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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.


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...


Meet the Newest Members of the PHDL Team

David Sinclair, PhDFrom across the pond, David Sinclair, PhD, has joined the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health as a postdoctoral associate/programmer. David received a Master of Physics from Durham University, UK, and recently completed a PhD in Physics (Astrophysics) at the University of Oxford. His research there focused on simulating and analyzing the performance of a complex radio telescope using algorithm design and large-volume data analysis. He has an extensive computational background, including creating signal processing algorithms for hardware.

Tejaswi Anantaraju, MS, MBATejaswi Anantaraju, MS, MBA, joins the Project Tycho team at the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Tejaswi received a MS in Information Technologies from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and an MBA from Osmania University in India. He has extensive experience designing and implementing Java based e-Business/e-Commerce applications, including a web service for the Bank of New York Mellon stakeholders, along with a strong business analytics background.


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