News

Gellad on Memorial Sloan Kettering curbing executives' ties to industry after COI scandals

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NEW YORK TIMES - HPM's Walid Gellad calls the policy changes a "watershed moment" and went on to say, "This is highly significant, especially at such a high-profile academic center. Leadership matters, and the institution has decided that their leaders should not also be concurrently leading for-profit health companies."   

Albert on program that helps seniors continue to live independently

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REUTERS - "You really want to see people be independent and able to manage without help from their families or from paid services," said BCHS's Steve Albert. "Presumably if you can improve function with the activities of daily life, you reduce the risk of nursing home placement."   

Biost joins Hugen in Staff Volunteer and Team Building Day

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HUGEN staff joined BIOST for their Staff Volunteer and Team Building Day, visiting Global Links to sort medical supplies for distribution in resource-poor communities. Afterwards, they switched gears at Lumberjaxes in Mount Lebanon, where they showed off their axe-throwing skills (Joe Germanoski was the winner!). Staff were glad to work together and unwind before the start of a new term.   

Sevco named COO of UPMC Pinnacle

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Congratulations to Mark Sevco (HPM '91) who will be the COO of UPMC Pinnacle in Harrisburg. Sevco was formerly president of UPMC McKeesport in McKeesport, PA and UPMC East in Monroeville, PA.  Read the announcement from Becker's Hospital Review.    

Garcia-Bates says timing of immunotherapy crucial to outcomes

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MEDICAL RESEARCH - "HIV infection is a manageable disease with the advent and availability of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). But, when ART is interrupted, the virus quickly rebounds to high levels and again targets the immune system. Therefore, new immunotherapeutic treatments are sought to re-program the immune system to control the virus after ART interruption," said IDM's Tatiana Garcia-Bates.   

Hernandez's research says prescription drug costs driven by manufacturer price hikes, not innovation

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WESA - The skyrocketing cost of many prescription drugs in the U.S. can be blamed primarily on price increases, not expensive new therapies or improvements in existing medications as drug companies frequently claim, says a new study published in Health Affairs by Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16).   

Hartman researches virus even more dangerous than Zika to pregnant women

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THE NEW YORK TIMES - The mosquito-borne virus that causes Rift Valley fever may severely injure human fetuses if contracted by mothers during pregnancy, according to new research by IDM's Amy Hartman. "Zika caught everybody by surprise," said Hartman. "If doctors had known about Zika's birth effects, they could have done a lot more to protect pregnant women and babies. With Rift Valley fever, we're trying to get ahead of the curve."  

EPA recognizes Pitt for efforts to reduce what ends up in landfills

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In a partnership between students, staff, and the administration, a number of small improvements have added up to a significant reduction in food waste over recent years. By 2025 the plan is to expand composting by 50 percent; serve half of to-go meals in reusable containers; and cut the amount of animal-derived products served by 25 percent.  

Hernandez among three Pitt students named to Forbes 30 Under 30

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PITT WIRE - Congratulations to Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16)! The list features 600 business and entrepreneurial leaders from 20 industries, including health care, energy, art and education, among others.  

Ask FRED for a better opioid response

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PITT MED - The Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics (FRED), is being adapted to a more general tool for modeling population dynamics. "Drugs aren't infectious organisms," says Dean Don Burke. "But they do have transmitting properties to them. If we could take the same simulation methods that we've developed for contagious epidemics and start using them with the opioid epidemic, we might make some headway."  

Dougherty named deputy commissioner of alcohol and drug abuse programs in Vermont

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VERMONT BUSINESS MAGAZINE - "I am eager to join the health department in its work to strengthen prevention efforts and to ensure that every Vermonter has access to effective treatment and recovery services," said Kelly Dougherty (BCHS '00).  

Pitt's Bike-friendly efforts recognized

PITT WIRE - The league of American Bicyclists recognizes colleges and universities that support bicycling with its Bicycle Friendly University status, scoring across five categories: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation. This year, Pitt earned the status with a bronze distinction, recognizing institutions that have taken notable steps in supporting bicycling for recreation and transportation.   

Breastfeeding linked to less belly fat and smaller waist size

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MEDICALRESEARCH.COM  - Work by Gabrielle Snyder (EPI '15) tests the association between breastfeeding duration and maternal waist circumference while controlling for race, socioeconomic status, and behavioral factors like better diet and more physical activity. The study found that women who breastfed more than 6 months had smaller waists and lower body mass index one decade after delivery compared to women who breastfed less than 6 months.  

EPI graduate shares her experience of overcoming polio (video)

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CONSULATE GENERAL OF INDIA IN NEW YORK -- In observance of the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disability, Sunita Dodani (EPI ’06) shares her story of overcoming polio and thriving in life. After experiencing paralysis in all four limbs, Dodani met the challenges of growing up as a woman with a disability to become a two-time Fulbright scholar, completing both her MD and a PhD from Pitt Public Health.  

Maseru co-writes Birth Equity Consensus Statement

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MARCH OF DIMES - BCHS's Noble Maseru co-authored "Birth Equity for Moms and Babies Concensus Statement" to advance social determinants pathways for research, policy, and practice. Among the recommendations: improve maternal death surveillance, expand research, engage in health system reform, empower communities through inclusion, and change social and economic conditions.  

To reduce falls and fracture risk, improve sleep quality and length, Cauley says

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PT PRODUCTS - "Even though falls are caused by a number of factors, our paper focuses on a novel risk factor: sleep. Results suggest that interventions aimed at improving sleep may reduce the risk of falls." says EPI's Jane Cauley.   

Nachega recognized by African Science Institutions

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The African Academy of Sciences elected IDM and EPI's Jean Nachega a fellow in recognition of his efforts to develop patient care, teaching, and research around epidemiology and infectious diseases in Africa. In addition, the Academy of Sciences of South Africa - which aims to provide evidence-based scientific advice on issues of public interest - named him a member-elect.  

Study by Catov and colleagues finds breast-feeding tied to smaller waist size in mother

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NEW YORK TIMES - Breast-feeding for longer than six months may lead to a smaller waist size for the mother. “There are three wins here,” said EPI's Janet Catov. “There are short-term benefits for the mother — weight after pregnancy is something women care about. And there are long-term benefits for the mother’s health. And the third win is that it’s really good for the baby.”  

Fabisiak comments on the region's cancer risk related to air pollution

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - Around one in three Americans gets a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. "If someone chooses to smoke, most of the risk will only impact them," said James Fabisiak. "When we think about air pollution, on the other hand, the risk is smaller than smoking but that risk is now distributed over a much wider segment of the population."  

Travis Lear awarded predoctoral fellowship F31 award

Travis Lear (EOH '20) has been awarded an F31 predoctoral fellowship from the NHLBI. His project will focus on the molecular mechanisms of dysregulated inflammation in the lung, which is the cause of several lung diseases and a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically-ill patients.   

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Taylor baked his way to first place and a book deal 

Taylor baked his way to first place and a book deal

PITT WIRE -  Chris Taylor (SHRS ’04, EPI ’10) originally started baking as a way to relax while studying at Pitt Public Health. After entering, and winning, their first competition on a whim, Taylor and husband Paul Arguin, who are both epidemiologists at the CDC, continued baking and competing as ... (09/11/2019)
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Gellad receives PECASE Presidential Award 

Gellad receives PECASE Presidential Award

Congratulations to HPM's Walid Gellad, who was recently named a winner of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers — the highest honor awarded by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exc... (08/12/2019)
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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)


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. 
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Coulter Research Review Finds Scarcity of Scientific Studies on Interventions to Reduce Health Inequities in LGBTQ Youth 

Coulter Research Review Finds Scarcity of Scientific Studies on Interventions to Reduce Health Inequities in LGBTQ Youth

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - There is a dearth of scientifically investigated, evidence-based interventions to address substance use, mental health conditions and violence victimization in sexual and gender minority youth, according to a research review led by BCHS's Robert Coulter (BCHS '17) published in... (08/25/2019)
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El Khoudary finds hormone therapy linked to heart fat, hard arteries 

El Khoudary finds hormone therapy linked to heart fat, hard arteries

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment for menopause-related symptoms, and new research from EPI's Samar El Khoudary reinforces the importance of tailoring hormone therapy to each patient, based on her individual risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In a study p... (08/25/2019)

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)