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Simenson, Salerno, Saal-Ridpath selected for future health leaders program

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PITT WIRE - Three students from Pitt Public Health were selected for the inaugural class of The Milken Institute’s Future Health Leaders Program. The students, ASHLEY SIMENSON (EPI '19), JESSICA SALERNO (IDM '20), and KAITLYN SAAL-RIDPATH (HPM '20), are among a dozen of fellows selected nationwide. The program aims to give the students exposure to health leadership to help accelerate their future work tackling complex public health challenges.... 

Pitt wins federal grant to use big data and AI to help solve opioid epidemic

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PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - Pitt Public Health has won a $1.2 million grant from the CDC to bring to bear its computer and algorithmic firepower on the nation's opioid epidemic. The two-year grant builds upon Pitt's modeling system called A Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics (FRED). "Our hope is it's the tool we can train to help" with the drug epidemic, said DEAN DONALD S. BURKE.  

Gellad on the battle to control drug costs with new patent laws

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KAISER HEALTH NEWS - As congressional action seems increasingly unlikely, two approaches offer another possible path forward. The first is known as “march-in rights.” The second is generally referred to as Section 1498 because of its location in the U.S. Code. They are “already part of a law that is intact. … An option the administration can take now,” said HPM's WALID GELLAD.   

Hundreds of nursing homes throughout the country forced to close their doors

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NEW YORK TIMES - Fewer patients are winding up in nursing homes, and hundreds of the facilities are closing each year. Nationally, “200 to 300 nursing homes close each year,” said HPM's NICHOLAS CASTLE. The number of residents keeps shrinking, too, from 1.48 million in 2000 to 1.36 million in 2015, according to federal data.  

Fann is a new associate at Dinsmore Law Firm

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NATIONAL LAW REVIEW - Alumna MELISSA FAN (HPM '12) is hired as an associate at Dinsmore Law Firm. Melissa focuses her practice on health care law, corporate law, regulatory and compliance issues and food and drug law. She received her JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Before joining the firm, Melissa interned with Judge Michael Wojcik of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.  

Pittsburgh finds current liver allocation system disadvantages children awaiting liver transplants

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Children are at a considerable disadvantage when competing with adults for livers from deceased organ donors in the U.S. allocation system. “Using national, long-term data, our report is the first to demonstrate that the scoring system, on its own, dramatically underestimates the risk of death in the next 90 days and, thereby, disadvantages children," says HPM chair MARK ROBERTS.  

Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016

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SCIENCE - In an effort to understand the epidemic dynamics and perhaps predict its future course, Pitt Public Health researchers analyzed records of nearly 600,000 overdose deaths. Dean DONALD BURKE, HPM's HAWRE JALAL, and colleagues concluded that the U.S. drug overdose epidemic has been inexorably tracking along an exponential growth curve since at least 1979.   

Roberts and colleagues investigate how adjusting for additional clinical and social patient characteristics affects hospital readmission rates

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HEALIO - According to a new study, when adjusting for additional clinical and social variables, hospital variation in readmission rates are reduced. “In several pay-for-performance programs, Medicare ties payments to readmission rates but accounts only for a limited set of patient characteristics — and no measures of social risk — when assessing performance of health care providers,” said HPM's ERIC ROBERTS, and colleagues.  

HSLS new program includes FRED

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The Health Sciences Library System has created a new program called Spotlight Series: Software Developed @ Pitt. This program focuses on software developed by Pitt health sciences researchers. DAVID SINCLAIR, PHDL post-doctoral researcher/programmer, will present at the first session on “FRED: A versatile Framework for Modeling Infectious Diseases and Other Health Conditions.”   

Hernandez says drug prices rise twice as fast during shortages

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HEALIO - During a shortage, drug prices increase two times as quickly as they would have in the absence of a shortage, according to findings published in Annals of Internal Medicine. “Prescription drug shortages may result in substitution of less effective drugs, delays in necessary treatments, and omission of or reductions in doses,” INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16) and colleagues wrote.   

Children lose out on liver transplants, Pitt Public Health study finds

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NBC - Children who need lifesaving liver transplants are losing out to adults. A system used to determine who is most in need of a transplant significantly underestimates the risk of death for younger children with liver disease, a Pitt Public Health study found. Senior author and HPM chair, MARK ROBERTS, said, "pediatric transplant physicians have long recognized the scoring system isn’t adequate when comparing children to adults."  

Gellad on debate about CVS' use of ICER metrics

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BIOPHARMA DIVE - More than 90 organizations, predominantly patient groups, criticized CVS Caremark's decision last month to incorporate value-based drug pricing analyses in some of its coverage choices, urging the company to reconsider in a Sept. 12 letter addressed to CVS CEO Larry Merlo. HPM's WALID GELLAD told BioPharma Dive that the actual action being debated may not be so severe.  

Gellad comments on benefits that could come from the Senate opioid response vote

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POLITICO - The Senate is expected to pass a sweeping opioid crisis response package this week, paving the way for a final agreement between the two chambers. Even without direct savings, patients could benefit from lowered costs of hospital-administered drugs if the hospitals use that money to increase other services, says HPM's WALID GELLAD.  

Gellad comments on top cancer researcher who failed to disclose corporate financial ties in major research journals

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NEW YORK TIMES - One of the world’s top breast cancer doctors failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug and health care companies in recent years, omitting his financial ties from dozens of research articles in prestigious publications like The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. “If leaders don’t follow the rules, then we don’t really have rules,” says HPM's WALID GELLAD.  

Miles is winner of Pittsburgh Business Times' 30 Under 30 award

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PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - The winners of Pittsburgh Business Times’ 30 Under 30 awards program represent a diverse group of young professionals who are being recognized as up-and-coming executives, innovators, and thought leaders who will shape the future of Pittsburgh. ABBY MILES (HPM '13), manager of business analytics at Jewish Association on Aging is among the 2018 class.   

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