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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.  

Bariatric surgery can reduce risks - but King's study finds it depends how much they can keep off after their operation

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FORBES - Bariatric surgery can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death in obese people. But those who gained back 20 percent of weight lost were more than one-third more likely to develop diabetes and two-thirds more likely to have high cholesterol, according to a study conducted by a research team including EPI and BIOS professors, WENDY KING, STEVEN BELLE, ABDUS WAHED, MPH student, AMANDA HINERMAN (EPI '19), and other colleagues.  

King finds alcohol disorder tests fail in weight-loss surgery patients

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UPMC - Given the increased risk of alcohol use disorder associated with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, it is recommended that clinicians screen for alcohol use disorder before and after surgery, but there is no guidance on how to do that screening, said EPI's WENDY KING. According to a long-term, multicenter analysis, common screening tools fail to work well in this population.  

Religious freedom laws linked to poor health in LGBT people in center study

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EUREKALERT - After Indiana's passage of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 2015, sexual minorities increasingly reported poor health on a national survey. "Although we can't say for certain what caused this significant increase in unhealthy days for sexual minority people in Indiana, the change coincided with intense public debate over enactment of the RFRA law," said lead author JOHN BLOSNICH from our Center for LGBT Individuals' Hea... 

Are Osteoporosis Drugs Linked With Survival? Cauley weighs in

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MEDSCAPE - A debate took place on whether osteporosis treatment is associated with mortality took place at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2018 Annual Meeting. Most (72%) of the bone doctors agreed with the motion that "osteoporosis treatments are associated with improved mortality [rates]." Although unmeasured confounders may be present, "I believe there is an association," said EPI's JANE CAULEY.   

Pitt wins federal grant to use big data and AI to help solve opioid epidemic

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PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - Pitt Public Health has won a $1.2 million grant from the CDC to bring to bear its computer and algorithmic firepower on the nation's opioid epidemic. The two-year grant builds upon Pitt's modeling system called A Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics (FRED). "Our hope is it's the tool we can train to help" with the drug epidemic, said DEAN DONALD S. BURKE.  

Kagan, Wenzel, Bayir partner to better understand cell death and ferroptosis

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PITT MED - Cells die—that’s just part of life. But there’s always a reason. Pitt scientists are figuring out how to keep programmed cell death in check. EOH's VALERIAN KAGAN and SALLY WENZEL and other colleagues including EOH's HULYA BAYIR, are partnering to better understand “the reason” for ferroptosis—exactly what biomolecular line is crossed, how that signal is communicated within and between cells, which molecules pull the trigger, and how.... 

Allegheny County gets $1.7M in grants to combat opioid crisis

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TRIB LIVE - The Allegheny County Health Department has received two federal grants totaling nearly $1.7 million that will assist in addressing health inequality and the opioid epidemic across the county. Several Pitt Public Health alumni are a part of this initiative, along with BCHS's TIFFANY GARY-WEB, and EPI's DARA MENDEZ as co-investigators on the research and evaluation of this important work.  

Youk elected to International Statistical Institute

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Congratulations to BIOST's Ada Youk who was recently elected to the International Statistical Institute (ISI). The ISI Mission is to lead, support and promote the understanding, development, and good practice of statistics worldwide, by providing the core global network for statistics.  

Aging Institute leadership marches on

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PITT WIRE - Baby boomers have long been known as one of the largest generations, and now they are living longer and healthier than any generation before, says Epi's ANNE NEWMAN, newly appointed clinical director of the Aging Institute of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh. “We’re going through an aging revolution. The 65-year-old today is a healthier person than a 65-year-old was 30 years ago.”  

Burke uses mobile health to track cardiovascular risk factors

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PITTSBURGH COURIER - Around 75 percent of people in the United States use a smartphone, and apps focusing on mobile health (mHealth) can be used to track key and unique health updates for users. The research of EPI's LORA BURKE (EPI '98), has focused on how to use mHealth for one particular risk factor of cardiovascular disease—being overweight. “Research reinforced that the crux of weight loss... is self-monitoring in real time."  

Code4PA comes to Pitt Public Health

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Pitt Public Health was one of the host sites for the Pennsylvania Opioid Code-a-thon. MICHAEL MALLON (BCHS '13), project coordinator for opioid initiatives, said, "watching the teams in action over the first weekend was fun and encouraging! I have been impressed with their critical thinking, observations, and exploration into the data and systems at work in this crisis."   

Zimmerman explains a myth about the flu shot

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BUSTLE - Though many people do not understand the safety and efficacy of the flu shot, it is the best protection against the dangerous infection. In fact, many of the rumored side effects you've probably heard about the flu vaccine are actually not true at all. Some people claim the flu shot can mess up your muscle. BCHS's RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, explained that the pain in your arm actually means the vaccine is doing its job.  

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Singh honored with achievement award for tackling global health problems 

Singh honored with achievement award for tackling global health problems

PITTWIRE - Research duo Tushar Singh (EPI '14) and Pitt Medicine's P. S. Reddy accepted the 2018 Sheth International Achievement Award, which is given every year to a Pitt faculty member and alumnus who are increasing Pitt’s global footprint with their work. Singh referred to EPI's Anne Newman as a... (11/26/2018)
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Pitt Community Gathers to Grieve, Heal, and Serve in Honor of Tree of Life Synagogue 

Pitt Community Gathers to Grieve, Heal, and Serve in Honor of Tree of Life Synagogue

PITT WIRE - Drawing strength and inspiration from each other, thousands congregated at the Cathedral of Learning to honor those killed on October 27 in Squirrel Hill.  (11/06/2018)
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Cauley wins prestigious service award 

Cauley wins prestigious service award

PITT WIRE - The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research has awarded JANE CAULEY, vice-chair of EPI, with the 2018 Shirley Hohl Service Award. Cauley received the award after volunteering for numerous positions and projects with the society.  (11/01/2018)


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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Pittsburgh analysis: recommendations to reduce recidivism in Allegheny County transgender women 

Pittsburgh analysis: recommendations to reduce recidivism in Allegheny County transgender women

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - As part of her master’s thesis work, Stephanie Creasy (BCHS '17) performed a mixed-methods analysis that involved in-depth interviews with transgender women living in Allegheny County who had been previously incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, coupled with geospatial mapping o... (11/30/2018)
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Dean Burke honored with 2018 John Snow Award at APHA Annual Meeting 

Dean Burke honored with 2018 John Snow Award at APHA Annual Meeting

Named in honor of English physician John Snow (1813-1858), considered one of the founders of modern epidemiology, this annual award recognizes outstanding scientists for enduring contributions to public health through epidemiologic methods and practice. Burke said, "I find great personal satisfacti... (11/12/2018)
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Voting is Public Health 

Voting is Public Health

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - You have the power to choose who represents you in the government. Who you vote for on Tuesday can affect your health care and your ability to change policy on issues such as the right to carry firearms, LGBTQ rights, welfare programs. The list is endless.  (11/02/2018)
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