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Meet HPM alumna Cassandra Leighton

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Cassandra Leighton (HPM '19) is a health services solutions analyst at AmeriHealth Caritas. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a managed care organization, serving over 5.1 million Medicaid, Medicare, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members across 11 states. In her role on the corporate analytics team, Leighton supports internal evaluation, participates in the new market entry process, and identifies new strateg... 

Koenig presents at Midwest Virology Meeting

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Zachary Koenig (IDM '20) was selected for an oral presentation at the Midwest Virology Symposium held at Ohio State University October 11-13. The title of his talk was "Type III Interferon Control of Rift Valley Fever Virus Infection at Epithelial Cell Barriers." Koenig also won a student travel award to attend the conference.   

Cancer-related beliefs and perceptions in Appalachia: findings from 3 states

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JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH - Vanderpool RC, Huang B, Deng Y, Bear TM, Chen Q, Johnson MF, Paskett ED, Robertson LB, Young GS, Lachan R found variations in cancer beliefs were observed across the 3 states’ Appalachian populations. Interventions should be tailored to specific communities to improve cancer knowledge and beliefs and, ultimately, prevention and screening behaviors.  

The role of accountability in batterers intervention programs and community response to intimate partner violence

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JOURNAL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE - Pallatino C, Morrison P, Miller E, Burke J, Cluss P, Fleming R, Hawker L, George D, Bicehouse T, Chang J. found that in order to have a sustainable impact on IPV perpetration, stakeholders across the Social Ecological Model will need to utilize crucial intervention periods using a standardized response to improve outcomes for IPV survivors, perpetrators, families and communities.   

A systematic review of health outcomes associated with provision of representative payee services

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PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES - Kinsky S, Creasy S, Hawk M find that representative payee services are largely beneficial or neutral in terms of health and behavior outcomes. Negative findings mainly involved the client-payee relationship. Given that more than five million individuals have a representative payee, assessing the impact of these services with more rigorous research designs is worthwhile  

Prevalence and correlates of prep awareness and use among black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) in the United States

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AIDS AND BEHAVIOR - Friedman, MR, Sang, JM, Bukowski, LA, Chandler, CJ, Egan, JE, Eaton, LA, Matthews, DD, Ho, K, Raymond, HF, & Stall, R. found that PrEP awareness campaigns tailored for black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW), concomitant with STI-to-PrEP interventions, will facilitate greater PrEP uptake in this population.  

Intimate partner violence and depression among black transgender women in the USA: The potential suppressive effect of perceived social support

JOURNAL OF URBAN HEALTH - Bukowski LA, Hampton M, Escobar C, Sang JM, Creasy SL, Chandler CJ, Stall, R. find there was a 20% lower likelihood of increased depressive symptomatology for every 1-unit increase in perceived social support reported by participants. These findings perceived social support may be an important intervention point for helping to improve the mental health and wellbeing of black transgender women.  

Koesarie, Risser, Totoni instrumental in Pitt providing menstrual products around campus

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THE PITT NEWS - The pad and tampon dispensers in women’s bathrooms across campus have sat empty for years. But check again. Pitt is stocking a number of bathrooms with menstrual products, and there’s no payment required. Kathleen Koesarie (MMPH), said “it’s important that students who need menstrual products have access to them without leaving school. It’s a period equity issue, it’s an equality issue, and it’s a public health issue.”  

Info sessions to encourage staff, faculty collaboration at Community Engagement Center

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@Pitt - At the Homewood center, Pitt and community partners collaborate to offer programs in health and wellness, digital literacy, educational support, job seeking, small business and workforce development, civic engagement and more. The center is part of Pitt’s Neighborhood Commitments, an effort to build stronger communities and a stronger University based on long-term, place-based partnerships.  

Boston cites Chang, Kuller, and Matthews study that says optimists live longer

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FORBES - As early as 2009, EPI’s Yue-Fang Chang, Karen Matthews, and Lewis Kuller carried out a personality test with 97,253 women that assessed their levels of optimism and pessimism. Researchers compared the top quartile of the most optimistic women with the bottom quartile of the most pessimistic women.  

Bodnar's study seeks to guide maternal weight gain in twin pregnancies

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HEALTH NEWS DIGEST - An old adage urges pregnant women to “eat for two.” So with twins, is it “eat for three?” While that is likely bad advice, when it comes to twin pregnancies, EPI's Lisa Bodnar says, “Twin pregnancies have high rates of complications, so it is important to identify factors that we can modify during pregnancy to lessen these risks.”  

Garrison, Abdi, Litam win first place nationally in 2019 Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition

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Erika Garrison (MHA/MBA '20), Ilham Abdi (MHA '20), and Terrance Litam (MHA '20) took top honors in NAHSE's case competition held in Washington, DC. Competing among 29 teams representing the nation's top programs, the Pitt students developed a plan to address the health care needs of San Francisco's homeless population. "The team did an amazing job of preparing a creative and comprehensive solution, delivering their presentation in a very profes... 

Faculty speak out on “Inequality Across Gender and Race” report

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Faculty members Dara Mendez (EPI) and Tiffany Gary-Webb (EPI/BCHS) shared some thoughtful criticisms of the “Inequality Across Gender and Race ” report recently issued by the city.  These two Pitt Public Health faculty members were co-signers of a letter responding to the report and challenging city leadership to take this issue seriously. Find out more...  

Epidemiology students share internships and practica during “Epi-in-Action” symposium

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Reporting on recent internships and practica, epidemiology students reported on summer research and practice experiences in our region and around the world. The O’Hara Student Center ballroom buzzed as faculty and staff learned about field initiatives, practical applications, and lessons learned.  

IDM Research Day expanded with guest speakers and more than 70 student presenters

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The Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology held their biggest-ever research day celebration, featuring three guest speakers: Jonathan Oliver spoke about the emerging tick-borne diseases of the northern United States, Daniel Voth talked about using human-derived systems to investigate bacterial pulmonary infection, and David Lampe lectured on inhibiting the spread of malaria by altering the mosquito microbiome.    

Pitt Public Health examines legacy of slavery in “400 Years of Inequality” symposium

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As our nation marks a full 400 hundred years of inequality since 1619 when the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, University of Pittsburgh faculty, students, and community members were invited to hear nationally prominent scholars and activists in a one-day symposium examining this American legacy. Hosted by Pitt Public Health’s Center for Health Equity, Jamil Bey, Arthur R. James, and Akinyele Umoja spoke about how the racial and soc... 

Pitt Men’s Study observes 35 years of research fighting HIV/AIDS

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The Pitt Men’s Study—an ongoing, NIH-funded initiative that began in 1984—pioneered the gathering of confidential information on the epidemiology, virology, immunology, and pathology of HIV. The study is now part of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), coordinating with sites in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Baltimore.To commemorate the 35 years of such historic research, and to remember those that shed light on the emerging science, speakers g... 

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... 

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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)