Faculty Profiles & Research News

Mendez receives national recognition for maternal and child health research

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PITTWIRE - The Coalition for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and 15 national health organizations selected EPI's Dara Mendez as the recipient of the 2020 Award for Effective Practice at the Community Level. Mendez specializes in understanding and addressing racial and socioeconomic inequity in pregnancy, birth, and women's health. The award recognizes her significant work toward improving public health practice through effec... 


Brown talks about health equity implications of SCOTUS decision on employment protections for SGM

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"The June 15, 2020, decision by the Supreme Court of the United States affirming Federal Civil Rights protections in employment for sexual and gender minorities (SGM) across the country has significant health equity implications...we celebrate this decision as a positive step toward creating more equitable health and social environments for those in our communities who exist across the gender and sexuality spectrum," said BCHS's Andre Brown.   


Reflection to Action - we respond to "Racism: The Ultimate Underlying Condition

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The Center for Health Equity and Office of Health Sciences Diversity hosted a discussion and reflection to action and engagement in response to the American Public Health Association’s June 9 webinar, “Racism: The Ultimate Underlying Condition”. BCHS' Noble Maseru gave an overview of the  APHA presentation and invited panelists to give their insight and experience to help shine a spotlight on the intersection of men’s health and racism in honor... 


Maseru on Black History Month in Pittsburgh

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THE PITTSBURGH STUDY - Center for Health Equity Director Noble Maseru asks, "What can we Pittsburghers do to achieve an inclusive and socially equitable city? in the first case, we can express our preference for behavior that reflects our views on social justice in the ballot box - so vote!"  


Mendez addresses contributing factors to the racial inequalities in pregnancy, birth, and women's health

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NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER - The CDC also found that about 3 out of 5 pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths are preventable. The work of Dara Mendez examines how the environment, policies, and systems affect pregnancy outcomes. "If we’re trying to center the experiences of the most marginalized, then they also need to be at the forefront of research." Practitioners, researchers, community members and organizers need to review the data and understa... 


Students & community collaborators create 'Disrespecting the Border' mural

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Pitt student Camilo Ruiz (BCHS/Anthropology '20) collaborated with artists Leah Patgorski and Gil Rocha on a community mural-making workshop resulting in a magnificent art piece entitled "Disrespecting the Border."  An artist and teacher from Laredo, Texas, Rocha facilitated a diverse group of nineteen people through the five-day process of creating the mural which aims to" dignify and make visible the Latinx presence in Pittsburgh."  


Staying Social Can Boost Healthy ‘Gray Matter’ in Aging Brains

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US NEWS (HealthDay News) — Older adults who get together with friends, volunteer, or go to classes have healthier brains, which could help them ward off dementia, according to a new study led by postdoc Cynthia Fox of EPI. Being socially engaged—even moderately—with at least one relative or friend activates parts of the brain needed to recognize familiar faces and emotions, make decisions, and feel rewarded. "We need to do more research on the d... 

The opioid crisis didn’t disappear amid the pandemic. It still calls for urgent action.

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THE WASHINGTON POST - Despite the predominance of the coronavirus pandemic among national priorities, the paper's editorial board urges the dedication of public health funds and attention to the ongoing opioid crisis, citing data gathered by HPM's Hawre Jalal and EPI's Donald S. Burke which suggests that the 2018 decline in mortality traced to a short-term drop in the supply of a particularly deadly Chinese-made synthetic opioid, carfentanil, ra... 

Opresko selected for scientific leadership award

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EOH's Patricia Opresko is the 2020 recipient of the Merrill J. Egorin Excellence in Scientific Leadership Award.  This award honors a faculty member that exemplifies scientific passion and scholastic dedication. Patricia is recognized as an outstanding mentor, and for her exceptional leadership in cancer research, including her work with the Genome Stability Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.  

Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS -  Food banks in the U.S. are on course for a preventable collision between record-setting food insecurity and lead-contaminated meat. Though hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to U.S. food banks, a lack of oversight could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals this year according to a recent article by MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21).  

Gellad criticizes how Science gets political as Trump touts experimental coronavirus drugs

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AXIOS - "We have an emergency use authorization that I want to get signed immediately," Trump said in a video Thursday. "The problem is every therapy for coronavirus has become politicized—every single therapy, and that's the last thing you want in a pandemic, so this is just next in line," said the Department of Health Policy and Management's  Walid Gellad , director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of P... 

Harm Reduction Approach: Implications for the COVID-19 Pandemic

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BCHS's Mary Hawk and Harvard's Julia Marcus introduce the harm reduction approach and describe how the principles can be applied to public health messaging during COVID-19. They discuss how to balance general uncertainty, concerns about what is best for population and personal health, and the tensions between collectivism and individualism.  

Frailty factor: How well you walk when you’re older may depend on one gene

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STUDY FINDS  – While many seniors try to keep frailty at bay through diet and exercise, a PItt study finds that who becomes infirm may come down to one gene. “Most people think about dopamine’s role in mobility in the context of Parkinson’s disease, but not in normal aging," says lead author EPI's Caterina Rosano, "We found that in older, frail adults, those who have a high-dopamine genotype are more likely to maintain a faster gait and may be ... 

'I won't be used as a guinea pig for white people' - Black Pittsburghers think twice about vaccine trials

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NEW YORK TIMES - Mistrust of vaccines runs deep in African-American communities. Against formidable odds, Fr. Paul Abernathy and his teams are trying to convince residents fo Pittsburgh's Black neighborhoods to volunteer for trials testing a COVID-19 shot. “The community health deputies have been instrumental in communicating about the vaccine registry in authentic ways,” said Elizabeth Miller of BCHS and Pitt Medicine, who coordinates outreach ... 

Burke and Baumann take filmmaking to the health sciences

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Jessica Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) have created a new form of public health research called Collaborative Filmmaking. The six-step process engages its participants to create a detailed, multimedia form of study rarely seen in the field. Baumann said she knew Pitt was the right fit for her studies when she came across the work of  Jessica Burke , professor and associate chair in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Scienc... 

Global Responses to COVID-19 (video

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Organized and moderated by Pitt Public Health's Global Health Student Association, a panel of researchers from around the world discusses critical questions around the current pandemic. Panelists in this intriguing discussion include Dr. Solomon F. Ofori-Acquah (Accra, Ghana), Dr. Jean Nachega (EPI; Capetown, South Africa), Dr. Andrew Martin (London, England), and our student moderator Bethany Flage (GHSA president).  

Revisiting Freedom House Ambulance: A Call for a Modern and Inclusive Public Health Initiative (video)

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Freedom House Enterprises ambulance services was a pioneering program designed to be representative of the community it served (Pittsburgh's Hill District), provide a pathway for upward mobility, and address a severe disparity in pre-hospital care. The collaboration between Phil Hallen, Peter Safar, and James McCoy Jr., developed into a groundbreaking endeavor that shaped modern EMS.  

Pitt Public Health no longer requiring GRE for MPH, other programs

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Pitt Public Health is no longer requiring GRE scores for applicants to our MPH programs, recomitting to a long-held value of holistic admissions. We are committed to creating the best possible learning environment to educate our next generation of public health leaders and removing this barrier for our applicants allows us to build a richer and more inclusive group of future public health leaders.   

Roberts says Gov. Wolf’s restrictions saved many lives

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PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE - Nearly 8,000 COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed in Pennsylvania. Had fewer restrictions been imposed, that toll likely would have been several times higher, said Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Lab. “It’s easy to project that there would be two to three times the deaths, at a minimum, with less social distancing.” His team developed a model to estimate the impacts of closings and reopenings.  

COVID-19 on campus (video)

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Drs. John Williams and Margaret McDonald share an update on the current COVID conditions on campus and reflect on their insider experiences serving on Pitt’s Healthcare Advisory Group during this public health crisis.  

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Research Videos

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Revisiting Freedom House Ambulance: A Call for a Modern and Inclusive Public Health Initiative (video) 

Revisiting Freedom House Ambulance: A Call for a Modern and Inclusive Public Health Initiative (video)

Freedom House Enterprises ambulance services was a pioneering program designed to be representative of the community it served (Pittsburgh's Hill District), provide a pathway for upward mobility, and address a severe disparity in pre-hospital care. The collaboration between Phil Hallen, Peter S... (09/30/2020)
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COVID-19 on campus (video) 

COVID-19 on campus (video)

Drs. John Williams and Margaret McDonald share an update on the current COVID conditions on campus and reflect on their insider experiences serving on Pitt’s Healthcare Advisory Group during this public health crisis. (09/25/2020)
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COVID-19 & Secondary Impacts 

COVID-19 & Secondary Impacts

The stay-at-home and social distancing COVID-19 mitigation orders drastically restricted people’s physical movements and access to businesses, causing myriad secondary impacts on the public’s health. Dr. Andrea Gielen discusses how the pandemic has affected injury risks due to changes in lifestyles... (09/18/2020)
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Summer of 2020: Evolution of our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and ability to forecast COVID-19 (video) 

Summer of 2020: Evolution of our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and ability to forecast COVID-19 (video)

What we have learned during the summer of 2020 that puts SARS-CoV-2 into perspective with other emerging viruses and explores the current state of COVID-19 forecasting for the next few months. IDM's Amy Hartman talks what we know (and don't know) about SARS-CoV-2 and EPI's Donald Burke discusses th... (09/14/2020)
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Health Department Responses 

Health Department Responses

EPI's Catherine Haggerty and HPM's Wendy Braund lead a conversation about the health department response to COVID-19 at the local and state levels. Haggerty starts the conversation with a discussion of the approaches, impact, and challenges of containment and mitigation efforts at the county level.... (06/13/2020)
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Biostatistical Modeling and COVID-19  

Biostatistical Modeling and COVID-19

Biostatistical modeling, estimation, and decision-making support have been playing an important role in responses to COVID-19 challenges. Lu Tang and Andriy Bandos will discuss statistical considerations involved in modeling the epidemic progression and in the use of COVID-19 related tests for esti... (06/13/2020)
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