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Brown Mamas - resources for socialization for Pittsburgh's moms of color

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Muffy Mendoza created Brown Mamas to fill a void she’d noticed in her life’s journey as a daughter and a mother: the need to recognize the multifaceted work that goes into rearing children and building a life for them. This non-profit started as a small group of fired up African American mothers meeting in each other’s homes and has grown into a powerful nation of over 5,000 mothers of color with both online and offline membership.  

Divin Geri Endijen - doula support for BIPOC

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Group Collaborator Divin Geri Endijen provides doula support for BIPOC and marginalized clients and centers around avoiding trauma and removing the trauma ties associated with being non-white and non-gender conforming. "We not only provide birth and postpartum services but we also provide Reiki and healing and massage therapy to the birthing person," explains Jeaonna Hodges, co-founder and CEO. "Our goal is to sever bonds of trauma so that the n... 

MCH and BEST at Allegheny County Health Department

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In Allegheny County, Black women are 3-4 times more likley to die within one year of giving birth than White women. Black infants are 2.5-3 times more likely to die before the first year of life than White infants. The leading cause of death for Black infants is prematurity.   

Low-energy laser treatment study supported by National Eye Institute

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NOVUS LIGHT TECH TODAY — The NIH National Eye Institute has awarded Pitt and WVU $15.2 million to study how an annual treatment called selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) can be better used to treat glaucoma, lowering hassle, expense, and side effects. “The eye drops only work if you put them in every day, in some cases several times a day,” said EPI's Goundappa K. Balasubramani. “Dozens of studies have taught us that most patients do not fa... 

COVID-19 Case counts have started falling in the U.S. This may be why

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TIME  About 10% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. “We’re nowhere near where you need to be for herd immunity, even with the combination of vaccination and the number of people who had the disease,” says HPM's  Mark Roberts , director of Pitt's Public Health Dynamics lab. Each vaccination helps, but it may take months for immunizations to have a dramatic effect on case counts..  

Black women turn to midwives to avoid COVID and 'Feel Cared For'

MEDSCAPE - From the moment she learned she was pregnant late last year, TaNefer Camara knew she didnt want to have her baby in a hospital bed. Already a mother of three and a part-time lactation consultant at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Camara knew a bit about childbirth. She wanted to deliver at home, surrounded by her family, into the hands of an experienced female birth worker, as her female ancestors once did.   

Black maternal omnibus package introduced by Democratic lawmakers

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THE HILL - A trio of Black lawmakers on Monday introduced an omnibus bill aimed at combating the significant health inequities that Black mothers face across the country. The Black Maternal Momnibus Act of 2021 follows a nearly identical legislative package that was introduce in the House of March right before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, though the new legislation includes three additional bills.   

Florida mothers of color, seeking better care, turn to midwives and doulas

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TAMPA BAY TIMES - After years of feeling dismissed in hospitals, many Black and Hispanic women are working to find prenatal caregivers who listen to their concerns.   

New York scrambles to improve vaccination acceptance In Black and Latino communities

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NPR — NYC officials say they're working to overcome resistance to the coronavirus vaccine in the Black and Latino communities, while also trying to make doses more available. New state data showed many Black New Yorkers aren't taking the vaccine even when it's offered free of charge. A study by Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16) found many Black Americans nationwide—including some in NYC—live in "vaccination deserts," where pharmacies and other vacc... 

The NFL’s testing program could help other scientists.

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NEW YORK TIMES - The NFL didn’t just play football this season, it conducted an enormous coronavirus testing program. Now scientists who try to predict how viruses travel through communities are eager to see the data to fine-tune their models. EPI's Donald Burke said the data could help him understand how long infected people have been in the community spreading the virus. The NFL’s data, including more than 700 positive cases over six months, “... 

The choices of fans have public health implications.

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NEW YORK TIMES - Common sense dictates that bringing together 25,000 people during a pandemic could lead to more coronavirus infections, and the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., is no exception. EPI's  Donald Burke  is trying to develop a way to estimate the potential spread using cellphone tracking data, statistics on the transmission of viruses, and other information. “Modeling the virus is the easy part. Modeling the humans is the hard part.”  

Where Black Americans will travel farther than Whites for COVID-19 vaccination

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UPMC - Researchers found that in 69 counties, home to 26 million people, Black residents are significantly more likely than Whites to live more than a mile from the closest vaccination facility. “It’s important to adopt a data-driven approach to make sure we get vaccine distribution that’s equitable,” said senior author Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16). “Not all counties have the same limitations in existing infrastructure, and that variability is... 

Secrets to a healthy heart | New research on women and heart disease

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AARP —  New research shows that the hormonal shifts that occur during perimenopause—the years preceding menopause—set the stage for heart disease. “As women transition, they experience many changes that, when taken together, increase their risk of cardiovascular disease,” says lead researcher EPI's Samar R. El Khoudary. During this time, “bad” LDL cholesterol begins to rise; “good” HDL cholesterol may stop being protective; body fat accumulates ... 

Pitt public health expert sees vaccine distribution issues continuing, but overall COVID-19 situation improving

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WTAE PITTSBURGH — HPM's Mark Roberts said this decentralized system where people are calling around to pharmacies and providers on their own is inefficient, but it may be too late to change it. Roberts was optimistic that as more doses become available to providers that the stress surrounding those over 65 will dissipate. "The fact is, it’s getting better. And as more and more, if we’re really going to be able to get 11, 12, 15 million vaccines ... 

Schuyler wins Bernard D. Goldstein Award for work on environmental exposures and asthma

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Alexander Schuyler (EOH '23) is the latest winner of the Bernard D. Goldstein Award in Environmental Health Disparities and Public Health Practice for his project entitled, Impact of redlining and environmental exposures on airway gene expression, oxidative homeostasis and asthma outcomes. One reviewer commented, "I am intrigued by the potential for this project to make an explicit connection between disparities and the historical practice of re... 

Pitt study shows restaurant advertisements linked to weight gain

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INSIDE LIFE CHANGING MEDICINE - HPM's Marian Jarlenski and fellow researchers looked at the medical records of patients with various socio-economic statuses and compared them to how much money fast food and casual dining chains spent on marketing per capita in the county where each of the patients lived. Not only did fast food chains spend more money advertising in low-income areas, but as the amount spent on advertising in these communities inc... 

J&J vaccine effective in preventing severe disease; a mother's COVID-19 antibodies may protect newborns

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REUTERS -  Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine was 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe COVID-19 in a late-stage global trial with nearly 44,000 volunteers that includes regions with worrisome variants of the virus. "Right now, any protection and additional vaccine is great," said HPM's Walid Gellad . "The key is not only overall efficacy but specifically efficacy against severe disease, hospitalization, and death."  

Covid vaccine misinformation target of Pitt study

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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 Research on Behavioral Health, Media and Technology. “I think one of the reasons we’ve seen a rise in anti-vaccine sentiment over the years is people are l... 

Blame game begins over PA’s slow vaccine rollout

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THE EXPRESS — Republicans are faulting the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf for Pa’s slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout even as Wolf himself says insufficient supply is the real culprit, setting up a fresh political fight over who’s to blame for the frustrations of eligible residents trying to get inoculated. HPM's Mark Roberts, the PHDL director, said it is difficult to blame the state, given the federal government’s primacy in vaccine distribution. ... 

COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Health Care Workers In Underserved Communities Get Vaccine To Build Trust

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WDKA CBS NEWS —  In a multipronged effort to prioritize the biggest impact among Phase 1A groups, UPMC vaccinated community advocates  to fight vaccine hesitancy in vulnerable, often minority, populations, where COVID-19 has had a disproportionately terrible effect.BCHS's Richard Garland got the vaccine. “It was like taking a flu shot for me,” said Garland who is part of the COVID-19 Black Equity Coalition. “The more I look at the numbers in the... 

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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)