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BIG STAKES, BIG STATS: Making sense of COVID-19 trials

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PITTWIRE — When we hear about clinical trials, we might picture doctors and patients partnering to test new therapies. What we might not think about are the many others who make those studies happen. Take Maria Mori Brooks, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, who makes sense of the numbers generated by multicenter research collaborations. As co-director of the Epidemiology Data Center, she helps design and optimize data collection and m... 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine could get green light on Thursday

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WTAE NEWS — According to its trials, Johnson & Johnson was about 25% less effective than the two vaccines already on the market at preventing someone from getting COVID-19. But HPM professor Mark Roberts said Johnson & Johnson is just as effective as the other two at preventing serious illness. "When you look at the data for preventing serious disease, and preventing death, it’s almost indistinguishable from the Pfizer and Moderna."   

ON THIS DAY: February 23, 1954, Dr. Jonas Salk begins first mass polio vaccination in Pittsburgh

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WPXI NEWS  — A group of children rolled up their sleeves for their place in history on Feb. 23, 1954, at a mass inoculation held at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh. The new polio vaccine they received was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk at the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh.  

Casa San Jose - empowering Latinos by promoting integration and self-sufficiency

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Casa San Jose is a community resource center that advocates for and empowers Latinos by promoting integration and self-sufficiency through breaking down language barriers with prenatal care and delivery, confusion around insurance and payments for delivery, birth certificate complications such as names being misspelled, which can complicate applications for benefits, and social security cards.   

‘Déjà vu’: HIV-positive Pittsburghers say we have much to learn about COVID by comparing it to our other deadly epidemic

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PUBLIC SOURCE — Pittsburghers who have lived with HIV for decades say the COVID pandemic echoed many of the scariest and most dangerous parts of living through the HIV and AIDS epidemic, including confusion about the science, social isolation, a reluctance to adopt public health measures, and a lack of presidential leadership. HIV disease persists, particularly among younger gay Black men living in the South, said Dr.  Mackey Friedman ,  “If yo... 

Sexual violence and adolescent relationship abuse unaffected by gender-based outreach program

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PSYCHIATRY ADVISOR  – Research by Elizabeth Miller of Pitt Medicine and BCHS showed small, neighborhood classes could significantly reduce sexual violence among teenage boys living in areas of concentrated disadvantage. Adapted from a program in Brazil, Manhood 2.0's core message remains the same: challenging gender norms that foster violence against women and unhealthy sexual relationships.  

Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle - culturally humble and relevant care

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The mission of the Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle is to protect, promote, and support human milk feeding as the cultural norm and optimal feeding method for birthing people of African descent in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, which includes providing culturally humble and relevant care led by trained and certified lactation professionals.   

Drake: Next year, extend open enrollment of the ACA Marketplaces into January

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HEALTH AFFAIRS - HPM's Coleman Drake and Duke University colleague David Anderson say that by offering an extended open enrollment period, the Biden administration can remove a major administrative burden that often stands in the way of families obtaining health insurance.   

Albert on how to remain independent as you age

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MARKETWATCH -  Three-quarters of adults in an AARP survey said they wanted to remain in their homes, but only 59% thought they would be able to do so. If you want to stay in your home as you age, experts recommend paying attention to these 9 things now. BCHS Chair Steve Albert talks about saving money: "Older people who have paid off a mortgage and invested in adaptations to minimize effects of disability are best off."   

New Voices for Reproductive Justice - building a social change movement

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Black Women, Femmes, Girls and Folx deserve to live a long, healthy and joyous life. New Voices for Reproductive Justice develops the next generation of leaders, organizes communities and advocates for policy change at all levels.   

Mendez on equity and reproductive justice, plus One Book, One Community

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PITTWIRE - EPI's Dara Mendez started her work in health equity as an undergrad and has now been researching racial and socioeconomic inequity in pregnancy, birth, and women's health for the past 18 years. She will lead a conversation with scholar Dána-Ain Davis, author of this year’s OBOC selection, on 2/26.  

WHAMglobal at JHF - improving birth outcomes for women and babies

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The Women's Health Activist Movement (WHAMglobal) is on a mission to identify the root causes of maternal mortality and better understand how we as a regio support and care for moms and families through the entirety of their care. The disparities in accessing maternal and child health care in Pittsburgh are alarming and maternal mortality is a public health crisis with serious disparities. In the U.S., maternal mortality rates are nearly four ti... 

Health officials say the coronavirus will likely become endemic in the next several years. What does that mean? Burke explains.

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USA TODAY - The CDC defines endemic as the “constant presence and/or usual prevalence” of a disease within a population. An endemic disease spreads at a baseline level every year without causing major disruption to people's lives, said EPI's Donald Burke. “Things that are endemic are present for long periods of time without interruption, continuously circulating in the population," like the common cold, he said. “Epidemic means something that co... 

Healthy Start - improving MCH in Allegheny County

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The Greater Pittsburgh Region, like most of the United States, faces disparate health outcomes, where Black mothers and babies die at higher rates than mothers and babies of other races. These health outcomes, which persist across socioeconomic backgrounds, are a direct result of systemic racism.   

Alumni Research: Lack of health services and transportation impede access to vaccine in communities of color

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THE WASHINGTON POST -  Doctoral alumna Inma Hernandez (HPM '16) with researchers at Pitt and West Health Policy Center said not enough attention has been paid to gaps in the health-care system when addressing vaccine uptake in vulnerable populations. The research applauded the decision by the Biden administration to use community pharmacies as vaccine access points — they tend to be open nights, weekends and holidays and have parking lots, capac... 

Other Voices: Vaccine distribution should not hold up school reopening

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PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE - Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D., is director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and professor of pediatrics at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine . Julie M. Donohue , Ph.D., is professor and chair of the department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health.   

Rethinking Obesity

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PITTSBURGH QUARTERLY — “Diet is the best explanation for weight loss,” says EPI's Andrea Kriska, “Physical activity is the best for weight maintenance." Colleague Bonny Rockette-Wagner adds, "Physical activity is important for people who are obese, independent of the weight loss. It has effects on reducing risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes."  

Brown Mamas - resources for socialization for Pittsburgh's moms of color

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Muffy Mendoza created Brown Mamas to fill a void she’d noticed in her life’s journey as a daughter and a mother: the need to recognize the multifaceted work that goes into rearing children and building a life for them. This non-profit started as a small group of fired up African American mothers meeting in each other’s homes and has grown into a powerful nation of over 5,000 mothers of color with both online and offline membership.  

Divin Geri Endijen - doula support for BIPOC

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Group Collaborator Divin Geri Endijen provides doula support for BIPOC and marginalized clients and centers around avoiding trauma and removing the trauma ties associated with being non-white and non-gender conforming. "We not only provide birth and postpartum services but we also provide Reiki and healing and massage therapy to the birthing person," explains Jeaonna Hodges, co-founder and CEO. "Our goal is to sever bonds of trauma so that the n... 

MCH and BEST at Allegheny County Health Department

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In Allegheny County, Black women are 3-4 times more likley to die within one year of giving birth than White women. Black infants are 2.5-3 times more likely to die before the first year of life than White infants. The leading cause of death for Black infants is prematurity.   

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BIG STAKES, BIG STATS: Making sense of COVID-19 trials 

BIG STAKES, BIG STATS: Making sense of COVID-19 trials

PITTWIRE — When we hear about clinical trials, we might picture doctors and patients partnering to test new therapies. What we might not think about are the many others who make those studies happen. Take Maria Mori Brooks, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, who makes sense of the numbers... (02/24/2021)
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Covid vaccine misinformation target of Pitt study 

Covid vaccine misinformation target of Pitt study

KDKA CBS NEWS — 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 Resea... (02/01/2021)
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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)


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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Gov. Wolf names replacements for departing Pa. Health Secretary Rachel Levine  

Gov. Wolf names replacements for departing Pa. Health Secretary Rachel Levine

AP — Wolf said he intends to nominate a deputy chief of staff, Alison Beam, to take over as secretary of the Department of Health. Wolf, meanwhile, elevated Dr. Wendy Braund  to acting interim physician general. Braund is currently the DoH's COVID-19 response director. Before that, she held multip... (01/25/2021)