Faculty Profiles & Research News

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."  


Goldstein says EPA must consider COVID-19 when setting air pollutant standards

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THE HILL - EOH's Bernard Goldstein contributed an op-ed to The Hill urging the EPA to consider COVID-19 when setting air pollutant standards.  ​"With so many Americans at risk," he says, "the EPA needs to withdraw its proposed particulate standards and seriously consider the impact of COVID-19 on the adequacy of the margin of safety required for air pollutant standards. Otherwise, we will be condemned to wait until the next review at least fiv... 

EOH's Wenzel named winner of ATS AII Scientific Accomplishment Award

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EOH's Sally Wenzel has won the American Thoracic Society's AII Scientific Accomplishment Award.Dr. Wenzel’s remarkable research contributions over the years have significantly improved our understanding of asthma pathogenesis and directly impacted approach to treatment. Dr. Wenzel has developed an unparalleled translational program to study asthma’s pathobiology and mechanisms and is one of the key scientists who established the concept of asthm... 

Burke on Allegheny County’s increase in opioid overdose deaths

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POST-GAZETTE - “The epidemic has a lot of drivers that go deep into society. It’s a combination of the persons who are susceptible to drug use because of unemployment and a sense of despair in many parts of our country,” Dean Emeritus Donald Burke said. And now that the world is in the middle of a pandemic where stay-at-home orders leave people isolated, unemployed, and stressed, he doesn’t doubt there will be an increase in 2020.  

Jeong on how to interpret daily covid-19 case counts

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TRIB LIVE - “Some people get reported at a later time and there’s a lag,” said Jong Jeong, biostatistics professor and interim chair. For more clarity you can look at the percentage of positive cases out of tests administered. But it’s still helpful to monitor the trajectory of the virus in the region. Watching case counts rise—even if the rise really occurred weeks ago—helps statisticians and scientists create models and make predictions.  

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.   

What the Allegheny County Health Department is doing to address health disparities. An open letter to the community.

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NEXT PITTSBURGH - Allegheny County, like Minneapolis, has substantial racial disparities that impact all of us. Our communities are starkly divided along racial and ethnic lines. With these lines come distinct differences in access to housing, education, transportation and employment. These differences translate directly to worse health outcomes among our communities of color. In Allegheny County, black people have dramatically higher rates of b... 

‘Desperation science’ slows the hunt for coronavirus drugs, but Angus is speeding it up

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AP NEWS - HPM’s Derek Angus, UPMC’s critical care chief, is using an innovative study using artificial intelligence to help pick treatments. Forty regional hospitals joined more from the United Kingdom to randomly assign patients to one of dozens of possible treatments, adapting treatments based on the results. If a drug looks like a winner, the computer assigns more people to get it. The system “learns on the fly.  

Roberts breaks down 'herd immunity' strategy to combat novel coronavirus (video)

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WTAE NEWS - In the absence of a vaccine, said HPM Chair Mark Roberts, at least 60% of the population must contract and recover from the virus. But 1 percent of COVID-19 cases are fatal. “That’s a huge number of deaths in Allegheny County to achieve herd immunity.” If we continue without vaccine, eventually we will achieve herd immunity, but it comes at a cost of lives lost and overwhelmed hospitals.  

My gym is reopening. Reed isn't sure it’s safe to work out there.

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NPR - If you want to exercise indoors, it’s safer to do it at home, says IDM’s Doug Reed, an immunologist and aerobiologist. If you do go to the gym and you’re breathing heavily, it would be better to double your regular physical distance to 12 feet, because we don’t know exactly how far virus particles travel when people are breathing heavily. The potential for being infected or spreading the infection could be much higher.  

Politics, fear keep some people from disclosing contacts. Maseru talks solutions.

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SPOTLIGHT PA – Contact tracing is crucial to keeping people safe but success relies on cooperation. “The key is building community trust,” said BCHS’s Noble Maseru. “If the people doing this work are known and respected in the community, residents will be more likely to trust that their information is being used for a good purpose.”  

Maseru among experts who say there are lessons to be learned from the coronavirus pandemic

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CBS PITTSBURGH - "We've got to figure out what we can do for [high-poverty communities], education and information wise, so we can at least improve the probability that they can social distance or physical distance within the environment that's challenging for them," said Center for Health Equity Director Noble Maseru. "Let's think about having a much more equity, social justice lens in our decision making that's much more inclusive."   

Allegheny County Health Dept. says new COVID-19 cases were among younger people who were traveling, visiting bars and restaurants

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WTAE - Officials said the new cases ranged in age from four months to 97 years old, with a median age of 31 years old. HPM's Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, says he's concerned about this rise in cases, but at this point doesn't fear a larger spike in cases like other states. "It's not the virus. It's our response to the virus that causes the spike. It's not the virus getting stronger or weaker, it's how we respo... 

Masks and Much More: Public Health in the Time of COVID-19

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PITTSBURGH CURRENT—"Green is associated with 'go,' 'all clear,' 'nothing to worry about'—but during this pandemic, green could not be further from the truth." Doctoral candidate Chantele Mitchell-Miland (EPI '20) and advisor EPI's Dara Mendez explain why we all still need to be vigilant and practice infection prevention precautions. The authors discuss transmission, testing and tracing, disparate impacts, and the mental health toll, calling for ... 

Q&A: Healthcare Advisory Group members weigh in on COVID-19 questions

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EPI Chair Anne Newman and EOH Chair Sally Wenzel join additional members of the Healthcare Advisory Group for a Q&A focusing on COVID-19. The group, which includes a multifaceted panel of experts in health care, law, medicine, public health, occupational health and safety, infectious diseases and epidemiological modeling and emergency preparedness, is meeting regularly to apply their collective knowledge to the very practical questions that need... 

Coronavirus case increases and risky social behavior worry Newman

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER – The uptick may be linked to an increase in young adults not social distancing, so officials suspended the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption at bars and restaurants. The rise in cases suggests people don’t understand what the state’s “green” phase meant, said Anne B. Newman, EPI chair. “I think people took the green to mean that everything was fine and there wasn’t a problem.”  

Mair encourages risk priorities as a surge of coronavirus infections continues in Allegheny County

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90.5 WESA – Social epidemiologist Christina Mair has been thinking for weeks that the county needs to close bars. She acknowledges the economic repercussions but said it might help keep infection rates low enough that kids can return to school in the fall. “It’s the risk-benefit,” she added. “Where are the places where allowing more risk because they're more important?”  

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Research Videos

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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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Understanding and Addressing the COVID-19 Infodemic 

Understanding and Addressing the COVID-19 Infodemic

Since the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, social media misinformation appears to be spreading faster than the virus itself, prompting the WHO to declare an "infodemic" of misinformation. During this conversation, BCHS's Steve Albert and Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) will discuss h... (05/30/2020)
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A Health Equity Response to COVID-19 in Allegheny County 

A Health Equity Response to COVID-19 in Allegheny County

“When the pandemic first started, there were many of us that were worried that the toll on underserved populations, particularly African Americans where I focus, would bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19,” said EPI’s Tiffany Gary-Web. "So I started locally asking for data by race and trying ... (05/21/2020)
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MAR-PHTC experts discuss "Science and Health Law: Navigating through COVID-19" 

MAR-PHTC experts discuss "Science and Health Law: Navigating through COVID-19"

COVID-19 is a highly infectious coronavirus that jumped from an animal host to humans in late 2019 and subsequently became a pandemic. With so much information scattered over the internet, where can reliable information be found? Faculty experts in the fields of biology, medicine, law, and informat... (05/21/2020)
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Systemic Racism in the Time of COVID-19, Maseru on Tuskegee University Lecture Series (video) 

Systemic Racism in the Time of COVID-19, Maseru on Tuskegee University Lecture Series (video)

In the first William "Bill" Jenkins Lecture at the Department of Graduate Public Health in the College of General Medicine at Tuskegee University, CHE's Noble Maseru spoke of Jenkins' committment to social justice through workforce development and tangentially addressed bioethics. "We don't see COV... (05/19/2020)
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