BCHS Department News

Politics, fear keep some people from disclosing contacts. Maseru talks solutions.

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SPOTLIGHT PA – Contact tracing is crucial to keeping people safe but success relies on cooperation. “The key is building community trust,” said BCHS’s Noble Maseru. “If the people doing this work are known and respected in the community, residents will be more likely to trust that their information is being used for a good purpose.”  

Maseru among experts who say there are lessons to be learned from the coronavirus pandemic

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CBS PITTSBURGH - "We've got to figure out what we can do for [high-poverty communities], education and information wise, so we can at least improve the probability that they can social distance or physical distance within the environment that's challenging for them," said Center for Health Equity Director Noble Maseru. "Let's think about having a much more equity, social justice lens in our decision making that's much more inclusive."   

“Children can die.” Elizabeth Miller urges parents to get kids vaccinated after 50 percent drop in visits (video)

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KDKA-TV - BCHS’ Elizabeth Miller, director of population health at UPMC Children’s Hospital, says many kids are behind on their vaccines for preventable and deadly diseases. “We have the potential of a massive public health crisis on top of what is already unprecedented in terms of this global pandemic.”  

COVID-19: The Effect on Immigrants and Latinos

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BCHS's Patricia Documet, associate professor and director of the doctoral program in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences and director of Latinx research and outreach in the Center for Health Equity discusses with community leaders the effects of the pandemic on Latinos and immigrants. Panelists include Guillermo Perez, president of the local chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and Monica Ruiz, execu... 

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.  

Mair promoted to associate professor with tenure

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The Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences is pleased to announce the promotion of Christina Mair to Associate Professor with tenure. Dr. Mair joined BCHS in 2013 as an Assistant Professor. Congratulations Stina!  

Garland among those chosen for task force on police reform

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BCHS's Richard Garland is one of 17 civilians named to a Pittsburgh task force that will review policing in Pittsburgh and deliver recommendations by the fall. Garland is director of the Center for Health Equity's Violence Prevention Project where he oversees training, data collection, and outreach efforts aimed at reducing crime and violence. He also works with police departments and community-based organizations throughout PA providing gun vio... 

Albert on recommendations amid the nursing home coronavirus catastrophe

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WHP-TV – BCHS chair and policy expert Steven Albert said that federal deregulation of long-term care facilities left many state facilities in a bad position. Funneling more federal money into facilities is a first step to addressing the issues. “You've got to pay people more," Albert said. "You've got to have more staff, and there shouldn't be these itinerants that go between different nursing homes. That is a catastrophe waiting to happen."  

Maseru Agrees African Americans Much More Likely To Have Friends, Family Die From Coronavirus

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A total of 11 percent of African Americans say someone close to them has died from coronavirus, compared to 4 percent of white Americans, and 5 percent of Americans in general. BCHS' Noble Maseru, director of the Center for Health Equity and associate dean for diversity and inclusion, said “Folks talk about the pre-existing medical conditions, but we should actually go upstream and address the pre-existing social conditions.”  

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.  

When 511 epidemiologists expect to fly, hug and do 18 other everyday activities again: Mair weighs in

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NEW YORK TIMES – A group of 511 epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists were asked when they expect to resume daily life activities. On the question of sending a child to school, camp, or day care, BCHS’ Christina Mair responded that she’d do it this summer because she’s “willing to take more risks with this, even though it's not a low-risk activity, as it is more 'necessary' than other, lower-risk activities.”  

Chancellor Gallagher shares his outrage, grief, and solidarity

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In a letter to the community, Chancellor Gallagher shares his outrage, grief, and anger. He challenges us all to demonstrate solidarity by standing with Pitt’s African American students, faculty, staff, and alumni in a shared commitment to realizing meaningful change. "How many times must we witness these blatant examples of injustice, hatred, brutality, and discrimination before we resolve to change things?"  We must plot a path forward.  ... 

Omowale awarded NIH research supplement

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Serwaa Omowale (BCHS ’22), a joint PhD Social Work/MPH student, is the recipient of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) diversity supplement, which will support her work with Dara Mendez of the Department of Epidemiology through 2021. Omowale’s work focuses on understanding, addressing, and improving maternal health and birth outcomes among Black women.  

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... 

Felter on informing the public when COVID-19 guidelines keep changing

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90.5 WESA - “It’s really challenging from a communications standpoint,” said BCHS’ Elizabeth Felter. For example, the World Health Organization started using “physical distancing" instead of “social distancing” because it’s important to be physically distant but still be socially connected.  It's difficult to change this kind of public health messaging once its use has become so widespread.  

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