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Where Black Americans will travel farther than Whites for COVID-19 vaccination

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UPMC - Researchers found that in 69 counties, home to 26 million people, Black residents are significantly more likely than Whites to live more than a mile from the closest vaccination facility. “It’s important to adopt a data-driven approach to make sure we get vaccine distribution that’s equitable,” said senior author Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16). “Not all counties have the same limitations in existing infrastructure, and that variability is... 

Secrets to a healthy heart | New research on women and heart disease

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AARP —  New research shows that the hormonal shifts that occur during perimenopause—the years preceding menopause—set the stage for heart disease. “As women transition, they experience many changes that, when taken together, increase their risk of cardiovascular disease,” says lead researcher EPI's Samar R. El Khoudary. During this time, “bad” LDL cholesterol begins to rise; “good” HDL cholesterol may stop being protective; body fat accumulates ... 

Pitt public health expert sees vaccine distribution issues continuing, but overall COVID-19 situation improving

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WTAE PITTSBURGH — HPM's Mark Roberts said this decentralized system where people are calling around to pharmacies and providers on their own is inefficient, but it may be too late to change it. Roberts was optimistic that as more doses become available to providers that the stress surrounding those over 65 will dissipate. "The fact is, it’s getting better. And as more and more, if we’re really going to be able to get 11, 12, 15 million vaccines ... 

Schuyler wins Bernard D. Goldstein Award for work on environmental exposures and asthma

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Alexander Schuyler (EOH '23) is the latest winner of the Bernard D. Goldstein Award in Environmental Health Disparities and Public Health Practice for his project entitled, Impact of redlining and environmental exposures on airway gene expression, oxidative homeostasis and asthma outcomes. One reviewer commented, "I am intrigued by the potential for this project to make an explicit connection between disparities and the historical practice of re... 

Pitt study shows restaurant advertisements linked to weight gain

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INSIDE LIFE CHANGING MEDICINE - HPM's Marian Jarlenski and fellow researchers looked at the medical records of patients with various socio-economic statuses and compared them to how much money fast food and casual dining chains spent on marketing per capita in the county where each of the patients lived. Not only did fast food chains spend more money advertising in low-income areas, but as the amount spent on advertising in these communities inc... 

J&J vaccine effective in preventing severe disease; a mother's COVID-19 antibodies may protect newborns

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REUTERS -  Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine was 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe COVID-19 in a late-stage global trial with nearly 44,000 volunteers that includes regions with worrisome variants of the virus. "Right now, any protection and additional vaccine is great," said HPM's Walid Gellad . "The key is not only overall efficacy but specifically efficacy against severe disease, hospitalization, and death."  

Covid vaccine misinformation target of Pitt study

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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 Research on Behavioral Health, Media and Technology. “I think one of the reasons we’ve seen a rise in anti-vaccine sentiment over the years is people are l... 

Blame game begins over PA’s slow vaccine rollout

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THE EXPRESS — Republicans are faulting the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf for Pa’s slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout even as Wolf himself says insufficient supply is the real culprit, setting up a fresh political fight over who’s to blame for the frustrations of eligible residents trying to get inoculated. HPM's Mark Roberts, the PHDL director, said it is difficult to blame the state, given the federal government’s primacy in vaccine distribution. ... 

COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Health Care Workers In Underserved Communities Get Vaccine To Build Trust

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WDKA CBS NEWS —  In a multipronged effort to prioritize the biggest impact among Phase 1A groups, UPMC vaccinated community advocates  to fight vaccine hesitancy in vulnerable, often minority, populations, where COVID-19 has had a disproportionately terrible effect.BCHS's Richard Garland got the vaccine. “It was like taking a flu shot for me,” said Garland who is part of the COVID-19 Black Equity Coalition. “The more I look at the numbers in the... 

Vaccinating home-bound seniors a growing concern

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ALBANY HERALD — About 1.9 million adults over 65 are mostly homebound and another 5.3 million have health conditions that make leaving home difficult. BSCH's Steven Albert warns it's likely that family or other caregivers will need to arrange for transport to vaccine centers. "For every one person in a nursing home, there are probably five people in their homes with equal levels of disability who rely on... family and community-based services." ... 

Public comments on RGGI move Pa. closer to slashing power plant carbon pollution

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EDF — Virtual public hearings show support for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a proven cap-and-invest program that curbs climate pollution from the power sector. EOH's Bernard Goldstein testified, “Pollution trading actually began with acid rain, and would not have occurred without Sen.John Heinz of Pa. The outcome of the acid rain program should reassure both industry & environmentalists that regulated market-based approaches ca... 

COVID-19 Update: As Pa. cases decline, did state avoid post-holiday surge?

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE — Lee Harrison, a Pitt epidemiologist and chairman of the Allegheny County Board of Health, said that the drop in the positivity rate was encouraging, but warned that the state is not done with the winter surge. “We’re in the middle still of a raging pandemic,” he said.  "I would encourage people to really continue to hunker down, stay safe, and, whenever their turn comes up to get vaccinated, get vaccinated.”  

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

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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 multiple leadership positions at Pitt Public Health, including director of the Center for Public Health Practice and associate dean for practice, and a prof... 

In West Virginia’s poorest communities, the state’s vaccine rollout has left vulnerable residents behind

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MOUNTAIN STATE SPOTLIGHT / WVPB — Although West Virginia is currently leading the nation in its vaccination rate, the state has primarily aimed for the low-hanging fruit. “When you have to get the vaccine distributed out as widely and as quickly as possible, the inequities that already exist have the potential to be further amplified,” said Elizabeth Miller of Pitt Medicine and BCHS. “Rural communities have been devastated by lack of access to p... 

Mendez explains how recently released health indicators fall along racial lines, again

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WESA - EPI's Dara Mendez, interim director of the Center for Health Equity, explains why recently released health data for Pittsburgh women and children continues to fall along racial lines.   

Pandemic exposes weakness in Pa. counties without health departments, like Westmoreland

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TRIB-LIVE - Westmoreland County, like 61 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, leaves the issue of public health to the state to handle. Upfront investments in public health that lead to a deeper knowledge of the community could be a bargain in the long term, said Dr. Noble A-W Maseru , a professor of public health practice. He compared it to the cost of preventing a serious illness versus the cost of treating it later.  

Amanpour & Salk: Vaccine lessons from history (video)

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CNN — Christiane Amanpour discusses with IDM's Peter Salk the 97% drop in polio prevalence within a few years of initial vaccine adoption. In 1953, Dr. Peter Salk was one of the first to receive a polio vaccine—from none other than his father, Jonas Salk. They go on to discuss herd immunity and vaccine hesitancy both in 1954 and today.  

UK approves anti-inflammatory drugs to treat sickest Covid-19 patients after strong results in clinical trial

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WASHINGTON POST - Two rheumatoid arthritis drugs that suppress the immune system may help critically ill patients survive Covid-19, providing a benefit even on top of steroids. The results had an unusual path into the public domain—via Twitter—after DSMB monitoring found that the drugs were so effective that it would be unethical to continue giving placebo to critically ill patients according to investigator Derek Angus (BCHS ’92).  

Paralyzed

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - In a 3500-word and photo retrospective, journalist Laura Malt Schneiderman looks back at the last massive vaccine rollout—for polio—which started in Pittsburgh.  

Estradiol may influence association between HDL cholesterol, aortic calcification

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HEALIO - High HDL cholesterol levels alone may not be cardioprotective for midlife women; estradiol may influence the risk for cardiovascular disease, according to data from the SWAN Heart study. “Levels of endogenous estradiol may play an important role in cardioprotective associations of HDL cholesterol,” said EPI's Samar R. El Khoudary.  

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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)