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Pitt Public Health and Pittsburgh's Black Equity Coalition

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The Black Equity Coalition is a partnership between local physicians, public health professionals, government officials and community funders featuring Pitt Public Health's Dara Mendez, Tiffany Gary-Webb, Richard Garland, and Pitt Health Sciences' Noble Maseru.  

Meet our Faculty: Thistle Elias

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Thistle Elias was motivated to join the faculty of BCHS once she had the opportunity, as a staff member from another department, to work alongside BCHS faculty on Bridging the Gaps. After seeing their commitment to respectful, thoughtful community-engaged and partnered work, she   wanted to study and work alongside them, getting her PhD from the department in 2012 and joining the faculty soon after.  

Two-for-one vaccine clinics fight flu and Covid, too

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CNN - Since there were relatively few flu cases last year, scientists including HPM's Mary Krauland and Kyu Lee have predicted in a pre-print paper that there will be a "large compensatory" flu season this year. A model based on previous flu seasons projects in the paper that there could be 102,000 additional hospitalizations this upcoming season due to flu illnesses, which corresponds to a 20% increase compared with the average number of hospit... 

Allegheny County breakthrough cases increasing, but vaccinated still avoid serious illness

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PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE - The jab also appears to have a slight reduction in effectiveness against the delta variant compared to prior dominant virus strains, said EPI and IDM's Lee Harrison. But it should still protect people from severe disease if they do become infected. "I think what it tells us most clearly is, if we can get the rest of the population vaccinated, it will turn COVID into more of a nuisance than a major cause of hospitalizati... 

Biden's Mandate Requires Weekly COVID-19 Testing for Unvaccinated Employees. That Will Get Expensive.

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WESA - "There are arguments that say...if they're not willing to get a fully authorized, now-approved vaccine, then they need to bear the brunt of the cost," said HPM's Tina Batra Hershey.  

People Living with HIV the focus of two NIH awards to Pitt Public Health researchers

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From social stigma to the high prevalence of concurrent chronic diseases, people living with HIV (PLWH) are faced with a multitude of challenges.  Two National Institute of Health grants recently awarded to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health will provide valuable data to better intervene on their behalf.   

Sexual Assault Linked to Later Brain Damage in Women, Study Finds

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CNN - "It could be either childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual assault," said study author EPI’s Rebecca Thurston, director of the Women's Biobehavioral Health Laboratory. "Based upon population data, most women have their sexual assaults when they are in early adolescence and early adulthood," she added, "so these are likely early experiences that we're seeing the marks of later in life."  

Floods Have Swamped the US. The Next Health Problem: Mold

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WIRED - A summer of floods means mold and fungi are to follow. Yet we lack proper surveillance systems for mold infections and that leads to a data gap that increases the burden of these infections, particularly on marginalized groups. “We cannot isolate the impact of a natural disaster from historic burdens of health disparities, whether they are in the Gulf Coast or in the Caribbean or in New Jersey,” says Dean Maureen Lichtveld.  

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.”  

Jarlenski and Mendez receive RWJF funding to promote racial equity in pregnancy and child health

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HPM’s Marian Jarlenski and EPI’s Dara Mendez were recently awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their project “Evaluating interventions in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program to promote equity in pregnancy and child health for Black and Native populations.” They’ll draw on established partnerships to collect and evaluate data and incorporate community-based approaches to research, intervention development, and advocacy.  

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.  

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Two public health leaders on COVID-19 and what's next 

Two public health leaders on COVID-19 and what's next

PITTWIRE - Dean Lichtveld and Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, sat down to discuss lessons learned from the U.S. response to the pandemic and the future of the nation's health. As the United States settles into a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, mas... (05/10/2022)
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Advocating for affordable health care landed these Pitt people invitations to the White House 

Advocating for affordable health care landed these Pitt people invitations to the White House

PITTWIRE - HPM's Amy Raslevich received an invitation to attend President Joe Biden’s April 5 signing of the Executive Order on Strengthening Access to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid at the White House.  The event also marked President Obama’s first public return to the White House since leav... (04/06/2022)
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New program funds research on climate change and precision public health  

New program funds research on climate change and precision public health

PITTWIRE - Congratulations to the recipients of the CTSI Pitt Public Health Trans-Disciplinary Collaboration Pilot Awards! Five teams of Co-Investigators from Pitt Public Health and School of Medicine begin research on climate change and precision public health. The collaborative pilot investigatio... (03/30/2022)