Faculty Profiles & Research News

Baumann Investigates Illegal Practice Against Women in Nepal

image
Sarah Baumann (BCHS '19) spent the past nine months in Nepal, in part conducting qualitative research and data collection on  chhaupadi , an illegal cultural tradition that isolates menstruating women – who are considered “unclean” – to huts, basements or livestock sheds. Baumann has long researched the practice, most recently with a study published in the journal Global Public Health that assessed the role of caste (a cultural and social class ... 

Zika and travel: Marques tells you what you need to know

image
THE NEW YORK TIMES - The virus has been out of the headlines, but that doesn't mean it is gone. The World Health Organization just updated guideines for travelling to the Zika zone. "Summer in the north is winter in the south and vice versa, so you have to consider that," said IDM's Ernesto Marques. The virus is still circulating, but it's less prevalent in colder months than in the summer.   

As Washington Co. parents want deeper look at fracking and cancer, Talbot calls for study of historical pesticide use

image
WESA - Epidemiologists say it is rare to prove an environmental cause for a cancer cluster. EPI's Evelyn Talbot says there's some evidence linking pesticide exposure with Ewing sarcoma and suggests conducting a case control study of historical pesticide use in the areas agricultural fields.   

Pitt Public Health dean steps down at a time when the region is losing other top leaders in the field (video)

image
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - The departure of EPI's Donald S. Burke, dean emeritus, from his position as dean comes at a time when the region is losing two other top public health officials - Arthur Levine, senior vice chancellor of the health sciences, and Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department. "This is a time of transition - of the health department, myself, Dr. Levine - this presents an opportunity for the community an... 

The Zika virus is still a threat. Here's what Marques, other experts know

image
THE NEW YORK TIMES - Remember Zika? With measles and Ebola grabbing headlines, it is easy to forget the health panic of 2016, when Zika was linked to severe birth defects in thousands of Brazilian newborns whose mothers were infected while pregnant, striking fear across the country and much of the Americas. "The next outbreak is not a matter of if, but when," said IDM's Ernesto Marques.   

Hill, Fabisiak talk to KDKA radio about asthma and the Clairton Coke Works

image
KDKA RADIO – The Clairton Coke Works is one of the biggest emitters of air pollutants in the area and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about poor health in that area. EOH’s Jim Fabisiak and Brandy Hill (EOH ‘21) talk about their work and the importance of scientific investigation learning about asthma patients in the county, following hot spots of asthma, and preliminarily finding about the Mon Valley’s lung health.   

Personalities of Pittsburgh: Dr. Donald Burke becomes dean emeritus, continues as professor (subscriber content)

image
PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - Donald Burke is retiring from his role as dean but he’ll remain active with the University. He reflected on his career, including time in the military and international work in two dozen countries and shared concerns about scientific denialism. "As a scientific community, it's our job to continue to point out that the best decisions are based on evidence, and that without science, you can't make policies."   

Braund says public health research and practice should coexist in ASHTO blog post

image
ASTHOEXPERTS BLOG - HPM's Wendy Braund, director of the Center for Public Health Practice, wrote a blog for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials that says that both practice-based research and implementation science are vital but that neither receives adequate effort and gives us ideas to address this challenge.   

Drake analyzes unintended consequences of pulling health policy levers

image
UPMC - A move by the White House in 2017 - decried by many as an attempt to undercut the ACA - improved the affordability of health insurance for Marketplace enrollees. "...In terms of affordability, monopoly insurance markets are resulting in low- to no-cost premiums for Marketplace enrollees. On the other hand, this is a really inefficient way to spend federal tax dollars to create affordable health insurance," said HPM's Coleman Drake.   

Does the overdose plunge mean the epidemic is over? Burke says no.

image
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - "What I'm worried about is that, if in fact it is a statistical aberration or an epidemic anomaly, that we psychologically, in public health, take credit for it and presume that we're doing enough," said Dean Donald Burke. "The response still has not been proportionate to the problem."   

Gopalakrishna finds breastmilk antibody protects infants from deadly disease

image
UPMC - Kathyayini Gopalakrishna (HUGEN '20) is first author on a study showing that an antibody in breastmilk is necessary to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis - an often deadly bacterial disease of the intestine - in preterm infants. The findings suggest that the antibody content of donor milk shoudl be tested so that the most protective milk can be targeted to the most at-risk infants.   

King finds rates of drug-, alcohol-linked death triple after weight-loss surgery

image
U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - EPI's Wendy King and colleagues say their findings highlight the need for more education, diagnosis, treatment, and tracking of alcohol and drug use as part of post-surgery care and called on primary-care doctors to be more aware of these risks as they treat patients who have had weight-loss surgery, and for more long-term follow-up. They deaths uncovered in the study occurred about five years after surgery.   

Inpatient opioids influence at-home use, Donohue reports

image
MEDPAGE TODAY - Patients given opioids during their hospital stay were more likely to continue using them post-discharge. Compared with patients who were not prescribed opioids, those who did get a prescription were also twice as likely to continue using them in outpatient settings three months out according to a study by HPM's Julie Donohue.   

Gellad talks to Vox about House Democrats' internal feud over prescription drug prices

image
VOX - The U.S. has some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world, and this summer, Democratic House leadership will unveil a plan to fix that - though questions remain about just how effective this measure will be. "The discussion should be around trying this with a limited amount of drugs to start with, then you figure out what infrastructure is needed and how it's going to work," said HPM's Walid Gellad.   

Fabisiak comments on Clairton air quality, an ongoing concern

image
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - A fire at the U.S. Steel Clairton Plant knocked pollution controls offline and heightened concerns about pollution. Allegheny County ranks in the top 2% for cancer risk from about 200 potentially cancer-causing pollutants identified by the EPA, according to a 2013 Pitt Public Health report. "That risk is going to be much more elevated the closer you are to those point sources," said EOH's Jim Fabisiak.   

Newman honored with Joseph T. Freeman Award

image
Congratulations to EPI Chair Anne Newman for winning the award from the Gerontological Society of America, given annually to a prominent physician in the field of aging, both in research and practice.   

Braund wins Volunteer of the Year Award from American College of Preventative Medicine

image
Congratulations to HPM's Wendy Braund for receiving the inaugural award, selected by and presented by ACPM CEO Donna Grande at the Prevention 2019 Conference in Pittsburgh on May 20, 2019. Braund has a long history of service to ACPM. Currently, she is secretary of the ACPM Board of Regents and chair of the CME/MOC Committee. She is also a fellow of the college.   

Brown takes lead of Pittsburgh Black Pride

image
BCHS's Andre Brown recently assumed the role as executive director for Pittsburgh Black Pride (PBP). Since 1995, the Pittsburgh Black Pride Association has provided entertainment, social information, and health education to Black LBGTQIA+ individuals and families in the city of Pittsburgh and across Southwest Pennsylvania.   

HUGEN's Lauren Winter melds genetic counseling and dental genetics

image
GC PROGRAM BLOG  -- Genetic counseling student Lauren Winter (HUGEN '20) shares her experiences investigating genetic, environmental, behavioral, and microbial contributions to the disproportionately high rate of dental cavities in children living in Appalachia. She loves the variety found in her job, from solving problems with a multidisciplinary team of researchers to interacting with the mothers and children participating in the study, "I cou... 

Roberts comments on research that says fewer psychiatrists take Medicaid patients even as the program has expanded

image
REUTERS - "The key message here is that expansion doesn't necessarily mean better access," said HPM's Eric Roberts. That's unfortunate since "Medicaid disproportionately insures people with serious mental illness," said Roberts. "This should be a point of concern for policy makers."  

Share News

Simply click to share news of your achievements—and those of classmates or colleagues. We’re eager to hear about and share stories of student, faculty, and alumni accomplishments. E-mail questions to phcomm@pitt.edu
or visit publichealth.pitt.edu/sharenews.

Share news

Research Videos

image

As the U.S. measles count surpasses 25-year-old record, Roberts says: vaccinate 

As the U.S. measles count surpasses 25-year-old record, Roberts says: vaccinate

WDAM - U.S. health officials have reported 971 measles cases so far this year, the highest tally in 27 years, and experts say it's not clear when the wave of illnesses will stop. "What's causing these outbreaks is lack of vaccination," said HPM Chair Mark Roberts.  (05/31/2019)
image

Hoffman led research into anti-vaxxers on social media (video) 

Hoffman led research into anti-vaxxers on social media (video)

WPXI - Antivaxxers left negative business reviews for Kids First Pediatrics after they posted a social media video encouraging HPV vaccination. So, they teamed up with researchers at Pitt including Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19, '23) who found that we have to "...start thinking about how to deliver tailor... (04/29/2019)
image

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)
image

Hartman among researchers trying to prevent virus more dangerous than Zika (video) 

Hartman among researchers trying to prevent virus more dangerous than Zika (video)

WPXI - Pitt researchers are looking to lessons learned about Zika when preparing for the possibility of Rift Valley Fever virus, noting that it's important to develop therapies and vaccines now. "We saw the ffects of Zika when it got into a larger population and so our work highlights the need to r... (02/11/2019)
image

Hernandez's research adds to pharmaceutical industry's growing pressure over high price of drugs 

Hernandez's research adds to pharmaceutical industry's growing pressure over high price of drugs

FOX NEWS - "It's not about innovation, it's about inflation in existing products," explains Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16). "They are the same companies that operate in other countries and they don't show this behavior and that's because in other countries they are lucky to have this regulatory env... (01/24/2019)
image

BCHS team tries new technique to share research with LGBTQ youth (video) 

BCHS team tries new technique to share research with LGBTQ youth (video)

Post-doctoral researcher Robert Coulter (BCHS '17), BCHS's Jessica Burke, and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) tried using a video approach to share highlights of Coulter's recent research on how welcoming school environments reduce drinking among both LGBT+ -identified students and their heterosexual count... (11/24/2018)
View more research videos