HPM Faculty News

Dodson analysis of Pittsburgh’s open data informs opioid crisis responses

DATA-SMART CITY SOLUTIONS, HARVARD - Using Pittsburgh’s public safety open data sets, HPM and PHDL’s ZAN DODSON has been advancing the region’s response to the opioid overdose epidemic by sharing his hot-spots research results to public health officials working to coordinate their responses to the crisis. 

FDA approved digital pill: Gellad talks about pros and cons

NPR - While warning of privacy and cost concerns, HPM’s WALID GELLAD explains the upside of the newly FDA-approved “big brother” digital pill. But he warns that there are broader privacy concerns when it comes to sensors that transmit health information. “We’ve seen time and time again that stuff that’s being transmitted ends up in the hands of people it shouldn’t. There are real concerns about data security.” 

Gellad on Trump’s pick to lead Department of Health and Human Services

BLOOMBERG - Azar “is not the pick you would expect from someone who is going around calling the pharmaceutical industry a bunch of murderers,” HPM’s WALID GELLAD, who heads Pitt’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, said in a phone interview, referring to Trump’s “Getting away with murder” comment about the industry. 

Castle on when senior-care roommates are the abusers

STAR TRIBUNE - “It sounds awful to say this, but it’s probably going to take a senator’s mother or father to be involved in an incident like this for policymakers to wake up and take notice,” says HPM’s NICHOLAS CASTLE. “Not a lot of folks realize that the biggest threat to your loved one’s safety…could be sleeping in the room next door.” 

Jarlenski finds Medicaid expansion linked to smoking cessation

UPI - “Smoking cessation is notoriously difficult to achieve,” said senior author MARIAN JARLENSKI, HPM. “The sizable increase we found in smoking cessation might lead to significant reductions in death and diseases caused by smoking, and the taxpayer-funded health care expenditures that come with treating them.” Results were published in the December issue of the journal Medical Care . 

Gellad: A unique voice in the drug pricing debate

GENETIC ENGINEERING & BIOTECHNOLOGY NEWS - Health Policy and Management’s WALID GELLAD is a policy researcher, primary care physician, director of Pitt’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, music composer(!), and all-around truth-seeker. His broad expertise has made him a go-to resource on the latest health issues. 

Van Nostrand presents big data resources at APHA

Although studies show that using information technology to analyze big health datasets and guide public health decisions can improve health equity, most community health center staff report receiving little to no training in health informatics. At the American Public Health Association (APHA) 2017 annual meeting, HPM’s ELIZABETH (BJERKE) VAN NOSTRAND shared four free, open-access public health informatics tools to aid public health workers prepar... 

Jalal forecast: No end in sight to rising overdose deaths

GO ERIE - The ultimate goal of the research, says PHDL's HAWRE JALAL, is to be able to recommend solutions to communities — such as making treatment more available or distributing naloxone, an opioid-overdose reversal drug — based on localized data. 

Gellad thinks there's reason that Medicaid can't get VA drug pricing

NPR - “You can't get the VA prices if you don’t do VA things,” said HPM’s WALID GELLAD, co-director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh. “To just say, ‘We’re not going to pay more than the VA’ is difficult.” But those are nuances that are tough to explain in a radio spot or on a mailed flyer. 

Mair Facing overdoses, neighborhoods not giving up

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - “The fact that they are recognizing the challenge before them, coming together and collaborating to solve this problem, is hopeful,” said KAREN HACKER, HPM faculty and Allegheny County Health Department director. “It’s a very clear signal that’s emerging” from data on drug use, said CHRISTINA MAIR, BCHS associate professor. She has pored over hospitalization data statewide and, along with colleague JESSICA BURKE, probed ... 

Donohue comments on Trump health official's plan to slash Medicaid rolls

STAT NEWS - The director of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promises to give states an “unprecedented level of flexibility” to design their Medicaid programs as they see fit. HPM’s JULIE DONOHUE, director of the Medicaid Research Center at Pitt, says,  “The federal rules are in place to make sure basic access and quality standards are met. The devil is really in the details in terms of how much additional flexibility to giv... 

PHDL essential in forecasting the opioid epidemic

THE ECONOMIST - When will it peak? And how many will it kill? Epidemiologists are frantically scrambling to go beyond simple best-guess estimates to dynamic models that can forecast addiction and overdoses more accurately. Scientists from the PUBLIC HEALTH DYNAMICS LABORATORY are developing a “dynamic transmission disease model of the opioid epidemic,” matching data in the national drug-use survey to outcomes in mortality. It predicts that prescr... 

The shifting toll of America's drug epidemic, a PHDL model

THE ECONOMIST - Today’s Daily Chart, sourced from “Sub-epidemics within the Opioid Epidemic” by H. JALAL, J. BUCHANICH , L. BALMERT, M. ROBERTS, and D. BURKE, shows red alerts for U.S. drug overdose deaths per 1000,000 population, by age, demographics, and drug type. The study points out that the number of fatal drug overdoses has doubled every eight years for the past 37 years. A continuation of that trend would see annual opioid deaths rising ... 

Van Nostrand on how the government can fight the opioid epidemic under a public health emergency

WASHINGTON POST - “Unless you keep people alive, you can’t get them into treatment,” said HPM’s ELIZABETH VAN NOSTRAND. According to the White House, 175 people will die of a drug overdose today and every day until the crisis is curbed. So the government may start with the most basic need: Keeping alive more than 11.5 million people taking prescription opioids for nonmedical reasons plus 1 million people using heroin.  

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