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Gender Equity Commission report calls for swift action on inequities in Pittsburgh

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PUBLIC SOURCE - New Gender Equity Commission report lists 11 recommended actions to address gender and racial disparities in Pittsburgh.Gender and race are at the center of its recommendations but the report also mentions how people who are differently abled, elderly or trans, for example, can feel discrimination more acutely. India Hunter (BCHS '19) voiced her concerns. "We, as a city, we’re really good at making a lot of documents and talking ... 

Pandav provides COVID-19 update on the situation in Timor-Leste

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Rajesh Pandav (EPI ‘01) is currently a WHO representative for the Timor-Leste government. Pandav provided a COVID-19 update on the situation in the island nation, the preparedness and response measures put into place, and addressed continuing challenges in a recent update that was posted to the YouTube channel for the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia  

Masks and Much More: Public Health in the Time of COVID-19

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PITTSBURGH CURRENT—"Green is associated with 'go,' 'all clear,' 'nothing to worry about'—but during this pandemic, green could not be further from the truth." Doctoral candidate Chantele Mitchell-Miland (EPI '20) and advisor EPI's Dara Mendez explain why we all still need to be vigilant and practice infection prevention precautions. The authors discuss transmission, testing and tracing, disparate impacts, and the mental health toll, calling for ... 

Williams-Pate discusses COVID-19 safety during interview on The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show

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Kyanna Williams-Pate (BCHS ’19) provided sound public health advice on protecting yourself from COVID-19 during a recent interview on The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show.  She also shared information about the free COVID testing available at the Federally Qualified Health Care Centers (FQHC) in Allegheny County.  

Brent on how brief interventions are tied to lower repeat suicide attempts

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The fewer who attempt suicide, the fewer that die by suicide. These results have "important clinical implications" that should motivate healthcare systems to implement brief interventions, commented epidemiologist David Brent (’87 Hyg) and Nadine M. Melhem. “We need to be prepared with brief suicide preventive interventions that every clinician could deliver face to face or through telemedicine.”  

Gary-Webb on the new Pittsburgh coalition tackling racial inequities and the pandemic

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WESA - Coalition scientists have pushed to get more coronavirus testing into communities of need. To get that done, EPI’s Tiffany Gary-Webb said they mapped out where Black families live in poverty and lack access to quality medical care, and then created an overlay showing where the federally qualified county health centers were located. That model allowed the council to effectively increase access to testing within that area.  

Papalia receives PhD in Kinesiology from Penn State

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Congratulations to Zack Papalia who received his PhD in Kinesiology at the 2019 winter commencement at Penn State University. Papalia earned his Master of Public Health from the Department of Health Policy and Management in 2012.  

Dutta awarded scholarship from U.S. State Department

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Congratulations to Justin A. Dutta (IDM '19, HUGEN '23) who was recently awarded a Critical Languages Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study Portuguese. With an acceptance rate of less than 10%, the Critical Language Scholarship is one of the country's most competitive scholarships and the most prestigious language program for U.S. citizens.   

Understanding and Addressing the COVID-19 Infodemic

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Since the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, social media misinformation appears to be spreading faster than the virus itself, prompting the WHO to declare an "infodemic" of misinformation. During this conversation, BCHS's Steve Albert and Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) will discuss how COVID-19 related misinformation fits within the framework of science denialism, and provide strategies to help public health professionals and othe... 

Is Remdesivir a New COVID-19 Standard of Care? Althouse responds to the NEJM Data

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CONTAGION LIVE – In response to concerns about analyses of the relationship between morality and time-to-recovery remdesivir data, Andrew Althouse (EPI ’13), assistant professor at Pitt’s Division of General Internal Medicine, said that “deaths were assigned a failure to recover and the ‘worst’ time possible, so this does not result in a biased estimate of recovery.”  

Angus says disorganized research slows discovery of COVID-19 treatments

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NPR - Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92) says the problem is that our system rewards tribalism, with insufficient motivation for effective collaboration. He's leading a fast-track remap trial for COVID-19, part of an international effort involving hundreds of investigators. He has lots of opinions about which drugs might work best, but he'd rather focus on a trial design that can be as modular as possible and let as many people in as possible.  

Angus says the search for coronavirus treatments is jumbled

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CNN – The scramble for successful treatments is disjointed and chaotic, according to Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92). There are two million people who already have this disease. If even one in 10 has been able to participate in a trial, we could have gone through 100 different drugs by now and known definitively which ones worked or not. The disorder is global, and there aren’t enough tests right now to practice effective public health.  

Chaotic search for coronavirus treatments undermines efforts, says Angus

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WASHINGTON POST - “It’s a cacophony—it’s not an orchestra. There’s no conductor,” said Pitt Med and HPM faculty's Derek Angus (BCHS '92), who is leading a covid-19 trial to test multiple therapies. “My heart aches over the complete chaos in the response.” The lack of coordination puts the world at risk of ending up with a raft of inconclusive and conflicting studies and little idea of what interventions work for the next wave of illness.  

Burke and Baumann start University-wide Creating Community art project

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BCHS's Jessie Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) created this virtual community art project as an opportunity for our Pitt students, faculty, and staff members to nurture a sense of community by creating, connecting, and sharing experiences navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that is significantly affecting our lives. While the past several weeks have been incredibly challenging, through flexibility, ... 

Angus comments on first results from Gilead coronavirus drug

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ASSOCIATED PRESS - A dozen patients had serious problems but it’s not clear whether they were from the drug or their disease. UPMC critical care chief and HPM faculty member Derek Angus (BCHS '92) said the recovery rate is good but “there is no way of knowing from this series if the antiviral drug was helpful.”  

Angus on launch of ‘learning while doing’ clinical trial to fast-track testing of coronavirus therapies

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WTAE – “The solution is to find an optimal tradeoff between doing something now, such as prescribing a drug off-label, or waiting until traditional clinical trials are complete,” said Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of Pitt Med's Department of Critical Care Medicine. “By building this one-stop solution at the point-of-care, we are rolling out an approach that can assure that every patient admitted with COVID-19 can be enrolled in the program.”  

IDM's Kyle-Lion and McCreavy selected as Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows

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Congratulations to Gabrielle Kyle-Lion (IDM '21) and Claire McCreavy (IDM '21), two MPH students in the infectious disease management, intervention, and community practice track who selected as 2020-21 Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows. Working with the Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh, their project will address the lack of preventative breast cancer screenings for immigrant women. Our four graduating fellows will be recognized at the 2020 Pittsbu... 

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... 

Angus comments on top 10 ICU must-dos for COVID-19

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MEDSCAPE - In an editorial issued just days after these new guidelines, Pitt Med's Derek C. Angus (BCHS '92), who is also an HPM distinguished professor and associate editor with JAMA, and Lamontagne of Canada say these "represent an excellent first step toward optimal, evidence-informed care for patients with COVID-19.”  

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.  

Angus on the evaluation of machine learning in medical practice

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MEDPAGE TODAY – The chair of Pitt Med’s Department of Critical Care Medicine, Derek Angus (BCHS '92), sees the need for more evaluation of machine learning in medical practice. Just as computer scientists wrestle with the curse of dimensionality when generating an AI algorithm, clinical investigators wrestle similarly when evaluating the utility of the algorithm. Such evaluation could overwhelm standard RCT designs.  

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."  

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