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NPR Program on Pitt Public Health’s Resilience Workshop

npr logoAllegheny Front, an NPR program that runs on several NPR affiliates including WESA in Pittsburgh, recently released a radio piece from the April 17, 2017 emergency preparedness resilience workshop hosted by Pitt Public Health, City of Pittsburgh and Intermedix: http://www.alleghenyfront.org/your-environment-update-for-thursday-july-6-2017/. The original article titled "City of Pittsburgh Prepares for a Severe Air Quality Incident Using Predictive Analytics Technology" was posted on May 26, 2017.

Forecasting the Opioid Epidemic

opoid crisisDeaths from opioids have been rising sharply for years and could kill more than half a million people across America over the next decade as the crisis accelerates. Are we doing enough asked Donald Burke, MD, Dean, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, one of several leading public health experts from 10 universities asked recently by STAT/The Boston Globe to forecast the opioid epidemic over the next decade. "Are we doing enough of what we think works – prescription drug monitoring programs, medication-assisted treatment, naloxone? And, are we matching the societal costs with a like expenditure in prevention?" Dr. Burke responded. The consensus of the experts is it will get worse before it gets better. Read full article.

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...

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