News

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... 

Hoffman says look to influencers to fight vaccine misinformation

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CODA - Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19, ‘22) said public health institutions should be thinking more about how to harness local influencers. She pointed to a June 2021 study by researchers with the Public Good Projects, a U.S.-based public health nonprofit, analyzing the success of a micro-influencer campaign promoting the flu shot flor Black and Latino U.S. residents during influenza seasons.   

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.  

Cat in the Lab: Feline Genomes Fuel Precision Medicine

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GEN - Leslie Lyons (HUGEN ‘91, '87), professor of comparative medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, emphasizes the importance of using the right model for studying a disease. When one thinks of the most popular and useful animal models in biomedical research, one thinks of mice and rats, followed by rabbits, dogs, monkeys, and so on.  

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.  

Harrison co-authors Conversation piece - Massive numbers of new COVID-19 infections, not vaccines, are the main driver of new coronavirus variants

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THE CONVERSATION – The rise of coronavirus variants globally has highlighted the huge influence evolutionary biology has on daily life. But how mutations, random chance, and natural selection produce variants is a complicated process. What EPI and IDM’s Lee Harrison and a Pitt Medicine colleague have learned over the past 18 months of following how the coronavirus has acquired different mutations around the world.  

Odds of death for COVID-19 patients 'falling 5 percent every month,' Angus and other UPMC doctors say

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PENN LIVE - "We have found [monoclonal antibody treatments] to be remarkably safe and remarkably effective," said HPM faculty Derek Angus (BCHS '92) who is also the Mitchell P. Fink Endowed Chair of Critical Care Medicine at Pitt Medicine. UPMC is also involved in a global trial, known as REMAP, which uses a relatively new method of clinical trials to test new treatments. Angus said that the REMAP trial "helped settle the debate that hydroxychlo... 

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... 

Harrison on possible J&J Booster

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KDKA-TV  - "I would not expect anything worrisome with a booster dose but we need to see what the data shows," said Pitt Medicine and EPI's Lee Harrison.   

U.S. Energy Firms Launching Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates

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REUTERS - Energy and construction workers have some of the lowest vaccine uptake rates, according to an online survey led by EPI's Wendy King. Some 45% of extraction and construction workers said they were hesitant to get the vaccine, versus just 7.3% in the computer and mathematical professions, the May survey showed.   

Other Voices: A rush to judgment on Alzheimer's drug?

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - An op-ed from Mary Ganguli (EPI '87): Imagine that your doctor has just told that you most likely have Alzheimer’s disease, an incurable type of dementia. And then you see on the news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease called aducanumab, made by a company called Biogen. But, you also read, many doctors oppose the FDA decision. Why would anyone oppose a drug f... 

A group of moms on Facebook built an island of good-faith vaccine debate in a sea of misinformation

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THE WASHINGTON POST - People concerned about vaccine safety may be easier to convince than those who don't trust the government or medical authorities, said EPI's Wendy King (EPI '04). Earlier this year, King surveyed more than 5 million U.S. adults about their attitudes toward coronavirus vaccines. Many who said they may not or won't get vaccinated said they feared side effects – a sign they may be influenced by misinformation.  

Nace on 'interesting ride' of COVID information dissemination

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KDKA RADIO - On the topic of the recently-released information on boosters for mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, David Nace (EPI '95), chief medical officer for UPMC Senior Communities pointed out that this wasn't a shock. "There's been a lot of data from these vaccines, but also from our prior experience with other vaccines, like the flu vaccine. We know that there tends to be a drop off, not with all but some tend to have a decline in the response o... 

Harrison talks about when boosters might be available to the general public

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - "What they're aiming for is starting September 20, eight months after the second dose. I'm hoping the rollout will go smoothly starting on that date. The process is authorization by FDA for a booster dose, and then ACIP makes the recommendation about the booster dose." said EPI's Lee Harrison.   

Meet our Research Assistants: Sarah Scott

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Sarah Scott got the opportunity to work in Elizabeth Miller's lab as a research assistant on Project Catalyst, a state project to promote IPV prevention and increase the health and safety of survivors of IPV and human trafficking. Scott is passionate about women's health, specifically the intersection of IPV, mental health, and reproductive justice. And good coffee!   

Mendez analysis shows legislation addressing racism as a public health crisis surges but lacks funding

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UPMC -  “The fact that these resolutions and declarations garnered enough support to pass in multiple state and local governments is worthy of celebration,” said lead author EPI’s Dara Mendez, interim director of the Center for Health Equity. “Simultaneously, it signals an opportunity to advocate for further action to eliminate racism, which has well-documented negative effects on the health of individuals and communities...  

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Cen named to Pitt's Board of Trustees 

Cen named to Pitt's Board of Trustees

PITTWIRE - Among the latest to be added to Pitt's Board of Trustees is alumna Hui (Debra) Cen (IDM '91). Cen is a biologist, biotech entrepreneur, Rotarian and social entrepreneur who did biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health, the University of California, San Francisco and Chiro... (07/12/2021)
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BIG STAKES, BIG STATS: Making sense of COVID-19 trials 

BIG STAKES, BIG STATS: Making sense of COVID-19 trials

PITTWIRE — When we hear about clinical trials, we might picture doctors and patients partnering to test new therapies. What we might not think about are the many others who make those studies happen. Take Maria Mori Brooks, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, who makes sense of the numbers... (02/24/2021)
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Covid vaccine misinformation target of Pitt study 

Covid vaccine misinformation target of Pitt study

KDKA CBS NEWS — Fueled by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Pitt researchers are studying and combating false online information about vaccines. “Vaccines are often the victim of their own success,” said BCHS doctoral student Beth Hoffman, a research assistant at the Center for Resea... (02/01/2021)