News

Burke on overdose deaths in Pittsburgh declining sharply

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW - "At this point, I'm not confident it is a permanent change for the good or if we're just returning to the expected curve," Dean Donald Burke said. "In our paper in Science a few months ago, we showed overdoses from all drugs, not just opioids, have been growing exponentially for 40 years. Occasionally it speeds up and slows down, but the growth curve always snapped back."   

Burke talks to The Economist about charting "the death curve"

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THE ECONOMIST - Charting overdose deaths shows an exponential curve increasing at a constant clip of 7.6% per year. Some modellers argue that the death curve might even continue its acceleration. “Anyone who tells me otherwise has to show me why that curve should bend now when it hasn’t in the face of the war on drugs and the rise and fall of other drugs,” says Dean Donald Burke.  

Padiath and colleagues 'see' dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Our cells sometimes have to squeeze through pretty tight spaces. And when they do, the nuclei inside must go along for the ride. Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, HUGEN’s Quasar Padiath made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear envelope and gives tantalizing clues as to how cells squish through narrow openings without springing a leak.  

Wenzel's new method identifies which asthma patients respond to system corticosteroids

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While important in the treatment of the common and often life-long respiratory disease, corticosteroids aren't without side effects and for some patients, the treatment just isn't as effective. EOH Chair Sally Wenzel and colleagues used a machine learning algorithm and identified variables that allowed them to cluster patients based on response.   

MMPH alumna honored with Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award

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Tammy Haley (MMPH '13) was honored with the 2019 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award at Pitt's Honors Convocation ceremony.  The annual award recognizes teaching excellence and includes both a cash prize of $2,000 and a grant of $3,000 to support the faculty member's teaching activities.   

Grubs receives 2019 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award

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Human genetics professor Robin Grubs was honored with the 2019 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. Presented at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony in February, the award recognizes excellence in teaching by members of the University of Pittsburgh’s faculty as evidenced by students, colleagues, department chairs, and deans. Each faculty awardee wins a cash prize of $2,000 and a grant of $3,000 to support his or her teaching activities.... 

Meet Alexa Meinhardt (EPI '19), Dean's Scholar

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"I love that public health is a perfect blend of science and humanity," says Alexa Meinhardt (EPI '19). "Public health touches literally everything in our daily lives--from the fluoride in our water, to the seatbelts in our cars, to the after-school programs for children, to insurance coverage, and so much more," she says. "I love knowing that my work is interdisciplinary and requires collaboration with many different people."  

BCHS’s Baumann receives 2019 Silverman Scholarship

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Doctoral student Sara Baumann (BCHS ’19) has received the Silverman Scholarship from the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. The funds will support her research on chhaupadi in Nepal, a traditional harmful practice where women and girls are isolated during their menstrual cycles. Baumann is conducting a qualitative study in far-west Nepal to understand intentions to change behaviors after criminalization of the practice.  

Meet Kelsey Simon (IDM '20), Dean's Scholar

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With a keen interest in biology and medicine since childhood, Kelsey Simon (IDM '20) planned to pursue a graduate degree in the hard sciences until a course requirement got her thinking about working at a population level. "I … really wanted a career where I could put all of these things together: biology, working with people, social/ethics, global health. An MPH combined all of these interests perfectly."  

BCHS alum accepted for Harvard crisis leadership program

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Nicolle Nestler (BCHS ‘11) was recently accepted to Harvard’s Emerging Leaders in Crisis Program. Currently, a hospital preparedness program administrator at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Nestler seeks to further develop her leadership, communication, and collaboration skills in public health emergency management and how to effectively lead during times of catastrophic crisis.  

Elias receives Chancellor's Distinguished Service Award

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Congrats to professor (and alum) Thistle Elias (BCHS '12) on winning the 2019 award - a major honor recognizing continuing work with Bridging the Gaps, a premier service-learning opportunity for Pitt students. The award "recognizes... efforts [that] far exceed the traditional duties expected of a faculty member and showcases the extraordinary impact that you have had in your own department and in the University."   

Goldstein on report that EPA leadership stalled testing for chemical health risks

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EARTH.COM NEWS - EOH's Bernard Goldstein told the Wall Street Journal that the report shows that the Trump administration is challenging the EPA's long-held standard approaches to science.   

Estradiol level influences fracture risk during menopause transition, Cauley finds

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HELIO - "Our findings suggest that serum [estradiol] measures may help to identify women at high risk of fracture during the menopausal transition," said EPI's Jane Cauley who, along with colleagues, analyzed data of 2,960 women aged 42 to 52 years at baseline participating in the Study of Women's Health Acros the Nation (SWAN), an ongoing, longitudinal cohort study of midlife women at seven clinical sites.   

Nachega finds drug-resistant TB cured with new approaches in conflict-affected region

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INFECTION CONTROL TODAY - A high proportion of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis cases can be cured in conflict-affected communities with molecular diagnostics, shorter treatment periods, and socioeconomic incentives, according to the results of a large, long-term study in the Democratic Republic of Congo led by IDM and EPI's Jean Nachega.   

Scientists uncover dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei (video)

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PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES  - Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, a team of scientists led by HuGen's Quasar Padiath has made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear envelope and gives tantalizing clues as to how cells squish through narrow openings without springing a leak. The findings also could be key to untangling the mechanisms underlying several genetic diseases.  

Pitt invests in growing the Innovation District

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Built by Ford Motor Co. in 1915, 5000 Baum Boulevard is a 200,000-square-foot facility that functioned as part assembly plant, part showroom. The property represents Pitt’s largest development project to date aimed at strengthening the city’s Innovation District, which is being strategically developed under the newly established  InnovatePGH partnership , and also includes projects on Forbes Avenue, as well as the launch of the life sciences ini... 

Catov among scientists researching heart disease link to pre-eclampsia

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PITTSBURGH COURIER - While her baby is still a toddler, a woman who had preeclampsia during her pregnancy might already be on the path to heart disease and not getting the care she needs. Perinatal epidemiologistJanet Catov is among those researchers examining what pregnancy-related signals identify women at the highest risk of future cardiovascular disease. Helping a woman at that early point, with interventions that can reverse or treat risk f... 

Rosano links depressive symptoms in type 1 diabetes to extended hyperglycemia, brain lesions

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HELIO - Middle-aged adults with type 1 diabetes are more likely to experience depressive symptoms than those without, and extended hyperglycemia and more white matter hyperintensities in the brain may play a role in this difference, according to findings published in Diabetic Medicine by EPI's Caterina Rosano and colleagues.   

Rister opens book store, continues making the public healthier

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - On the surface, Adriene Rister (IDM) may seem to have made a dramatic career change, from dealing with infectious diseases for the state of Maine to running a children's book store. She sees the mission of both as bettering the community. "In a way, I like to think of this as part of public health...A bookstore should be a community hub, a place to gather around literacy and education, and a place to teach our kids abou... 

Hartman among researchers trying to prevent virus more dangerous than Zika (video)

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WPXI - Pitt researchers are looking to lessons learned about Zika when preparing for the possibility of Rift Valley Fever virus, noting that it's important to develop therapies and vaccines now. "We saw the ffects of Zika when it got into a larger population and so our work highlights the need to really do more investigation into what would happen in pregnant women infected with [Rift Valley] virus," said IDM's Amy Hartman, who also pointed out ... 

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EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe. 

EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe.

PITT MAGAZINE - Lauren Chubb, DrPH, MPH (EOH ’16, ’13) occasionally dons a hard hat to see the results of her work in the lab. Her team at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Mining Program has developed software to analyze respirable dust samples in just a few minutes, rath... (08/05/2019)
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Chaves-Gnecco Named 2019 Pediatrician of the Year 

Chaves-Gnecco Named 2019 Pediatrician of the Year

PITTWIRE - Diego Chaves-Gnecco (MMPH '00) has been named 2019 Pediatrician of the Year by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania Chapter. The award recognizes a chapter member who exemplifies excellence in the profession. (05/29/2019)
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National, county research partnerships use AI to better predict opioid overdose risk 

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

PITTWIRE - HPM's Walid Gellad 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.  (05/29/2019)


Featuring the latest research, opportunities, and groundbreaking developments from CEPH-accredited schools and programs of public health. Review theFriday Letter submission guidelines then share your story ideas via publichealth.pitt.edu/share-news or contact phcomm@pitt.edu. 

Pitt Public Health finds weight-loss patients at higher risk of death from substance use disorders 

Pitt Public Health finds weight-loss patients at higher risk of death from substance use disorders

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - The death rate from drug- and alcohol-related causes in people who've had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is nearly triple that of the general public, according to research led by EPI's Wendy King. The study also found that fewer than half of those who died had triggered a sa... (06/27/2019)

Pitt Public Health sheds light on 'black box' of inpatient opioid use 

Pitt Public Health sheds light on 'black box' of inpatient opioid use

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - People who receive opioids for the first time while hospitalized have double the risk of continuing to receive opioids for months after discharge compared with their hospitalized peers who are not given opioids, according to research led by HPM's Julie Donohue.  (06/27/2019)
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Pitt Public Health epidemiologist to lead creation of global infectious disease data system 

Pitt Public Health epidemiologist to lead creation of global infectious disease data system

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Backed by a five-year, $6.7 million National Institutes of Health grant, PHDL's Wilbert Van Panhuis will lead a culture shift in data-sharing rippling through scientific fields and harness it to improve global knowledge of infectious diseases.  (06/06/2019)