Research and Practice News

Check out some highlights of research and practice under way at Pitt Public Health:

BCHS alum Arnold on harm-reduction during the coronavirus shutdown 

BCHS alum Arnold on harm-reduction during the coronavirus shutdown

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/SPOTLIGHT PA - At Prevention Point Pittsburgh, staff have been trying to raise awareness of COVID-19 for weeks. “If someone shows symptoms, they’re given gloves, a face mask, and extra harm reduction supplies so they can self-quarantine,” said executive director Aaron Arnold (... (03/31/2020)

Pitt Public Health is part of Wolf’s “army of medical professionals” to address COVID-19 crisis 

Pitt Public Health is part of Wolf’s “army of medical professionals” to address COVID-19 crisis

PUBLICSOURCE - Gov. Wolf said the state is ramping up efforts to expand capacity in the state’s healthcare system in anticipation of a spike in COVID-19 cases. He added that the state has enough capacity to handle all of its COVID-19 cases if the state’s efforts to socially isolate individuals are ... (03/28/2020)

State reaches out to Pitt health modeling to help COVID-19 response 

State reaches out to Pitt health modeling to help COVID-19 response

PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - Health Secretary Rachel Levine specifically singled out Pitt's Framework for Epidemiological Dynamics (FRED) for help with complex population-health modeling. The program was developed to model outbreaks of communicable diseases like influenza, dengue fever, and measles,... (03/28/2020)

Newman finds daily aspirin does not lower Alzheimer’s risk 

Newman finds daily aspirin does not lower Alzheimer’s risk

NEW YORK TIMES - “If you’re 70 or older and healthy, without evidence of cardiovascular disease, it’s very difficult to improve on your success. The relatively low risk of dementia in this study was not further lowered with aspirin,” said Anne Newman, study co-author . Nor did they find effect in v... (03/27/2020)

Newman encourages researchers to adapt clinical studies to alleviate impact of pandemic 

Newman encourages researchers to adapt clinical studies to alleviate impact of pandemic

NEURO NEWS – To minimize disruption and preserve integrity while still ensuring participant health and safety, EPI chair Anne Newman tells JAMA that sustaining ongoing trials could help millions of people realize substantial, durable health benefits that will be important post-pandemic. Therefore, ... (03/26/2020)

FRED modeling platform predicts high COVID-19 hospitalizations 

FRED modeling platform predicts high COVID-19 hospitalizations

FRED offers frightening predictions about what Pennsylvania residents could face with COVID-19. “These are very scary numbers, and one thing I hope to impress upon people is that this is serious,” said Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Lab and chair of health policy and managemen... (03/26/2020)

An epidemiological forecast model and software assessing interventions on COVID-19 epidemic in China  

An epidemiological forecast model and software assessing interventions on COVID-19 epidemic in China

MEDRXIV (2/29/20) -  Pitt Biostats' Lu Tang and collaborators from Michigan develop a health informatics toolbox that enables public health workers to timely analyze and evaluate the time-course dynamics of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection using the publicly available data from the China ... (03/25/2020)

Van Panhuis turns rapid Coronavirus data sharing into sustainable research infrastructure 

Van Panhuis turns rapid Coronavirus data sharing into sustainable research infrastructure

Many of the 300 MIDAS members are conducting modeling research on COVID-19 and are contributing to an extraordinary international collection of data and information regarding the outbreak. “It’s exciting and gratifying to be able to do something useful to help with this pandemic,” said EPI's Wilber... (03/23/2020)

Albert on how Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave policy might help slow the spread of coronavirus 

Albert on how Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave policy might help slow the spread of coronavirus

90.5 WESA - A 2013 Pitt study simulating flu transmissions found that universal access to paid sick leave reduced workplace flu infections by 6 percent. BCHS’ Steven Albert estimated that about 12 percent of flu transmissions occur in the workplace, largely when people come to work feeling sick. He... (03/19/2020)

Rinaldo helps with coronavirus test developemnt and launch 

Rinaldo helps with coronavirus test developemnt and launch

UPMC – A new test for COVID-19 was created by a virology team including Charles Rinaldo, chair and professor of infectious diseases and microbiology and director of the UPMC Clinical Virology Laboratory. The health system plans to increase lab capacity and open testing sites around the state. The t... (03/14/2020)

BIOS's Buchanich awarded contract with PA Department of Health 

BIOS's Buchanich awarded contract with PA Department of Health

Jeanine Buchanich has been awarded a 3 year $1.2 million contract with the PA Department of Health to evaluate the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as part of the CDC’s Overdose Data to Action cooperative agreement. Evaluations will cover the impact of continuing medical education, firs... (03/13/2020)

Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat 

Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21), associate professor James Fabisiak, and BCHS's Martha Ann Terry look into lead contamination in hunted meat. Despite the mounting concerns over lead exposure from wild game, lead ammunition use continues as hunters and their familie... (03/11/2020)

MMPH alumna recognized for innovation in community nursing 

MMPH alumna recognized for innovation in community nursing

PITT NURSE MAGAZINE - Claudia Kregg-Byers RN, MPH (MMPH ’14), PhD teaches her senior students in Pitt Nursing’s Department of Health and Community Systems that health doesn’t begin and end at the bedside but encompasses where someone comes from—a whole confluence of communal and individual factors:... (03/11/2020)

King says many smokers quit before weight-loss surgery but start up again afterward 

King says many smokers quit before weight-loss surgery but start up again afterward

NEW YORK TIMES - "Those who smoked more recently, younger adults, patients with low income, and patients who were married were more likely to smoke post-surgery, which may help with targeted smoking-cessation maintenance efforts," said EPI’s Wendy King, lead study author. "Smoking increases risk of... (03/10/2020)

Should schools close during a coronavirus outbreak? The answer isn’t obvious  

Should schools close during a coronavirus outbreak? The answer isn’t obvious

BALTIMORE SUN - Pitt researchers used data from the 2009 H1N1 outbreak to model how long schools should close in the case of a pandemic. “What we found was the optimal timing is 8 weeks from a disease transmission” standpoint, said HPM's Tina Batra Hershey, JD, MPH. Opening schools too soon might l... (03/04/2020)

FRED informs obvious strategies to fight the coronavirus 

FRED informs obvious strategies to fight the coronavirus

A study of workers in Allegheny County, Pa., entitled “Policies to Reduce Influenza in the Workplace: Impact Assessments Using an Agent-Based Model,” published in 2013 in the American Journal of Public Health, was specifically cited in today's New York Times editorial arguing for mandatory sick lea... (03/04/2020)

McTigue finds gastric bypass boasts greater benefit for diabetics than sleeve gastrectomy 

McTigue finds gastric bypass boasts greater benefit for diabetics than sleeve gastrectomy

MD MAGAZINE - Led by EPI’s Kathleen Mctigue, investigators studied 9710 diabetes patients to determine how outcomes differed between the two procedures. Results revealed patients who underwent RYGB experienced significantly greater weight loss at 1 and 5 years when compared to those who underwent S... (03/04/2020)

Gellad finds U.S. drug prices have risen three times faster than inflation 

Gellad finds U.S. drug prices have risen three times faster than inflation

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - "Net prices are not necessarily what patients pay," said senior author Walid Gellad, HPM faculty and director of the CP3. "A lot of the discount is not going to the patient. We're seeing a lot of discussion that net prices have stabilized over the last few years, and that... (03/03/2020)

Multistate investigation of Juul could mean a settlement sooner than later, experts say  

Multistate investigation of Juul could mean a settlement sooner than later, experts say

PGH POST-GAZETTE - An investigation agreement by 39 states into Juul, the company blamed for the teenage vaping epidemic, has ramped up pressure to reach a global settlement. “I think at this point we’re at that stage in this process that there is enough feeling that this goes across party lines ... (02/27/2020)

Roberts and Hoffman featured in Hulu documentary on anti-vaccine movement 

Roberts and Hoffman featured in Hulu documentary on anti-vaccine movement

HULU - Available now on the streaming service, Vice Investigates “Anti-Vaxx Fever” explores the growing anti-vaccine movement. The documentary features in-depth looks at the varied work of professor Mark Roberts and of student Beth Hoffman (BCHS ’19 ’23). Each uses system science methods to investi... (02/26/2020)

Research Videos

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Roberts and Hoffman featured in Hulu documentary on anti-vaccine movement 

Roberts and Hoffman featured in Hulu documentary on anti-vaccine movement

HULU - Available now on the streaming service, Vice Investigates “Anti-Vaxx Fever” explores the growing anti-vaccine movement. The documentary features in-depth looks at the varied work of professor Mark Roberts and of student Beth Hoffman (BCHS ’19 ’23). Each uses system science methods to investi... (02/26/2020)
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Rinaldo remembers unsung heroes: Pittsburgh men, decades-long study impact HIV/AIDS research 

Rinaldo remembers unsung heroes: Pittsburgh men, decades-long study impact HIV/AIDS research

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - For more than three decades, Pitt Men’s Study leaders have gathered with Pittsburgh men and women to remember those who have died and give thanks for the 1,743 men who have participated in the nation’s longest-running HIV/AIDS research project. IDM's Charles Rinaldo has l... (12/21/2019)
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Brent using MRI scans to reveal the physical makeup of thoughts and feelings 

Brent using MRI scans to reveal the physical makeup of thoughts and feelings

CBS - Who among us hasn't wished we could read someone else's mind, know exactly what they're thinking? Well that's impossible, or at least that's what we've always, well, thought. EPI’s David Brent runs a clinic for suicidal adolescents. He happened to attend a talk Marcel Just was giving about hi... (12/09/2019)
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Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health 

Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health

WESA-FM -- A documentary about a local transgender musician’s reproductive health offers a new way to think about public health research: through the visual medium of film. Produced by Pitt Public Health postdoctoral associate Sara Baumann  (BCHS '19), the film focuses on Jude Benedict, who identif... (10/25/2019)
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Computer simulation just predicted a huge measles outbreak in texas, with 4,000 percent increase predicted in some communities 

Computer simulation just predicted a huge measles outbreak in texas, with 4,000 percent increase predicted in some communities

NEWSWEEK - David Sinclair, a postdoctoral researcher in Pitt's Public Health Dynamics Laboratory and lead author of the study said, "I was surprised at how large measles outbreaks could be in Texas at current vaccination rates, according to our forecasts. The clustering of unvaccinated children in ... (08/25/2019)
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As the U.S. measles count surpasses 25-year-old record, Roberts says: vaccinate 

As the U.S. measles count surpasses 25-year-old record, Roberts says: vaccinate

WDAM - U.S. health officials have reported 971 measles cases so far this year, the highest tally in 27 years, and experts say it's not clear when the wave of illnesses will stop. "What's causing these outbreaks is lack of vaccination," said HPM Chair Mark Roberts.  (05/31/2019)
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