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Harrison on school requirements for child vaccines

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NBC PHILADELPHIA - State officials want both public and private school students to be up-to-date with all their vaccinations within five days of the beginning of the school year, a drastic reduction from the eight months that pupils used to have to get their shots. Epidemiology’s LEE HARRISON says outbreaks of infectious diseases have demonstrated the need for high immunization rates. 

Meet Ashley Simenson (EPI '19), Dean's Scholar

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Simeson's interest in public health was first sparked by the documentary The Weight of the Nation . Later she was exposed to a course on the AIDS epidemic and initial responses from public health organizations. She then applied to nine schools and found a home in Pitt's EPI program. “I want to be an infectious disease specialist and conduct research in HIV and STI prevention and treatment,” she says.   

Peddada, government scientist and researcher, is new chair for Department of Biostatistics

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We welcome SHYAMAL D. PEDDADA as the new chair of the Department of Biostatistics. He comes to us from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), where he was the acting branch chief of the Biostatistics and Computational Biology Branch and a senior tenured investigator. He also held adjunct appointments as professor of biostatistics at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill and professor... 

Gellad on the cancer drug pricing firestorm

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AXIOS - Doctor and health policy professor WALID GELLAD said the real question is why a potential breakthrough drug that has some question marks about effectiveness should cost more than proven life-saving measures like bone marrow or kidney transplants. “This is an amazing therapy, but there has to be a limit at which point companies can no longer charge desperate patients, or taxpayers, enormous sums.” 

Marques: Zika virus still offers no clear answers

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THE GLOBE AND MAIL - It has been two years since Brazil’s northeast was hit with the public-health crisis that left babies born with CZS and set off alarm bells in the global health community. Yet experts continue to grapple with big questions. “We can’t really tell if what happened here was replicated or not in other areas of Brazil or Latin America because we don’t really know how many women were exposed,” said IDM’s ERNESTO MARQUES, who is con... 

Project ELI: Timely tool for emergency responders (video)

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WHAT IS ELI? Check out this introductory video about the Emergency Law Inventory (ELI) and how to use it. The tool, developed by the Pitt Public Health Center for Public Health Practice, is particularly appropriate now as aid organizations struggle to respond to the devastating Texas aftermath of hurricane Harvey. 

Marsh’s global study finds no increased lung cancer risk for hard metal workers

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INSURANCE JOURNAL - “Our findings will affect regulatory agencies and how they set exposure standards,” said principal investigator GARY MARSH, professor of biostatistics and director/founder of the school’s Center for Occupational Biostatistics and Epidemiology. “It is very good news that the workers in this industry are not at increased risk of death due to the materials used in their occupation, both for the employees and for the hard metal in... 

Shapiro interviewed about growing better, not bigger

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BECKER’S HOSPITAL REVIEW - Pitt Public Health alumnus LOU SHAPIRO (HPM ’84), CEO of the New York based Hospital for Special Surgery, talks about how he plans to stay competitive in an increasingly consolidated healthcare landscape and what it means to grow better instead of bigger. 

Seasonal change in the gut

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SCIENCE - Incoming biostatistics chair, SHYAMAL PEDDADA, offers an invited scholarly review of research by Smits et al. into how the gut microbiome in hunter-gatherer communities responds to seasonal changes in diet, activity, and the external environment. Even as high gut microbial diversity contributes protective effects among long-lived hunter gatherers, this microbial diversity is dropping among modernizing societies. 

Hernandez says evolocumab not cost-effective at current price

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TCTMD - Two new analyses call into question the cost-effectiveness of adding the PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab to statin therapy in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Pitt Public Health alumna INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM ’16) noted that the conclusions of the two papers are the same: the drug’s cost “is way above what we usually considered cost-effective in this country.” 

Donohue's research says hospitals could do more for survivors of opioid overdoses

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NPR - Using claims data from Medicaid patients in Pennsylvania from 2008 to 2013, HPM’s JULIE DONOHUE looked at prescription opioid use and medication-assisted treatment rates before and after overdoses. The study's senior author found that “This is a time when people are vulnerable, potentially frightened by this event that’s just occurred and amenable to advice, referral, and treatment recommendations. It’s safe to characterize it as a missed o... 

Pittsburgh area is tops in paranormal activity claims

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90.5 WESA - Bigfoot, UFOs, and prehistoric birds. Whether you’re a sceptic or ardent believer, listen to an interview with Seth Breedlove, director and producer of the documentary, “Invasion on Chestnut Ridge,” with stories told by locals who say they have experienced paranormal activity in the region. We know our Pitt Public Health classrooms and labs are safe, but keep your eyes open! 

CHE’s Maseru addresses AARP forum on health care issues in Pennsylvania

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - With just a week under his belt at Pitt Public Health, incoming director of the Center for Health Equity, NOBLE A-W MASERU, is to join an AARP-sponsored, 90-minute public panel discussion on 8/22 of how older adults (and younger ones with disabilities) could be affected by changes in federal law and state policies, including how proposals may impact health care and insurance, Medicaid funding, and related programs. 

HPM grad Rick Anderson guides St. Luke's hospitals through decades of change

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THE MORNING CALL -- After over 30 years at the helm of St. Luke's University Health Network, RICHARD A. ANDERSON (HPM '71) is among a handful of the longest-serving top health care executives nationally. With Anderson at the helm, St. Luke's has grown from a single hospital with an annual budget of $73 million to a diversified health care organization with more than $1 billion in revenues and 9,000 employees, making it the second-biggest employer... 

Van Panhuis offers wisdom on some common myths about vaccines for kids

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CONSUMER REPORTS - Myth 2: It’s Safer to Space Out Kids’ Vaccines. Truth: No. Epidemiologist WILBERT VAN PANHUIS says that’s unwise. The CDC bases the schedule on disease risks and vaccine effectiveness at specific ages, and the way vaccines may interact with each other. To start mixing this up is complicated and can be dangerous. 

NIH awards five-year R01 support to EOH’s Di for antibiotics research

The NIH has just announced a five-year award to Y. PETER DI of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) for his group’s research on developing a new class of antibiotics. Di also serves as the director of the Inhalation Exposure Facility and president of theChinese American Lung Association. 

Donohue on the causes of explosive growth in opioid prescription sales

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HUFF POST - What caused the explosive growth in opioid sales? The FDA and TV advertising. In 1997, the FDA rules governing pharmaceutical advertising changed, allowing TV ads to name both the drug and what was for, while only naming the most significant potential side effects. After that, the number of TV ads exploded. A 2009 NPR story stated “there’s an average of 80 drug ads every hour of every day on American television. And those ads clearly ... 

Garland and Fabio want more data to understand neighborhood variations in the deadliness of Pittsburgh shootings

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Dozens of potential factors cause the deadliness rate of shootings to vary widely across the city geographically and from year-to-year. BCHS’ RICHARD GARLAND and EPI’s ANTHONY FABIO, who study troubled youth and violence, wish more police data was available to find patterns in the factors influencing fatality rates. 

Newman contributes to study on how genes affect body mass

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NATURE COMMUNICATIONS - ANNE NEWMAN, EPI chair, is co-author of a recent article on the largest, most comprehensive genetic study of lean mass to date. By understanding the genetic contributions to lean mass—an indicator of muscle mass—future treatments may be developed to prevent the loss of lean mass with aging. With age, some people develop a condition called “sarcopenia” where they lose critical amounts of muscle mass, to the point that they ... 

Pitt Men’s Study contributes to aging and cognition finding

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THE LANCET - As the demographics of the HIV epidemic in the U.S. shift toward older age, IDM’s Pitt Men’s Study contributed to an article in Lancet on neurocognition in older HIV patients. The longitudinal study, which included more than 5,000 participants enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, found a greater-than-expected effect of aging on episodic memory and motor function with advanced stages of HIV infection.   

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YNGBLKPGH. What does Pittsburgh mean to 140 young black professionals? 

YNGBLKPGH. What does Pittsburgh mean to 140 young black professionals?

PITTWIRE -   Pitt alum Brian Burley (BUS ’13G) continues to highlight young black leaders and create community ties through his www.YngBlkPgh.com site. This social enterprise started with his book “YNGBLKPGH” (Young Black Pittsburgh) which features more than 140 African-American professionals und... (07/23/2018)
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BCHS alum Chelsea Pallatino wins faculty development award supporting work on intimate partner violence & substance use 

BCHS alum Chelsea Pallatino wins faculty development award supporting work on intimate partner violence & substance use

PITTWIRE - Doctoral alumna CHELSEA PALLATINO (BCHS ’17) has been awarded the Steven D. Manners Faculty Development Award by the University Center for Social and Urban Research to support her pilot research project entitled “Co-occurring Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Use: Understanding B... (07/19/2018)
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Innovation Institute recognized at Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education 

Innovation Institute recognized at Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education

PITTWIRE - The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute was recognized for its commitment to building programs that accelerate innovations from the laboratory and research into commercialization at the recent Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. Alumni EVA... (07/02/2018)


Featuring the latest research, opportunities, and groundbreaking developments from CEPH-accredited schools and programs of public health. Review theFriday Letter submission guidelines then share your story ideas via publichealth.pitt.edu/share-news or contact phcomm@pitt.edu. 
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Buchanich Finds 70K Opioid-Related Deaths Likely Went Unreported 

Buchanich Finds 70K Opioid-Related Deaths Likely Went Unreported

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Several states are likely dramatically underestimating the effect of opioid-related deaths because of incomplete death certificate reporting, with Pennsylvania leading the pack, according to a new analysis by Pitt Public Health. “Proper allocation of resources for the opioid e... (07/19/2018)
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Pittsburgh finds overdose risk quintuples with opioid and Benzodiazepine use 

Pittsburgh finds overdose risk quintuples with opioid and Benzodiazepine use

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - In the first 90 days of concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use, the risk of opioid-related overdose increases five-fold compared to opioid-only use among Medicare recipients. "Having multiple prescribers who are not in communication increases the risk for overdose,” says HPM... (07/02/2018)
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Pitt Public Health finds ‘good cholesterol’ may not always be good for postmenopausal women 

Pitt Public Health finds ‘good cholesterol’ may not always be good for postmenopausal women

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Postmenopausal factors may have an impact on the heart-protective qualities of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) – also known as ‘good cholesterol.' “The results of our study are particularly interesting to both the public and clinicians because total HDL cholesterol is still us... (06/25/2018)
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