Faculty Profiles & Research News

Brown talks about health equity implications of SCOTUS decision on employment protections for SGM

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"The June 15, 2020, decision by the Supreme Court of the United States affirming Federal Civil Rights protections in employment for sexual and gender minorities (SGM) across the country has significant health equity implications...we celebrate this decision as a positive step toward creating more equitable health and social environments for those in our communities who exist across the gender and sexuality spectrum," said BCHS's Andre Brown.   


Reflection to Action - we respond to "Racism: The Ultimate Underlying Condition

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The Center for Health Equity and Office of Health Sciences Diversity hosted a discussion and reflection to action and engagement in response to the American Public Health Association’s June 9 webinar, “Racism: The Ultimate Underlying Condition”. BCHS' Noble Maseru gave an overview of the  APHA presentation and invited panelists to give their insight and experience to help shine a spotlight on the intersection of men’s health and racism in honor... 


Maseru on Black History Month in Pittsburgh

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THE PITTSBURGH STUDY - Center for Health Equity Director Noble Maseru asks, "What can we Pittsburghers do to achieve an inclusive and socially equitable city? in the first case, we can express our preference for behavior that reflects our views on social justice in the ballot box - so vote!"  


Mendez addresses contributing factors to the racial inequalities in pregnancy, birth, and women's health

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NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER - The CDC also found that about 3 out of 5 pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths are preventable. The work of Dara Mendez examines how the environment, policies, and systems affect pregnancy outcomes. "If we’re trying to center the experiences of the most marginalized, then they also need to be at the forefront of research." Practitioners, researchers, community members and organizers need to review the data and understa... 


Students & community collaborators create 'Disrespecting the Border' mural

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Pitt student Camilo Ruiz (BCHS/Anthropology '20) collaborated with artists Leah Patgorski and Gil Rocha on a community mural-making workshop resulting in a magnificent art piece entitled "Disrespecting the Border."  An artist and teacher from Laredo, Texas, Rocha facilitated a diverse group of nineteen people through the five-day process of creating the mural which aims to" dignify and make visible the Latinx presence in Pittsburgh."  


As the battle against HIV continues, Pitt Men’s Study volunteer joins coronavirus vaccine study

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TRIBUNE-REVIEW — When drug makers solicited volunteers to test a coronavirus vaccine, Marc Wagner jumped. It was a matter of giving back. Wagner felt compelled to do his part for science. But just as important, it was an opportunity for him to honor the herculean efforts of scientists and others he has met over the last 35 years in his battle against HIV.  

Monoclonal antibody drugs raise hopes for keeping high-risk COVID-19 patients out of the hospital. But it’s complicated.

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER — Monoclonal antibodies are not magic bullets. They must be given intravenously in a hospital or infusion center where COVID-19 poses a particular danger to immune-compromised chemotherapy patients. HPM's Walid Gellad summarizes “We don’t want people running to the emergency room to get this therapy. We don’t want people running to infusion centers, where there are patients with cancer."  

Why a vaccine won’t end the covid pandemic

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TRIBUNE-REVIEW — IDM's Amy Hartman said the early results from vaccine trials have her feeling more optimistic than she’s been throughout the pandemic. But, she cautioned, “it’s important to keep in mind that vaccines aren’t necessarily a finite ‘solution’ but they are an important step toward controlling the pandemic.” In the meantime, continuing mitigation efforts—staying physically apart, wearing masks, and washing hands—remain vital.  

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

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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, such as insufficient social support and unrealistic weight-loss expectations, that can predict not being satisfied long-term with Roux-en-Y gastric by... 

Emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines likely in weeks, though U.S. still headed for a harsh winter

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MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL - "Vaccination of select high-risk individuals may start by the end of the year, but most likely the majority of vaccines will be released during the first quarter of 2021," said IDM's Amy Hartman. Vaccine makers still need to gather results from larger groups of recipients who have been studied for longer periods. "That's important," she said, "because some very rare side effects may not become apparent until either a... 

A look inside schools’ reopening decisions, HPM's Donohue weighs in

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TRIB LIVE - HPM's Julie Donohue said certain protocols are critical to stemming potential transmission, naming strategies such as universal mask-wearing, heightened sanitizing and hygiene practices, and “cohorting”—dividing students and staff into distinct groups with minimal interaction between each other—to reduce their number of contacts throughout the day. “It’s an incredibly challenging set of decisions to make,”  

As the pandemic worsens, ‘Please…just stay home’ advises Roberts

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MOUNTAIN STATE SPOTLIGHT -  As COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in West Virginia are rising and the holidays loom, the worst may be ahead. Regardless of all else, the most important thing going forward is our individual behaviors, said Mark Roberts, chairman of health policy and management.    

Editorial: The commonwealth’s appeal to serious common sense on coronavirus safety

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TRIBUNE REVIEW - Most people are capable of understanding personal responsibility and an obligation to their role in keeping other people safe. What is necessary is getting everyone to police their own actions and know what’s best for everyone is to stay in the right lane. “I think there’s this false idea that it’s either lockdown or nothing, lockdown or normal life,” said Steve Albert, BCHS chair.  

SARS-CoV-2 infection of African green monkeys results in mild respiratory disease discernible by PET/CT imaging and shedding of infectious virus from both respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts

Amy L. Hartman, Sham Nambulli, Cynthia M. McMillen, Alexander G. White, Natasha Louise Tilston-Lunel, Joseph R. Albe, Emily Cottle, Matthew D. Dunn, L. James Frye, Theron H. Gilliland, Emily L. Olsen, Katherine J. O’Malley, Madeline M. Schwarz, Jaime A. Tomko, Reagan C. Walker, Mengying Xia, Matthew S. Hartman, Edwin Klein, Charles A. Scanga, JoAnne L. Flynn, William B. Klimstra, Anita K. McElroy, Douglas S. Reed, W. Paul Duprex ​SARS-CoV-2... 

Dara Mendez, EPI faculty and director, Center for Health Equity

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"My research, teaching, curriculum development and service applies equity, anti-racism, anti-oppression praxis as well as Black Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory and Public Health Critical Race Praxis. My research program focuses on understanding and addressing racial and socioeconomic inequity in pregnancy, birth, and women's health. I specifically employ novel methods to measure and understand how racism (including institutional and struct... 

Cynthia Salter, BCHS faculty and director of the Center for Global Health

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"I chose to pursue a doctoral degree after working for many years with a community-based program focused on improving birth experiences and maternal health outcomes for women in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.  In my previous work, my staff and the women we served were often invited to participate in maternity care research, yet the reseach questions under investigation did not always align with our interests or our needs."  

Q&A: Peter Salk on the Lessons Learned from Vaccine Development History

Peter Salk was 11 years old when a University of Pittsburgh team led by his father, the late Jonas Salk, created the inactivated poliovirus vaccine. The day of the 1955 announcement that the vaccine was safe, effective and potent, “everything just went crazy,” he recalls. “There were so many calls from reporters that we ended up having to get an answering service. Imagine how embarrassing that would be for a sixth grader.” Today, at 76, he’s bac... 

Lockdowns aren’t the answer to Pa.'s surging coronavirus cases, experts say

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SPOTLIGHT PA / PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER — PA health officials are holding off on implementing new lockdown or business shutdowns, even as daily reported coronavirus cases break records. Instead, they’re urging the public to stick to mitigation protocols already in place—wears, capacity limits, and contact tracing. “I think there’s this false idea that it’s either lockdown or nothing, lockdown or normal life,” said BCHS' Steve Albert. "And that’s no... 

Drs. Dimitrov and Mellors progress in COVID-19 research using monoclonal antibody libraries

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TIMES OBSERVER - Pitt scientists have discovered the fastest way to identify potent, neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. When Chinese scientists published the virus' genetic sequence January, Dimitrov’s team rapidly generated the virus’s receptor binding domain-part of the spike protein that attaches to human cells-and used it as “bait” to pan their multiple libraries of over 1 trillion human antibodies built over preced... 

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

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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 some other environment when things go wrong,” Drake said. “It allows people to access preventive health care.”  

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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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