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Hispanic Heritage Month event examines research engagement of hard-to-reach communities

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In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), the Center for Health Equity (CHE) hosted students, faculty, staff, and community members to a lecture on engaging "hard-to-reach" populations. Lecturers included Lisa Vaughn, professor of pediatrics at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine/Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, formally trained as a social psychologist and widely published in CBPR, community engagement... 

Dean Emeritus recognized for lifetime achievements in health

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On Friday, September 13, 2019, the 2019 Porter Prize was awarded to physician, virologist, and researcher Donald S. Burke in recognition of his contributions to health promotion and disease prevention. Throughout his professional life, Burke has studied prevention and control of infectious diseases of global concern, including HIV/AIDS, influenza, dengue, and emerging infectious diseases. He has lived six years in Thailand, worked extensively in... 

Former students and colleagues return to honor Dean Emeritus Burke

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A Festschrift Symposium honoring Donald S. Burke was held on Friday, September 13, 2019, at the University of Pittsburgh. Burke served as dean of the Graduate School of Public Health and associate vice chancellor for global health at the University of Pittsburgh from 2006 to 2019, making him the longest-serving dean in school history. Invited speakers representing Burke’s major areas of scientific contribution include Jeanine Buchanich of Pitt P... 

HuGen’s Minster heads to Accra, Ghana for consortium on human heredity and health in Africa

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Assistant Professor Ryan Minster (HUGEN ’11) is attending the 14th Meeting of the H3Africa (Human Heredity and Health in Africa) Consortium in Accra, Ghana. H3Africa facilitates fundamental research into diseases on the African continent while also developing infrastructure, resources, training, and ethical guidelines to support a sustainable African research enterprise—led by African scientists, for the African people. Minster is heading the bi... 

A qualitive study of the health concerns and health care access of Latino DREAMers

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Faculty, students, staff, and community members joined the Center for Health Equity’s monthly journal club on Friday afternoon, October 4, to discuss topics pertinent to the observation of Hispanic Heritage Month. The shared article was "There is No Help Out There and If There Is, It's Really Hard to Find: A Qualitative Study of the Health Concerns and Health Care Access of Latino DREAMers," and the session was facilitated by Sandra Quinones, as... 

Barkin Index measures how mother's are doing post-partum

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MERCER NEWS - Jennifer Barkin (EPI ’09, BIOST ’02), has created a new tool that could help disrupt the maternal health crisis. During her time at Pitt Public Health, Barkin created the Barkin Index to measure how a new mother is functioning in her day-to-day post-baby life. Now her index is being used in clinical trials by a drug company which created a drug for post-partum depression. Additionally, her index is being used by a technology compan... 

Weyant among researchers that say sugar consumption is rising, dragging down peoples’ oral health with it

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MIRAGE NEWS - In a recent two-part series in The Lancet, a number of dentists and public health experts name sugar as the leading culprit in the explosive growth of tooth decay worldwide. One of the authors of the series is EPI's Robert Weyant, who notes that “Sugar is the causative agent for dental decay. Basically, without sugar, you won’t develop decay.”  

Culyba finds adult support may mitigate violence-related behaviors in urban youth

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HEALIO - “Understanding nuanced patterns across types of violence perpetration and associated exposures, and how these patterns align with multiple risk and protective factors among male youth in urban neighborhoods can identify targets for intervention,” said BCHS's Alison Culyba.   

James says tweets indicate nicotine dependence, withdrawal symptoms of JUUL users

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UPMC - "We found many self-reported symptoms of nicotine dependence," said co-author A. Everette James, director of the Pitt Health Policy Institute and interim dean of Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health. "Because of the lack of public knowledge about the dependence risks, it makes sense that many people seemed surprised about experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when they could not use their device."   

Donohue paper reviews pros and cons of marketing pharmaceuticals directly to consumers

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HPM’s Julie Donohue weighs in on how marketing pharmaceuticals directly to consumers isn’t new.  In the paper “A History of Drug Advertising”, Donohue outlines the case for and against these advertisements. Proponents tout patient and consumer rights to make informed decisions, while bioethicists and historians believe pharmaceutical companies are “disingenuously using the language of individual rights to support commercial activities.”  

Thurston shows more hot flashes could up odds for heart trouble

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WEB MD - EPI's Rebecca Thurston ifound that frequent or persistent hot flashes are linked to higher odds of heart attack and stroke. The finding stems from a 20-year study of about 3,300 women during menopause. "The [heart events] were not explained by things like blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, exercise or smoking, which are our usual suspects," said Thurston.  

Burke talks about how to control the river of legal painkillers flowing through Allegheny County

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - There were 76 billion pills prescribed across the country from 2006-2012. In that time, prescriptions in Allegheny county went from 46 pills per person per year to 58. EPI's Donald Burke said that there is still a long way to go in terms of controlling this first step of the addiction process: prescribing of drugs.   

Hormone patch might increase cardiovascular risk in menopausal women, El Khoudary study finds

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WESA-FM - Some hormone replacement therapies for menopausal women might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. EPI's Samar El Khoudary found that women who are prescribed the patch were more likely to have increased calcium buildup in their arteries..."We cannot treat all menopausal women the same. If a woman is already at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, then her provider should take that into account when prescribing estrogen the... 

Discover the Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program at Pitt Public Health

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Pitt undergrads: There are now even more reasons to jump-start your grad experience at Pitt Public Health. While you learn to solve health problems, contribute to scientific discoveries, and transform the well-being of communities at home and around the world, you'll save even more money on tuition by starting your graduate coursework in your fourth undergraduate year.   

Felter comments on how Facebook and Pinterest are fighting back against anti-vaccine content

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HEALTHLINE - Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram have put in safeguards to help combat health misinformation online, which is important because such misinformation can affect public health. For example, misinformation about vaccines has helped lead to the ongoing spike of measles cases. "Those opposed to vaccinations often misrepresent data, knowingly or unknowingly, which can skew others' perception of risk," says BCHS's Elizabeth Felter.   

Coulter will serve as co-investigator on NIH supplement grant

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BCHS's Robert Coulter (BCHS '17) will serve as co-investigator on a newly-funded NIH supplement grant to expand a text messaging intervention to reduce alcohol use and sexual violence among sexual and gender minority college students.  

Culyba's research links mentoring teens to fewer risky behaviors

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WESA - New research from BCHS's Alison Culyba shows that adult support both reduces violence and increases positive behaviors among teen boys in low-income urban neighborhoods. “What we were really interested in with this particular study was looking at patterns of violence with a lot more detail than what had been done in previous research … so we could best understand how to leverage those relationships to protect young men from multiple types... 

Study finds microplastics turning up in human stool. Adibi talks moving the research forward.

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PHYSICIAN'S WEEKLY - Tiny bits of plastic may be getting into our bodies, a new study suggests. EPI's Jennifer Adibi point out that “[the study] does shine a light on a different way of looking at the impact of plastics on health. “Until now we have been focused on measuring and studying the health effects of the chemicals in plastics. “Now we need to extend that thinking to include the intact particles of plastics.”  

Drake: there appears to be a major loophole in background checks for private, online gun sales

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STAR TRIBUNE - Fewer than 10% of sellers appear to require a background check. “We tried to search each listing for evidence suggesting the seller would need a background check," said HPM's Coleman Drake. "The results indicate that this is a potentially large loophole on private sales. The policy implication for lawmakers is that if the government wants meaningful regulation of firearms sales, the online market needs to be included.”  

Health savings accounts linked to care access in cancer survivors; Sabik looks to understanding impacts for specific populations

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CANCERNETWORK - “This was an important study because of the increasing role of high-deductible health plans in our insurance system,” said HPM's Lindsay Sabik. “As [high-deductible health plans] become more widespread, understanding their impacts for different patient populations will be important.”  

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O'Neal Summons Satan for Starring Role 

O'Neal Summons Satan for Starring Role

PITTWIRE - Pitt Public Health staff member Scott O'Neal recently took center stage to sing the title role in the world premiere of "Satan's Fall," composed by Steward Copeland, founder of the iconic New Wave band The Police. The metal opera, based on "Paradise Lost", was co-commissioned by the Mend... (02/24/2020)
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Parker elected Hastings Center fellow 

Parker elected Hastings Center fellow

PITTWIRE - HUGEN's Lisa Parker was recently elected fellow to The Hastings Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of research scholars studying ethical questions in medicine, science and technology that help inform policy, practice and public understanding. Parker, along with Robert Arnold o... (02/05/2020)
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Sabik sees decline in late stage cancer diagnoses after health reform law 

Sabik sees decline in late stage cancer diagnoses after health reform law

PITT WIRE - Advanced stage cancer diagnoses declined following health insurance expansion in Massachusetts, likely due to increased access to screening and diagnostic services that identified cancers earlier, according to new research led by health economists including HPM's Lindsay Sabik. “Colorec... (01/28/2020)


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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Gellad comments on the therapies being developed to combat the new coronavirus 

Gellad comments on the therapies being developed to combat the new coronavirus

THE OREGONIAN - Hundreds of COVID-19 treatment drugs are being studied and some experts say scientists should cast a wide net. “I don’t think we want to rule anything out because it sounds out of the ordinary,” said HPM’s Walid Gellad, director of Pitt’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescri... (05/18/2020)