BCHS Department News

Albert on recommendations amid the nursing home coronavirus catastrophe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.  

Public health systems hold promise for aging populations, journal finds

In a new special issue of the journal Innovation in Aging from The Gerontological Society of America, researchers look at public health interventions that work to foster healthy aging. "Public health faces the challenge of designing, assessing, translating, and implementing programs that push interventions out to aging subpopulations that span a broad continuum of health and vulnerability," wrote Deputy Editor-in-Chief Steven M. Albert and Guest... 

A Health Equity Response to COVID-19 in Allegheny County

“When the pandemic first started, there were many of us that were worried that the toll on underserved populations, particularly African Americans where I focus, would bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19,” said EPI’s Tiffany Gary-Web. "So I started locally asking for data by race and trying to understand if what was going to happen in our area…we’re not having the same access to testing. This is just one example.”  

Systemic Racism in the Time of COVID-19, Maseru on Tuskegee University Lecture Series (video)

In the first William "Bill" Jenkins Lecture at the Department of Graduate Public Health in the College of General Medicine at Tuskegee University, CHE's Noble Maseru spoke of Jenkins' committment to social justice through workforce development and tangentially addressed bioethics. "We don't see COVID-19 as an isolated moment [and we need to be] addressing and seeking in what took place in our history so that we can move forward and not make the ... 

Maseru addresses Hill District Community Forum on COVID-19 on social equity responses to the pandemic

On April 9, CHE Director Noble Maseru presented facts, best practices, and risks to the Black community, in addition to talking about equity and life expectancy in Pittsburgh by neighborhood. View the slides or watch the presentation.   

BCHS congratulates 2020 graduates

BCHS CHAIR'S REPORT - Congrats to all our graduates. The May 9 online convocation was a wonderful celebration of student accomplishment. Many families were able to attend. We took advantage of the online format to give faculty advisors and students a chance to reflect on their theses and essays and their experiences in BCHS. As I said during the event, "...what a time to be getting a degree in public health..."  

Maseru participates in panel themed around human rights and COVID-19

BCHS's Noble Maseru recently contributed to a community health panel focused on shaping a health and human rights agenda where he discussed how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts the African-American community and called for a COVID-19 equity task force.  

Angus says disorganized research slows discovery of COVID-19 treatments

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.  

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