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April 5, 2012

People of the Times

kumtaPrashant Kumpta, the Edward R. Weidlein Chair in the Swanson School of Engineering and the School of Dental Medicine, has been named one of India’s most cutting-edge minds by Forbes India magazine. The article said of Kumpta: “India is set to become one of the biggest consumers of electronic goods like mobile phones, cameras and laptops even before power infrastructure catches up. His work in energy storage will help.”

Kumpta holds appointments in the bioengineering, chemical and petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science, and the oral biology departments.

The Preeclampsia Foundation has named Sandra Founds of the School of Nursing and the Magee Womens Research Institute as one of two recipients of its 2011 Vision grants.

Vision grants fund medical research pertaining to the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of  hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The grants are intended to provide initial funding for novel rather than well-established lines of research.

Founds is a certified nurse-midwife and family nurse practitioner. Her team aims to develop a set of discovery-based genes from first-trimester placentas of women who subsequently developed preeclampsia.

The Vision grant will support translation of these predictive biomarkers to a multiplex serum profile of proteins for an early clinical screening test that could save lives and improve the health of mothers and babies by preventing preeclampsia.

allenAlaine Allen recently was honored by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) for her work as director of the Investing Now and Pitt EXCEL programs in the Swanson School of Engineering.

Investing Now, created in 1988, is a college preparatory program created to stimulate, support and recognize the high academic performance of pre-college students from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and careers.

Pitt EXCEL is a comprehensive diversity program committed to the recruitment, retention and graduation of engineering undergraduates, particularly individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in the field. Pitt EXCEL provides academic advising and counseling, tutoring and summer initiatives, including an engineering academy and internships.

For her work, Allen was given the 2012 Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year. The Golden Torch Award recognizes excellence among technical professionals; corporate, government and academic leaders, and university and pre-college students.

According to NSBE, these awards illustrate the possibilities that can be cultivated through support and responsibility.

BorovetzHarvey S. Borovetz, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, was named the recipient of the 2012 Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

The Biomedical Engineering Division (BED) of ASEE annually awards the Pilkington award for significant contributions to biomedical engineering education as evidenced by the development of successful undergraduate- or graduate-level programs, curricula and publications, as well as by membership and activities in ASEE/BED and other biomedical engineering organizations.

Borovetz is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering; a past member of the board of trustees of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs, and a past member of the board of directors of the Biomedical Engineering Society. He also has served as a panelist for the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding its National Technology Initiative.

His current research interests are focused on the design and clinical utilization of cardiovascular organ replacements for both adult and pediatric patients. Since 1986 he has headed the University’s clinical bioengineering program in mechanical circulatory support, a one-of-a-kind program that supports patients who are implanted with a left ventricular assist device or an artificial heart as a bridge to cardiac transplantation.

FielyStephanie Fiely, director of Student Activities at the Titusville campus, is a recipient of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) Legacy Award.

The Legacy Award is given to NACA leaders who have served the association in multiple roles as a volunteer.

Fiely began her connection to NACA as a student at Waynesburg University more than 16 years ago. Since that time, Fiely has served the association in a variety of roles including regional conference coordinator, regional coordinator for the NACA Mid Atlantic Region, educational programs coordinator for the national convention and most recently as the 2010 NACA national convention chairperson during the association’s 50th anniversary. In 2005, Fiely was awarded the NACA Mid Atlantic Regional Outstanding Professional Award.

During the School of Education’s 2012 Alumni Awards ceremony, the Council for Graduate Students in Education (CGSE) gave its Extra Mile Award 2012 to three faculty members who “exemplify the CGSE mission statement and take it the extra mile for graduate students in the School of Education.”

The three honorees were: Mary Margaret Kerr, Department of Administrative and Policy Studies; Lindsay Clare Matsumura, Department of Learning Sciences and Policy, and Michelle Sobolak, Department of Instruction and Learning.

In addition, this year CGSE created a recognition award and presented it to Associate Dean Jere Gallagher for her work with the organization.

UPMC faculty and staff have been recognized recently for their achievements. Among those whose work has been acknowledged are:

YealyDonald M. Yealy, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the School of Medicine and UPMC, is the recipient of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Leadership Award, which honors a SAEM member who has made exceptional contributions to emergency medicine through leadership locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. He will receive the award May 11.

In addition, Yealy is the recipient of the 2012 McEllroy Award. This award is presented annually by the Medical Alumni Association to an outstanding non-alumnus who undertook residency training at UPMC and honors achievements in the field of medicine. He will receive the award May 18 at the annual alumni reunion weekend.

Yealy has focused most of his research on clinical decision-making and the early care of life-threatening conditions, including community-acquired pneumonia, sepsis, acute heart failure and respiratory failure. In 2009, he received the Outstanding Contribution in Research Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians for his significant contributions to the field.

Yealy is co-editor of “The Trauma Manual: Trauma and Acute Care Surgery,” a practical guide to emergency and surgical care which has been adopted by many training programs throughout the nation since its publication in 1997.

He is an examiner for the American Board of Emergency Medicine, a member of the board of trustees of the SAEM Research Foundation and a liaison from the American College of Emergency Physicians to the National Institutes of Health.

Paul Paris, chief medical officer, Center for Emergency Medicine, and a faculty member in the School of Medicine, was recognized at the EMS TODAY conference in Baltimore as one of the EMS 10: Innovators in EMS 2011.

This national award, sponsored by JEMS/Elsevier Public Safety and Physio-Control, is given annually to the top 10 innovators who are models of high-quality service and have taken risks in an effort to advance the art and science of prehospital emergency care.

Paris was recognized for creating a partnership with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation in Pittsburgh to establish the first class of EMS Safety Fellowship/Quality Champions, a program to train local EMS providers and leaders in patient and provider safety issues.

Mary Duranti, director of the UPMC Disabilities Resource Center, has been appointed to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Health Policy Board. The board reviews rules and regulations prepared by the Department of Health and advises the state secretary of health on proposed regulations and the state health services plan. In addition, the board serves as an administrative body for appeals of licensure decisions.


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments.

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