News

Meet HPM alumna Cassandra Leighton

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Cassandra Leighton (HPM '19) is a health services solutions analyst at AmeriHealth Caritas. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a managed care organization, serving over 5.1 million Medicaid, Medicare, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members across 11 states. In her role on the corporate analytics team, Leighton supports internal evaluation, participates in the new market entry process, and identifies new strateg... 

Koenig presents at Midwest Virology Meeting

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Zachary Koenig (IDM '20) was selected for an oral presentation at the Midwest Virology Symposium held at Ohio State University October 11-13. The title of his talk was "Type III Interferon Control of Rift Valley Fever Virus Infection at Epithelial Cell Barriers." Koenig also won a student travel award to attend the conference.   

Cancer-related beliefs and perceptions in Appalachia: findings from 3 states

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JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH - Vanderpool RC, Huang B, Deng Y, Bear TM, Chen Q, Johnson MF, Paskett ED, Robertson LB, Young GS, Lachan R. found variations in cancer beliefs were observed across the 3 states’ Appalachian populations. Interventions should be tailored to specific communities to improve cancer knowledge and beliefs and, ultimately, prevention and screening behaviors.  

The role of accountability in batterers intervention programs and community response to intimate partner violence

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JOURNAL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE - Pallatino C, Morrison P, Miller E, Burke J, Cluss P, Fleming R, Hawker L, George D, Bicehouse T, Chang J. found that in order to have a sustainable impact on IPV perpetration, stakeholders across the Social Ecological Model will need to utilize crucial intervention periods using a standardized response to improve outcomes for IPV survivors, perpetrators, families and communities.   

Garrison, Abdi, Litam win first place nationally in 2019 Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition

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Erika Garrison (MHA/MBA '20), Ilham Abdi (MHA '20), and Terrance Litam (MHA '20) took top honors in NAHSE's case competition held in Washington, DC. Competing among 29 teams representing the nation's top programs, the Pitt students developed a plan to address the health care needs of San Francisco's homeless population. "The team did an amazing job of preparing a creative and comprehensive solution, delivering their presentation in a very profes... 

Faculty speak out on “Inequality Across Gender and Race” report

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Faculty members Dara Mendez (EPI) and Tiffany Gary-Webb (EPI/BCHS) shared some thoughtful criticisms of the “Inequality Across Gender and Race ” report recently issued by the city.  These two Pitt Public Health faculty members were co-signers of a letter responding to the report and challenging city leadership to take this issue seriously. Find out more...  

Epidemiology students share internships and practica during “Epi-in-Action” symposium

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Reporting on recent internships and practica, epidemiology students reported on summer research and practice experiences in our region and around the world. The O’Hara Student Center ballroom buzzed as faculty and staff learned about field initiatives, practical applications, and lessons learned.  

IDM Research Day expanded with guest speakers and more than 70 student presenters

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The Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology held their biggest-ever research day celebration, featuring three guest speakers: Jonathan Oliver spoke about the emerging tick-borne diseases of the northern United States, Daniel Voth talked about using human-derived systems to investigate bacterial pulmonary infection, and David Lampe lectured on inhibiting the spread of malaria by altering the mosquito microbiome.    

HuGen’s Minster heads to Accra, Ghana for consortium on human heredity and health in Africa

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Assistant Professor Ryan Minster (HUGEN ’11) is attending the 14th Meeting of the H3Africa (Human Heredity and Health in Africa) Consortium in Accra, Ghana. H3Africa facilitates fundamental research into diseases on the African continent while also developing infrastructure, resources, training, and ethical guidelines to support a sustainable African research enterprise—led by African scientists, for the African people. Minster is heading the bi... 

Weyant among researchers that say sugar consumption is rising, dragging down peoples’ oral health with it

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MIRAGE NEWS - In a recent two-part series in The Lancet, a number of dentists and public health experts name sugar as the leading culprit in the explosive growth of tooth decay worldwide. One of the authors of the series is EPI's Robert Weyant, who notes that “Sugar is the causative agent for dental decay. Basically, without sugar, you won’t develop decay.”  

Culyba finds adult support may mitigate violence-related behaviors in urban youth

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HEALIO - “Understanding nuanced patterns across types of violence perpetration and associated exposures, and how these patterns align with multiple risk and protective factors among male youth in urban neighborhoods can identify targets for intervention,” said BCHS's Alison Culyba.   

Donohue paper reviews pros and cons of marketing pharmaceuticals directly to consumers

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HPM’s Julie Donohue weighs in on how marketing pharmaceuticals directly to consumers isn’t new.  In the paper “A History of Drug Advertising”, Donohue outlines the case for and against these advertisements. Proponents tout patient and consumer rights to make informed decisions, while bioethicists and historians believe pharmaceutical companies are “disingenuously using the language of individual rights to support commercial activities.”  

Thurston shows more hot flashes could up odds for heart trouble

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WEB MD - EPI's Rebecca Thurston ifound that frequent or persistent hot flashes are linked to higher odds of heart attack and stroke. The finding stems from a 20-year study of about 3,300 women during menopause. "The [heart events] were not explained by things like blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, exercise or smoking, which are our usual suspects," said Thurston.  

Burke talks about how to control the river of legal painkillers flowing through Allegheny County

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - There were 76 billion pills prescribed across the country from 2006-2012. In that time, prescriptions in Allegheny county went from 46 pills per person per year to 58. EPI's Donald Burke said that there is still a long way to go in terms of controlling this first step of the addiction process: prescribing of drugs.   

New and improved! Save even more with updated Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program at Pitt Public Health

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Pitt undergrads: There are now even more reasons to jump-start your grad experience at Pitt Public Health. While you learn to solve health problems, contribute to scientific discoveries, and transform the well-being of communities at home and around the world, you'll save even more money on tuition by starting your graduate coursework in your fourth undergraduate year.   

Felter comments on how Facebook and Pinterest are fighting back against anti-vaccine content

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HEALTHLINE - Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram have put in safeguards to help combat health misinformation online, which is important because such misinformation can affect public health. For example, misinformation about vaccines has helped lead to the ongoing spike of measles cases. "Those opposed to vaccinations often misrepresent data, knowingly or unknowingly, which can skew others' perception of risk," says BCHS's Elizabeth Felter.   

Coulter will serve as co-investigator on NIH supplement grant

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BCHS's Robert Coulter (BCHS '17) will serve as co-investigator on a newly-funded NIH supplement grant to expand a text messaging intervention to reduce alcohol use and sexual violence among sexual and gender minority college students.  

Culyba's research links mentoring teens to fewer risky behaviors

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WESA - New research from BCHS's Alison Culyba shows that adult support both reduces violence and increases positive behaviors among teen boys in low-income urban neighborhoods. “What we were really interested in with this particular study was looking at patterns of violence with a lot more detail than what had been done in previous research … so we could best understand how to leverage those relationships to protect young men from multiple types... 

Study finds microplastics turning up in human stool. Adibi talks moving the research forward.

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PHYSICIAN'S WEEKLY - Tiny bits of plastic may be getting into our bodies, a new study suggests. EPI's Jennifer Adibi point out that “[the study] does shine a light on a different way of looking at the impact of plastics on health. “Until now we have been focused on measuring and studying the health effects of the chemicals in plastics. “Now we need to extend that thinking to include the intact particles of plastics.”  

Drake: there appears to be a major loophole in background checks for private, online gun sales

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STAR TRIBUNE - Fewer than 10% of sellers appear to require a background check. “We tried to search each listing for evidence suggesting the seller would need a background check," said HPM's Coleman Drake. "The results indicate that this is a potentially large loophole on private sales. The policy implication for lawmakers is that if the government wants meaningful regulation of firearms sales, the online market needs to be included.”  

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Taylor baked his way to first place and a book deal 

Taylor baked his way to first place and a book deal

PITT WIRE -  Chris Taylor (SHRS ’04, EPI ’10) originally started baking as a way to relax while studying at Pitt Public Health. After entering, and winning, their first competition on a whim, Taylor and husband Paul Arguin, who are both epidemiologists at the CDC, continued baking and competing as ... (09/11/2019)
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Gellad receives PECASE Presidential Award 

Gellad receives PECASE Presidential Award

Congratulations to HPM's Walid Gellad, who was recently named a winner of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers — the highest honor awarded by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exc... (08/12/2019)
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EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe. 

EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe.

PITT MAGAZINE - Lauren Chubb, DrPH, MPH (EOH ’16, ’13) occasionally dons a hard hat to see the results of her work in the lab. Her team at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Mining Program has developed software to analyze respirable dust samples in just a few minutes, rath... (08/05/2019)


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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Coulter Research Review Finds Scarcity of Scientific Studies on Interventions to Reduce Health Inequities in LGBTQ Youth 

Coulter Research Review Finds Scarcity of Scientific Studies on Interventions to Reduce Health Inequities in LGBTQ Youth

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - There is a dearth of scientifically investigated, evidence-based interventions to address substance use, mental health conditions and violence victimization in sexual and gender minority youth, according to a research review led by BCHS's Robert Coulter (BCHS '17) published in... (08/25/2019)
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El Khoudary finds hormone therapy linked to heart fat, hard arteries 

El Khoudary finds hormone therapy linked to heart fat, hard arteries

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment for menopause-related symptoms, and new research from EPI's Samar El Khoudary reinforces the importance of tailoring hormone therapy to each patient, based on her individual risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In a study p... (08/25/2019)

Pitt Public Health finds weight-loss patients at higher risk of death from substance use disorders 

Pitt Public Health finds weight-loss patients at higher risk of death from substance use disorders

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - The death rate from drug- and alcohol-related causes in people who've had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is nearly triple that of the general public, according to research led by EPI's Wendy King. The study also found that fewer than half of those who died had triggered a sa... (06/27/2019)