Epi Faculty News

Naimi explains the epidemiological work being done at Pitt Public Health (video)

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Much of the work being done in epidemiology is about translating data into practice, explains EPI's ASHLEY NAIMI. One way of doing that is through causal inference. "Causal inference is not actually about providing causality from observational data. It’s about identifying the conditions that we need in order to infer causality.” He also discusses his work with aspirin and whether it can help with fertility and child birth.  

Power from the ground up: A garden in Larimer shows collaboration across fault lines

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PUBLIC SOURCE - At first, some were skeptical about the African Healing Garden in Larimer. Too often outside forces dropped projects into the neighborhood without knowing the people there. However, EPI's HEATHER ENG says the garden is a “bridge” for the people that live there. Sharing Facebook posts of its progress has "helped us all have something that we can talk about with enthusiasm and appreciation.”   

Brent on suicide rates climbing across the nation

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NY TIMES - Suicide rates rose steadily in nearly every state from 1999 to 2016, increasing 25 percent nationally. Studies found that slightly more than half of people who had committed suicide did not have any known mental health condition. “The reason most suicide decedents don’t have a known mental disorder is that they were never diagnosed, not that they didn’t have one,” said EPI's DAVID BRENT.   

Belle honored for contributions to clinical trials

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UPMC - EPI's STEVEN BELE has been named a fellow of the Society for Clinical Trials, recognized for outstanding leadership for several multicenter studies of surgical outcomes and other treatment trials across a wide range of conditions and applications. “It’s an honor to be recognized by those who themselves are leaders in the premier international society devoted to clinical trials and other health care research."   

New roles for Cauley and Ayyavoo

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JANE CAULEY, who has served as the associate dean for research, will be stepping down from that position to take on additional responsibilities as the executive vice chair of EPI. Cauley is also a distinguished professor of epidemiology. VELPANDI AYYAVOO, currently associate dean for faculty affairs and IDM professor, will become the associate dean for research and faculty affairs. Congratulations!   

Gary-Webb and Mendez talk Project Hunger (Video)

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WTAE - More than 325,000 people in southwestern Pennsylvania are food insecure according to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Rural areas are particularly vulnerable. "If groceries stores are miles away, it'll be very difficult to get to those," says BCHS's TIFFANY GARY-WEBB. "Some do have access to food but it may not be the most helpful food," says EPI's DARA MENDEZ.   

'Invisible workforce' of caregivers is wearing out as boomers age

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STAR TRIBUNE - Growing numbers of Americans face the challenge of caring for an aging parent or other loved one, a burden that will skyrocket as 76 million baby boomers move into their 80s and need help coping with dementia, cancer, heart disease, or just plain frailty and old age. “I don’t think people have really connected all those dots, other than those of us who are doing this work,” said RICHARD SCHULZ, EPI and BCHS professor.  

Flatt's team receives a $75,000 grant for study on affordable LGBTQ age-friendly housing

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A $75,000 Team Science RAP Grant was awarded to alumnus JASON FLATT (BCHS '13) and colleagues on The Role of Affordable LGBTQ Age-Friendly Housing on the Health of LGBTQ Older Adults: A Natural Experiment. The study will be funded jointly by the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and the Academic Senate.  They are partnering with Openhouse, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco.  

Catov finds preterm birth linked to heart disease later in life

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WESA-FM - A new study found that women who had preterm births and a pattern of increasing blood pressure were also more likely to have greater calcium buildup in their hearts, putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Associate professor, alumna, and lead author JANET CATOV (EPI ’05) said it’s interesting that women who also had increasing blood pressure but gave birth to full-term babies didn’t have as much plaque... 

Colon cancer risk depends on polyp type found during colonoscopy

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HEALIO - The risk for colorectal cancer is about 2.5 times higher in patients who have advanced adenomatous polyps detected during colonoscopy vs. those with no adenomas, but the risk does not appear to be increased among patients with non-advanced adenomas. These findings suggest that repeat colonoscopy may not be required as frequently for patients with non-advanced adenomas, according to EPI professor, ROBERT SCHOEN.    

Bertolet receives Diversity in Curriculum Award

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The Diversity in the Curriculum Awards celebrate and reward Pitt faculty who have participated in the Provost’s Diversity Institute for Faculty Development and who are making diversity and inclusiveness a part of their teaching practice. EPI's MARNIE BERTOLET, along with four other Pitt faculty, were awarded for their efforts in integrating diversity and inclusion concepts into their course and curriculum.  

Bertolet among presenters during Provost's Diversity Institute for Faculty Development

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EPI's MARNIE BERTOLET is among the facilitator's for the workshop Transforming Curriculum to Be More Inclusive, happening on May 10. All facilitators of this session are Provost's Diversity Award winners.  Part of a rich series of workshops happening May 3-16 on associated topics like structural racism and bringing global perspectives to our fields and our courses.   

Jane Cauley receives distinguished professor award (photo gallery)

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Jane Cauley was appointed as a Distinguished Professor, the highest honor that can be accorded to a member of the professorate at Pitt. Such a designation recognizes eminence in several fields of study, transcending accomplishments in and contributions to a single discipline, in addition to national recognition.  At the ceremony, Cauley gave a presentation entitled Pivotal Directions and People in my 30-Year Osteoporosis Journey. Congratulati... 

Caffeine in pregnancy tied to childhood weight gain

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REUTERS - "Caffeine in utero may change how the brain develops," said EPI's LISA BODNAR. "This is important because the brain has a strong influence over appetite." Caffeine passes rapidly through the placenta and has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and restricted fetal development, previous research has found.   

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