Closing the Health Care Gap
Jeannette South-Paul made a commitment to work in disadvantaged areas when she became chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Pitt’s School of Medicine in 2001. Disparities in health care for minorities "are immense and not narrowing, unfortunately," she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2011. "And they tend to concentrate in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mental health, though they [also] exist in other areas." Widely recognized as a speaker on sociocultural issues in health care, South-Paul is one of only a few African American department chairs at medical schools nationwide.
In 2011, Michael Fine, director of the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health's Center for Health Equity Research and Promotions, received the John M. Eisenberg Award for Career Achievement in Research at the annual meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine. His citation for the award states that “over the past 24 years, [Dr. Fine] has conducted original research that has informed virtually all areas of the clinical management of community-acquired pneumonia, a common and costly illness.”
In 2005, Pitt’s Center for Primary Care Community-Based Research (CPCR) launched its Innovations in Reducing Stroke and Prostate Cancer in Minority Men project, which drew more than 14,000 participants in its first year. CPCR organizes several free educational sessions to educate members of minority populations on health risks. The sessions featured faculty members such as Abi Fapohunda, a professor in Pitt's Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.
In December 2011, Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health established a new center that aims to understand and reduce health disparities in underserved populations, particularly those in Western Pennsylvania. Through community engagement, research, education, and training, the Center for Health Equity will focus on reducing the major causes of excess mortality among disadvantaged people in the region.