School of public health

School Notes: School of Public Health
November/December 2023

Megan L. Ranney |

COVID-19 boosting strategies for cancer patients

For most cancer patients, COVID-19 booster shots are about as protective against infection as they are for non-cancer patients, but there is one big exception, Yale School of Public Health researchers say in a new study. Cancer patients whose treatment therapies directly impact their immune response would benefit from a higher frequency of COVID-19 boosting, the study authors said. One out of three patients who receive an annual booster shot would still be vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 within two years without other interventions, according to the study. Getting a booster shot every three months would cut the risk to those patients by almost half, the authors said.

“These results are based on a typical patient with a typical immune response receiving common therapies,” said Professor Jeffrey Townsend, the study’s lead author. “It remains the case that every patient may have mitigating factors that doctors must consider when advising whether and when an additional COVID-19 booster schedule may be appropriate.”

New therapy supports LGBTQ+ mental health

Yale School of Public Health professor John Pachankis has received a nearly $4 million grant to implement LGBTQ+-affirmative cognitive behavioral therapy in 90 LGBTQ+ community centers nationwide. The five-year grant will be used to determine which of three different strategies is best to implement the novel therapy that Pachankis and his research team developed over the past ten years.

“The grant reflects a commitment on the part of our team and the funder [National Institute of Mental Health] to bring evidence-based mental health practice to LGBTQ people across the US, including those who might not otherwise receive high-quality care or any care,” said Pachankis, Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Public Health.   

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