Research and Practice News

Check out some highlights of research and practice under way at Pitt Public Health:

Estradiol may influence association between HDL cholesterol, aortic calcification 

Estradiol may influence association between HDL cholesterol, aortic calcification

HEALIO - High HDL cholesterol levels alone may not be cardioprotective for midlife women; estradiol may influence the risk for cardiovascular disease, according to data from the SWAN Heart study. “Levels of endogenous estradiol may play an important role in cardioprotective associations of HDL chol... (01/12/2021)

Study finds 35 percent of counties have two or fewer facilities to administer Covid-19 vaccines 

Study finds 35 percent of counties have two or fewer facilities to administer Covid-19 vaccines

NBC NEWS -  With 200 million vaccine doses due by the end of March, states, and counties have been left to sort out where to send vaccines first and how to get them there. A study found tremendous variation in how far people would need to drive for the vaccine, with 35 percent of counties having tw... (12/29/2020)

Gov. Wolf awards Pitt Public Health $2.5M to study health impacts of fracking 

Gov. Wolf awards Pitt Public Health $2.5M to study health impacts of fracking

TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT -  Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has awarded a $2.5 million contract to research the potential health effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state in two epidemiological studies to be conducted over the next two years. EPI's Evelyn Talbott will investigate the relationship between... (12/29/2020)

Virtual Agents of Change: How Computers Are Mapping Covid-19's Future 

Virtual Agents of Change: How Computers Are Mapping Covid-19's Future

KNOWABLE MAGAZINE—Instead of trying to analyze how society functions from the top down, agent-based modeling tackles the problem from the other end, focusing on individuals."We have (modeled) every person in the US, where they live, where they go to school, where they go to work," says EPI's Donald... (12/17/2020)

Researchers scan DNA to learn how facial features form 

Researchers scan DNA to learn how facial features form

THE CONVERSATION - Until very recently, geneticists had virtually no understanding of which parts of our DNA were linked to even the most basic aspects of facial appearance. HUGEN's John R. Shaffer and Pitt’s Seth M. Weinberg explore questions like: Can we reliably predict a person’s face from thei... (12/11/2020)

Feeling stressed about your role in life? For women, that could be a health risk  

Feeling stressed about your role in life? For women, that could be a health risk

AHA NEWS - How a woman feels about her roles at home and at work during midlife can affect several factors that influence her heart health. Dissertation research by lead author Andrea Leigh Stewart (EPI '18)  found women who felt more stressed had greater odds of having high blood pressure, being o... (12/11/2020)

Lead in game meat a health risk for hunting families and food bank recipients 

Lead in game meat a health risk for hunting families and food bank recipients

THE ALLEGHENY FRONT - In an extensive podcast interview, MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21) discusses the risks of lead shot in hunted meat.  Scientists have found concentrations of lead more than 100 times the limit in the meat of lead shot carcasses, which can be particularly dangerous if the ... (12/07/2020)

New AHA Scientific Statement on Menopause and CVD Risk 

New AHA Scientific Statement on Menopause and CVD Risk

NEWS MEDICAL - Changes in hormones, body composition, lipids, and vascular health during the menopause transition can increase a woman's chance of developing cardiovascular disease after menopause, the American Heart Association said in a scientific statement. EPI's Samar R. El Khoudary, who chaire... (12/03/2020)

BCHS alumnus David Hicks brings teamwork and values to organzing COVID-19 response 

BCHS alumnus David Hicks brings teamwork and values to organzing COVID-19 response

ALABAMA NEWSCENTER - Deputy health officer at the Jefferson County Department of Health David Hicks (BCHS '03) plays a key role in organizing COVID-19 testing at Legion Field in Birmingham, which has been commended for how smoothly it has run. Residents drive into the parking lot, remain in their c... (12/02/2020)

On World AIDS Day 2020, Learn About Pitt’s Work and Impact 

On World AIDS Day 2020, Learn About Pitt’s Work and Impact

PITTWIRE - Pitt Public Health, the local community, and the University of Pittsburgh have long fought HIV and AIDS. One of our many efforts is the Pitt Men’s Study, which last year celebrated a milestone: 40 years of studying the disease. Learn how we're working together to conquer the disease. (12/02/2020)

Pitt Scientists Demonstrate Positive Effects of Physical Activity in Patients and Identify Predictors of Satisfaction after Bariatric Surgery 

Pitt Scientists Demonstrate Positive Effects of Physical Activity in Patients and Identify Predictors of Satisfaction after Bariatric Surgery

THE PHILLY VOICE — Wendy King, associate professor of epidemiology, found that higher physical activity levels after bariatric surgery lessen depressive symptoms and improve mental and physical quality of life, irrespective of weight loss. Gretchen White's study identified patient characteristics, ... (11/24/2020)

Pitt researchers find Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansions led to earlier detection of cancer 

Pitt researchers find Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansions led to earlier detection of cancer

TRIB LIVE - Findings from a research team led by HPM's Coleman Drake provide evidence that expanding insurance coverage is a potential avenue to improve cancer outcomes. “It’s really about getting people into the normal health care system rather than presenting at the ED (emergency department) or s... (11/12/2020)

Bacterial metabolism of dietary soy may lower risk factor for dementia 

Bacterial metabolism of dietary soy may lower risk factor for dementia

NEUROSCIENCE NEWS - A metabolite produced following consumption of dietary soy may decrease a key risk factor for dementia--with the help of the right bacteria.  According to a discovery by EPI's  Akira Sekikaw a , elderly Japanese men and women who produce equol--a metabolite of dietary soy create... (10/26/2020)

Study shows how HIV and cancer drugs accelerate cellular aging 

Study shows how HIV and cancer drugs accelerate cellular aging

INSIDE LIVE CHANGING MEDICINE - Why do HIV patients tend to show premature signs of aging: cancer, cognitive diseases, osteoporosis? Is the virus itself is causing aging or the drugs being used to treat the virus? In a new study published in Nature Communications , doctoral student Samantha Sanfo... (10/26/2020)

Staying social can boost healthy ‘gray matter’ in aging brains 

Staying social can boost healthy ‘gray matter’ in aging brains

US NEWS (HealthDay News) — Older adults who get together with friends, volunteer, or go to classes have healthier brains, which could help them ward off dementia, according to a new study led by postdoc Cynthia Fox of EPI. Being socially engaged—even moderately—with at least one relative or friend ... (10/20/2020)

The opioid crisis didn’t disappear amid the pandemic. It still calls for urgent action. 

The opioid crisis didn’t disappear amid the pandemic. It still calls for urgent action.

THE WASHINGTON POST - Despite the predominance of the coronavirus pandemic among national priorities, the paper's editorial board urges the dedication of public health funds and attention to the ongoing opioid crisis, citing data gathered by HPM's Hawre Jalal and EPI's Donald S. Burke which suggest... (10/20/2020)

Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks  

Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS -  Food banks in the U.S. are on course for a preventable collision between record-setting food insecurity and lead-contaminated meat. Though hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to U.S. food banks, a lack of oversight could result in potentially hundreds of thousa... (10/15/2020)

Frailty factor: How well you walk when you’re older may depend on one gene 

Frailty factor: How well you walk when you’re older may depend on one gene

STUDY FINDS  – While many seniors try to keep frailty at bay through diet and exercise, a Pitt study finds that who becomes infirm may come down to one gene. “Most people think about dopamine’s role in mobility in the context of Parkinson’s disease, but not in normal aging," says lead author EPI's... (10/12/2020)

Burke and Baumann take filmmaking to the health sciences 

Burke and Baumann take filmmaking to the health sciences

Jessica Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) have created a new form of public health research called Collaborative Filmmaking. The six-step process engages its participants to create a detailed, multimedia form of study rarely seen in the field. Baumann said she knew Pitt was the right fit for h... (10/07/2020)

Revisiting Freedom House Ambulance: A Call for a Modern and Inclusive Public Health Initiative (video) 

Revisiting Freedom House Ambulance: A Call for a Modern and Inclusive Public Health Initiative (video)

Freedom House Enterprises ambulance services was a pioneering program designed to be representative of the community it served (Pittsburgh's Hill District), provide a pathway for upward mobility, and address a severe disparity in pre-hospital care. The collaboration between Phil Hallen, Peter S... (09/30/2020)

Research Videos

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Revisiting Freedom House Ambulance: A Call for a Modern and Inclusive Public Health Initiative (video) 

Revisiting Freedom House Ambulance: A Call for a Modern and Inclusive Public Health Initiative (video)

Freedom House Enterprises ambulance services was a pioneering program designed to be representative of the community it served (Pittsburgh's Hill District), provide a pathway for upward mobility, and address a severe disparity in pre-hospital care. The collaboration between Phil Hallen, Peter S... (09/30/2020)
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COVID-19 on campus 

COVID-19 on campus

Drs. John Williams and Margaret McDonald share an update on the current COVID conditions on campus and reflect on their insider experiences serving on Pitt’s Healthcare Advisory Group during this public health crisis. (09/25/2020)
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COVID-19 & Secondary Impacts 

COVID-19 & Secondary Impacts

The stay-at-home and social distancing COVID-19 mitigation orders drastically restricted people’s physical movements and access to businesses, causing myriad secondary impacts on the public’s health. Dr. Andrea Gielen discusses how the pandemic has affected injury risks due to changes in lifestyles... (09/18/2020)
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Summer of 2020: Evolution of our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and ability to forecast COVID-19  

Summer of 2020: Evolution of our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and ability to forecast COVID-19

What we have learned during the summer of 2020 that puts SARS-CoV-2 into perspective with other emerging viruses and explores the current state of COVID-19 forecasting for the next few months. IDM's Amy Hartman talks what we know (and don't know) about SARS-CoV-2 and EPI's Donald Burke discusses th... (09/14/2020)
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Health Department Responses 

Health Department Responses

EPI's Catherine Haggerty and HPM's Wendy Braund lead a conversation about the health department response to COVID-19 at the local and state levels. Haggerty starts the conversation with a discussion of the approaches, impact, and challenges of containment and mitigation efforts at the county level.... (06/13/2020)
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Biostatistical Modeling and COVID-19  

Biostatistical Modeling and COVID-19

Biostatistical modeling, estimation, and decision-making support have been playing an important role in responses to COVID-19 challenges. Lu Tang and Andriy Bandos will discuss statistical considerations involved in modeling the epidemic progression and in the use of COVID-19 related tests for esti... (06/13/2020)
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