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On World AIDS Day 2020, Learn About Pitt’s Work and Impact

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PITTWIRE - Pitt Public Health, the local community, and the University of Pittsburgh have long fought HIV and AIDS. One of our many efforts is the Pitt Men’s Study, which last year celebrated a milestone: 40 years of studying the disease. Learn how we're working together to conquer the disease.  

Trump to FDA: Why is Europe beating us on vaccine?

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POLITICO — A president who preached "America First" is demanding to know why the U.S. could end up third in the global vaccine race. Meanwhile outside public health experts also urge haste as the pandemic worsens. "Every day that goes by is 2,000 people dead. I don't know another circumstance where waiting on drug approval has such an impact on mortality," said HPM's Walid Gellad . "Sometimes in a crisis, you might have to cut corners."  

Al-Ahmadi becomes first woman to serve in leadership position in Saudi government

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ALKALEEJ TODAY – Hanan Bint Abdul Rahim Al-Ahmadi (HPM ’95) was appointed assistant president of the Shoura Council in Saudi Arabia. This appointment elevated her to the third-highest position of the council and made her the first Saudi woman to serve in a leadership position in the Kingdom’s consultative body.  

Newman awarded AHA Clinical Research Prize (video)

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EPI's Anne Newman received the American Heart Association's 2020 Clinical Research Prize based on her extensive research career focused on aging, including the determinants of physical and cognitive function, as well as successful aging and longevity. She is an expert in the study of cardiovascular disease, aging and body composition, and sarcopenia (muscle loss) and physical functioning.  

As the battle against HIV continues, Pitt Men’s Study volunteer joins coronavirus vaccine study

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TRIBUNE-REVIEW — When drug makers solicited volunteers to test a coronavirus vaccine, Marc Wagner jumped. It was a matter of giving back. Wagner felt compelled to do his part for science. But just as important, it was an opportunity for him to honor the herculean efforts of scientists and others he has met over the last 35 years in his battle against HIV.  

Monoclonal antibody drugs raise hopes for keeping high-risk COVID-19 patients out of the hospital. But it’s complicated.

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PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER — Monoclonal antibodies are not magic bullets. They must be given intravenously in a hospital or infusion center where COVID-19 poses a particular danger to immune-compromised chemotherapy patients. HPM's Walid Gellad summarizes “We don’t want people running to the emergency room to get this therapy. We don’t want people running to infusion centers, where there are patients with cancer."  

Why a vaccine won’t end the covid pandemic

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TRIBUNE-REVIEW — IDM's Amy Hartman said the early results from vaccine trials have her feeling more optimistic than she’s been throughout the pandemic. But, she cautioned, “it’s important to keep in mind that vaccines aren’t necessarily a finite ‘solution’ but they are an important step toward controlling the pandemic.” In the meantime, continuing mitigation efforts—staying physically apart, wearing masks, and washing hands—remain vital.  

Pitt Scientists Demonstrate Positive Effects of Physical Activity in Patients and Identify Predictors of Satisfaction after Bariatric Surgery

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THE PHILLY VOICE — Wendy King, associate professor of epidemiology, found that higher physical activity levels after bariatric surgery lessen depressive symptoms and improve mental and physical quality of life, irrespective of weight loss. Gretchen White's study identified patient characteristics, such as insufficient social support and unrealistic weight-loss expectations, that can predict not being satisfied long-term with Roux-en-Y gastric by... 

Emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines likely in weeks, though U.S. still headed for a harsh winter

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MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL - "Vaccination of select high-risk individuals may start by the end of the year, but most likely the majority of vaccines will be released during the first quarter of 2021," said IDM's Amy Hartman. Vaccine makers still need to gather results from larger groups of recipients who have been studied for longer periods. "That's important," she said, "because some very rare side effects may not become apparent until either a... 

A look inside schools’ reopening decisions, HPM's Donohue weighs in

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TRIB LIVE - HPM's Julie Donohue said certain protocols are critical to stemming potential transmission, naming strategies such as universal mask-wearing, heightened sanitizing and hygiene practices, and “cohorting”—dividing students and staff into distinct groups with minimal interaction between each other—to reduce their number of contacts throughout the day. “It’s an incredibly challenging set of decisions to make,”  

As the pandemic worsens, ‘Please…just stay home’ advises Roberts

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MOUNTAIN STATE SPOTLIGHT -  As COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in West Virginia are rising and the holidays loom, the worst may be ahead. Regardless of all else, the most important thing going forward is our individual behaviors, said Mark Roberts, chairman of health policy and management.    

Editorial: The commonwealth’s appeal to serious common sense on coronavirus safety

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TRIBUNE REVIEW - Most people are capable of understanding personal responsibility and an obligation to their role in keeping other people safe. What is necessary is getting everyone to police their own actions and know what’s best for everyone is to stay in the right lane. “I think there’s this false idea that it’s either lockdown or nothing, lockdown or normal life,” said Steve Albert, BCHS chair.  

SARS-CoV-2 infection of African green monkeys results in mild respiratory disease discernible by PET/CT imaging and shedding of infectious virus from both respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts

Amy L. Hartman, Sham Nambulli, Cynthia M. McMillen, Alexander G. White, Natasha Louise Tilston-Lunel, Joseph R. Albe, Emily Cottle, Matthew D. Dunn, L. James Frye, Theron H. Gilliland, Emily L. Olsen, Katherine J. O’Malley, Madeline M. Schwarz, Jaime A. Tomko, Reagan C. Walker, Mengying Xia, Matthew S. Hartman, Edwin Klein, Charles A. Scanga, JoAnne L. Flynn, William B. Klimstra, Anita K. McElroy, Douglas S. Reed, W. Paul Duprex found that ​SARS... 

Liu's research on the genetics of facial shape wins award at major international conference

Dongjing Liu (HUGEN '20) won the International Genetic Epidemiology Society's first place poster award for his poster titled "Transcriptome-wide association study of human facial shape identifies potential mediating genes", which he presented virtually at the IGES Annual Meeting, July 1 - 4, 2020.  

Rapid 3D Enhanced Resolution Microscopy Reveals Diversity in Dendritic Spinule Dynamics, Regulation, and Function

Colleen R. Zaccard, Lauren Shapiro, Maria D. Martin-de-Saavedra, Christopher Pratt, Kristoffer Myczek, Amy Song, Marc P. Forrest, Peter Penzes Dendritic spinules are thin protrusions, formed by neuronal spines, not adequately resolved by diffraction-limited light microscopy, which has limited our understanding of their behavior. Here we performed rapid structured illumination microscopy and enhanced resolution confocal microscopy to stud... 

Dara Mendez, EPI faculty and director, Center for Health Equity

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"My research, teaching, curriculum development and service applies equity, anti-racism, anti-oppression praxis as well as Black Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory and Public Health Critical Race Praxis. My research program focuses on understanding and addressing racial and socioeconomic inequity in pregnancy, birth, and women's health. I specifically employ novel methods to measure and understand how racism (including institutional and struct... 

Cynthia Salter, BCHS faculty and director of the Center for Global Health

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"I chose to pursue a doctoral degree after working for many years with a community-based program focused on improving birth experiences and maternal health outcomes for women in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.  In my previous work, my staff and the women we served were often invited to participate in maternity care research, yet the reseach questions under investigation did not always align with our interests or our needs."  

Q&A: Peter Salk on the Lessons Learned from Vaccine Development History

Peter Salk was 11 years old when a University of Pittsburgh team led by his father, the late Jonas Salk, created the inactivated poliovirus vaccine. The day of the 1955 announcement that the vaccine was safe, effective and potent, “everything just went crazy,” he recalls. “There were so many calls from reporters that we ended up having to get an answering service. Imagine how embarrassing that would be for a sixth grader.” Today, at 76, he’s bac... 

Acosta-Cazares: 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award for Practice

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"The application of the epidemiological method to everyday problems is something that pleases me and creates challenges for me. I enjoy my work because most of the time I have been involved in the analysis of morbidity and mortality data, in the research of health problems from the epidemiological perspective, and in teaching physicians who are in the training  of a medical residency in epidemiology."  

Sun: 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award for Research

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Shumei Sun is the W. Hans Carter Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has joint appointments in the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health at VCU. Her knowledge of the developmental trajectories of children led to her decade-long work with the CDC to generate the latest version of the CDC-NCHS growth charts that are used by... 

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Research Aims to Understand, Curb Misinformation on COVID-19 Vaccines 

Research Aims to Understand, Curb Misinformation on COVID-19 Vaccines

PITTWIRE - Fueled by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Pitt researchers are studying and combating false online information about vaccines. “Vaccines are often the victim of their own success,” said BCHS doctoral student Beth Hoffman, a research assistant at the Center for Research o... (01/20/2021)
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Albert among 3 Pitt Experts on Reasons for Optimism in 2021 

Albert among 3 Pitt Experts on Reasons for Optimism in 2021

PITTWIRE — Optimism is hardwired in most humans, says public health professor Steve Albert. If you don’t feel like you’re one of them right now, here are three perspectives on why, despite all that 2020 brought us, things are looking brighter. (12/16/2020)
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Researchers scan DNA to learn how facial features form 

Researchers scan DNA to learn how facial features form

THE CONVERSATION - Until very recently, geneticists had virtually no understanding of which parts of our DNA were linked to even the most basic aspects of facial appearance. HUGEN's John R. Shaffer and Pitt’s Seth M. Weinberg explore questions like: Can we reliably predict a person’s face from thei... (12/11/2020)


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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FDA resists pressure to tweak vaccine dosages to stretch supply 

FDA resists pressure to tweak vaccine dosages to stretch supply

CENTRE DAILY TIMES—The top U.S. drug regulator is resisting calls to tinker with how COVID-19 vaccines are administered. HPM's Walid Gellad,  who supports stretching out the time between shots, anticipates states ramping up over the next week or two to reach people beyond front-line health care wor... (01/06/2021)