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November 21, 2002


The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) honored 12 of its physicians, researchers and staff members for their outstanding achievements in cancer research, support and care. Bestowed annually, the UPCI Leadership Awards acknowledge those individuals who have demonstrated leadership in community service, patient care, scientific research, clinical research and technical support.

Jill Siegfried, co-director of the Lung Cancer Center at UPCI, was awarded the UPCI Scientific Leadership Award for her seminal work in discovering the biological processes that underlie lung cancer development and for her discovery of an X-linked gene that may increase risk for lung cancer in women.

Under Siegfried's leadership, UPCI received its first-ever National Cancer Institute Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) award — a prestigious and competitive award that has helped launch several studies to enhance understanding of lung cancer by improving methods for early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

This year's Leo H. Criep Excellence in Patient Care Award was awarded to Mounzer Agha, a clinical assistant professor of medicine, for the compassionate care he brings to patients and for his ability to address to patients' concerns, thoughtfully answer questions and provide needed comfort. For the past two years, Agha has directed UPCI's outpatient stem cell transplant program — a state-of-the-art treatment option for patients with lymphoma or leukemia.

Georgia I. Colangelo was honored with the UPCI Excellence in Patient Care Award for her optimistic demeanor and attentive patient care that has given patients the strength and hope they need to confront cancer. Colangelo is frequently recognized by co-workers for her leadership abilities and the integrity she brings to her work. She also is active in her community, taking on leadership roles in the Girl Scouts and her Parent Teacher Organization.

UPCI's Excellence in Administration and Technical Support Award was given to both Cheryl A. Steele, clinical director of outpatient services at the Hillman Cancer Center, and Joan Neitznick, administrator for the division of basic research at the Hillman Cancer Center.

Steele, also an adjunct faculty member at the School of Medicine, joined UPCI in 1989 and contributed her 20 years of expertise in management to the design and planning of the clinical services at the Hillman Cancer Center. In addition to her dedication to patient care services, she has lectured internationally and published articles on clinical cancer care.

Neitznick, who has nearly 28 years of service to the University, coordinates the basic research programs at the Hillman Cancer Center, ensuring that everything runs smoothly for more than 70 of its faculty researchers and their staff. She addresses a wide variety of needs of faculty, technicians and secretarial staff.

Both Steele and Neitznick were lauded particularly for the central and essential roles that they played in the efficient occupancy and recent opening of the clinical and research pavilions of the Hillman Cancer Center.

Several new Clinical Research Activities Awards were added to the Leadership Awards Program this year. Samuel Jacobs, associate director of clinical investigations, presented these awards to honor "individuals who made exceptional contributions to the design, implementation and coordination of clinical trials."

Matthew Sulecki, Barry Lembersky and Martin Earle were honored with the Excellence in Clinical Investigations Award for their contribution to the overall success of the clinical trials program at UPCI.

Adam Brufsky was awarded with the Excellence in Innovative Trial Development to recognize his success designing and implementing a clinical trial of taxotere, carboplatin and herceptin in women with advanced breast cancer.

To acknowledge their skills in coordinating and managing clinical trials, Mary Tipton, Darrell Lis and Julie Ward were honored with the Excellence in Coordination of Clinical Research Award.


Susan A. Albrecht, associate dean of development and student affairs at the School of Nursing, was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Individuals who are inducted into the academy are recognized by their peers for having made outstanding contributions to the field of nursing.


Walt A. Stoy, associate professor and director of the Emergency Medicine Program at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), received the highest honor awarded by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), the Rocco V. Morando Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award is described by NAEMT as being "the most prestigious award in the nation for visionaries who have helped shape pre-hospital emergency medicine since its infancy."

Stoy was recognized for his efforts in the 1990s to revitalize the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) curricula by serving as principal investigator and/or project director for the revision of the National Standard Curriculum for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The programs revised under his direction serve as the backbone for the current national EMS education system. During this time, Stoy also became the founding father of the National Association of Emergency Medical Services Educators (NAEMSE) and served as their first president in 1995.

Locally, Stoy developed the bachelor's of science in emergency medicine degree program at SHRS. Stoy also is director of the Office of Education and International Emergency Medicine at the Center for Emergency Medicine.

Stoy earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in education and administration, and his doctoral degree in education, instruction and learning, all at Pitt.

He received an associate's degree in EMS from the Community College of Allegheny County, and has served as a City of Pittsburgh Paramedic and flight paramedic for the Center for Emergency Medicine Stat MedEvac program.

The award was presented to Stoy at the October NAEMT conference. The award is named after Rocco V. Morando, founder of the National Registry for EMTs, which sets the standard for the national EMT certification.


In recognition of his outstanding work in the field of health promotion and disease prevention, Gordon H. DeFriese was awarded the 2002 Adrienne and Milton Porter Prize for Excellence in Promoting Health Nov. 18.

The prize is administered by the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and carries a $10,000 award that is intended to encourage the study, teaching and practice of health promotion. DeFriese serves on the GSPH board of visitors. He is a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and president and CEO of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, which develops health policy recommendations.

Pitt-Johnstown coach Clyde Horner recently reached a milestone victory, posting his 600th win.

Horner began his tenure at the Johnstown campus coaching men's soccer for six seasons beginning in 1969. In the six years, he recorded a 22-22 (.500) overall record.

From 1975 to 1982, Horner posted a 146-25 (.854) record as the Lady Cats basketball coach before being named men's basketball coach prior to the 1982-83 season. After going 43-85 (.333) in five seasons as the men's basketball coach, Horner stepped aside and became the head women's track coach in 1987. From 1987 through the present season, Horner has led the Lady Cats track team to a 108-38 (.740) record.

Horner also coached the women's volleyball team in 1988 and 1989, then from 1991 through the present, where he has a 283-129 (.678) record. Included in the volleyball record is this year's 24-6 overall record.

In all, Horner has won 100 or more games or matches in women's basketball, women's track and women's volleyball.

Horner's women's basketball team posted a 21-0 record in 1976 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation in 1979. The following season, Horner led the Lady Cats to the Final Four.

Following another successful volleyball season, Horner has posted a 602-299 (.670) overall record at Pitt-Johnstown.

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