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Congressional Briefing on the Opioid Epidemic: Findings from Public Health Research Experts

congressionalbriefingOn Monday, June 19, Pitt Public Health's Dean Donald S. Burke and fellow ASPPH leaders converged on the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., to discuss the complex and dynamic processes at work in the opioid crisis. Deans representing public health schools in five contiguous states in the Appalachian region shared their findings and unique approaches to confronting the course of the epidemic.

Addressing the standing-room-only crowd, Burke spoke about the epidemiology of the crisis and the need for better information on costs. "Billions [of dollars] are needed, and we don't have a good handle on the magnitude of the epidemic. We need data." Read more.

FRED Measles Model Demonstrates Need for Vaccination

"There was something about showing a movie of your hometown that people relate to," said Don Burke, dean of Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health. It was his idea to break the data modeling down by county. "The FRED platform allowed researchers to build a simulation of human interaction dynamics," said Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Lab and HPM chair, "wherein virtual people in 116 million households across the country live, work and socialize according to data synthesized from the U.S. Census." The FRED measles model, developed at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, can be used to visualize infectious disease dynamics in any county, allowing California's Pan to show his fellow senators exactly how an outbreak would play out in their own backyards. Read more.

PHDL Faculty Member Wins Funding for Innovative Teaching Proposal

Christina Mair, PhDProjects that show the most promise in introducing innovative approaches to teaching are selected each year by the Office of the Provost's Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence. Christina Mair, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, was one of seven winning teaching proposals that received funding as part of Pitt's 2017 Innovation in Education Awards Program. Her project will enhance Pitt's multilevel statistical modeling course using Panopto to create out-of-class videos and Solstice to enhance in-class activities.

City of Pittsburgh Prepares for a Severe Air Quality Incident Using Predictive Analytics Technology

mark robertsThe City of Pittsburgh was joined Monday by representatives from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Intermedix to host an emergency preparedness resilience workshop as a part of the ONEPGH initiative, which is a partnership with 100 Resilient Cities- Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation.

The three organizations put on a daylong workshop at the university aimed at exploring how emergency response technology would work with predictive simulations to prepare the region for an air quality combined with a heat wave disaster of the magnitude of the killer Donora smog event in 1948.

"Through public engagements as part of ONEPGH, we recognize that air quality is one of the primary stressors facing the region," said Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Pittsburgh. "In talking with emergency response professionals, some of their concerns center around the question of what happens when normal events occur simultaneously to create cascading effects that put strains on systems. What we aim to do is model a historical event, like the Donora smog, and place it in a modern context."

The university's model, FRED, is a simulation technology initially created to predict the dynamics of infectious disease epidemics and the interacting effects of mitigation strategies, viral evolution and personal health behavior that has since been expanded to include many non-infectious diseases, as well as social and environmental factors that affect health.

Read more at the Journal of Emergency Medical Services...

PHDL Hosts Second Modeling Workshop for Indian Researchers

In April 2017, the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) hosted three researchers, Saumyadipta Pyne, Meghana Aruru and Rashmi Pant from Hyderabad, India, for a three-day training workshop. This was the second of two workshops designed to train the Indian researchers in modeling and simulation for public health decision support in India. The focus was on hands-on-training in the use and application of FRED (Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), an open source modeling system, as well as other tools developed by the PHDL. This workshop, a collaboration between SHARE INDIA/MediCiti Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, and the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, was part of an R25 award,"Empowering Indian Researchers with Computational Modeling Tools", supported by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health.

Group photo
Front row (left to right): Rashmi Pant, Mary Krauland, Joanne Russell
Middle row (left to right): Jammy Rahesh, Saumyadipta Pyne, Meghana Aruru, Clare Bunker, Supriya Kumar
Back row (left to right): John Grefenstette, Dean Donald Burke, David Galloway, Bob Frankeny
 
Rashmi PantSaumyadipta PyneMeghana Aruru
The researchers receive recognition for their participation in the training workshop.
 

PHDL Hosts Modeling Workshop for Indian Health Researchers

In December 2016, the PHDL hosted a one-week workshop titled "Empowering Indian Health Researchers with Computational Modeling Tools". The goal of this Fogarty Institute, NIH funded initiative is to enhance evidence-based, data-driven decision-making in India through innovations in information and communication technology.

Group photo International Symposium on Health Analytics and Disease Modeling

Six researchers from India participated in the workshop, a collaboration between SHARE INDIA/MediCiti Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, and the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. The workshop was designed to train Indian health researchers in simulation and modeling for public health decision support. The week focused on hands-on-training in the use and application of FRED (Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), an open source modeling system, along with other tools developed by the PHDL. On the final day of the workshop, each trainee presented a funding proposal for a research question of interest with research to continue following return to India.

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