BCHS Department News

In West Virginia’s poorest communities, the state’s vaccine rollout has left vulnerable residents behind

MOUNTAIN STATE SPOTLIGHT / WVPB — Although West Virginia is currently leading the nation in its vaccination rate, the state has primarily aimed for the low-hanging fruit. “When you have to get the vaccine distributed out as widely and as quickly as possible, the inequities that already exist have the potential to be further amplified,” said Elizabeth Miller of Pitt Medicine and BCHS. “Rural communities have been devastated by lack of access to p... 

PA expands vaccine eligibility to ages 65 and older; UPMC vaccinates workers serving vulnerable populations

NEXT PITTSBURGH — UPMC vaccinated workers with The Violence Prevention Initiative, the Neighborhood Resilience Project, and Casa San Jose on Tuesday, hoping to fight vaccine hesitancy in vulnerable, often minority populations, where Covid has had a disproportionately terrible effect. Pitt Public Health's Violence Prevention Initiative provides holistic services for people who have been incarcerated, helping them re-enter their communities and av... 

Research aims to understand, curb misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines

PITTWIRE - Fueled by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Pitt researchers are studying and combating false online information about vaccines. “Vaccines are often the victim of their own success,” said BCHS doctoral student Beth Hoffman, a research assistant at the Center for Research on Behavioral Health, Media and Technology. “I think one of the reasons we’ve seen a rise in anti-vaccine sentiment over the years is people are losing... 

How to Get Your Homebound Parent a COVID-19 Vaccine

NEXT AVENUE - About 1.9 million adults over 65 are mostly homebound and another 5.3 million have health conditions that make leaving home difficult. BSCH's Steven Albert warns it's likely that family or other caregivers will need to arrange for transport to vaccine centers. "For every one person in a nursing home, there are probably five people in their homes with equal levels of disability who rely on... family and community-based services."  

Study adapts well known Brazilian program to prevent teen sexual violence

POST-GAZETTE – Research by Elizabeth Miller of Pitt Medicine and BCHS showed small, neighborhood classes could significantly reduce sexual violence among teenage boys living in areas of concentrated disadvantage. Adapted from a program in Brazil, Manhood 2.0's core message remains the same: challenging gender norms that foster violence against women and unhealthy sexual relationships.  

Albert among 3 Pitt Experts on Reasons for Optimism in 2021

PITTWIRE — Optimism is hardwired in most humans, says public health professor Steve Albert. If you don’t feel like you’re one of them right now, here are three perspectives on why, despite all that 2020 brought us, things are looking brighter.  

BCHS alumnus David Hicks brings teamwork and values to organzing COVID-19 response

ALABAMA NEWSCENTER - Deputy health officer at the Jefferson County Department of Health David Hicks (BCHS '03) plays a key role in organizing COVID-19 testing at Legion Field in Birmingham, which has been commended for how smoothly it has run. Residents drive into the parking lot, remain in their cars to be tested, and receive test results online in 24-48 hours.“So I’ve always had this passion to take care of those who are the most vulnerable,” ... 

Editorial: The commonwealth’s appeal to serious common sense on coronavirus safety

TRIBUNE REVIEW - Most people are capable of understanding personal responsibility and an obligation to their role in keeping other people safe. What is necessary is getting everyone to police their own actions and know what’s best for everyone is to stay in the right lane. “I think there’s this false idea that it’s either lockdown or nothing, lockdown or normal life,” said Steve Albert, BCHS chair.  

Cynthia Salter, BCHS faculty and director of the Center for Global Health

"I chose to pursue a doctoral degree after working for many years with a community-based program focused on improving birth experiences and maternal health outcomes for women in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.  In my previous work, my staff and the women we served were often invited to participate in maternity care research, yet the reseach questions under investigation did not always align with our interests or our needs."  

Hosman: 2020 Early Career Excellence Award

Emma Hosman is Response Coordintor for the Philadelphia Department of Health's Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Program, working on the front lines of PA's largest city's COVID-19 emergency response. "This year has really shown that public health is adaptable...[COVID-19] is challenging norms. It's challenging what we have. It's challenging all these systems. And that's great. It's allowing us to be adaptable and change what we're doi... 

Lockdowns aren’t the answer to Pa.'s surging coronavirus cases, experts say

SPOTLIGHT PA / PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER — PA health officials are holding off on implementing new lockdown or business shutdowns, even as daily reported coronavirus cases break records. Instead, they’re urging the public to stick to mitigation protocols already in place—wears, capacity limits, and contact tracing. “I think there’s this false idea that it’s either lockdown or nothing, lockdown or normal life,” said BCHS' Steve Albert. "And that’s no... 

Study hopes to follow area children for two decades. How has COVID-19 changed the plan?

PUBLIC SOURCE -The Pittsburgh Study plans to follow 20,000 children in the region from birth to adulthood, putting a microscope on the relationships and resources that influence outcomes, such as infant mortality, childhood obesity, youth violence, and asthma prevalence, among others. Though the pandemic’s arrival complicated startup, co-director Elizabeth Miller, of BCHS and Pitt Medicine, found ways to leverage its community-partners network t... 

A teen created a TikTok to help those with disordered eating, BCHS's Beth Hoffman weighs in.

BUZZFEED NEWS - While this trend can be profoundly helpful in destigmatizing EDs and mental illnesses, experts caution young people not to rely on TikTok as their primary therapy. "Eating disorders thrive in isolation, so eating with other people is often very helpful for those in recovery," added doctoral student Beth L. Hoffman (BCHS '19 '22) who's published studies about how disordered eating is impacted by social media. "I think videos like ... 

Achieving COVID-19 herd immunity through infection is dangerous, deadly, and might not even work

THE CONVERSATION - White House advisers offer a “natural” approach to herd immunity as a way to reduce the need for public health control measures. BCHS chair Steven Albert asserts that this infection-based approach would almost certainly fail. Recklessly dropping social distancing and mask-wearing, reopening restaurants, and allowing large gatherings will overwhelm hospital systems and skyrocket mortality without producing the desired herd immu... 

COVID-19 & Health Disparities

As part of the Conversations about COVID-19 seminar series, EPI doctoral candidate Chantele Mitchell Miland , and Pitt's director of health sciences diversity, equity, and inclusion, Mario Browne (BCHS '05), discuss COVID-19 and health disparities.  

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