HPM Department News

Donohue finds more Americans are receiving addiction treatment, but gaps persist

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PITTWIRE - Substantially more people in the U.S. with opiiod use disorder are receiving evidence-based treatment for the disease, but there are still considerable gaps in care along racial lines, according to the largest analysis to date of opioid use disorder among Medicaid recipients. The results of the study with HPM Chair Julie Donohue as co-author were published in JAMA and proivde actionable insights for policymakers and medical providers.... 

Donohue study says Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Rises in Medicaid Recipients

MEDPAGE TODAY - The proportion of people with opioid use disorder who received buprenorphine (Buprenex), methadone, or naltrexone (Revia) increased from 47.8% to 57.1% in an exploratory serial cross-sectional study by HPM Chair Julie Donohue and colleagues.   

Gellad on Whether America's Drug-Approval System is Unsustainable

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THE ATLANTIC - "The FDA specifically does not really worry about those larger societal issues and doesn't really worry about cost," HPM's Wallid Gellad said. Instead, the agency is judged by how many drugs it can approve.   

Drake: Marijuana legalization linked to temporary decrease in opioid-related emergency visits

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MEDICAL XPRESS - States that legalize recreational marijuana experience a short-term decline in opioid-related emergency department visits, particularly among 25- to 44-year olds and men, according to analysis led by HPM's Coleman Drake.   

Drake: How To Improve Consumer Plan Selection in ACA Marketplaces

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HEALTH AFFAIRS  - There is currently an opportunity for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help consumers enroll in better Marketplace coverage in 2022. By adjusting how returning Marketplace enrollees are automatically re-enrolled in coverage, CMS can nudge more enrollees into plans that offer them both lower premiums and reduced cost sharing. HPM's Coleman Drake and colleagues outline steps to improve consumer plan selection tha... 

Glynn on the Impact if the Medicare Eligibility Age is Lowered to 60

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HEALTHLINE - The plan is still vague, so it's "hard to tell (yet) who will actually be affected," Alexandra Glynn (HPM '23) told Healthline. She does feel there are ways that it could be beneficial, pointing out that people with high copays and deductibles tend to skip tests and regular physical exams. That means many delay medical care until treatment may be more expensive. Lowering the age could mean access to earlier detection and treatment. ... 

Burke, Jalal, and Lee Look at the Waves of COVID-19 Washed Across North America

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UPMC - The COVID-19 pandemic "waves" that North Americans experienced over the past year and a half had interconnected patterns that moved through space and time — and they weren't just limited to the U.S. New research from Pitt Public Health shows the waxing and waning COVID-19 case counts traveled across North American county, state and county borders with seemlingly little regard for politics and public health mandates, much like a storm can ... 

After Weeks of Declining Vaccination Rates in the U.S., They Went Back Up in June. Will the Momentum Last?

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TIME - The daily vaccine rate in the U.S. had dropped to 850,000 a day by early June, down from the peak of 4.3 million on April 8, but now it's starting to creep back up. HPM's Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, agrees that childhood vaccinations are part of the explanation, but not all. It may have something to do with recent incentive programs.  

5 COVID-19 Takeaways. Roberts: Masks Work. Really.

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DISCOVER MAGAZINE - Fierce debate raged in the pandemic's early months about whether wearing face masks curbed viral transmission. There was never much science that said masks didn't work, says HPM's Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory. Pre-2020 research already showed masks' effectiveness, and COVID-era studies cemented that verdict, setting the stage for more widespread, ongoing mask use.  

Hernandez wins Alice S. Hersh Emerging Leader Award

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Congratulations to Inma Hernandez (HPM '16), the 2021 recipient of the Alice S. Hersh Emerging Leader Award from AcademyHealth! This prestigious award recognizes professionals early in their career who show exceptional promise for future contributions to the field of health services research. Hernandez earned her PhD in Health Services Research and Policy and is an associate professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of California San Dieg... 

Gellad says antibody eligibility criteria leaves a lot of latitude

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U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - Last week, the FDA broadened the criteria that doctors can use to determine eligibility for antibody treatments, the Times reported. That opens the door for more young people with certain medical conditions and members of high-risk racial or ethnic groups to get the treatments. "Ultimately, it gives prescribers a lot of latitude in what they can give this for," said HPM's Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Phar... 

Jalal's 2018 work backs impending "fourth wave" of overdose deaths

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BUZZFEED NEWS - The resumption of an upward trend in overdose deaths matches projections that HPM's Hawre Jalal and colleagues made in a 2018 study. "The trend has been rising for 30 years, and it has only been accelerating in the pandemic," Jalal said, adding that more recent analysis suggests the trend may date back as far as 1959.  

A fun, rewarding way to give back and make the public healthier

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EPI's Nancy Glynn (EPI '94) is the PittCoVax volunteer coordinator and has volunteered herself with students and staff from Pitt Public Health. "I was thrilled to work side-by-side with an awesome, energetic group of faculty, staff, and students," said Glynn. She also talked about building community and the importance of the vaccine.   

Roberts says he'll personally continue to wear a mask in public

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WTAE - HPM's Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, will continue to wear a mask when he's out in public, even though he's been vaccinated against COVID-19. "I was admittedly a little surprised (by the CDC's revised mask guidelines) because I think these policy issues are complicated and they're balancing multiple things."   

Roberts on COVID-19 vaccination rates falling short in parts of MN

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STAR-TRIBUNE - COVID-19 vaccination rates are lagging in parts of Minnesota as the pace of new shots slows throughout the state, an early warning sign that achieving herd immunity could take longer in some places. "In rural areas, the fact is you are still moving around, you are still coming into contact with people," said HPM and PHDL's Mark Roberts. "If only 40% of the people in that geographic area are vaccinated and immune then you have a hi... 

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