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Maseru addresses Hill District Community Forum on COVID-19 on social equity responses to the pandemic

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On April 9, CHE Director Noble Maseru presented facts, best practices, and risks to the Black community, in addition to talking about equity and life expectancy in Pittsburgh by neighborhood. View the slides or watch the presentation.   

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

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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 Prescribing.  

BCHS congratulates 2020 graduates

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BCHS CHAIR'S REPORT - Congrats to all our graduates. The May 9 online convocation was a wonderful celebration of student accomplishment. Many families were able to attend. We took advantage of the online format to give faculty advisors and students a chance to reflect on their theses and essays and their experiences in BCHS. As I said during the event, "...what a time to be getting a degree in public health..."  

Health Equity Spotlight: Kyanna Williams-Pate

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Not all individuals have access to quality health care. That lack of access to universal quality health care is what inspired me to go into the field of public health and health equity. One of my main interests is ensuring that the most vulnerable populations receive health care and bridging the gaps in health disparities. I am very interested in the social determinants of health and how they can all contribute to the health of an individual and... 

HUGEN's Lisa Parker shares COVID-19 resources

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Hugen’s Lisa Parker, director of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, has made resources available for COVID-19 ethics, medical humanities, and narratives.  

The History and Future of COVID-19

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COVID-19 is one of three novel coronavirus outbreaks in the past 20 years that originated in animals. How is the current outbreak similar and different from the previous ones? What course will COVID-19 take in Pennsylvania?  IDM's  Amy Hartman  puts the current outbreak in perspective with what we know (and don’t know) about SARS-CoV-2. EPI's  Donald Burke  discusses the epidemiological and environmental factors that will shape the likely ph... 

Jalal study finds birth year helps predict drug overdose risk

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90.5 WESA - “If you are born after 1945, then your risk of overdose death increases exponentially from one birth year to the next,” said lead author, PHDL's Hawre Jalal. “Those patterns are too regular to be random. There’s some reason why drug overdoses are transmitting from one birth year to the next. We have to unravel those causes. And we have to understand why this pattern is happening to be able to curb the overdose epidemic.”  

Maseru participates in panel themed around human rights and COVID-19

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BCHS's Noble Maseru recently contributed to a community health panel focused on shaping a health and human rights agenda where he discussed how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts the African-American community and called for a COVID-19 equity task force.  

Miljkovic on the obesity puzzle: Why the disease defies efforts to control it

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PITTSBURGH QUARTERLY - “It’s a disease with many risk factors that not many people know about. It’s not just about a person not exercising,” said EPI's Iva Miljkovic. “People can have a normal BMI, but they have a lot of fat where it’s not supposed to be and we don’t do anything about it in clinical practice. When you go to the doctor ... no one measures your waist. That would be the most simple way to tell if someone was at high risk.”  

Herpes virus infects billions of people worldwide. Rinaldo explains why there isn’t a vaccine yet.

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NBC NEWS – IDM's Charles Rinaldo said that many have tried to come up with vaccines that use two or three proteins out of the approximately 75 that make up the virus. Those would be safe, but have not protected well. Another approach has been to use a weakened form of the whole virus. In that attenuated, its replication capacity is weakened but it’s not as safe. These failures “are why this is such a monster.”  

Gellad on how the info war over chloroquine has slowed Covid-19 science

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WIRED – No one really knows if the malarial drug helps fight Covid-19, and an information war is hindering the struggle to find out. Unorthodox research methods and a seeming rush to publication, or even prepublication, is muddiing the situation. Walid Gellad, HPM faculty and head of Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, says a French study was low quality in terms of trial design and evidence of whether it works or not.  

Gellad concerned that government researchers changed metric to measure coronavirus drug remdesivir during clinical trial

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WASHINGTON POST – “It raises a lot of flags, and it requires a lot of answers,” said HPM’s Walid F. Gellad who also serves as head of Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, “especially when people start saying it’s become the standard of care, and all we saw was a news release in a trial with an outcome that was changed two weeks ago. It really is striking.”  

Garcia-Bates assists Medical Reserve Corps with COVID-19 initiatives

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IDM’s Tatiana Garcia-Bates signed up to volunteer through the Allegheny County Health Department for the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), where she instructed a local nursing center's staff on proper N-95 respirator fit.  

Burke explains the need for Pa. to set benchmarks for testing, contact tracing

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THE DAILY ITEM – EPI’s Don Burke said the challenge for public health officials in setting benchmarks is that it’s still not well understood what percentage of the population shows no symptoms when they’re infected with the coronavirus. How widely the population should be tested is key. “We are just beginning to get a clear view of the magnitude of the spread,” Burke said.  

‘Will my county reopen soon?’ Roberts describes factors going into ‘red’ to ‘yellow’ decision

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WTAE - HPM’s Mark Roberts said, “We don’t really know how many people have been sick, or have gotten infected and not gotten sick. Since there can be asymptomatic carriers, we need to ramp up testing to determine which counties can reopen. He’ll be looking closely at states that have eased stay-at-home restrictions to see what impact, if any, a limited reopening has.  

Angus says disorganized research slows discovery of COVID-19 treatments

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NPR - Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92) says the problem is that our system rewards tribalism, with insufficient motivation for effective collaboration. He's leading a fast-track remap trial for COVID-19, part of an international effort involving hundreds of investigators. He has lots of opinions about which drugs might work best, but he'd rather focus on a trial design that can be as modular as possible and let as many people in as possible.  

Salunke accepted into Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Connecticut

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Graduating master's student in IDM's community practice track Rajeev Salunke (IDM '20) has been accepted into the internal medicine residency program at the University of Connecticut. Hear directly from Rajeev about his background, his experiences at Pitt Public Health, and his aspirations for the future.   

Gellad agrees that we’re repeating one of the worst mistakes of the Ebola outbreak in the hunt for a coronavirus cure

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BUSINESS INSIDER - By the time global health groups agreed on a testing strategy for Ebola, the epidemic had waned and there weren’t enough people to test. HPM’s Walid Gellad, director of Pitt’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, said it’s a legitimate worry that the torrent of studies will compete for the same pool of patients, making it harder to find enough people to test all the drugs.  

Chinese biotech reports COVID-19 vaccine protects monkeys from new coronavirus, but Reed is cautious

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SCIENCE - IDM's Douglas Reed, who is developing and testing COVID-19 vaccines in monkey studies, says the number of animals was too small to yield statistically significant results. His team also has a manuscript in preparation that raises concerns about the way the Sinovac team grew the stock of novel coronavirus used to challenge the animals: It may have caused changes that make it less reflective of the ones that infect humans.  

Hidden outbreaks spread through U.S. cities far earlier than we knew

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NEW YORK TIMES - EPI’s Donald Burke said, “Even with these corrections, it’s still on the high side — this is higher than I would have expected.” He added that, whatever the precise scale of the initial outbreak, that same dynamic will accelerate once measures to mitigate the spread are relaxed without other public health measures in place. “When you take away social distancing, everything will go right through the roof.”  

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University draws on own experts to guide health and safety decisions 

University draws on own experts to guide health and safety decisions

PITTWIRE - The new Healthcare Advisory Group, headed by Anantha Shekhar, new senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of Pitt Med, will monitor the health status of the campus and ensure compliance with legal regulations. Members, including HPM’s Mark Roberts, EPI’s Anne Newman, EOH’... (06/17/2020)
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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)


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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Mair encourages risk priorities as a surge of coronavirus infections continues in Allegheny County 

Mair encourages risk priorities as a surge of coronavirus infections continues in Allegheny County

90.5 WESA – Social epidemiologist Christina Mair has been thinking for weeks that the county needs to close bars. She acknowledges the economic repercussions but said it might help keep infection rates low enough that kids can return to school in the fall. “It’s the risk-benefit,” she added. “Where... (06/29/2020)