Faculty Profiles & Research News

Mendez receives national recognition for maternal and child health research

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PITTWIRE - The Coalition for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and 15 national health organizations selected EPI's Dara Mendez as the recipient of the 2020 Award for Effective Practice at the Community Level. Mendez specializes in understanding and addressing racial and socioeconomic inequity in pregnancy, birth, and women's health. The award recognizes her significant work toward improving public health practice through effec... 


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."  


Jalal research shows fatal overdoses in U.S. rebounded in 2019

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TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT – “We are concerned that policymakers may have interpreted the one-year downturn in 2018 as evidence for an especially effective national response or the start of a long-term trend,” said lead author Hawre Jalal, HPM. “Unfortunately, that isn’t supported by the data.” The data suggests there has been a 5.6 percent increase in fatal overdoses nationwide since 2018.  

Roberts on COVID-19 in Pittsburgh: A timeline of the first six months

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - "We had a pretty good early run," said HPM Chair Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Lab. "If you look at the graph of cases over time, back in April, we were doing pretty well with surprisingly few cases." The peak day of the early months of COVID-19 came with 73 new cases on April 3 - a number that would be considered an average day today.   

Mellors discusses potential COVID-19 drug

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CUMBERLAND TIMES-NEWS - IDM’s John Mellors, UPMC’s chief of infectious diseases, said the biological molecule “is small, which means it penetrates into areas of the body where a full-sized antibody may not. It’s fully human, meaning that there’s no foreign material that’s likely to be rejected by the host… and it appears to be safe.” But he added, it's too early to talk about pricing of a treatment when it’s not (tested) in humans yet.  

Hershey on how courts may reconsider temporary coronavirus restrictions as pandemic drags on

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WASHINGTON POST – HPM's Tina Batra Hershey agrees that there's a need for executive administrations to “provide clear and transparent communications about what they’re doing, to ensure that there is a tailored response.” That might mean articulating what steps will be taken to measure whether restrictions are working and when they can be lifted, she said. “I think the judiciary will require more from the executive.”  

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

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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 the epidemiological and environmental factors that will shape the likely phases of the epidemic in our region.    

Using a harm-reduction framework to guide teacher-student interactions

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Teaching during this pandemic is hard. BCHS faculty and student co-authors—MPH student Shannon Mitchell (BCHS '21) and doctoral student Abisola Olaniyan (BCHS '21)—offer educators guidance on using harm-reduction principles to guide interactions with students while building compassionate, collectivist communities that allow people to learn and thrive. Check out the full article in the current edition of the journal Pedagogy in Health Promotion. ... 

Steroids can save lives among COVID-19 patients, UPMC and Pitt researchers say

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NPR – Pitt Medical Center’s Derek Angus (BCHS ’92) said that while some worried that steroids could also prevent the body from fighting off the coronavirus, all the coordinated studies reached the same conclusion, which is, I guess we have to stop our trials. It is reassuring that we can get randomized trials executed successfully and rapidly in the face of a pandemic, and it definitely puts us on a sure footing.  

Angus says large antibody study offers hope for virus vaccine efforts

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LOS ANGELES TIMES – A comprehensive study from Iceland revealed that natural antibodies remained stable for four months, longer than was first thought. HPM’s Derek Angus (BCHS ’92), UPMC’s critical care chief, said that “will be encouraging for people working on vaccines.” He added that the infection fatality rate of 0.3 percent is in keeping with recent estimates here in the U.S.  

Bodnar on sending her kids back to school

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TIME - EPI's Lisa Bodnar said her children's schools will begin the year all-remote. While spring “was not a good learning experience,” she feels encouraged by efforts to add more structure to the digital school day this fall. “I’m much more hopeful that it will be closer to what it could be in school. I know that they will be safer,” but she's not fully convinced that all of their needs will be met.  

Is pharma’s counteroffer enough? Gellad questions the proposal.

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POLITICO - The feedback: “Not only do voluntary discounts not last long, but discounts do nothing to address the prices of drugs that come out after any discount goes into place,” tweeted HPM’s Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh. “Also, what is a 10 percent discount when list prices increases by 9.9 percent a year?”  

Baumann and Burke create community with shared art space to combat negative effects of physical distancing

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you stayed connected and maintained community connections? BCHS' Jessie Burke and Sara Baumann asked the Pitt community to respond with art projects, which are now available for viewing in a new virtual gallery featured on Pitt Public Health's website. "[A]rt space interventions like this project can be powerful approaches for reducing adverse physiological and psychological health outcomes," said Baumann. ... 

Gellad says the FDA ‘grossly misrepresented’ plasma data

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NEW YORK TIMES – Many experts were bewildered about where a key statistic came from. HPM's Walid Gellad, who leads Pitt’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, said, “For the first time ever, I feel like official people in communications and people at the F.D.A. grossly misrepresented data about a therapy.” Millions will rely on the FDA' judgement. “That’s a problem if they’re starting to exaggerate data.”  

Angus has new questions about remdesivir COVID-19 efficacy

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REUTERS - HPM’s Derek Angus (BCHS '92) and Pitt's Erin McCreary coauthored a study editorial raising questions about whether some patients get more benefit from remdesivir than others and whether it matters if patients receive remdesivir and steroids together. It is still possible that remdesivir could improve recovery for millions of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, they added, but more research is needed before that becomes clear.  

McTigue among researchers collecting stories of COVID-19 patients in Story Booth project

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TRIB LIVE - Story Booth dates back to 2016 and features stories of patients with ailments from cancer to organ transplantation. "In the long term, we think that these kinds of studies may be particularly well-suited to provide the data that patients and their health care teams need to make better decisions," said Division of Internal Medicine's Kathleen McTigue, also an associate professor of epidemiology.   

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Research Videos

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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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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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