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Pitt Public Health launches life sciences business accelerator

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POST-GAZETTE - Serial entrepreneur and human genetics chair DIETRICH STEPHAN will serve as CEO of Pitt's new business accelerator, backing a push to leverage Western PA’s strengths in the life sciences with private investors. The 10-year goal is to tackle prevalent and intractable global diseases. The initial focus will be on cancer, Alzheimer’s, multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, obesity, diabetes, and rare genetic diseases.  

Gellad on proposed CVS-Aetna merger (video)

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C-SPAN - Doctor and HPM professor WALID GELLAD discussed the potential impact of the proposed CVS-Aetna merger with Washington Journal host Kimberly Atkins. He says it might mean a fundamental transformation of how health care is delivered... and the transition has been happening for decades. 

HPM’s Ware awarded Bernstein Award for work on Emergency Law Inventory (ELI)

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JD/MPH student ALIX WARE (HPM ’18) was awarded the 2017 Bernard D. Goldstein Award in Environmental Health Disparities and in Public Health Practice for her work on the development of the Emergency Law Inventory (ELI). Created to help individuals navigate through 1,500 law summaries impacting volunteer participation in disaster scenarios, ELI provides emergency volunteers with easy access to the laws most relevant to become better prepared for em... 

Large Pitt-led study uncovers complex genetics behind earlobe attachment

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PITTWIRE - New research led by Pitt Public Health affiliates and published in the  American Journal of Human Genetics  reveals that an interplay of at least 49 genes contributes to earlobe attachment inheritance. “Sometimes the genetics of a fairly simple trait are actually quite complex,” said lead author JOHN SHAFFER. “By understanding that complexity, we can work toward treatments for genetic conditions, several of which have distinct fa... 

Adibi confirms chemical in soft plastics causes key changes in human placentas

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POST-GAZETTE - Odds are you have phthalates inside you. And recent research by EPI’s JENNIFER ADIBI confirms previous findings that the plastic-softening chemicals are linked to changes in the placenta that seem to affect development of the fetus. Because of “ubiquitous exposure”, 99 percent of women of child-bearing age have measurable exposure levels. 

Roberts finds that top five commercial insurers increasingly rely on public programs

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MEDSCAPE - People who haven’t had insurance recently need help understanding their options, help that the ACA’s health care navigator program provided, says HPM’s ERIC ROBERTS. But the federal government has made steep cuts to that program’s funding. “This is a complex market to enter A well-informed individual guiding someone through the process is often the best solution, but that requires investment from the federal government and states.” 

Shaffer: Everything your biology teacher told you about earlobes is wrong

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POPULAR SCIENCE - Geneticists often don’t like to perform population studies at such scale because they are too large to zoom in on any specific details. But that means that we might not be getting the full picture. Research by JOHN SHAFFER, ELEANOR FEINGOLD, and SETH WEINBERG tells us that there’s power in numbers. Just as seemingly simple traits reveal their true complexity, diseases that currently puzzle us will soon become easier to understan... 

Buchanich,Woolley, and Lann assist with study of opioid trends in other states

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CENTRAL VALLEY BUSINESS TIMES - The analysis of California death rates was conducted at the county level using data from the Mortality and Population Data System (MPDS) at Pitt Public Health. Data from biostatisticians JEANINE BUCHANICH, SHANNON WOOLLEY, and MICHAEL LANN include ICD codes for underlying causes of death for nearly all U.S. deaths since 1950. 

As a young professional who wants to change health care for the better, Tomko is named Jonas Salk Activist (video)

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PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - Last night the Health Activist Network named HPM student and research assistant HEATHER TOMKO as a Jonas Salk Health Activist fellow for tackling the problems and effecting change in the health care field. The expo event was held at the August Wilson Center, and brought together health professionals who accelerate health policy and care delivery improvements. 

Epi students honored with 2017 Iris Marion Young Award for Social Justice

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Congratulations to Pitt Public Health students ABIGAIL R. CARTUS and C. ELIZABETH SHAABAN, given the awards on November 15, 2017, by the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies program and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at Pitt. The Young Award honors faculty, staff, and students who work to promote social justice, and recognizes that social activism takes many forms.  

Garland calls for action after several local children killed by gun violence

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WTAE - “We as adults are always trying to make programs or projects that we think that the kids need,” said BCHS’s RICHARD GARLAND. “But my strategy has always been going to the source, so I’d like to talk to the kids and see what they really need and what’s really on their mind.” 

Roberts says Medicare pay-for-performance didn’t deliver

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HEALTH LEADERS MEDIA - “As long as these programs do not account adequately for patient differences, which is very difficult to do, they will further deprive practices serving low-income populations of important resources,” said ERIC ROBERTS, assistant professor of health policy and management at Pitt Public Health and lead author of the study. 

Roberts’ study says when parents are on Medicaid, kids get better health care, too

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91.5 WESA - When a parent has health insurance through Medicaid, their child is 29 percent more likely to receive an annual physical exam. That’s according to a new study designed by HPM researcher ERIC T. ROBERTS, who calls this correlation between pediatric care and parental health insurance a spill-over effect. “We can’t look at individuals in isolation,” he explained. “When we help parents, we can help their kids.” 

Chaves-Gnecco receives CATCH Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics

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Alumnus DIEGO CHAVES-GNECCO (MMPH ’00), now associate professor at Pitt’s School of Medicine and founding director of the program SALUD Para Niños at UPMC’s Children’s Hospital, received the F. Edwards Rushton CATCH Award at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition. Named in honor of F. Edwards Rushton Sr., this award honors pediatricians who collaborate within their communities to increase children’s access to ... 

Van Panhuis on the myth of spacing out kids’s vaccines

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CONSUMER REPORTS - It’s unwise to delay or spread out vaccines, says EPI’s WILBERT VAN PANHUIS. The CDC bases the schedule on disease risks, vaccine effectiveness at specific ages, and the way vaccines may interact with each other. “To start mixing this up is really complicated and actually can be dangerous.” The MMR vaccine, for instance, is timed so that children receive it just as they’ve lost residual immunity from their mothers. And measles,... 

Dodson analysis of Pittsburgh’s open data informs opioid crisis responses

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DATA-SMART CITY SOLUTIONS, HARVARD - Using Pittsburgh’s public safety open data sets, HPM and PHDL’s ZAN DODSON has been advancing the region’s response to the opioid overdose epidemic by sharing his hot-spots research results to public health officials working to coordinate their responses to the crisis. 

Garland grant mobilizes trauma-response team for Thanksgiving Day rollout

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POST-GAZETTE - The second, $160,000 grant was awarded to the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. RICHARD GARLAND, an assistant professor, is leading that effort and has hired two street outreach workers who are focusing on violence prevention through mediation and by building personal relationships with people in Wilkinsburg, Braddock, Rankin, Duquesne, McKeesport, and Penn Hills. 

Pitt Alumnus’ Eco Soap Bank makes him a CNN Hero

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CNN - Good. Clean. Hope. Pitt alumnus Samir Lakhani has been selected as a 2017 Top 10 CNN Hero for initiating a way to recycle hotel soaps for rural Cambodians, addressing issues of affordability and access to improve hygiene, thwart outbreaks of cholera and impetigo, and provide jobs for local women. This is public health! Click heading to cast your vote for him as Hero Of The Year! 

FDA approved digital pill: Gellad talks about pros and cons

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NPR - While warning of privacy and cost concerns, HPM’s WALID GELLAD explains the upside of the newly FDA-approved “big brother” digital pill. But he warns that there are broader privacy concerns when it comes to sensors that transmit health information. “We’ve seen time and time again that stuff that’s being transmitted ends up in the hands of people it shouldn’t. There are real concerns about data security.” 

Gellad on Trump’s pick to lead Department of Health and Human Services

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BLOOMBERG - Azar “is not the pick you would expect from someone who is going around calling the pharmaceutical industry a bunch of murderers,” HPM’s WALID GELLAD, who heads Pitt’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, said in a phone interview, referring to Trump’s “Getting away with murder” comment about the industry. 

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Thurston finds link between traumatic events and future heart disease risk in women 

Thurston finds link between traumatic events and future heart disease risk in women

PITT WIRE - When we consider the determinants of women’s cardiovascular health, we need to think beyond biology alone,” said epidemiologist Rebecca Thurston. She recently led a study that demonstrates how traumatic experiences in life are linked to later vascular health issues that place women at ri... (12/12/2017)
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Large Pitt-led study uncovers complex genetics behind earlobe attachment 

Large Pitt-led study uncovers complex genetics behind earlobe attachment

PITTWIRE - New research led by Pitt Public Health affiliates and published in the  American Journal of Human Genetics  reveals that an interplay of at least 49 genes contributes to earlobe attachment inheritance. “Sometimes the genetics of a fairly simple trait are actually quite complex,” said ... (12/06/2017)
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Enigma: Marques worked to pinpoint culprit of mysterious illness in Brazil 

Enigma: Marques worked to pinpoint culprit of mysterious illness in Brazil

PITTWIRE - When a mysterious illness suddenly emerged in his Brazilian hometown, IDM researcher ERNESTO MARQUES mobilized with colleagues to decode its unknowns. The work may help infectious-disease researchers stop or stall new epidemics. His story begins on page 18. (10/24/2017)
© 2017 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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