Student Profiles & News

Student News

Pitt Public Health launches new undergraduate degree program

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In response to the growing interest in public health careers among younger generations and the need for a more diverse and community-focused public health workforce, the University of Pittsburgh is officially launching an  undergraduate program  for students seeking a career in public health. The inaugural class will matriculate in fall 2022, and applications have already greatly exceeded expectations.  

Portela wins ASH Abstract Achievement Award

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Gerard Portela (EPI ‘24) was honored for the abstract “Comprehensive Assessment of Cognitive Function in Patients with Sickle Cell Disease Deficits in Memory and Processing Speed” at the American Society of Hematology conference in Atlanta.  

Wu wins Lingzi Lu Memorial Award

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Shan Wu (BIOST '24) will receive the 2022 award, created in 2013 by the American Statistical Association (ASA) in partnership with the International Chinese Statistical Association (ICSA) in rememberance of Lingzi Lu, the first-year student in the statistics master's program at Boston University who lost her life in the bombing at the Boston Marathon in April of that year. Lu was an ambitious, talented, and vibrant student, who looked forward to... 

Misled on lead: The campaign to keep toxic lead in hunting ammo and fishing tackle

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - EOH student Sam Totoni authored a two-part feature series to inform the public. “Hunting and fishing have a science denial problem. Special interest groups are misleading hunters and anglers—some of the country's proudest conservationists—into poisoning wildlife. Hunters are also being misled into risking the health of their families and recipients of donated meat. Even small amounts of lead affect nearly every organ ... 

Health Justice Scholars focus on equity in public health

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PITTWIRE - From addressing health disparities in transgender communities to researching links between racism and asthma, the Health Justice Scholars program challenges students to approach their work with a focus on equity. EPI's Dara Mendez said students were the inspiration behind starting the program. "They wanted to build community and work with other like-minded people who are doing similar work," she said.   

A Conversation with MPH student Amanda Cruce

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Amanda Cruce is a BCHS MPH student in a joint Social Work PhD program whose role models in community and public health are the individuals and families that are impacted by the work. She believes that both community and public health are best implemented when impacted groups are involved in the whole process. Their voice, lives, and health depend on an imperfect system and are the real heroes!  

Aparna Ramani: Social justice warrior and award winner

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In recognition of her dedication to promoting social justice across the University of Pittsburgh and the broader community, Aparna Ramani (HPM ’23), has been awarded this year’s Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement. The award, created in memory of philosopher and social theorist Iris Young, recognizes that social activism takes many forms and can be pursued in many ways. Aparna is the embodiment of this philosophy.  

Sundermann discusses collaborative paper on artificial intelligence and disease prediction

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KDKA RADIO – Alex Sundermann (IDM ‘14, EPI ‘22) explains that one in thirty patients gets at least one health care-associated infection – one acquired while in the hospital. “Typical tests see what type of organism it is but that test doesn’t tell you, was it transmitted from a patient or from somewhere in the environment? [Genome surveillance is] like fingerprinting for that test – who has that same organism and who is transmitting to who when ... 

Meet Kayla Ortiz, Health Justice Scholar

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“At my core, I am a health educator. However, I know that we can’t address health inequities by simply looking at the individual. We must interrogate the structural and historical causes that disproportionately impact the health of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folks,” said Kayla Ortiz (BCHS ’23).  

Meet Aparna Ramani, Health Justice Scholar

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“The most exciting aspect of my work is the continued mentorship, guidance, and community within the health advocacy space. As someone who has gained much insight from experienced researchers and community leaders, I hope to pass on my wisdom as a peer mentor to future public health professionals,” said Aparna Ramani (HPM ’23).  

Meet Monica Henderson, Health Justice Scholar

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“My focus on public health and equity is rooted in my lived experiences as a Black woman but more importantly, the centering of others’ experiences with oppression to let their narratives drive equity work,” explains Monica Henderson (BCHS ’22). Her interests include child health and racial equity and for her thesis she plans to explore Black hair politics and the impact on the health of Black youth.  

Meet Sarah Scott, Health Justice Scholar

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Sarah Scott (BCHS ’23) is a first year MPH student and Pittsburgh native who returned home after completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at Pepperdine University. “I am most looking forward to learning more about health equity theories and frameworks to better develop my research projects,” said Scott of joining the Health Justice Scholars program.  

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Student Profiles

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Meet Jonathan Yasin, BSPH student 

Meet Jonathan Yasin, BSPH student

“For the longest time, I wanted to be a physician,” says Jonathan, a native of Long Island, N.Y.  “But, I never thought about it in a global context or considered all the things that shape health until my volunteer work.  I started really thinking about public health and how it could be a window in... (01/11/2022)
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Salunke accepted into Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Connecticut 

Salunke accepted into Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Connecticut

Graduating master's student in IDM's community practice track Rajeev Salunke (IDM '20) has been accepted into the internal medicine residency program at the University of Connecticut. Hear directly from Rajeev about his background, his experiences at Pitt Public Health, and his aspirations for the ... (04/28/2020)
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Beth Hoffman, using systems science and social media data 

Beth Hoffman, using systems science and social media data

Doctoral student Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) uses system science methods to analyze social media data related to health topics such as vaping and vaccination. Her master's thesis examining anti-vaccine sentiment on Facebook through social network analyses was featured by multiple media outlets incl... (03/05/2020)
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Jessica Frankeberger, modeling social-ecological contributions to postpartum opioid use 

Jessica Frankeberger, modeling social-ecological contributions to postpartum opioid use

In her dissertation work, doctoral student Jessica Frankeberger (BCHS '23) will use spatial analysis and modeling approaches to understand the social-ecological contexts that contribute to opioid use and related problems among postpartum women. (03/05/2020)
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Jessica Thompson, using systems science in community health 

Jessica Thompson, using systems science in community health

Doctoral candidate Jessica Thompson (BCHS '21) is interested in community-engaged approaches, chronic disease prevention, rural and Appalachian women's health, mixed-methods research, and systems science approaches to community health research. (03/05/2020)
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Meet Ruishen Lyu, MS student in biostatistics 

Meet Ruishen Lyu, MS student in biostatistics

Just like with his interest in preventative medicine, Ruishen Lyu (BIOST MS '20) had two main reasons for choosing Pitt from among the other universities to which he was accepted. The first was the great reputation of a large research university like the University of Pittsburgh. The second was the... (01/29/2020)
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Students share practical advice on practica 

Students share practical advice on practica

A panel of six current students highlighted last week’s sixth annual Practicum and Internship Symposium, sharing their own experiences and tips on how to secure an internship. Perspectives were provided by faculty, staff, and administrators engaged in internship/practicum sites and advised students... (01/14/2020)
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Meet Ashika Mani, accelerated MS student in statistics and biostatistics 

Meet Ashika Mani, accelerated MS student in statistics and biostatistics

Ashika Mani (BIOST MS '21) joined Pitt Public Health this year via our Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program. “It was a pretty natural choice as I was looking to jumpstart my graduate studies early,” she said. “I was almost done with my undergraduate requirements.” She felt like she had so much m... (12/11/2019)
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Meet Dominic DiSanto, MS student in health data science 

Meet Dominic DiSanto, MS student in health data science

“I’m especially excited about my health data science concentration. It’s a very dynamic skill set and one that translates well to all different kinds of problems," said Dominic DiSanto (BIOST MS '21). "The curriculum in general looks like a very applied curriculum and the idea of having a consultin... (12/11/2019)
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Meet Arvon Clemons, MS student in statistical and computational genomics 

Meet Arvon Clemons, MS student in statistical and computational genomics

Part of what led Arvon Clemons to Pitt Public Health was the city of Pittsburgh. He felt a connection to a city that was similar to his hometown of St. Louis. His academic background doesn’t feel as congruous with his current study. But ultimately, both the city and the program are turning out to b... (12/09/2019)