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Interdepartmental Human and Medical Genetics Retreat

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On Thursday, September 13, the Department of Human Genetics gathered with other departments, centers, and divisions at Pitt and UPMC for the first Interdepartmental Human and Medical Genetics Retreat. The retreat featured a variety of talks and a poster session about the latest genetics research at Pitt. Featured speakers from Pitt Public Health were H.J. Park, Eleanor Feingold, Samantha Rosenthal, and John Shaffer.   

Goldstein profiled in Risk Analysis

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RISK ANALYSIS - Before joining Pitt Public Health in 2001, BERNARD GOLDSTEIN, EOH professor and former dean, obtained his medical degree from NYU. In 1980, he was recruited by Rutgers Medical School to help with the increase in public and political concerns about environmental pollution. Later, he left New Jersey to head the Office of Research and Development under President Ronald Reagan.  

Hundreds of nursing homes throughout the country forced to close their doors

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NEW YORK TIMES - Fewer patients are winding up in nursing homes, and hundreds of the facilities are closing each year. Nationally, “200 to 300 nursing homes close each year,” said HPM's NICHOLAS CASTLE. The number of residents keeps shrinking, too, from 1.48 million in 2000 to 1.36 million in 2015, according to federal data.  

Center for Health Equity participates in Pitt Park(ing) Day

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The Center for Health Equity invited people to create their own poster on what health equity means to them. Their spot was also a smoke-free zone and participants were invited to sign a petition to make Pitt a smoke-free campus.     

Biostatistics and Biomedical Informatics hold joint retreat

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Pitt's departments of biostatistics and biomedical informatics held a half-day joint faculty retreat to share respective areas of work, identify common interests, and foster collaborations in research and education.  

Fann is a new associate at Dinsmore Law Firm

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NATIONAL LAW REVIEW - Alumna MELISSA FAN (HPM '12) is hired as an associate at Dinsmore Law Firm. Melissa focuses her practice on health care law, corporate law, regulatory and compliance issues and food and drug law. She received her JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Before joining the firm, Melissa interned with Judge Michael Wojcik of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.  

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.  

Pittsburgh finds current liver allocation system disadvantages children awaiting liver transplants

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Children are at a considerable disadvantage when competing with adults for livers from deceased organ donors in the U.S. allocation system. “Using national, long-term data, our report is the first to demonstrate that the scoring system, on its own, dramatically underestimates the risk of death in the next 90 days and, thereby, disadvantages children," says HPM chair MARK ROBERTS.  

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.   

Maseru joins panel on "Human Rights in Pittsburgh and the World"

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Noble Maseru of the Center for Health Equity joined a panel discussion entitled "Human Rights in Pittsburgh and the World: Assessing Human Rights Impacts, Limitations, and Prospects at the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)". Maseru challenged the audience of students and community members to understand health equity as a human right.   

Toomey-backed bill on opioid crisis informed by Pitt Public Health research headed to passage

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OBSERVER REPORTER - Sen. Pat Toomey helped write some of the provisions for the Opioid Crisis Response Act, a collection of 70 points rolled into one bill meant to fight the opioid epidemic. The bill will offer $4.7 billion over the next few years to fund programs to help battle the epidemic. One measure in the bill, to which the Pitt Public Health research contributed, is the monitoring of victims of nonfatal overdoses who use Medicare.  

Roberts and colleagues investigate how adjusting for additional clinical and social patient characteristics affects hospital readmission rates

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HEALIO - According to a new study, when adjusting for additional clinical and social variables, hospital variation in readmission rates are reduced. “In several pay-for-performance programs, Medicare ties payments to readmission rates but accounts only for a limited set of patient characteristics — and no measures of social risk — when assessing performance of health care providers,” said HPM's ERIC ROBERTS, and colleagues.  

Newman and colleagues' new study uses local participants to look at aspirin use in older adults (video)

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WPXI - TV - We've long heard that an aspirin a day can help lower the risk of heart disease. A new study using participants from Pittsburgh suggests that isn't always the case. The study looked at 19,000 people worldwide, including 178 people from Pittsburgh. "People who took aspirin and people who did not take aspirin had an equal likelihood of having a long healthy life," said EPI's ANNE NEWMAN.  

HSLS new program includes FRED

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The Health Sciences Library System has created a new program called Spotlight Series: Software Developed @ Pitt. This program focuses on software developed by Pitt health sciences researchers. DAVID SINCLAIR, PHDL post-doctoral researcher/programmer, will present at the first session on “FRED: A versatile Framework for Modeling Infectious Diseases and Other Health Conditions.”   

Sally Wenzel receives 2018 Trailblazer award from Carnegie Science Center

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - The Carnege Science Center held their Ladies Hospital Aid Society Gala last week. EOH chair SALLY WENZEL and 5 other doctors were honored with the 2018 Trailblazer award for advancing the cause of medicine in their fields. Each of them were surprised with $20,000 to help further their research.  

Hernandez says drug prices rise twice as fast during shortages

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HEALIO - During a shortage, drug prices increase two times as quickly as they would have in the absence of a shortage, according to findings published in Annals of Internal Medicine. “Prescription drug shortages may result in substitution of less effective drugs, delays in necessary treatments, and omission of or reductions in doses,” INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16) and colleagues wrote.   

Children lose out on liver transplants, Pitt Public Health study finds

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NBC - Children who need lifesaving liver transplants are losing out to adults. A system used to determine who is most in need of a transplant significantly underestimates the risk of death for younger children with liver disease, a Pitt Public Health study found. Senior author and HPM chair, MARK ROBERTS, said, "pediatric transplant physicians have long recognized the scoring system isn’t adequate when comparing children to adults."  

Gellad on debate about CVS' use of ICER metrics

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BIOPHARMA DIVE - More than 90 organizations, predominantly patient groups, criticized CVS Caremark's decision last month to incorporate value-based drug pricing analyses in some of its coverage choices, urging the company to reconsider in a Sept. 12 letter addressed to CVS CEO Larry Merlo. HPM's WALID GELLAD told BioPharma Dive that the actual action being debated may not be so severe.  

Muldoon cautions taking supplements for Omega-3s

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TIME - Omega-3 is easily the most popular supplement in America. “We have a lot of evidence that omega-3’s may have favorable effects on the brain, but the evidence on dietary intakes and supplements is inconclusive,” says Aron Barbey at the University of Illinois. MATTHEW MULDOON (EPI '94), says “the high numbers of people taking supplements would probably be better off spending money on getting fish into their diets.”  

Albert editorial on recent ALS findings

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MEDPAGE TODAY - Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been associated with cognitive and behavioral changes, especially later in the disease. However a cross-sectional, observational study published in Neurology, found that patients with ALS showed cognitive and behavioral impairment across disease stages. This misconception has "puzzled the field for years," noted Paul Wicks and BCHS's STEVE ALBERT in an accompanying editorial.  

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Hernandez study investigates rising drug prices 

Hernandez study investigates rising drug prices

PITT WIRE - A recent study led by Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16), assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, found that new drugs entering the market drive up prices, but drug companies are also hiking prices on older drugs.  (01/30/2019)
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Arthur Levine: 20 years of impact 

Arthur Levine: 20 years of impact

PITT WIRE - After more than two decades of transformative service to the University of Pittsburgh, Arthur S. Levine has announced his intent to exit his position as senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and the John and Gertrude Petersen Dean in the School of Medicine. In a message to the ... (01/24/2019)
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Hernandez among three Pitt students named to Forbes 30 Under 30 

Hernandez among three Pitt students named to Forbes 30 Under 30

PITT WIRE - Congratulations to Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16)! The list features 600 business and entrepreneurial leaders from 20 industries, including health care, energy, art and education, among others. (01/09/2019)


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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Padiath and colleagues 'see' dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei 

Padiath and colleagues 'see' dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Our cells sometimes have to squeeze through pretty tight spaces. And when they do, the nuclei inside must go along for the ride. Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, HUGEN’s Quasar Padiath made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear... (03/04/2019)
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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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Pitt Public Health study uncovers why Rift Valley fever is catastrophic to developing fetuses  

Pitt Public Health study uncovers why Rift Valley fever is catastrophic to developing fetuses

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Like Zika, infection with Rift Valley fever virus can go unnoticed during pregnancy, all the while doing irreparable - often lethal - harm to the fetus. The results of a new study underscore the importance of disease prevention for pregnant woment and set the stage for vaccine... (01/24/2019)
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