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John Cordier and team won the Global Business Challenge

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After winning the Kuzneski Innovation Cup from the Innovation Institute for FRED (a Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), a software platform that simulates the spread of disease, mitigation strategies, & policy implications, John Cordier (HPH '19) assembled a team  on short notice and lead them to victory in the Global Business Challenge, held in Brisbane, Australia.  

Meet alumna Shumei Sun

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SHUMEI SUN (BIOS '83) currently serves as the chair of the Department of Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University. As chair, she has played a vital role in transforming the department by doubling the size of its faculty, and initiating new courses in mathematical genetics, omics and informatics over the past decade.  

Ricci receives the 2018 Pruitt/Kelly Award of Excellence

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Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA) honored BCHS's EDMUND RICCI with the 2018 Pruitt/Kelly Award of Excellence for his contribution to the field of aging. Congratulations Dr. Ricci!  

Batra Hershey contributes to Biodefense Report

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In a biodefense emergency - such as a terrorist attack using aerosolized plague - what are the needs of our country's 573 Tribal Nations? HPM"s TINA BATRA HERSHEY, assistant director for Law and Policy in the Center for Public Health Practice, recently contributed to a national report concluding that Tribal Nations need the opportunity to receive federal support in public health emergency preparedness planning.  

Overdose deaths have fallen for six months, Dean Burke comments

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STAT - The number of fatal drug overdoses nationwide has fallen for six consecutive months, fueling hopes that the downturn marks not just a reprieve but a long-lasting shift in the tide of the addiction crisis. “After 40 years of this predictable growth pattern, we can hope that the curve is finally bending downward for good,” DEAN BURKE, wrote in an e-mail. “But history tells us to interpret these wobbles cautiously.”  

Parker comments on new study that shows downside of medical crowdfunding

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REUTERS - While crowdfunding platforms can fill insurance gaps, helping patients pay for essential care and avoid medical debt, they are also being used to raise large sums of money for ineffective and experimental treatments, a new study suggests. The study muddies the issue by mixing clearly unproven therapies with treatments that are being tested in clinical trials, said HUGEN's Lisa Parker.  

Turning ideas into transformative action: Pitt Public Health students selected as Future Health Leaders

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Complex health issues are easy to determine, but finding solutions can be challenging. Three Pitt Public Health students, ASHLEY SIMENSON (EPI ’19), JESSICA SALERNO (IDM ’20), and KAITLYN SAAL-RIDPATH (HPM ’20) were chosen as part of the inaugural class of Future Health Leaders to present their ideas at the Milken Institute's Future of Health Summit 2018 in Washington DC.  

Newman honored by UPMC as Champion of Seniors

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UPMC -  Congratulations to EPI chair ANNE NEWMAN, clinical director of the Aging Institute, honored by UPMC Senior Services as its 2018 Grand Champion for her work in the epidemiology of aging, longevity, and disability. This is the highest honor awarded by UPMC Senior Services. "The field of aging science is advancing rapidly, and we expect that many of those advances will make aging better for all,” said Newman.  

Scott appointed director of Biostatistics Division, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

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JOHN SCOTT (BIOST '08) was recently appointed as the director of the Division of Biostatistics at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. In this role, Scott leads a group of 35 biostatisticians responsible for statistical aspects of the regulatory evaluation and oversight of vaccines, allergenic extracts, blood components, cellular therapies, gene therapies, etc.   

Abisola Olaniyan spends practicum addressing barriers to seeking and accessing immunization services for children in Lagos, Nigeria

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Center for Global Health Student Travel Scholarship recipient and DrPH student, ABISOLA OLANIYAN (BCHS '21), spent her practicum in Lagos, Nigeria addressing barriers to seeking and accessing immunization services for children. She also conducted food demonstration classes to educate mothers/caregivers on nutritious meals for babies during the weaning period.   

Pitt study finds 1 in 4 JUULvapor tweeps is underage

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MEDICAL XPRESS - E-cigarette brand JUUL's Twitter handle is attracting adolescents to the point that at least a quarter of its followers appear to be under age 18. Many of these minors—to whom it is illegal to sell nicotine-delivery products—are retweeting JUUL's messages, amplifying its advertisements to a vulnerable population. The study results are published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and coauthored by BCHS' ELIZABETH MILLER.   

FRED takes 1st place of the Kuzneski Innovation Cup

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Congratulations to the winners of the Kuzneski Innovation Cup, HPM and PHDL's MARK ROBERTS and JOHN GREFENSTETTE, JOHN CORDIER (HPM '18), and DEAN DONALD S. BURKE! 1st place went to FRED (a Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), a software platform that simulates the spread of disease, mitigation strategies, & policy implications.The Kuzneski Innovation Cup is for Pitt students who are developing innovations that can positively ... 

Tomko receives Dick Thornburgh Disability Service Award

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Congrats to HEATHER TOMKO (HPM '19) for receiving this award, given to Pitt students whose service has made a difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities.   

Long-term study identifies Dementia risk factor

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PITTWIRE - New research from Pitt Public Health has identified a dementia risk factor among older adults that should be modifiable even well into old age. “As the large arteries get stiffer, their ability to cushion the pumping of blood from the heart is diminished, and that transmits increased pulsing force to the brain, which contributes to silent brain damage that increases dementia risk,” said EPI's, RACHEL MACKEY.  

Maseru takes on initiative to make Pitt a tobacco-free campus

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UNIVERSITY TIMES -  University leaders are reviving an effort to turn Pitt into a tobacco-free campus. Dean Burke handed the new initiative over to NOBLE MASERU, director of the Center for Health Equity. Maseru said he has been reaching out to various stakeholders to begin fleshing out the initiative more. “I believe it is an acceptable intervention in today's culture especially in a university campus,” Maseru said.   

Simenson, Salerno, Saal-Ridpath selected for future health leaders program

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PITT WIRE - Three students from Pitt Public Health were selected for the inaugural class of The Milken Institute’s Future Health Leaders Program. The students, ASHLEY SIMENSON (EPI '19), JESSICA SALERNO (IDM '20), and KAITLYN SAAL-RIDPATH (HPM '20), are among a dozen of fellows selected nationwide. The program aims to give the students exposure to health leadership to help accelerate their future work tackling complex public health challenges.... 

Alcohol screening tests fail to work in RYGB patients

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BARIATRIC NEWS - People who undergo Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery are at increased risk for alcohol-related problems and common screening tools that help physicians identify patients at high risk for alcohol use disorder fail to work well in this population, according to a new study. EPI's WENDY KING says specific symptoms of alcohol use disorder, such as being unable to remember because of drinking, should be assessed.  

First Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Research Strategies Named

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@PITT - Michael Holland has been named Pitt's first-ever vice chancellor for science policy and research strategies. Holland’s responsibilities will include the development and implementation of University research policies and of strategies to support collaborations across the sciences, medicine, engineering, information technology, humanities and creative arts, social sciences and innovation.   

Shankle endorsed for Advisory Neighborhood Commission

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GREATER GREATER WASHINGTON - For Advisory Neighborhood Commission GGW endorses MICHAEL SHANKLE (CHS '96). Shankle writes, “as a resident adjacent to Gallery Place, I understand and sympathize with the frustrations of my neighbors [about amplified noise].” However he feels that the proposed legislation is “vindictive against street performers, which have a rich history in the neighborhood” and wants “a more sensible and holistic approach.”  

Pitt Public Health study identifies modifiable dementia risk factor in older adults

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SCIENCE DAILY - New research from Pitt Public Health found that arterial stiffness is a good proxy for predicting who will go on to develop dementia. Even minor signs of brain disease were not as telling. Since arterial stiffness can be reduced by antihypertensive drugs, and likely also lifestyle interventions, these findings suggest that at-risk patients may have the power to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.  

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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)