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Shaffer selected for the 2020 Craig Award for Excellence in Teaching

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Congratulations to Dr. John Shaffer (HUGEN '08), assistant professor of human genetics and oral biology, on being selected for the 2020 James L. Craig Award for Teaching Excellence. Craig awardees are nominated annually by students and selected by a committee of students and past awardees.   

BCHS alum Arnold on harm-reduction during the coronavirus shutdown

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/SPOTLIGHT PA - At Prevention Point Pittsburgh, staff have been trying to raise awareness of COVID-19 for weeks. “If someone shows symptoms, they’re given gloves, a face mask, and extra harm reduction supplies so they can self-quarantine,” said executive director Aaron Arnold (BCHS '13). If the person wants medical help, the staff can arrange that, too. Since early March, they've been including a tip sheet in supply bags tha... 

Hernandez finds price of brand-name drugs has increased 3x faster than inflation

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90.5 WESA – Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16) said what’s concerning is that discounts are often paid directly to insurers. This means people who are un- or under-insured generally don’t benefit from the markdowns. “This is probably increasing disparities in health care access…. We are not doing a good job of protecting patients against increases in co-pays, out-of-pocket costs and certainly those that don’t have insurance.”  

IDM alum Taylor Poston recognized for research and practice

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Congratulations to doctoral alumnus Taylor Poston (IDM '17). His undergraduate institution, Francis Marion University, honored him with their Professional Industry Award, presented annually to a graduate who serves as a practitioner or researcher in the natural or behavioral sciences, including fields like ecological and environmental sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and applied natural science. View video interview.  

IDM alum Henning on Why COVID-19 is not the flu, and why we should be very concerned

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TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT - What can you do when faced with a deadly pandemic? Pitt Public Health alumna and Pitt-Johnstown professor Jill Henning (IDM '08) offers: You can socially distance yourself. You may get sick and be OK, but your elderly neighbor may not have it so lucky. Stay home. Wash your hands regularly.  

HUGEN alumnus Dan Handley appointed to drug discovery board of directors

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GLOBE NEWSWIRE - Predictive Oncology Inc., an AI-driven discovery services company providing predictive models of tumor drug response to improve clinical outcomes for patients, today announced the unanimous appointment of doctoral alumnus Daniel Handley (HUGEN '08) to its Board of Directors.  Handley serves as professor and director of the Clinical and Translational Genome Research Institute at the Southern California University of Health Scienc... 

Human genetics alumna honored with Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award

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Yvette Conley (Hugen '93, '99) was recognized with a 2020 Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in the senior scholar category for the role she played in shaping the interface between genomics and nursing. A leader in molecular genetics, Conley was the first geneticist appointed in a nursing school to infuse genomics into nursing sciences. She serves as professor and vice chair for research in Pitt's School of Nursing and was previously reco... 

Hulsey weighs in on concerns about bias in county’s automated decision-making tools

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WESA - Local residents voiced trepidation at a meeting in Homewood about the use of algorithms to guide criminal justice, law enforcement, and child welfare decisions. But left to their own devices, judges could be more arbitrary, countered University of Pittsburgh Public Health Professor Eric Hulsey (BCHS ’08). “On the flip side, you could use [algorithms] to take away that power from them and say, ‘No, you don’t get full discretion.’”  

MMPH alumna recognized for innovation in community nursing

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PITT NURSE MAGAZINE - Claudia Kregg-Byers RN, MPH (MMPH ’14), PhD teaches her senior students in Pitt Nursing’s Department of Health and Community Systems that health doesn’t begin and end at the bedside but encompasses where someone comes from—a whole confluence of communal and individual factors: environment, county, neighborhood, home, culture, standard of living, education, socioeconomic status, friendships, family, support systems.   

Hernandez on barriers to biosimilars

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POLITICO - “It comes back to financial incentives,” said Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16), who cited her paper published in JAMA a week ago. Once biosimilars entered the market, list prices for their biologic rivals stagnated while net prices began declining. This shows brand companies were offering bigger rebates to PBMs to try to keep market share away from biosimilars.  

Alumnus Interview: Jason Flatt

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UNLV NEWS CENTER - Pitt Public Health doctoral alumnus Jason Flatt (BCHS ’13) is helping lead efforts on human sexuality while building a research program on LGBTQ and aging at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Public Health. "One of the best things about public health is its interdisciplinary nature," according to Flatt, who says it allows him to tap into fields as diverse as sociology, medicine, nursing, and psychology.  

Roberts and Hoffman featured in Hulu documentary on anti-vaccine movement

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HULU - Available now on the streaming service, Vice Investigates “Anti-Vaxx Fever” explores the growing anti-vaccine movement. The documentary features in-depth looks at the varied work of professor Mark Roberts and of student Beth Hoffman (BCHS ’19 ’23). Each uses system science methods to investigate the dangers of this movement, generating compelling images that are powerful tools for communicating science to the public.  

Hernandez explains why some Americans are forced into bankruptcy to pay for prescriptions

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THE GUARDIAN – A 2019 report published in the journal Health Affairs found drug costs are driven largely by pharmaceutical manufacturers’ year-on-year price hikes on drugs already on the market rather than by innovation, as often claimed by the industry. Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16), lead author of the study, says, “Our results are relevant from a policy perspective because they show that price increases do not necessarily reflect innovation o... 

As a Pennsylvanian with a disability, Tomko is forced to choose between higher pay and essential benefits

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PUBLICSOURCE - Until salary caps are removed, Heather Tomko (HPM ’19) must constantly choose between her career and her health. Right now, people with disabilities are barred from positions of power and influence because they can’t afford the accompanying salary. Without people with disabilities in these positions, the needs of people with disabilities aren’t represented in policy.  

Golya receives Benjamin Eskin Memorial Award, inducted into PA honor society

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Congratulations to Kara Goyla (BCHS ') who graduated from Drexel's PA program on December 14 and passed her boards! She was inducted into Pi Alpha, the National Physician Assistant Honor Society and received the Benjamin Eskin Memorial Award "for the PA student who demonstrated exceptional effort and demonstrated qualities of personal dedication and integrity." Golya sends her gratitude and states she could not have made it through this arduous ... 

Felter and Baumann receive Best Paper of the Year Award

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Congrats to BCHS's Elizabeth Felter and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19). Their article "Development of a Community-Engaged Classroom for Teaching Health Communications: Lessons Learned from Nine Semesters of Implementation," has been selected as a Pedagogy in Health Promotion's 2019 Best Paper of the Year Award. This is a great honor!   

Hernandez on how the high price of MS drugs affects lives

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EVERYDAY HEALTH - “Even when patients have insurance, these price increases result in very high out-of-pocket costs for them,” says study coauthor Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16). Twelve percent said they had to stop taking their medication for a time due to cost, and 8 percent have taken less than prescribed to stretch their drugs to last longer.  

‘Alarming’ one-in-five deaths due to sepsis

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BBC - One in five deaths around the world is caused by sepsis, also known as blood poisoning. Derek Angus (’92 BCHS), now distinguished professor and Mitchell P. Fink Endowed Chair of Critical Care Medicine at Pitt School of Medicine, has contributed to a groundbreaking study finding that sepsis is twice as common as health officials have long believed, about 20 percent of all deaths worldwide.  

Busko awarded NRHA 2020 Rural Health Fellowship

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Jonnathan Busko (CHS '98) was selected as one of the NRHA's 2020 Rural Health Fellows. This year-long, intensive program is aimed at developing leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America. Since 2018 he's been working with the Jackman, Maine region to develop a locally controlled and community-supported urgent and emergency health care access plan based on Informed Community Self Determination principles using Expa... 

Washington to speak in Philly

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Raynard Washington (EPI '09, '12) is the chief epidemiologist at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In this role, Washington is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data that provides actionable information on the health status of Philadelphia residents. He coordinates and provides guidance across the department and works internally and externally to enhance existing and establish new health surveillance systems. He... 

Zeni publishes epidemiology for advanced nursing textbook

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Congratulations to Mary Beth Zeni (HSADM ’93) on the publishing of her textbook, Principles of Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing Practice: A Population Health Perspective. Zeni is an associate professor of nursing at Ursuline College in Cleveland, OH. Additionally, Zeni uses her decades of experience in analyzing population health data as a member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health Opioid Taskforce and the Ohio Injury Prevention Partnership’... 

Morgan wins Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award

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Russell E. Morgan Jr (HSADM ’70) received the Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding lifetime achievements in international health from the International Health Section of the American Public Health Association. Morgan was presented with the award during the 2019 APHA annual meeting in Philadelphia in November.   

Facher connects Pitt faculty with LifeX

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IMPACT - Evan Facher (HUGEN '97) notes that one of the important ways that the Innovation Institute powers invention and ignites progress is by connecting Pitt faculty with the resources they need to accelerate the translation of their research from the lab to the market. LifeX Labs, the life sciences accelerator launched by the University last year, is one of those resources. LifeX is hosting two opportunities this week for innovators to be con... 

Baumann and Burke receive Hewlett Award from UCIS

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BCHS’s Jessie Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) received a Hewlett Award from the University Center for International Studies for their project entitled, “Painting a way forward: Investigating the role of community art on mental health outcomes in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal.”  The work extends ongoing research efforts in Nepal.  

Russell awarded New Presenter Award at APHA 2019

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Caitlin Russell (HUGEN '19) was awarded the New Presenter Award during the Genomics Forum at this year's American Public Health Association conference for her poster titled, "Assessment of Hemoglobinopathy trait notification in Pennsylvania Newborn Screening". Additional authors on teh poster included HUGEN's Andrea Durst, Cheryl Hillary, and Elena Kessler.   

Hernandez receives 2019 Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award

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VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES - "As an exemplary leader in the field of managed care, Dr. Hernandez sincerely represents the values that the Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research award was founded on," said Mike Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of MJH Life Sciences, parent company of the presenting body, the American Journal of Managed Care. The award was named in honor of Sonnad, who served as a mentor to many young researchers and was... 

Identical twin kidney transplants warrant gene sequencing, Jorgensen says

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MEDICAL EXPRESS - Researchers including Dana Jorgensen (EPI '14) found that kidney transplants between identical twins have high success rates, but also high rates of immunosuppressant use. About half of patients were on immunosuppresant drugs a year after transplant, but survival rates were about the same regardless. "Once you confirm that the organ donor and recipient are identical, that's really a best-case scenario," said Jorgensen. "It's al... 

Ferrar continues to work with FracTracker, driven by the prioritization of public health

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VOYAGE LA - "We fill a unique role. FracTracker Alliance studies, maps, and communicates the risks of oil and gas development to protect our planet and support the renewable energy transformation. We support groups across the United States, addressing pressing extraction-related concerns with a lens toward health effects and exposure risks on communities from oil and gas development," said Kyle Ferrar (EOH '10) about FracTracker, an organization... 

Arnold named one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 under 40

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PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE - The Center for Disease Control estimates that 130 people die in this country every day from opioid-related drug overdoses. As the executive director of Prevention Point Pittsburgh, Aaron Arnold (BCHS '13) is working to change that. In addition to offering a needle exchange program and STI testing, Prevention Point provides opioid users with free naloxone access and training, as well as other services. It is, quite literally... 

Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health

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WESA-FM -- A documentary about a local transgender musician’s reproductive health offers a new way to think about public health research: through the visual medium of film. Produced by Pitt Public Health postdoctoral associate Sara Baumann  (BCHS '19), the film focuses on Jude Benedict, who identifies as trans-masculine genderqueer (someone whose gender was assigned female at birth, and often expresses themselves in a masculine way, but does not... 

Christopher talks to ASHG TV about Genetics Education and Engagement Fellowship

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ASHG TV - Dyanna Christopher (HUGEN) talks about helping health care workers respond to patients that have had or want genetic testing as well as working in low income areas and with low-literacy populations on education and reducing the stigma around genetics and genomics. "They are really supportive in helping you find your niche and figure out the things you're passionate about."  

Koesarie, Risser, Totoni instrumental in Pitt providing menstrual products around campus

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THE PITT NEWS - The pad and tampon dispensers in women’s bathrooms across campus have sat empty for years. But check again. Pitt is stocking a number of bathrooms with menstrual products, and there’s no payment required. Kathleen Koesarie (MMPH '21), said “it’s important that students who need menstrual products have access to them without leaving school. It’s a period equity issue, it’s an equality issue, and it’s a public health issue.”  

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... 

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... 

Barkin Index measures how mother's are doing post-partum

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MERCER NEWS - Jennifer Barkin (EPI ’09, BIOST ’02), has created a new tool that could help disrupt the maternal health crisis. During her time at Pitt Public Health, Barkin created the Barkin Index to measure how a new mother is functioning in her day-to-day post-baby life. Now her index is being used in clinical trials by a drug company which created a drug for post-partum depression. Additionally, her index is being used by a technology compan... 

Taylor baked his way to first place and a book deal

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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 a creative release from their day jobs.  

Praekunatham promoted to chief of Epidemiology and Public Health Emergency Response

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Hirunwut Praekunatham (EOH, '18) was recently promoted to chief of the Epidemiology and Public Health Emergency Response unit under the new Division of Occupational and Environmental Diseases in Thailand. Praekunatham's responsibilities include surveillance of environmental/occupational diseases at the national level and field work in response to emergencies or events related to chemical and radioactive substances.  

Boehm selected as Pittsburgh Business Times' 30 Under 30

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Congratulations to Meghan Boehm (HPM '18)! Award winners were selected for their successful efforts to grow a busines or nonprofit and for their contributions to the community and civic organizations. "I am so honored to be among this group of incredible leaders in the Pittsburgh community, and I am looking forward to the other award winners in the months to come!" said Boehm.   

Public Health. Period.

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Lauren Risser (BCHS '20), Kathleen Koesarie (MMPH '18), and BCHS's Martha Ann Terry table at the Women's Health Activist Movement (WHAMglobal) Birthing a Movement art and activism event. The event addressed issues of  maternal mortality and women's health. Risser co-founded the Pitt Public Health chapter of Period, a non-profit which aims to reduce the stigma of mensuration and provide hygiene products to those in need.   

Nowalk authors chapter in upcoming public health guide to opioid epidemic

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Alex Nowalk (BCHS '16), program director at Pitt's Program Evaluation and Research Unit, recently co-authored a chapter in an upcoming book, A Public Health Guide to Ending the Opioid Epidemic. Nowalk's chapter presents screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment as a public health and prevention strategy to address substance use and addiction. The book will be published through Oxford University Press and co-published with the Amer... 

Making Pitt Work: Browne's focus has always been on diversity

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UNIVERSITY TIMES - After spending 2002-09 at Pitt as project director and community health coordinator for the Center for Minority Health (now the Center for Health Equity), Mario Browne (BCHS '05) returned in 2011 as the director of diversity for the Schools of the Health Sciences and now aims to bring diversity to the faculty and staff. “It’s not just about knowing each other, it’s about knowing yourself,” he adds, “the way that we service our... 

Burke and O'Malley help National Domestic Violence Hotline

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Professor Jessica Burke and student Teagan O'Malley (BCHS '12 '19) developed a framework for evaluating and improving the effectiveness of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which responds to over 1000 calls for help each day. Burke and O'Malley engaged multiple stakeholders including service providers, users, and experts via a content-mapping research methodology to isolate what matters most and to establish metrics for monitoring this vit... 

Henning breaks down the risks associated with ticks

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THE TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT - In the past century, Pennsylvania has become very favorable for the ecology of tick-borne diseases. The region's woodlands, rivers, growing white tailed-deer population, plentiful population of white-footed mouse, and the expansion of human populations into the black-legged tick's habitat create ideal conditions for the transmission of Lyme disease to humans. Jill Henning (IDM '08) breaks down the risks.    

Smith talks in-depth immunotherapy for lung cancer

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HOPE WITH ANSWERS - Discover in-depth information about immunotherapy for lung cancer through this conversation between Kellie Smith (IDM '13) of Johns Hopkins and patient advocate Lysa Buonanno, part of a video series providing the next level of information for patients to understand treatment options, particularly if they've experienced resistances or if their lung cancer has progressed.   

MidAtlantic AIDS Education & Training Center receives $14.2 million to extend efforts into 2024

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INSIDE UPMC - Public health alumnae & RPCVs Marilyn Blasingame (IDM '16) and Ingrid Godfrey (IDM '18), and IDM professor Linda Rose Frank discuss their work on the prevention and treatment  of HIV/AIDS and its co-morbidities through the MidAtlantic AIDS Education & Training Center (MAAETC), which recently was awarded $14.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to continue the center’s work for the next five years  

UPMC Passavant names Lorenz new VP of operations

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NORTH HILLS MONTHLY - Keith Lorenz (HPM '11) has been appointed vice president of operations for UPMC Passavant. He will support and lead the hospital in its goal to be the best place for people to work, patients to receive care, and for advanced care providers and physicians to practice medicine.    

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

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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, rather than days. And time is of the essence:  The sooner we detect airborne disease-causing particles, the better the mines can protect their workers' he... 

Stacy finds correlation between obesity in mothers, childhood cancer risk in children

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SPECIALTY PHARMACY TIMES - A new studying has found a correlation between children born to pre-pregnancy body-mass index (BMI) and the likelihood of developing childhood cancer, even after correcting for known risk factors, such as newborn size and maternal age. "My hope is that this study can be, in a way, empowering and also motivating for weight loss," said lead author Shaina Stacy (EOH '15 '12).   

Zeni among Notable Women in Education, Crain's Business News

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CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS - The women selected are dedicated to creating and expanding learning opportunities for Northeast Ohioans of all ages, at all levels, and in a host of fields. Mary Beth Zeni (HPM '93) was chosen for innovative and successful curriculum development strategies as associate dean of graduate nursing at the Breen School of Nursing, Ursuline College.   

UPMC Children's Hospital ranks among top in nation, run by Pitt Public Health alum (video)

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KDKA - President Mark Sevco (HPM/Katz '91) said, "It is an extraordinary achievement to be recognized as one of the best children's hospitals in the country. I am honored to work with all the outstanding and talented health care professionals who are committed to putting children first. The rankings reflect our staff's dedicatio to creating the ultimate patient care experience by providing compassionate and world-renowned care for every single p... 

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