Epi Faculty News

PA is trying county fairs, text messages, and door-knocking to raise the vaccination rate. Success is slowly coming.

PHILADEPHIA INQUIERER - "The issues left are vaccine hesitancy, or they don't feel there's a strong enough need to jump through the hoops they would need to to get the vaccine," said EPI's Wendy King. Her research includes a nationwide survey of more than five million respondents and suggests that while vaccine hesitancy as a whole is decreasing, there's still a consistent group of people who say they will "definitely not" get a vaccine.   

Gary-Webb is Co-Author on Equitable Data Analysis: Lessons from a COVID-19 Research Collaborative

THE RAND BLOG - The health inequities exposed by COVID-19 underscored the importance of collecting race-stratified data to inform local policymakers and revealed major pitfalls for public health researchers relying on open-source data. These and other contributing factors led to RAND, the Black Equity Coalition, and Surgo Ventures to collaborate on a tool to report on COVID-19 vulnerability and disparities using publicly-available data in Allegh... 

Will COVID-19 face mask mandates return? Depends on where you live. King says vaccine safety messaging is key.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Getting people vaccinated is still the best course of action against COVID-19. "Messaging on safey is key" to reaching the most resistant to vaccines, said EPI's Wendy King, author of a study on vaccine hesitancy. "Leaving it up to the invididual is no public health approach at all."  

Meet our Faculty: Anne Newman

We certainly have a lot of certified multitaskers amongst our faculty here at Pitt Public Health, and Dr. Anne Newman is no exception. While she didn't become a cake decorator as she thought in childhood, she is the chair of the Department of Epidemiology and works with several organizations outside of Pitt, including serving as the editor in chief of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Science. "I'm excited to take a fresh look at the world pos... 

COVID Cases Still Low in Allegheny County, While Opioid Overdoses Continue to Plague Residents

WESA-FM - "[That's] a big loophole there in terms of potentially not having people covered who are sick," said board chair IDM and EPI's Lee Harrison.   

Gary-Webb accepts award for impact of data from the Black Equity Coalition

NATIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD INDICATORS PARTNERSHIP - Harnessing interdisciplinary expertise and perspectives, the Black Equity Coalition in Pittsburgh successfully used data to advocate for programs and policies to decrease racial disparities in COVID-19 response and created a forum to tackle other health inequities. "Seeing something happen right away was extremely different from the past - that we saw a problem, advocated for things to be fixed, and... 

Gary-Webb featured in PHRESH: Communities Thrive When Residents are Involved in Decisions That Affect Their Neighborhoods

"The Hill District and Homewood are similar and different in various ways. They're similar in the sense that they've been relatively stable over time and they have predominantly Black populations but they have very different histories overtime," explains EPI's TIffany Gary-Webb, assocaite dean for diversity and inclusion and associate director of the Center for Health Equity in this video from a RAND Corporation series.   

Burke, Jalal, and Lee Look at the Waves of COVID-19 Washed Across North America

UPMC - The COVID-19 pandemic "waves" that North Americans experienced over the past year and a half had interconnected patterns that moved through space and time — and they weren't just limited to the U.S. New research from Pitt Public Health shows the waxing and waning COVID-19 case counts traveled across North American county, state and county borders with seemlingly little regard for politics and public health mandates, much like a storm can ... 

Four SWAN studies explore women's brain and heart health during midlife

NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING - Meaningful research from our students, alumni, and faculty suggest that midlife health may be an important determinant of cognitive function and heart health later on in life. Featuring work from four SWAN manuscripts, one led by EPI's Emma Barinas-Mitchell (EPI '98) for which Emily Duan (EPI '17) performed the analysis, and another led by Saad Samargandy (EPI '20). Franya Hutchins (EPI '20) performed the analyses f... 

After contact tracing data breach, PA sidesteps scrutiny on proposed $34M contract

SPOTLIGHT PA - Keeping a contact tracing program in place could help manage spikes in COVID-19 cases as mitigation measures lift, said EPI's Catherine Haggerty. "Vaccination rates, although they're on the rise and things are looking encouraging, they're certainly not 100%," Haggerty said. "Containment efforts that include quarantine of close contacts, isolation of cases continue to be critically important. This isn't the time to let down our gua... 

Schiff and Fabio Explore Trends in Beer Consumption

UPMC - Americans are consuming more craft beer with higher alcohol content but are drinking less beer by volume, according to a new analysis from Mary Schiff (EPI '21) and EPI's Tony Fabio (EPI '99, '94) "We were pleasantly surprised to learn...that Americans seem to be self regulating," said Schiff. Additional Pitt Pubilc Health colleagues involved in the work were EPI's Dara Mendez and Tiffany Gary-Webb.  

As Allegheny County COVID Cases Slow, A Look at How We Got Here and What Happens Next

WESA - Black residents continue to be underrepresented among the county's vaccinated population and part of the solution is making the vaccine more accessible. "When community-[based] events started to happen, we saw vaccination rates in Black populations increase," said EPI's Tiffany Gary-Webb, associate dean for diversity and inclusion and member of Pittsburgh's Black Equity Coalition.  

CHE and Block Chronicles present Poetic Health Justice

The Center for Health Equity along with co-sponsor Block Chronicles, held a Poetic Health Justice Forum to curate a space where people in public health, scholars, artists, writers, and creatives are in conversation about issues of equity, justice, and health. They invited poets and writers "who inspire us to envision a future, to think beyond our boundaries, and to be in concert with community across our areas and disciplines.”  

The Struggle to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines for Health Care Workers

CNN - EPI's Wendy King said people indicated they were receptive to the vaccine if they were familiar with its science. Educators, overall, displayed the least hesitancy; workers in construction, mining and oil/gas extraction showed the greatest. Half of those who were hesitant cited possible side effects—a fear that could be eased by education, King said. A third among the hesitant group gave other reasons: They didn't believe they needed th  

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