HPM Department News

Should schools close during a coronavirus outbreak? The answer isn’t obvious

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BALTIMORE SUN - Pitt researchers used data from the 2009 H1N1 outbreak to model how long schools should close in the case of a pandemic. “What we found was the optimal timing is 8 weeks from a disease transmission” standpoint, said HPM's Tina Batra Hershey, JD, MPH. Opening schools too soon might leave students vulnerable to infection. The same model might not follow for this outbreak, she warned, and it should be left to local school systems. ... 

Gellad finds U.S. drug prices have risen three times faster than inflation

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U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - "Net prices are not necessarily what patients pay," said senior author Walid Gellad, HPM faculty and director of the CP3. "A lot of the discount is not going to the patient. We're seeing a lot of discussion that net prices have stabilized over the last few years, and that does appear to be the case. But the stabilization of net price comes on top of large increases over the last decade, many times faster than inflation... 

Multistate investigation of Juul could mean a settlement sooner than later, experts say

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PGH POST-GAZETTE - An investigation agreement by 39 states into Juul, the company blamed for the teenage vaping epidemic, has ramped up pressure to reach a global settlement. “I think at this point we’re at that stage in this process that there is enough feeling that this goes across party lines and is a national problem,” comments HPM's Tina Batra Hershey. Kar-Hai Chu studies social media’s role in the popularity of vaping among teenagers and... 

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.  

Alumna profile: Diane Peterson

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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 circuitous approach I took, I think the program did a marvelous job of providing me a well-rounded education.” Hear reflections on her highly successful... 

Angus on the evaluation of machine learning in medical practice

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MEDPAGE TODAY – The chair of Pitt Med’s Department of Critical Care Medicine, Derek Angus (BCHS '92), sees the need for more evaluation of machine learning in medical practice. Just as computer scientists wrestle with the curse of dimensionality when generating an AI algorithm, clinical investigators wrestle similarly when evaluating the utility of the algorithm. Such evaluation could overwhelm standard RCT designs.  

Hernandez explains why some Americans are forced into bankruptcy to pay for prescriptions

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THE GUARDIAN – A 2019 report published in the journal Health Affairs found drug costs are driven largely by pharmaceutical manufacturers’ year-on-year price hikes on drugs already on the market rather than by innovation, as often claimed by the industry. Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16), lead author of the study, says, “Our results are relevant from a policy perspective because they show that price increases do not necessarily reflect innovation o... 

Braund coauthors American Heart Association's Call to Action on Rural Health

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With this advisory, the American Heart Association is calling for a sustained commitment of health care and other stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels to work together to improve rural health. HPM's Wendy Braund was among the authors stating, "understanding and addressing the unique health needs of people residing in rural America is critical to the American Heart Association's commitment to health equity and its focus on social... 

Meet HPM alum Mina Kabiri

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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 orthopedics, bio-surgery, and cardiovascular medical devices.   

As a Pennsylvanian with a disability, Tomko is forced to choose between higher pay and essential benefits

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PUBLICSOURCE - Until salary caps are removed, Heather Tomko (HPM ’19) must constantly choose between her career and her health. Right now, people with disabilities are barred from positions of power and influence because they can’t afford the accompanying salary. Without people with disabilities in these positions, the needs of people with disabilities aren’t represented in policy.  

Gellad concerned that delayed generics increase surprise medical bills

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AXIOS – Big pharma is often successful in securing additional years of monopoly pricing, creating a higher baseline price for when generics finally come out. "Every year that goes by when a generic is delayed is another 6+ percent increase in the price the generic will cost when it finally hits the market," tweeted HPM’s Walid Gellad last week.  

Megan Crilly

Megan Crilly is a senior CMC regulatory affairs specialist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. She develops regulatory strategies for the chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) section of clinical applications to regulatory agencies around the world. Her responsibilities also include reviewing clinical trial applications and managing submission approvals and timelines to support supply of clinical trials.  

Zhijie Ding

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Zhijie Ding is the manager of real world value & evidence, immunology for The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. In this role he demonstrates the value of STELARA® in Crohn’s disease by generating and communicating high quality real-world evidence through collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. Ding contributes to the U.S. market access scientific strategy for STELARA® by providing insights from real-world evid... 

Sally Caine Leathers

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Sally Caine Leathers is currently serving as a health insurance specialist at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) where she is leading the development of a rural health model. While at CMMI, she has led the Hospital Payment Program under the Maryland Total Cost of Care Model, where all MD hospitals operate under a global budget, and helped implement the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model, which aims to re... 

Meet HPM alum Ray Van Cleve

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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 of the group.   

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