HPM Department News

Braund says public health research and practice should coexist in ASHTO blog post

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ASTHOEXPERTS BLOG - HPM's Wendy Braund, director of the Center for Public Health Practice, wrote a blog for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials that says that both practice-based research and implementation science are vital but that neither receives adequate effort and gives us ideas to address this challenge.   

Drake analyzes unintended consequences of pulling health policy levers

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UPMC - A move by the White House in 2017 - decried by many as an attempt to undercut the ACA - improved the affordability of health insurance for Marketplace enrollees. "...In terms of affordability, monopoly insurance markets are resulting in low- to no-cost premiums for Marketplace enrollees. On the other hand, this is a really inefficient way to spend federal tax dollars to create affordable health insurance," said HPM's Coleman Drake.   

Inpatient opioids influence at-home use, Donohue reports

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MEDPAGE TODAY - Patients given opioids during their hospital stay were more likely to continue using them post-discharge. Compared with patients who were not prescribed opioids, those who did get a prescription were also twice as likely to continue using them in outpatient settings three months out according to a study by HPM's Julie Donohue.   

Gellad talks to Vox about House Democrats' internal feud over prescription drug prices

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VOX - The U.S. has some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world, and this summer, Democratic House leadership will unveil a plan to fix that - though questions remain about just how effective this measure will be. "The discussion should be around trying this with a limited amount of drugs to start with, then you figure out what infrastructure is needed and how it's going to work," said HPM's Walid Gellad.   

Braund wins Volunteer of the Year Award from American College of Preventative Medicine

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Congratulations to HPM's Wendy Braund for receiving the inaugural award, selected by and presented by ACPM CEO Donna Grande at the Prevention 2019 Conference in Pittsburgh on May 20, 2019. Braund has a long history of service to ACPM. Currently, she is secretary of the ACPM Board of Regents and chair of the CME/MOC Committee. She is also a fellow of the college.   

Roberts comments on research that says fewer psychiatrists take Medicaid patients even as the program has expanded

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REUTERS - "The key message here is that expansion doesn't necessarily mean better access," said HPM's Eric Roberts. That's unfortunate since "Medicaid disproportionately insures people with serious mental illness," said Roberts. "This should be a point of concern for policy makers."  

UPMC Children's Hospital names Sevco new president

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PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh named MHA/MBA alumnus Mark Sevco (HPM/Katz '91) as its new president. Sevco, who was most recently COO of UPMC Pinnacle, has been interim president since January. His former classmate, MHA/MBA graduate Christopher Gessner (HPM/Katz '91), served as the hospital's previous president.   

Pittsburgh analysis finds poor broadband penetration in rural communities may limit the potential of telemedicine

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Broadband penetration rates are substantially lower in many rura counties where access to primary care physicians and psychiatrists is inadequate, which limits the potential of telemedicine to mitigate barriers to care say findings from a brief research report led by HPM's Coleman Drake.   

New hope for curing sepsis as researchers discover four strains - a breakthrough that could boost treatment options

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UK DAILY MAIL - The findings published in JAMA could explain why several recent trials of treatments for sepsis - an immune response in which the body attacks its own organs - have failed. "The next step is to find therapies that apply to the scientific types of sepsis and then desing clinical trials to test them," said study author Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of Pitt's critical care medicine and an HPM distinguished professor.  

Donohue comments on potential medicaid implications of study that says more Americans are being treated for depression

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY - More Americans receive treatment for depression and pay less out of pocket than they did two decades ago, according to a recent study. "States that haven't expanded Medicaid could look at these estimates and think: There's a way to expand treatment of mental health conditions like depression," says HPM's Julie Donohue.   

Drake finds that rural counties that would most benefit from telemedicine lack broadband access

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WESA - Telemedicine has the potential to connect people in rural communities to health care providers who might otherwise take hours to reach by car. But a new study by HPM's Coleman Drake finds that many of these places lack the infrastructure to actually make telemedicine possible.   

Twenty HPM faculty and students presented at AcademyHealth 2019

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The Department of Health Policy and Management gave an impressive 20 presentations at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in Washington, D.C. The students and faculty joined an international audience working to improve health and health care.   

As the U.S. measles count surpasses 25-year-old record, Roberts says: vaccinate

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WDAM - U.S. health officials have reported 971 measles cases so far this year, the highest tally in 27 years, and experts say it's not clear when the wave of illnesses will stop. "What's causing these outbreaks is lack of vaccination," said HPM Chair Mark Roberts.   

National, county research partnerships use AI to better predict opioid overdose risk

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PITTWIRE - HPM's Walid Gellad, head of Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, is using machine-learning algorithms to predict who is at risk of opioid misuse and overdose, teaming up with Allegheny County officials and national health care databanks in two separate studies.   

Big Data Reveals Hidden Subtypes of Sepsis

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UPMC - Much like cancer, sepsis isn't simply one condition but rather many conditions that could benefit from different treatments, according to the results of a Pitt study reported in JAMA involving more than 60,000 patients, featuring Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of Pitt's Department of Critical Care Medicine and Pitt Public Health's distinguished professor of health policy and management.  

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