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Turning ideas into transformative action: Pitt Public Health students selected as Future Health Leaders

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Complex health issues are easy to determine, but finding solutions can be challenging. Three Pitt Public Health students, ASHLEY SIMENSON (EPI ’19), JESSICA SALERNO (IDM ’20), and KAITLYN SAAL-RIDPATH (HPM ’20) were chosen as part of the inaugural class of Future Health Leaders and will present their ideas at the Milken Institute's Future of Health Summit 2018 in Washington DC.  

Simenson, Salerno, Saal-Ridpath selected for future health leaders program

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PITT WIRE - Three students from Pitt Public Health were selected for the inaugural class of The Milken Institute’s Future Health Leaders Program. The students, ASHLEY SIMENSON (EPI '19), JESSICA SALERNO (IDM '20), and KAITLYN SAAL-RIDPATH (HPM '20), are among a dozen of fellows selected nationwide. The program aims to give the students exposure to health leadership to help accelerate their future work tackling complex public health challenges.... 

Alcohol screening tests fail to work in RYGB patients

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BARIATRIC NEWS - People who undergo Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery are at increased risk for alcohol-related problems and common screening tools that help physicians identify patients at high risk for alcohol use disorder fail to work well in this population, according to a new study. EPI's WENDY KING says specific symptoms of alcohol use disorder, such as being unable to remember because of drinking, should be assessed.  

Pitt Public Health study identifies modifiable dementia risk factor in older adults

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SCIENCE DAILY - New research from Pitt Public Health found that arterial stiffness is a good proxy for predicting who will go on to develop dementia. Even minor signs of brain disease were not as telling. Since arterial stiffness can be reduced by antihypertensive drugs, and likely also lifestyle interventions, these findings suggest that at-risk patients may have the power to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.  

Bariatric surgery can reduce risks - but King's study finds it depends how much they can keep off after their operation

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DAILY MAIL - Bariatric surgery can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death in obese people. But those who gained back 20 percent of weight lost were more than one-third more likely to develop diabetes and two-thirds more likely to have high cholesterol, according to a study lead by WENDY KING and colleagues. “Our study will lead to further studies on how to best avoid and manage weight regain for better health outcomes,” said King.  

King finds alcohol disorder tests fail in weight-loss surgery patients

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UPMC - Given the increased risk of alcohol use disorder associated with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, it is recommended that clinicians screen for alcohol use disorder before and after surgery, but there is no guidance on how to do that screening, said EPI's WENDY KING. According to a long-term, multicenter analysis, common screening tools fail to work well in this population.  

Are Osteoporosis Drugs Linked With Survival? Cauley weighs in

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MEDSCAPE - A debate took place on whether osteporosis treatment is associated with mortality took place at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2018 Annual Meeting. Most (72%) of the bone doctors agreed with the motion that "osteoporosis treatments are associated with improved mortality [rates]." Although unmeasured confounders may be present, "I believe there is an association," said EPI's JANE CAULEY.   

Allegheny County gets $1.7M in grants to combat opioid crisis

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TRIB LIVE - The Allegheny County Health Department has received two federal grants totaling nearly $1.7 million that will assist in addressing health inequality and the opioid epidemic across the county. Several Pitt Public Health alumni are a part of this initiative, along with BCHS's TIFFANY GARY-WEB, and EPI's DARA MENDEZ as co-investigators on the research and evaluation of this important work.  

Aging Institute leadership marches on

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PITT WIRE - Baby boomers have long been known as one of the largest generations, and now they are living longer and healthier than any generation before, says Epi's ANNE NEWMAN, newly appointed clinical director of the Aging Institute of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh. “We’re going through an aging revolution. The 65-year-old today is a healthier person than a 65-year-old was 30 years ago.”  

Burke uses mobile health to track cardiovascular risk factors

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PITTSBURGH COURIER - Around 75 percent of people in the United States use a smartphone, and apps focusing on mobile health (mHealth) can be used to track key and unique health updates for users. The research of EPI's LORA BURKE (EPI '98), has focused on how to use mHealth for one particular risk factor of cardiovascular disease—being overweight. “Research reinforced that the crux of weight loss... is self-monitoring in real time."  

Byrnes, Niemczyk, Mendez appointed to governor’s maternal mortality review committee

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CAROLYN BYRNES (EPI ‘11), NANCY NIEMCZYK (EPI ‘14), and EPI's DARA MENDEZ are to serve in a new effort to collect information to investigate and disseminate findings related to maternal deaths. “With the alarming rate of maternal deaths in Pennsylvania, establishing this committee will help take immediate action in determining the reasons for this phenomenon,” Governor Wolf said.   

Thurston: sexual harassment and assault take long-term toll on women's health

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - A new study shows that not only are sexual harassment and assault highly prevalent today, but they may also have negative health consequences. "It is widely understood that sexual harassment and assault can impact women's lives and how they function, but this study also evaluates the implications of these experiences for women's health," says EPI's REBECCA THURSTON.   

Jane Cauley receives ASBMR 2018 Shirley Hohl Service Award

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Congratulations to EPI's JANE CAULEY for receiving the 2018 Shirley Hohl Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. She received the award after volunteering for numerous positions and projects with the society. “To be awarded the ASBMR 2018 Shirley Hohl Service Award is a great honor and privilege, and I thank our membership for the opportunity to serve," said Cauley.  

Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016

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SCIENCE - In an effort to understand the epidemic dynamics and perhaps predict its future course, Pitt Public Health researchers analyzed records of nearly 600,000 overdose deaths. Dean DONALD BURKE, HPM's HAWRE JALAL, and colleagues concluded that the U.S. drug overdose epidemic has been inexorably tracking along an exponential growth curve since at least 1979.   

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