people will die of a drug overdose today and every day until the crisis is curbed. So the government may start with the most basic need: Keeping alive more than 11.5 million people taking prescription opioids for nonmedical reasons plus 1 million people using heroin.  

Hershey hopes Trump puts money behind words on opioid crisis

WASHINGTON POST - Officials acknowledge that more money is needed. Trump could cite the National Emergencies Act. And even without a formal declaration, acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan has authority to streamline some responses. But HPM’s TINA BATRA HERSHEY says “None of these laws were intended to be long-term solutions. That’s the question here. [The epidemic is] unprecedented.” 

Bulger named as a 2017 40-Under40 standout

PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE - Alumna NATALIE BULGER (HPM ’12) left Pittsburgh for college, but she wasn’t away from home for long. “My mom likes to make a joke that Pittsburgh makes this big sucking noise—that when you leave, it sucks you back in so quickly.” Pittsburgh, she adds, is a good place for someone to “strike out on their own and make a career for themselves.” And that’s exactly what she did. She began her career at The Children’s Institute of ... 

Donohue says Trump worsened ACA problems

90.5 WESA - “The two main criticisms of the Affordable Care Act marketplace were that not enough plans were participating and that premiums were too high, and this policy change … will worsen both of those problems,” said HPM’s JULIE DONOHUE. CALEB WALLACE, an HPM alum and senior director of health policy and assistant counsel at UPMC Health Plan, said the company aims to maintain stability for consumers. “This change in particular … is a little ... 

HPM students take second at 2017 Robbins Case Competition

Congratulations to Pitt Public Health’s team on their second place finish at the Robbins Case Competition at Baylor University. JOHN CORDIER (MHA/MBA), ZACHARY HAYES (MHA), and AMANDA WILKINS (MHA) were the students who competed in the event. HPM’s KEVIN BROOM (second from right, MHA and MHA/MBA program director) was there to cheer them on, and CHANDLER CAUFIELD (MHA/MBA) attended as an observer. She will be on the team representing us next year.... 

Down the Stream: Pittsburgh’s climate is changing and some are fighting back

POST-GAZETTE - In this four-part, interactive feature about Pittsburgh’s changing climate, Public Health Dynamics Laboratory director MARK ROBERTS talks about modeling disasters. “We showed that, in many parts of Pittsburgh, you would hit areas where the emergency management system could not respond in the times it likes to respond to the numbers of events that occurred.” 

Meet HPM's Lauren Borrelli, Korean Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Winner

HPM's LAUREN BORRELLI plans to utilize her fellowship to build industry-specific knowledge of the Korean health care market. As a Korean-American, she is excited to be able to connect her cultural heritage to her professional career.   

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