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Faculty in the News

Mailman School of Public Health faculty are renowned scientists, practitioners, and educators working on the forefront of critical public health issues in the U.S. and around the world. They are frequently called upon by journalists to discuss their work and to comment on vital issues and events of our day.

Below are some example of topics and 2014 publications where our faculty members have been cited for their research findings and expert commentary.




This Year, I Resolve to Ban Laptops From My Classroom, December 30
"The students shift from being intellectuals, listening to one another, to being customer-service representatives, taking down orders. Class is supposed to be a conversation, not an exercise in dictation," wrote Prof. Tal Gross.

Restoring Diplomatic Relations With Cuba: What it Means for American Medicine, December 23
"[Cuba] will be able to modernize their research equipment and begin to generate revenue," said Health Policy and Management Prof. Peter Muennig. "Over the long-term, I see a good deal of benefit to both nations, as information and technologies are shared."

Mold-Ridden NYC Housing Authority Buildings Could Trigger Long-term Asthma Problems, December 15
"It’s important for the NYC Housing Authority to recognize that mold is an important trigger of respiratory problems. In low-income populations, it’s important to intervene early to remove mold," said Dr. Matthew Perzanowski.

Chemical Phthalates in Food Packaging Linked With Lower IQ in Kids,
December 10
"Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily, many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children," said Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak.

Predicting the Flu So You Can Avoid It, December 10
"This provides people a window into the future and what pathogens might be coming down the pike," noted Prof. Jeffrey Shaman. "It may help parents decide when to schedule their children's play dates or remind people to think about getting vaccinated for influenza."



Children's Attention Deficit Linked to Air Pollution, November 5
"Our research suggests that environmental factors may be contributing to attention problems in a significant way,” said Environmental Health Sciences Prof. Frederica Perera of the Columbia Children's Center for Environmental Health.

From Blue Bleach To Hazmat Hacks, Students Take On Ebola Challenges, November 5
"[Students] think practical, outside the box, and aren't encumbered by knowing the limitations," says Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, one of the challenge's organizers.

Why Meditation and Yoga Are Recommended for Breast Cancer, November 4
"Women with breast cancer are among the highest users [of these therapies]…and usage has been increasing," said epidemiology professor and study author Prof. Heather Greenlee.

NYC's Famed Bellevue Hospital Put to the Test with Ebola Patient, November 2
"This is the first time since 1976 that we have actually begun to think of Ebola as a disease that could be managed rather than a death sentence," said Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology.


AIDS and Ebola: Drawing Parallels Between Epidemics, October 28
"People separating themselves from the most affected populations resulted in delay in mobilization of resources, and delay in confronting the epidemic," said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr in discussing the parallels between the AIDS crisis and the Ebola outbreak.

Dept. of Solutions: All Hands on Deck, October 27
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin announced a university-wide design challenge to develop low-cost technology-driven solutions to Ebola. "People told us they were having difficulty with decontamination. If we can come up with an inexpensive way to produce the foam...It’s a simple solution," said Lipkin.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed on Ebola, October 24
Assistant professor of epidemiology Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, discusses the recent news surrounding the Ebola epidemic with WNBC's Roseanne Colletti.

Ebola in New York City: How Worried Should You Be?, October 24
Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology, talks to Emily Chang on "Bloomberg West" about why New Yorkers shouldn't be too worried about Ebola.

Enterovirus 68: What You Need to Know, October 2
"A hypothesis of mine is that the strain that’s circulating now probably is a novel variant," said Dr. Rafal Tokarz of the Center for Infection and Immunity. "The virus is mutating, and there are a lot of different variants circulating around the globe."


Tourists Urged to Avoid Ebola Zone in West Africa, September 25
"The risk of infection…is very small," said Prof. Stephen S. Morse. "On the other hand," he said firmly, "if you don’t have to go there, don’t."

Measuring the Later Years in Life Differently — for the Benefit of All, September 22
In this op-ed piece Dean Linda P. Fried writes, "There is the opportunity to build an array of services, programs, and the new third stage of life that awaits us."

Phthalates During Pregnancy Linked To 70% Increased Asthma Risk, September 17
"Virtually everyone in the U.S. is exposed to phthalates," says Prof. Robin Whyatt. "Our data indicates that inhalation is a significant route of exposure."

Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield September 16
"The reason for using the military— and I think it's a good idea—is because they have an enormous amount of experience with command and control,” said Prof W. Ian Lipkin.

U.S. Scientists See Long Fight Against Ebola, September 13
Prof. Jeffrey Shaman, who created a model that estimated the number of cases with his research team, said, “Ebola has a simple trajectory because it’s growing exponentially.”



West Africa's Ebola Epidemic Spreads, August 18
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin join's On Point's Jane Clayson for a panel discussion about the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

How Can We Age Productively?, August 11
Dean Linda P. Fried's Experience Corps was sited in this piece on how to transform the ongoing aging crisis into an aging opportunity.

How to Create and Control the Ebola Outbreak, August 8
Leonard Lopate talks with Dr. W. Ian Lipkin about the Ebola outbreak and how other infectious diseases are contained and halted.

Stress on Civilian Front Tied to Alcohol Abuse in Returning Soldiers, August 7
"In long term mental health for National Guard members, what matters is what happens after they come home," said Prof. Magdalena Cerdá.

Ebola: How Worried Should We Be?, August 4
"The threat in the developed world is minimal, and any infections that did occur could be easily isolated," writes Dr. W. Ian Lipkin in this WSJ op-ed.

Epidemiologist on The Ebola Virus, August 7
"It's important to remember to put the Ebola outbreak in context," says Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, assistant professor of epidemiology.



The Reason There’s Not an Ebola Vaccine, July 30
Chris Hayes talks to Dr. Stephen Morse, an expert in infectious diseases, about what’s preventing U.S. drug companies from developing an Ebola vaccine.

Q & A: Ebola Spreads in Africa—and Likely Will Spread Beyond, July 28
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology, answered questions about why this outbreak is so much more widespread than previous ones.

Young Men Want Intimacy Too, July 16
Our assumptions about masculine values and who subscribes to them may be totally incorrect, according to new research led by Prof. David Bell. His findings conclude that young men actually desire intimacy over sex.

YMCA of Greater New York Gets $1.5 Million Gift From John W. Rowe, July 11
With a recent $1.5 million gift, Dr. John Rowe, professor of Health Policy and Management, is supporting a college-readiness program that begins in the sixth grade and continues through the college-admissions process.

End of AIDS: Hype Versus Hope, July 10
Profs. Wafaa El-Sadr, Ronald Bayer, and ICAP’s Katherine Harripersaud, write, "Envisioning a world without epidemic AIDS is a deeply profound concept. Let this be the rallying call."

The Future of Retirement, July 07
Dean Linda P. Fried writes an op-ed for the 125th anniversary of The Wall Street Journal, saying, "We need to invest in an America where older adults are healthy and remain among us, living out important roles and responsibilities that leave a lasting legacy."


Veterans Affairs Needs to Get a Clue About PTSD Treatment, June 27
"Though the investigating committee found spikes of excellence in both departments, DOD and VA, there is tremendous variability in how care is implemented and an absence of data that tell us if programs are working or not," said chairman, Sandro Galea.

The Ruling on Soda Servings and Its Implications for Public Health, June 27 
Dean Linda P. Fried writes, "New York State's…ruling raises real concerns about limiting the ability of municipal health departments to tackle 21st-century public health challenges."

Q and A with Ian Lipkin: What's Behind the Worst-Ever Ebola Outbreak in West Africa?, June 27 
Dr. Ian Lipkin says, "With urbanization, you have people moving into urban areas who are not completely divorced from the practices they had in the rural areas."

Aging Isn't the Challenge, Building an Equitable Society Is, June 22 
"Instead of deepening expertise and well-being, the cumulative effects of poverty, harsh working conditions, and persistent stress leave an alarming proportion of people with little in the way of personal resources," says Professor John Rowe.

'Fault in Our Stars' Hides American Truth, June 13 
Professor Dana March writes, "It's no coincidence that we have the greatest income inequality among similarly developed countries. Income inequality concentrates wealth in the 1% of Americans, and confines a vast swath of the employed to poverty."

Making Aging Positive, June 1
Dean Linda P. Fried says older-adult patients have often been treated as socially useless, and suggests how to make their life more meaningful. 


Stress Degreades Sperm and Fertility, May 29
"Men who feel stressed are more likely to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate, and the sperm they have are more likely to be misshapen or have impaired motility," said Pam Factor-Litvak.

Public Health Researchers Work With Families to Avoid Unnecessary ER Trips, May 27
Melissa Stockwell discussed an early educational intervention approach and said, "We were able to decrease emergency room visits and also decrease adverse care practices."

Why a MERS Virus Won’t be Easy, May 23
Dr. Ian Lipkin says it’s more likely someone would have an adverse reaction to a MERS vaccine than actually developing MERS. 

How are Health Officials Detecting MERS? May 14
Stephen Morse talks to CNN’s Brian Todd about how health officials are using a thermal imaging camera to detect the MERS virus. 

The Longer Parents Smoke, the More Likely Their Kids Will Too, May 13
Denise Kandel argues that new study contradicts previous research: "The earlier analysis found that onset of smoking was the same whether or not parents were dependent on nicotine."

Why Climate Change is a U.S. Children’s Health Issue, May 9
Frederica Perera, director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, and Patrick Kinney, director of the Columbia Climate and Health program, say, "Babies and children are more vulnerable to air pollutants than adults."


New Gene Map of Deadly Bird Flu Points to Pandemic Concerns, April 10
Stephen Morse, global co-director of the U.S. government–funded PREDICT Project consortium, says the research is addressing key questions but must be done carefully for many reasons. "If someone is infected in the laboratory, there would be serious consequences," he says.

Study: Asthma has $1.3B impact on New York, April 4
Dr. Sally Findley comments that for the NY State to better combat the illness, it needs to reach out to children with asthma and their parents, who often may not understand the illness or the ways that it can be treated.

Global Air Pollution on the Rise, April 2
CNN's Jonathan Mann speaks to Dr. Darby Jack about the different types of air pollution and the potentially fatal affects of dirty air.

A Tale of Two Air Quality Programs: China vs. the U.S., April 2
Can China improve its record on air pollution? A new study, by Deliang Tang and colleagues published last week in the journal Plos One, suggests that opportunities for significant improvement abound.



Investing in the Science of Public Health, March 24
"When we think of science for health, we think first -- and invest mostly -- in curing diseases once they have occurred... However, the greatest return on investment often comes from the science of preventing the disease in the first place." Article by Dean Linda P. Fried on the role of public health.

Measles outbreak sparks fear of resurgent diseases, March 15
An unexpected number of measles cases recently reported has raised risky concerns about vaccine safety. Dr. Stephen Morse discusses the importance of early vaccination.

Why the Cancer Cluster Cases in Fukushima Aren't Related to the Nuclear Disaster, March 13
Dr. Norman Kleiman discusses reports of a “cancer cluster” surfacing three years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. In the long term, the primary health concerns are mental health effects: the anxiety and fear of living in what people perceive as a contaminated area.

The Science of Older and Wiser, March 12
Wisdom is one of the most important qualities a person can possess for healthy aging. Dr. Ursula Staudinger, co-founder of The Berlin Wisdom Project and director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, distinguishes between general and personal wisdom and how positivity about life is more beneficial in advanced age.

Injections Providing Protection Against AIDS in Monkeys, Studies Find, March 5
Researchers are reporting that injections of long-lasting AIDS drugs protected monkeys for weeks against infection, a finding that could lead to a major breakthrough in preventing the disease in humans. Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr comments on a preliminary human trial to start later this year.

Is It Worth Enforcing a Shoe-Free Home?, March 3
In cities and suburbs alike, more people are adopting a no-shoes-at-home policy. Dr. Stephen Morse discusses if that practice is more hygienic and when not to ask guests to go barefoot.

If Obesity Is a Disease, Then What?, March 3
In a Letter to the Editor, Dr. Linda Fried argues that, "The classification of obesity as a disease is not rhetoric to attract research dollars and public urgency.




Study supports claims of Agent Orange exposure after Vietnam War, February 26
Dr. Jeanne Mager Stellman, who authored the study, discusses findings that aircraft used to spray Agent Orange may have sickened service members who worked with the aircraft after the war.

Camels May Be Source of Mystery MERS Virus in Middle East,
February 25
Virus expert Dr. Ian Lipkin comments on results of a recent study linking camels to the spread of the MERS virus. “There are some areas where we found it in 100 percent of camels. So this is not an uncommon infection,” said Dr. Lipkin, who led the study published in the journal mBio.

Anti-gay communities linked to shorter lives: study, February 24
Dr. Mark Hatzenbuehler and colleagues sought to find out if an intolerant environment was tied to premature death among LGBT individuals. They found that "the size of the relationship between anti-gay prejudice and mortality was large."

Healthy Interest, February 19
Article spotlights a City Council award to Dr. Alwyn Cohall for Project STAY, which looks to improve the health of ex-cons.

Public Health Advocates Find Flame Retardant Fight Follows Familiar Formula, February 7
Public health historian Dr. David Rosner comments on the likelihood of a California case against flame retardent manufacturer Chemtura being overturned.

Fatal Car Crashes Involving Pot Use Have Tripled in U.S., Study Finds, February 4
Fatal crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade, fueling some of the overall increase in drugged-driving traffic deaths, Dr. Guohua Li reports.




Initiative Increases Focus on the Health of Boys, January 22
Dr. David Bell comments on a new web-based resource that helps healthcare providers to better engage adolescent and young-adult male patients.

Real Time Data Could Soon Provide Flu Forecast, January 13
Dr. Jeffrey Shaman talks about his accuracy rate in predicting flu and the number of people who are infected or susceptible. He also mentions the number of new infections in a week, and suggests that eventually flu forecasts will be used to help people, schools, and government agencies prepare sooner for outbreaks. See related New York Times article.

Mold, Mice and Zip Codes: Inside the Childhood Asthma Epidemic, January 3
As part of a special NBC Dateline investigation into the links between poverty and childhood asthma Dr. Matthew Perzanowski talked with Lester Holt about how asthma rates vary dramatically by neighborhood with poorer areas disproportionately affected.