WESA - Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, will leave at the end of July to take a job with the CDC as director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Hacker is also a member of our Board of Visitors and holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Health Policy and Management and Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.
PITTWIRE - HPM's Walid Gellad is using machine-learning algorithms to predict who is at risk of opioid misuse and overdose, teaming up with Allegheny County officials and national health care databanks in two separate studies.
NJ.COM - New research suggests taht even for adults who develop noticeable cognitive impairments in later life, that doesn't mean they have Alzheimer's or will progress to Alzheimer's anytime soon. Mary Ganguli (EPI '87) says the findings suggest no one should jump to hasty conclusions about people with cognitive loss.
US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - EPI's David Brent (MSHyg '87) was one of the authors on a study published in JAMA Psychiatry that found children whose parents were prescribed opioids were twice as likely to attempt suicide as the offspring of people who did not use those drugs.
REUTERS - "Being black isn't the issue," EPI's Anthony Fabio said. "The issue is probably that there's institutionalized racism in the United States and if you're African American you're more likely to be born in a poor neighborhood, which has a whole plethora of disadvantages as you grow up and move through life."
UPMC - Much like cancer, sepsis isn't simply one condition but rather many conditions that could benefit from different treatments, according to the results of a Pitt study involving more than 60,000 patients featuring HPM's Derek Angus and reported in JAMA.
Reversibly paralyzing and heavily sedating hospitalized patients with severe breathing problems do not improve outcomes in most cases, according to an NIH-funded clinical trial conducted at dozens of North American hospitals and led by clinician-scientists at Pitt, including HPM's Derek Angus, and University of Colorado.
UPMC - Backed by a five-year, $6.7 million NIH grant, PHDL's Wilbert Van Panhuis plans to lead a culture shift in data-sharing rippling through scientific fields and harness it to improve global knowledge of infectious diseases.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EXERCISE SCIENCE - Kristie Rupp, Sharon Taverno Ross, Tiffany Gary-Webb, Thomas Akiva, and John M. Jakicic found that support for physical activity in the household for adolescents with higher BMI's may be warranted.
LGBT HEALTH - Coulter RWS, Ware D, Fish JN, and Plankey MW found that compared with their heterosexual peers, gay/lesbian and bisexual adolescents-especially females-are at heightened risk of engaging in multiple types of polysubstance use. Designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions will likely reduce these sexual orientation disparities.
UPMC - "If we can understand what causes telomere shortening and how cells compensate for that," EOH's Patricia Opresko said, "then we'll be in a better position to design intervention strategies that protect telomeres in healthy cells and target telomeres in cancer cells."
NEXT PITTSBURGH - While U.S. Steel has recently completed repairs and pledged to spend $1 billion to upgrade facilities, public outrage over violations hasn't been quieted. "I think the economic factors have outweighed the health factors," says EOH's Sally Wenzel. "I think that has been an issue with the Pittsburgh area for a while."
The Department of Biostatistics awarded two prizes. First place went to Junyao Wang (PhD '20) and second place went to Jerry Zhang (PhD '22).
Cheyenne Annarumo (IDM '20) was awarded a 2019 Bob Yee Public Health Scholarship. A native of Ellwood City, PA, Annarumo is pursuing an MPH with a concentration in infectious disease management, intervention, and community practice (MPH-MIC). She studied biology and was pre-med at Gannon University.
Kelsey Simon (IDM '20) was awarded a 2019 Bob Yee Public Health Scholarship in recognition of academic excellence. A native of Buffalo, NY, Simon is pursuing an MPH in infectious disease pathogenesis, eradication, and laboratory practice (MPH-PEL). She holds an undergraduate biology degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Subramanian Thothathri (IDM '20) was awarded a 2019 Bob Yee Public Health Scholarship. A native of Chennai, India, Thothathri is pursuing an MS in infectious diseases and microbiology. He holds an undergraduate bioengineering degree from Sastra University.
As the 2019 Convocation speaker, outgoing dean Donald S. Burke explained that the world would be looking to the class of 2019 for answers to things like the opioid epidemic, gun violence, and other challenges to the public's health. Dean Burke dispensed wisdom personally gathered during his career, encouraging graduates to use six "90 percent precepts" to help make the most of their incredible potential.
Four Pitt Public Health students have been selected as 2019-20 Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows. Inngide Osirus and Dzigbordi Kamasa-Quashie of IDM and Yamira Bell and Ariel Snell of the MMPH program will participate for a full year of experiential learning and direct service addressing the needs of disadvantaged citizens in southwest Pennsylvania. John Cordier (HPM '19) recently graduated from the Fellowship.
Laurenia Mangum worked within the children, youth, and family sector in the Philippines while in the Peace Corps. “The BCHS program compliments my social work background and serves as a great transition from the Peace Corps. It meets my needs without compartmentalizing the studies into one particular focus…but rather provides the opportunity for the student to customize his or her own studies.”
WESA - BCHS's Richard Garland said that by expanding access to jobs, the clean slate law plays a crucial role in preventing low-level ex-convicts from committing future crimes. Before the law, he said, those individuals too often were defined by their criminal records when seeking work.