Epi Department News

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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Chongyi Wei is Associate Professor in the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy at Rutgers University, School of Public Health. After graduating from Pitt Public Health in 2009 with the Outstanding Student Award, Wei has subsequently held faculty positions at Pitt Public Health, University of California – San Francisco, before being recruited by Rutgers. Wei attributes hi... 

King: 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, King has been volunteering time with the Allegheny County Health Department. She first worked with ACHD Chief Epidemiologist LuAnn Brink (IDM '98, EPI '96) and a small team of Pitt Public Heath faculty to plan a COVID-19 surveillance project. Specifically, they planned a population-based SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence survey of county residents to allow the county and state policy makers and service providers better esti... 

Taylor: 2020 Early Career Excellence Award

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Nominator Catherine Haggerty considers Brandie Taylor to be one of the most outstanding mentees of her nearly 20-year career. Currently, Taylor is an associate professor and the Graduate Program Director at Temple University College of Public Health. She has built an impressive research program supported by more than $4.3 million in funding as principal investigator, including two NIH/NIAID R01s, an NIH/NIAID R21 and a HRSA R40.  

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... 

Crall: 2020 Delta Omega Initiate

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Victoria Crall graduated from Duquesne University in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Biology. From there she attended the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health where she completed a master's degree in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology in 2013. Knowing she wanted to pursue a career in public health, she sought a position in infection prevention at UPMC. In January of 2016, she began a career as an Infection... 

Egnot: 2020 Delta Omega Initiate

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Natalie Suder Egnot is a Supervising Health Scientist with Cardno ChemRisk in the Pittsburgh, PA office. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Pennsylvania State University, and obtained both a Master’s of Public Health in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and a Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology from Pitt Public Health.   

Malek: 2020 Delta Omega Initiate

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Angela Malek is a research assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She earned her MPH and PhD degrees in epidemiology in 2006 and 2011, respectively, from Pitt Public Health. Malek is principal investigator of a K01 career development award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute investigating long-term maternal and infant complications in pre-eclampsia, with a... 

Sundermann: 2020 Delta Omega Initiate

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Alexander Sundermann is a clinical research coordinator and a DrPH student in epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. As a doctoral student and clinical research coordinator, Sundermann works in the Microbial Genomic Epidemiology Laboratory (MiGEL). He and the MiGEL team are working with experts at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)and Carnegie Mellon University to build an Enhanced Detection System for Healthcare Associated Transmis... 

Bacterial metabolism of dietary soy may lower risk factor for dementia

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NEUROSCIENCE NEWS - A metabolite produced following consumption of dietary soy may decrease a key risk factor for dementia--with the help of the right bacteria.  According to a discovery by EPI's  Akira Sekikaw a , elderly Japanese men and women who produce equol--a metabolite of dietary soy created by certain types of gut bacteria--display lower levels of white matter lesions within the brain.  

COVID-19 & Health Disparities

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As part of the Conversations about COVID-19 seminar series, EPI doctoral candidate Chantele Mitchell Miland , and Pitt's director of health sciences diversity, equity, and inclusion, Mario Browne (BCHS '05), discuss COVID-19 and health disparities.  

Staying social can boost healthy ‘gray matter’ in aging brains

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US NEWS (HealthDay News) — Older adults who get together with friends, volunteer, or go to classes have healthier brains, which could help them ward off dementia, according to a new study led by postdoc Cynthia Fox of EPI. Being socially engaged—even moderately—with at least one relative or friend activates parts of the brain needed to recognize familiar faces and emotions, make decisions, and feel rewarded. "We need to do more research on the d... 

The opioid crisis didn’t disappear amid the pandemic. It still calls for urgent action.

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THE WASHINGTON POST - Despite the predominance of the coronavirus pandemic among national priorities, the paper's editorial board urges the dedication of public health funds and attention to the ongoing opioid crisis, citing data gathered by HPM's Hawre Jalal and EPI's Donald S. Burke which suggests that the 2018 decline in mortality traced to a short-term drop in the supply of a particularly deadly Chinese-made synthetic opioid, carfentanil, ra... 

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