Faculty Profiles & Research News

Identical twin kidney transplants warrant gene sequencing, Jorgensen says

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MEDICAL EXPRESS - Researchers including Dana Jorgensen (EPI '14) found that kidney transplants between identical twins have high success rates, but also high rates of immunosuppressant use. About half of patients were on immunosuppresant drugs a year after transplant, but survival rates were about the same regardless. "Once you confirm that the organ donor and recipient are identical, that's really a best-case scenario," said Jorgensen. "It's al... 

Kingsley ties rise in STD rates at Pitt with public health

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THE PITT NEWS - Nearly 2.4 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2018 - the highest cumulative number ever recorded, according to a recent report by the CDC. Pitt's numbers are on par with national averages. "My professional opinion is that this represents a failure of our public health system," said IDM's Lawrence Kingsley. "We haven't been able to control many sexually transmitted diseases wh... 

Hollander finds doctors who get gifts from opioid makers more likely to prescribe large amounts, study finds

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THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - While several previous studies have focused on the relationship between pharmaceutical promotions and doctors' prescribing habits, this new study from lead author Mara Hollander (HPM '20) focuses on how those payments affect physicians across specialties. "There's definitely some behavioral science and social science literature that indicates that providers may perceive themselves immune to bias from gift giving - we ... 

Fabisiak among public health experts that flunk report tying PA air quality improvements to gas drilling

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DESMOG BLOG - “They indicate that the Clean Air Act works,” said EOH's James Fabisiak, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, referring to the pollution reductions starting in 1990 shown in CEA’s report. “Air improved by setting stricter ambient air quality standards, continuing and enhanced enforcement, and increased control technologies to meet the mandated need to reduce pollution (auto fuel efficiency standards, cle... 

Jarlenski receives 2019 John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators

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Congratulations to Marian Jarlenski for being named the recipient of the 2019 John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators. Jarlenski was presented with this award at the AUPHA Annual Meeting in New Orleans in June. This award is used to recognize young faculty who have received their PhD within the past six years for their contributions to the research literature in the field of health services.   

El Khoudary, Thurston recognized by North American Menopause Society

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EPI's Samar El Khoudary was elected as a new NAMS board member and also received a poster prize for work presented during the meeting. El Khoudary is also faculty at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. EPI's Rebecca Thurston was elected 2019-20 President of NAMS. Thurston is also faculty in psychiatry and psychology. Congratulations!   

Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health

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WESA-FM -- A documentary about a local transgender musician’s reproductive health offers a new way to think about public health research: through the visual medium of film. Produced by Pitt Public Health postdoctoral associate Sara Baumann  (BCHS '19), the film focuses on Jude Benedict, who identifies as trans-masculine genderqueer (someone whose gender was assigned female at birth, and often expresses themselves in a masculine way, but does not... 

Over 700 doctors were paid more than a million dollars by drug and medical device companies, Gellad responds

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PROPUBLICA - HPM's Walid Gellad said it is quite striking how much money doctors were earning from other activities aside from patient care. More than 2,500 physicians received at least half a million dollars from drug makers and medical device companies in the past five years alone. And that doesn’t include money for research or royalties from inventions. More than 700 of those doctors received at least $1 million.  

Brent’s findings help high school kids look out for one another

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THE LACONIA DAILY SUN - We know that human compassion, connection, and kindness can make a difference for someone experiencing emotional distress. Studies now show that mental illness and its consequences affect 25 percent of the U.S. population. Of those, 50 percent develop mental illness by age 14, 75 percent by age 24. The fastest growing rate of suicide is in children age 10 to 14, said EPI’s David Brent, who has studied adolescent suicide s... 

Cancer-related beliefs and perceptions in Appalachia: findings from 3 states

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JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH - Vanderpool RC, Huang B, Deng Y, Bear TM, Chen Q, Johnson MF, Paskett ED, Robertson LB, Young GS, Lachan R found variations in cancer beliefs were observed across the 3 states’ Appalachian populations. Interventions should be tailored to specific communities to improve cancer knowledge and beliefs and, ultimately, prevention and screening behaviors.  

The role of accountability in batterers intervention programs and community response to intimate partner violence

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JOURNAL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE - Pallatino C, Morrison P, Miller E, Burke J, Cluss P, Fleming R, Hawker L, George D, Bicehouse T, Chang J. found that in order to have a sustainable impact on IPV perpetration, stakeholders across the Social Ecological Model will need to utilize crucial intervention periods using a standardized response to improve outcomes for IPV survivors, perpetrators, families and communities.   

A systematic review of health outcomes associated with provision of representative payee services

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PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES - Kinsky S, Creasy S, Hawk M find that representative payee services are largely beneficial or neutral in terms of health and behavior outcomes. Negative findings mainly involved the client-payee relationship. Given that more than five million individuals have a representative payee, assessing the impact of these services with more rigorous research designs is worthwhile  

Prevalence and correlates of prep awareness and use among black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) in the United States

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AIDS AND BEHAVIOR - Friedman, MR, Sang, JM, Bukowski, LA, Chandler, CJ, Egan, JE, Eaton, LA, Matthews, DD, Ho, K, Raymond, HF, & Stall, R. found that PrEP awareness campaigns tailored for black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW), concomitant with STI-to-PrEP interventions, will facilitate greater PrEP uptake in this population.  

Intimate partner violence and depression among black transgender women in the USA: The potential suppressive effect of perceived social support

JOURNAL OF URBAN HEALTH - Bukowski LA, Hampton M, Escobar C, Sang JM, Creasy SL, Chandler CJ, Stall, R. find there was a 20% lower likelihood of increased depressive symptomatology for every 1-unit increase in perceived social support reported by participants. These findings perceived social support may be an important intervention point for helping to improve the mental health and wellbeing of black transgender women.  

Koesarie, Risser, Totoni instrumental in Pitt providing menstrual products around campus

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THE PITT NEWS - The pad and tampon dispensers in women’s bathrooms across campus have sat empty for years. But check again. Pitt is stocking a number of bathrooms with menstrual products, and there’s no payment required. Kathleen Koesarie (MMPH), said “it’s important that students who need menstrual products have access to them without leaving school. It’s a period equity issue, it’s an equality issue, and it’s a public health issue.”  

Boston cites Chang, Kuller, and Matthews study that says optimists live longer

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FORBES - As early as 2009, EPI’s Yue-Fang Chang, Karen Matthews, and Lewis Kuller carried out a personality test with 97,253 women that assessed their levels of optimism and pessimism. Researchers compared the top quartile of the most optimistic women with the bottom quartile of the most pessimistic women.  

Bodnar's study seeks to guide maternal weight gain in twin pregnancies

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HEALTH NEWS DIGEST - An old adage urges pregnant women to “eat for two.” So with twins, is it “eat for three?” While that is likely bad advice, when it comes to twin pregnancies, EPI's Lisa Bodnar says, “Twin pregnancies have high rates of complications, so it is important to identify factors that we can modify during pregnancy to lessen these risks.”  

Faculty speak out on “Inequality Across Gender and Race” report

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Faculty members Dara Mendez (EPI) and Tiffany Gary-Webb (EPI/BCHS) shared some thoughtful criticisms of the “Inequality Across Gender and Race ” report recently issued by the city.  These two Pitt Public Health faculty members were co-signers of a letter responding to the report and challenging city leadership to take this issue seriously. Find out more...  

IDM Research Day expanded with guest speakers and more than 70 student presenters

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The Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology held their biggest-ever research day celebration, featuring three guest speakers: Jonathan Oliver spoke about the emerging tick-borne diseases of the northern United States, Daniel Voth talked about using human-derived systems to investigate bacterial pulmonary infection, and David Lampe lectured on inhibiting the spread of malaria by altering the mosquito microbiome.    

Dean Emeritus recognized for lifetime achievements in health

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On Friday, September 13, 2019, the 2019 Porter Prize was awarded to physician, virologist, and researcher Donald S. Burke in recognition of his contributions to health promotion and disease prevention. Throughout his professional life, Burke has studied prevention and control of infectious diseases of global concern, including HIV/AIDS, influenza, dengue, and emerging infectious diseases. He has lived six years in Thailand, worked extensively in... 

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Research Videos

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Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health 

Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health

WESA-FM -- A documentary about a local transgender musician’s reproductive health offers a new way to think about public health research: through the visual medium of film. Produced by Pitt Public Health postdoctoral associate Sara Baumann  (BCHS '19), the film focuses on Jude Benedict, who identif... (10/25/2019)
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Computer simulation just predicted a huge measles outbreak in texas, with 4,000 percent increase predicted in some communities 

Computer simulation just predicted a huge measles outbreak in texas, with 4,000 percent increase predicted in some communities

NEWSWEEK - David Sinclair, a postdoctoral researcher in Pitt's Public Health Dynamics Laboratory and lead author of the study said, "I was surprised at how large measles outbreaks could be in Texas at current vaccination rates, according to our forecasts. The clustering of unvaccinated children in ... (08/25/2019)
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As the U.S. measles count surpasses 25-year-old record, Roberts says: vaccinate 

As the U.S. measles count surpasses 25-year-old record, Roberts says: vaccinate

WDAM - U.S. health officials have reported 971 measles cases so far this year, the highest tally in 27 years, and experts say it's not clear when the wave of illnesses will stop. "What's causing these outbreaks is lack of vaccination," said HPM Chair Mark Roberts.  (05/31/2019)
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Hoffman led research into anti-vaxxers on social media (video) 

Hoffman led research into anti-vaxxers on social media (video)

WPXI - Antivaxxers left negative business reviews for Kids First Pediatrics after they posted a social media video encouraging HPV vaccination. So, they teamed up with researchers at Pitt including Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19, '23) who found that we have to "...start thinking about how to deliver tailor... (04/29/2019)
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Scientists uncover dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei (video) 

Scientists uncover dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei (video)

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES  - Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, a team of scientists led by HuGen's Quasar Padiath has made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear envelope and gives tantalizing clues as to how cells squish throug... (02/19/2019)
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Hartman among researchers trying to prevent virus more dangerous than Zika (video) 

Hartman among researchers trying to prevent virus more dangerous than Zika (video)

WPXI - Pitt researchers are looking to lessons learned about Zika when preparing for the possibility of Rift Valley Fever virus, noting that it's important to develop therapies and vaccines now. "We saw the ffects of Zika when it got into a larger population and so our work highlights the need to r... (02/11/2019)
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