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Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition report shows disparity in vaccine rollout in Allegheny County

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Though they've been working since long before vaccines were available - for 57 weeks - the Black COVID-19 Equity Coaltion recently released a report on equity in vaccine distribution in Allegheny County. "This particular report...is focused on data related to vaccine distribution, understanding the disparities in distribution so far and making recommendations on what we can do, not only on data infrastructure issues but how we can use data to un... 

Rubio publishes thesis in Antimicrobial Agents and Therapy

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Abigail Rubio (IDM '20) recently published In vitro Susceptibility of Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa following Treatment-emergent Resistance to Ceftolozane-tazobactam, comparing the in vitro susceptibility of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates 34 collected before and after treatment-emergent resistance to ceftolozane-tazobactam. Congratulations!  

Harrison explains need for COVID vaccine boosters (video)

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WPXI - "We will definitely need boosters," said EPI's Lee Harrison, who is also faculty at Pitt Medicine. Because of "the efficacy over time against standard straings of COVID-19 and then also what's going to happen with all of these variants that have been circulating globally," we'll need additional vaccine doses. "I think it will be more like the annual flu shot. And there's even some discussion about trying to combine the COVID vaccine with ... 

Shaffer co-authors Nature Genetics paper: Shared Heritability of Human Face and Brain Shape

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HUGEN's John R. Shaffer (HUGEN '08) and Dental Medicine's Seth M. Weinberg co-authored a paper Evidence from model organisms and clinical genetics suggests coordination between the developing brain and face, but the role of this link in common genetic variation remains unknown.   

Wenzel and colleagues discover mechanisms of severe asthma

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UPMC - Wheezing, coughing that doesn’t stop, a pale and sweaty face: clinically, severe asthma attacks look very similar from patient to patient. But biologically, not all severe asthma is the same—and a team of scientists including EOH Chair Sally Wenzel has, for the first time, identified the key difference in people, a finding that has important implications for treatment.   

Roberts talks vaccine hesitancy and likely need for additional vaccine dosage (video)

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WTAE - "I'm worried that vaccine hesitancy is going to prevent us, in many parts of the country, from achieving herd immunity. Local communities that are more hesitant, it could mean they are more at risk," said HPM's Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory. Roberts also weighed in on the likelihood and reasoning for potentially needing additional vaccine boosters in the future.   

Hoffman on how to use social media effectively to share science-based vaccine information

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WESA - Lead author Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19, '22) lays out five guidelines for future pro-vaccine events, for example: be inclusive, make sure participants have suggested tweets in hand and are trained in how to respond to messages, and share personal stories and science-backed information. Hoffman noted that engaging with vaccine hesitant people "to inoculate them against misinformation" is often better than engaging with the relatively small per... 

Assistant Vice Chancellor Davis addresses health sciences community on wrestling with race and racism

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Paula K. Davis, associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion, offers resources for support and invites the health sciences community to the 2021 Diversity Forum in July. "I cannot provide words of hope. To do so would be disingenuous. I can say, however, there are ears willing to listen and allies with whom to plan action and advocacy." Read the full letter...  

Dean Lichtveld exemplifies the power of prevention

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After receiving her COVID-19 vaccine at an interprofessional clinic on campus, Dean Maureen Lichtveld celebrated by posing with a life-sized picture of Jonas Salk – a symbol of the importance of vaccines and one of the core principles of public health: prevention. Lichtveld shares her experience in an effort to encourage everyone to get vaccinated to protect our communities, get back to campus, and back to our lives.   

Sundermann and Harrison describe genomic surveillance and ending the COVID-19 pandemic

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THE CONVERSATION - Knowing the genome sequence helps researchers understand how the virus is mutating into variants and how it's traveling from person to person. Alexander Sundermann (IDM '14, EPI '22), EPI and IDM's Lee Harrison, and Pitt Medicine's Vaughn Cooper explain genomic surveillance - what it is and why we need more of it to track coronavirus variants and help end the COVID-19 pandemic.  

New research from Roberts shows Medicare and Medicaid fail Americans just above the poverty line

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ACADEMIC TIMES - Americans who receive Medicare but make slightly too much money to qualify for supplemental coverage from Medicaid spend thousands more dollars on out-of-pocket medical expenses while receiving fewer outpatient services and prescriptions than people covered by both programs, according to new research by HPM's Eric Roberts and colleagues.   

Burke: First COVID-19 vaccine shot just as effective as the second

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Two of the three COVID-19 vaccines being administered to curb the spread of the disease require two shots for full protection, but some experts say one shot may be enough, at least for now. "As soon as I saw the reports on the Moderna and Pfizer applications for emergency use authorization, I saw both had striking effectiveness," said EPI's Donald Burke.   

Pitt Public Health team wins third place at Morningside International Global Health Case Competition

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In collaboration with the Center for Global Health, Pitt held its first-ever Global Health Case Competition last fall. Pitt supported the winning team from that competition to enter Emory University's Morningside International Global Health Case Competition. Emily Crisan (BCHS '24) joined five undergraduate students and faculty mentor HPM's Elizabeth Van Nostrand and won third place out of 53 teams from across the U.S. for their plan and strateg... 

Bodnar receives SER Carol J. Hogue Mid-Career Award

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Congratulations to EPI's Lisa Bodnar for receiving the 2021 Society for Epidemiologic Research Carol J. Rowland Hogue Award recognizing a mid-career scientist who has made an exceptional contribution to the practice of epidemiology. Hear from the 2021 awardees at the SER 2021 Virtual Conference June 23-25.   

Balascio among 25 Under 25: Women of Color to Watch

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MS. MAGAZINE - Phoebe Balascio (EPI '21) is a transracial, transnational, Chinese American adoptee, passionate about racial justice, immigrant justice, disability justice, and the adoption industrial complex. Her current research at Pitt Public Health focuses on gender-based violence.   

Dean Lichtveld looks to make science work for Pittsburgh communities

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U TIMES - "My motto is always 'Making science work for communities," said Dean Maureen Lichtveld. So her top goal for the school is to increase student and faculty connections to the community and its public health concerns. Another priority is precision public health – an interdisciplinary practice to tackling community-based problems with community-based assets. "We will go to the community and address…public health threats."   

Marques among researchers looking for thousands of participants for COVID-19 study

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UPMC - "Excuse me, are you willing to answer a few survey questions about your experience with COVID-19? Will you provide a blood sample and a nasal swab to test for coronavirus?" Pitt is one of 15 sites nationwide involved in the COMPASS study that will survey residents around the Pittsburgh area to learn who has antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.   

Roberts on whether the U.S. is entering a fourth wave of COVID-19

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TIME - Public health experts are worried that the country is headed for a fourth major spike. There's good reason to think this one might be less disastrous than the previous three. HPM's Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Lab, points to the relatively small uptick in deaths as a sign that prioritizing high-risk people for vaccination may be resulting in fewer fatalities even as cases increase.   

Bodnar named president-elect of SPER

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EPI's Lisa Bodnar was recently chosen as president-elect of the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research - an organization of individuals from a wide variety of disciplines who share a common interest: the epidemiology of pregnancy, infancy, and childhood.   

Conley receives Provost's Doctoral Mentoring Award

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Congratulations to Yvette Conley (HUGEN '93, '99), one of the 2021 recipients of the Provost's Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring for her work at the School of Nursing, Department of Health Promotion and Development. The award recognizes faculty members who serve as outstanding mentors to graduate stduents seeking a research doctorate degree.   

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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)