HPM Department News

Gellad says the FDA ‘grossly misrepresented’ plasma data

NEW YORK TIMES – Many experts were bewildered about where a key statistic came from. HPM's Walid Gellad, who leads Pitt’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, said, “For the first time ever, I feel like official people in communications and people at the F.D.A. grossly misrepresented data about a therapy.” Millions will rely on the FDA' judgement. “That’s a problem if they’re starting to exaggerate data.”  

Angus has new questions about remdesivir COVID-19 efficacy

REUTERS - HPM’s Derek Angus (BCHS '92) and Pitt's Erin McCreary coauthored a study editorial raising questions about whether some patients get more benefit from remdesivir than others and whether it matters if patients receive remdesivir and steroids together. It is still possible that remdesivir could improve recovery for millions of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, they added, but more research is needed before that becomes clear.  

Telemedicine is booming — but Roberts says many still face huge barriers to virtual care

STAT - “The temporary reform due to Covid allowed telemedicine visits from a patient’s home, but it presumed that patients had access to the technology to engage in those visits,” said HPM’s Eric Roberts, paper co-author. “We’re showing that there’s a substantial number of Medicare beneficiaries who lack access to that technology… a very vulnerable population both in terms of their health profile and their economic profile.”  

How to organize science in an emergency? Gellad has slammed U.S. leadership.

SLATE – Since January, researchers hoping to fight COVID-19 have designed a stunning 1,200 clinical trials, but the effort has been marked by disorder and disorganization, with huge financial resources wasted. Applying history lessons to today, HPM’s Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, slammed U.S. leadership for failing to set a clear clinical trial agenda.  

Angus says “Covid vaccine shortages are very likely. Without a plan, it will be a feeding frenzy.”

THE TELEGRAPH - Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of critical care medicine and HPM distinguished professor, says hard conversations about who should be prioritized will be needed both within and between countries. It might be decided that frontline workers should be at the head of the queue, but you could say that minorities who have a disproportionate burden of the disease should have a chance. You must be transparent about your principles of fair... 

Study Asserts School Closures in the Spring Saved Lives, but Donohue has questions

NEW YORK TIMES - “We really can’t isolate the impact of school closures from other interventions,” said HPM’s Julie Donohue. “I do worry that these large estimates of the effect of school closures will lead people to give up because it is going to be challenging to open schools. I do worry that some districts will look at these numbers and say, well, it’s just too hard and it’s not safe to reopen.”  

‘Desperation science’ slows the hunt for coronavirus drugs, but Angus is speeding it up

AP NEWS - HPM’s Derek Angus, UPMC’s critical care chief, is using an innovative study using artificial intelligence to help pick treatments. Forty regional hospitals joined more from the United Kingdom to randomly assign patients to one of dozens of possible treatments, adapting treatments based on the results. If a drug looks like a winner, the computer assigns more people to get it. The system “learns on the fly.  

Roberts breaks down 'herd immunity' strategy to combat novel coronavirus (video)

WTAE NEWS - In the absence of a vaccine, said HPM Chair Mark Roberts, at least 60% of the population must contract and recover from the virus. But 1 percent of COVID-19 cases are fatal. “That’s a huge number of deaths in Allegheny County to achieve herd immunity.” If we continue without vaccine, eventually we will achieve herd immunity, but it comes at a cost of lives lost and overwhelmed hospitals.  

Allegheny County Health Dept. says new COVID-19 cases were among younger people who were traveling, visiting bars and restaurants

WTAE - Officials said the new cases ranged in age from four months to 97 years old, with a median age of 31 years old. HPM's Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, says he's concerned about this rise in cases, but at this point doesn't fear a larger spike in cases like other states. "It's not the virus. It's our response to the virus that causes the spike. It's not the virus getting stronger or weaker, it's how we respo... 

Clark retires after 49 years, other recent retirements

After 49 years and three months, Lynette Clark retired on March 31. As a life member of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, Lynette has worked extensively with the African American Alumni Council (AAAC) and other campus and community organizations. Read more about Lynette and our other recent retirees.  

University draws on own experts to guide health and safety decisions

PITTWIRE - The new Healthcare Advisory Group, headed by Anantha Shekhar, new senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of Pitt Med, will monitor the health status of the campus and ensure compliance with legal regulations. Members, including HPM’s Mark Roberts, EPI’s Anne Newman, EOH’s Sally Wenzel, will develop recommendations for the Pitt community.  

James reimagines the nursing home industry after COVID-19

NEWMAN TIMES-HERALD – As COVID-19 ravages the U.S., many of the nation’s 15,600 nursing homes are among the most dangerous places to be. Interim Dean Everette James says fixing the situation would require federal law changes that support a “functioning long-term care insurance market,” so more Americans can afford the type of care the wish for in their final years.  

Jarlenski revisits "Arguments, Evidence, and Abortion Policy" on public health podcast

PUBLIC HEALTH POST - HPM’s Marian Jarlenski discusses her article "Arguments, Evidence, and Abortion Policy" during the Public Health Post's podcast hosted by Boston University's School of Public Health. 

Chancellor Gallagher shares his outrage, grief, and solidarity

In a letter to the community, Chancellor Gallagher shares his outrage, grief, and anger. He challenges us all to demonstrate solidarity by standing with Pitt’s African American students, faculty, staff, and alumni in a shared commitment to realizing meaningful change. "How many times must we witness these blatant examples of injustice, hatred, brutality, and discrimination before we resolve to change things?"  We must plot a path forward.  ... 

Papalia receives PhD in Kinesiology from Penn State

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.  

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