Epi Department News

Mendez explains how recently released health indicators fall along racial lines, again

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WESA - EPI's Dara Mendez, interim director of the Center for Health Equity, explains why recently released health data for Pittsburgh women and children continues to fall along racial lines.   

Estradiol may influence association between HDL cholesterol, aortic calcification

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HEALIO - High HDL cholesterol levels alone may not be cardioprotective for midlife women; estradiol may influence the risk for cardiovascular disease, according to data from the SWAN Heart study. “Levels of endogenous estradiol may play an important role in cardioprotective associations of HDL cholesterol,” said EPI's Samar R. El Khoudary.  

Head of Allegheny County board of health says highly contagious U.K. variant is likely already in western Pa.

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WESA / WITF — It is likely the new strain of the coronavirus that was first identified in the U.K. is already circulating in Allegheny County, according to the chair of the county’s board of health. “The public health messages don’t change [because of the new strain] … We need to continue to hunker down, follow all the masking, physical distancing, and other mitigation efforts that we’re already doing,” said Dr. Lee Harrison, a Pitt infectious d... 

Gov. Wolf awards Pitt Public Health $2.5M to study health impacts of fracking

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TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT -  Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has awarded a $2.5 million contract to research the potential health effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state in two epidemiological studies to be conducted over the next two years. EPI's Evelyn Talbott will investigate the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and the development of childhood cancers, while BIOS' Jeanine Buchanich will examine acute conditions, such as asthma and birth ... 

Virtual Agents of Change: How Computers Are Mapping Covid-19's Future

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KNOWABLE MAGAZINE—Instead of trying to analyze how society functions from the top down, agent-based modeling tackles the problem from the other end, focusing on individuals."We have (modeled) every person in the US, where they live, where they go to school, where they go to work," says EPI's Donald Burke of PHDL's FRED. This approach both predicts the pandemic's future trajectory and gives insights into the effects of public health strategies. ... 

An Expert’s Mental Health Reminders

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PITTWIRE - Finals are here. Winter is coming. Pitt psychiatry and epidemiology expert Rebecca Thurston offers reminders to care for yourself during tough times.  

New AHA Scientific Statement on Menopause and CVD Risk

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NEWS MEDICAL - Changes in hormones, body composition, lipids, and vascular health during the menopause transition can increase a woman's chance of developing cardiovascular disease after menopause, the American Heart Association said in a scientific statement. EPI's Samar R. El Khoudary, who chaired the AHA writing group, stressed "monitoring women's health during midlife and targeting this stage as a critical window for applying early intervent... 

Newman awarded AHA Clinical Research Prize (video)

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EPI's Anne Newman received the American Heart Association's 2020 Clinical Research Prize based on her extensive research career focused on aging, including the determinants of physical and cognitive function, as well as successful aging and longevity. She is an expert in the study of cardiovascular disease, aging and body composition, and sarcopenia (muscle loss) and physical functioning.  

Pitt Scientists Demonstrate Positive Effects of Physical Activity in Patients and Identify Predictors of Satisfaction after Bariatric Surgery

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THE PHILLY VOICE — Wendy King, associate professor of epidemiology, found that higher physical activity levels after bariatric surgery lessen depressive symptoms and improve mental and physical quality of life, irrespective of weight loss. Gretchen White's study identified patient characteristics, such as insufficient social support and unrealistic weight-loss expectations, that can predict not being satisfied long-term with Roux-en-Y gastric by... 

Dara Mendez, EPI faculty and director, Center for Health Equity

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"My research, teaching, curriculum development and service applies equity, anti-racism, anti-oppression praxis as well as Black Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory and Public Health Critical Race Praxis. My research program focuses on understanding and addressing racial and socioeconomic inequity in pregnancy, birth, and women's health. I specifically employ novel methods to measure and understand how racism (including institutional and struct... 

Wei: 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award for Research

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"I entered the doctoral program without an MPH and Pitt Public Health cultivated my deep appreciation for the field of public health, in particular its principle of social justice. I was fortunate enough to have some of the best advisors and mentors, who helped me establish a vision for my research and career and also cared for me on a personal level."   

King: 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service

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Since 2011, King and her family have raised over $65,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCF) as part of their annual fundraising campaign, the “Take Steps” walk. Although the in-person walk was replaced by an online event this past June, King and her daughter, Madeline, raised $8,533 with creative fund-raising efforts, including posting video entries in the CCF’s online “IBDs Got Talent” competition.  

Taylor: 2020 Early Career Excellence Award

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"Like anyone in academia, I wear a lot of hats with my job between teaching, research and administrative duties but I still get excited about writing papers and publishing my research. I have always enjoyed the writing process and without hesitation that is my favorite part of the job. The only thing that is better is when I have a mentee that successfully publishes their work."    

Blaney: 2020 Delta Omega Initiate

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Kayleigh Blaney attended the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in 2013 with a BS in biology and history and in 2014 with a Master of Public Health in epidemiology. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health at the University of South Florida. After working with the University of Pittsburgh Long Life Family study, Blaney became an epidemiologist for the Oakland County Health Division (Michigan) in 2016. Her expertise includes surve... 

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