Faculty Profiles & Research News

Shell cracker plant confrirms a sweet-smelling odor came from its Beaver County facility

image
PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER - "Factual identification of the actual agents responsible for or released in association with the reported smells should be a high priority, in the absence of which assigning any potential health risk becomes very problematic," says EOH's James Fabisiak, Breath Project member. He also pointed the reporter toward CDC facts to help explain that the rumors that the smell was due to ethylene glycol were likely incorrect, keepi... 

A Conversation with BCHS's Emily Dauria

image
"I am so excited to join the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences because of the department's focus on engaging community-based organizations and using a multilevel lens to best understand and address health and health care challenges. I am also incredibly excited about rejoining a school of public health where I will have the opportunity to collaborate with and support students to find their public health passions as they make... 

The Most Important Vaccine I'll Get This Fall

image
THE ATLANTIC - HPM's Mary Krauland said flu viruses, already a familiar threat to our immune system, spread less easily than SARS-CoV-2, which made them easier to stamp out with masks, physical distancing, school closures and international travel bans, even when adherence was spotty. Cases around the globe plummeted. But "no one expected flu to go away forever," she said.   

Migraines and More Severe Hot Flashes Could Be Linked

image
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - A new study that examined migraine, menopause and heart disease "confirms that women with a history of migraine are at increased risk for severe hot flashes at midlife," said EPI's Rebecca Thurston, director of the Women's Biobehavioral Health Laboratory and past president of the North American Menopause Society.   

Two-for-one vaccine clinics fight flu and Covid, too

image
CNN - Since there were relatively few flu cases last year, scientists including HPM's Mary Krauland and Kyu Lee have predicted in a pre-print paper that there will be a "large compensatory" flu season this year. A model based on previous flu seasons projects in the paper that there could be 102,000 additional hospitalizations this upcoming season due to flu illnesses, which corresponds to a 20% increase compared with the average number of hospit... 

Allegheny County breakthrough cases increasing, but vaccinated still avoid serious illness

image
PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE - The jab also appears to have a slight reduction in effectiveness against the delta variant compared to prior dominant virus strains, said EPI and IDM's Lee Harrison. But it should still protect people from severe disease if they do become infected. "I think what it tells us most clearly is, if we can get the rest of the population vaccinated, it will turn COVID into more of a nuisance than a major cause of hospitalizati... 

Biden's Mandate Requires Weekly COVID-19 Testing for Unvaccinated Employees. That Will Get Expensive.

image
WESA - "There are arguments that say...if they're not willing to get a fully authorized, now-approved vaccine, then they need to bear the brunt of the cost," said HPM's Tina Batra Hershey.  

People Living with HIV the focus of two NIH awards to Pitt Public Health researchers

image
From social stigma to the high prevalence of concurrent chronic diseases, people living with HIV (PLWH) are faced with a multitude of challenges.  Two National Institute of Health grants recently awarded to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health will provide valuable data to better intervene on their behalf.   

Sexual Assault Linked to Later Brain Damage in Women, Study Finds

image
CNN - "It could be either childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual assault," said study author EPI’s Rebecca Thurston, director of the Women's Biobehavioral Health Laboratory. "Based upon population data, most women have their sexual assaults when they are in early adolescence and early adulthood," she added, "so these are likely early experiences that we're seeing the marks of later in life."  

Floods Have Swamped the US. The Next Health Problem: Mold

image
WIRED - A summer of floods means mold and fungi are to follow. Yet we lack proper surveillance systems for mold infections and that leads to a data gap that increases the burden of these infections, particularly on marginalized groups. “We cannot isolate the impact of a natural disaster from historic burdens of health disparities, whether they are in the Gulf Coast or in the Caribbean or in New Jersey,” says Dean Maureen Lichtveld.  

Donohue on Planet Money: This is Your Brain on Drug Ads

image
NPR - When laws changed around advertising prescription drugs to consumers in 1997, HPM Chair Julie Donohue was among those interested in studying the effects. “I was just fascinated by the rise of this new kind of promotion and the debate that ensued about whether or not it was appropriate. I think it’s clear that we are using more medicine because of direct to consumer advertising and in fact that’s what it’s designed to do.”  

Roberts - Health Care Budgets for Rural Providers—Opportunities for Payment Reform

image
NEJM - HPM's Eric Roberts and a colleague present this Policy makers are beginning to test new payment models that establish budgets for rural health care providers. By implementing a fixed payment or setting a spending benchmark for health care organizations, budgets are intended to promote efficient care delivery. Rural health care systems have historically had little exposure to budget-based payment models. The emerging interest in health car... 

Chu and Hershey - Collaborative Public Health Strategies to Combat e-Cigarette Regulation Loopholes

image
JAMA NETWORK - While the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey reported a decline in youth e-cigarette use, the use of disposable e-cigarettes has increased for children. This Viewpoint summarizes recent efforts by the FDA and state lawmakers to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic and offers a framework to further guide these efforts.  

Harrison co-authors Conversation piece - Massive numbers of new COVID-19 infections, not vaccines, are the main driver of new coronavirus variants

image
THE CONVERSATION – The rise of coronavirus variants globally has highlighted the huge influence evolutionary biology has on daily life. But how mutations, random chance, and natural selection produce variants is a complicated process. What EPI and IDM’s Lee Harrison and a Pitt Medicine colleague have learned over the past 18 months of following how the coronavirus has acquired different mutations around the world.  

Batra Hershey among legal experts that say Wolf administration has authority to issue mask mandate

image
TRIB LIVE – Wolf is not invoking emergency powers. “We are no longer under a disaster declaration,” said HPM’s Tina Batra Hershey. “That is not what’s being invoked in this current face covering order.” Batra Hershey said the health code being cited is broad and likely supports the administration’s order. “It’s typical public health authority the Department of Health has,” she said.  

Roberts: Flu and COVID-19 'twindemic' is possible this winter

image
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Using two separate models, HPM’s Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory found that without an increase in flu vaccination rates this coming winter, the U.S. could be at risk of a "twindemic" with both seasonal flu and COVID-19 cases at high levels. That possibility is due to the "rather dramatic decrease in influenza last (2020-20) season that occurred because of the COVID-19 mitigation strategi... 

U.S. Energy Firms Launching Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates

image
REUTERS - Energy and construction workers have some of the lowest vaccine uptake rates, according to an online survey led by EPI's Wendy King. Some 45% of extraction and construction workers said they were hesitant to get the vaccine, versus just 7.3% in the computer and mathematical professions, the May survey showed.   

A group of moms on Facebook built an island of good-faith vaccine debate in a sea of misinformation

image
THE WASHINGTON POST - People concerned about vaccine safety may be easier to convince than those who don't trust the government or medical authorities, said EPI's Wendy King (EPI '04). Earlier this year, King surveyed more than 5 million U.S. adults about their attitudes toward coronavirus vaccines. Many who said they may not or won't get vaccinated said they feared side effects – a sign they may be influenced by misinformation.  

Harrison talks about when boosters might be available to the general public

image
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - "What they're aiming for is starting September 20, eight months after the second dose. I'm hoping the rollout will go smoothly starting on that date. The process is authorization by FDA for a booster dose, and then ACIP makes the recommendation about the booster dose." said EPI's Lee Harrison.   

Mendez analysis shows legislation addressing racism as a public health crisis surges but lacks funding

image
UPMC -  “The fact that these resolutions and declarations garnered enough support to pass in multiple state and local governments is worthy of celebration,” said lead author EPI’s Dara Mendez, interim director of the Center for Health Equity. “Simultaneously, it signals an opportunity to advocate for further action to eliminate racism, which has well-documented negative effects on the health of individuals and communities...  

Share News

Simply click to share news of your achievements—and those of classmates or colleagues. We’re eager to hear about and share stories of student, faculty, and alumni accomplishments. Email questions to phcomm@pitt.edu
or visit publichealth.pitt.edu/sharenews.

Share news

Research Videos

image

Garland Examines Rise in Young People's Involvement in Local Violence on Hayes-Freeland show (video) 

Garland Examines Rise in Young People's Involvement in Local Violence on Hayes-Freeland show (video)

KDKA - BCHS' Richard Garland spoke with KDKA's Lynne Hayes-Freeland about the factors that are contributing to a rise in violence among youth in Pittsburgh. (08/03/2021)
image

Baumann's talk during TEDxUniversity: Leaders, Innovators, and Neighbors (video) 

Baumann's talk during TEDxUniversity: Leaders, Innovators, and Neighbors (video)

BCHS' Sara Baumann is a mixed-methods researcher harnessing participatory, arts-based tools to study mental health and reproductive health issues. She was living in Nepal in 2015 when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck, killing close to 9,000 people and displacing half a million. Watch the recording... (07/26/2021)
image

Gary-Webb featured in PHRESH: Communities Thrive When Residents are Involved in Decisions That Affect Their Neighborhoods 

Gary-Webb featured in PHRESH: Communities Thrive When Residents are Involved in Decisions That Affect Their Neighborhoods

"The Hill District and Homewood are similar and different in various ways. They're similar in the sense that they've been relatively stable over time and they have predominantly Black populations but they have very different histories overtime," explains EPI's TIffany Gary-Webb, assocaite dean for ... (07/23/2021)
image

Hill and colleagues find that coke works fire made asthma worse for sufferers nearby 

Hill and colleagues find that coke works fire made asthma worse for sufferers nearby

WTAE - Brandy Bywra-Hill (EOH '22) was lead author on a recent study in collaboration with ACHD that recounts the impact of the Christmas Eve 2018 fire that destroyed the pollution controls of the U.S. Clairton Coke Works. "This is the type of data that helps shape policy about air emissions, facto... (05/06/2021)
View more research videos