SCIENCE - In an effort to understand the epidemic dynamics and perhaps predict its future course, Pitt Public Health researchers analyzed records of nearly 600,000 overdose deaths. Dean DONALD BURKE, HPM's HAWRE JALAL, and colleagues concluded that the U.S. drug overdose epidemic has been inexorably tracking along an exponential growth curve since at least 1979.
LU TANG joined the Department of BIOSTATISTICS as an assistant professor on August 1. He received his PhD in biostatistics from the University of Michigan. He is developing an outstanding research program in statistical machine learning and methods for modern high dimensional data. These are extremely important areas for the department as we build for the future.
ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Several states are likely dramatically underestimating the effect of opioid-related deaths because of incomplete death certificate reporting, with Pennsylvania leading the pack, according to a new analysis by Pitt Public Health. “Proper allocation of resources for the opioid epidemic depends on understanding the magnitude of the problem,” said lead author, BIOST's JEANINE BUCHANICH.
US NEWS - Death certificates that did not specify the drugs involved in fatal overdoses may have masked more than 70K opioid-related deaths across the U.S. from 1999 to 2015. "Coroners... do not necessarily have medical training useful for completing drug information for death certificates based on toxicology reports," says BIOS' JEANINE BUCHANICH . DEAN BURKE and LAURAN BALMERT (BIOS ’17) coauthored the study.
BIOS student, HUANG LIN (PhD '21), won the prize for best poster presentation at SAGES 2018, the Symposium on Advances in Genomics, Epidemiology, and Statistics conference. Huang presented his work on developing a novel methodology for analyzing microbiome data. The title of his poster was "Analysis of Differential Abundance of Taxa in Microbiome Studies Using An Off-Set Based Linear Regression."
ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - The past quarter century has brought a striking decline in earlier-than-expected deaths among blacks in the U.S. “We were surprised by these findings because they demonstrated such dramatic improvement,” said DEAN DONALD BURKE. “Our study shows that racial disparity in health outcomes is not inevitable. It can change, and the gap can be narrowed,” said BIOST's JEANINE BUCHANICH.
The Department of Biostatistics prize went to JOANNE BEER (PhD '18). She presented a poster on Predicting Social Responsiveness Scale scores from fMRI data using structured sparse penalized regression.
WESA-FM - Black Americans have historically lived shorter lives than whites, but BIOS’s JEANINE BUCHANICH found that the years of life lost gap has narrowed significantly since 1990. “It seems to show us that racial disparity and health outcome is not inevitable. Now it’s time to do some further study to see why this happened and how we can build on it.”
On April 28, 2018, Pitt Public Health celebrated recent graduates with awards given upon the culmination of a degree program. Delta Omega's honor society inductees were announced and outstanding thesis/essay and dissertation awards were conferred. Outstanding Student Awards were also given at both the master's and doctoral level, as well as Dean's Service Awards.
Biostatistics student LI ZHU's paper, entitled “Bayesian indicator variable selection model to incorporate multi-layer overlapping group structure in multi-omits application ,” was recognized with one of the distinguished student paper awards at the spring meeting of the International Biometric Society's Eastern North American Region. One of the US' largest professional gatherings of biostatisticians, the 2018 ENAR Spring Meeting takes place th...