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December 8, 2005


Bruce McClane, professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Pitt medical school, has been selected for a MERIT (Method to Extend Research In Time) award from the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This award provides up to 10 years of extended funding to an investigator “who has demonstrated superior competence and outstanding productivity.” Fewer than 5 percent of NIH-funded investigators are selected to receive MERIT awards.

McClane’s MERIT award will help sustain his NIAID-supported work on Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin, a virulence factor that causes the gastrointestinal symptoms of C. perfringens type A food poisoning, the third most common food-borne illness in the United States.

McClane also was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science and profession of microbiology.”

AAM is an honorific leadership group within the 40,000 member American Society of Microbiology that recognizes excellence, originality and creativity in all subspecialties of the microbiological sciences. Fellows are elected through a highly selective, peer-reviewed process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.


The Modern Language Association of America is awarding its 25th annual Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize to David Bartholomae, professor of English, for his book “Writing on the Margins: Essays on Composition and Teaching,” published by Bedford/St. Martin’s. The prize is awarded for an outstanding work in the fields of language, culture, literacy or literature with strong application to the teaching of English.

The award, which includes a $1,000 check, a certificate and a year’s membership in the association, will be presented at the MLA’s annual convention in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 28.

According to the awards committee’s citation, the winning book “illuminates David Bartholomae’s lifelong allegiance to composition theory, research and pedagogy. There is much to like in this inspiring and invaluable collection of essays on topics as critical and diverse as error, style, reading, theory and administration.”

Bartholomae has served on the executive council of the MLA and is the president-elect of the Association of Departments of English. He is the recipient of the Richard B. Braddock Award, a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America and a Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award at Pitt. Bartholomae is co-author of a series of textbooks and his articles and essays have appeared in such publications as PMLA, Critical Quarterly and College Composition and Communication.


J. Scott Yaruss, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), was named as a fellow by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Yaruss also is co-director of the Stuttering Center of Western Pennsylvania.

ASHA awards fellow status to those members who have made significant contributions of a national or international nature to their professions. The status of fellow is retained for life and is one of the highest honors awarded by ASHA.

Yaruss’s research focuses on the factors that lead to stuttering in children. He also works to improve clinical diagnosis and treatment of stuttering through assessment of current practices.

An active member of the stuttering research community, Yaruss has published nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles, monographs, books, chapters and other publications. He is associate editor of the Journal of Fluency Disorders and has served as a consultant to several other publications. Yaruss earned his master’s and doctorate in speech-language pathology at Syracuse University.


Karl H. Lewis, associate professor emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will be awarded the 2006 Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Academia by the National Society of Black Engineers. Lewis will be honored at an awards ceremony in March.

Golden Torch Awards honor individuals who have produced a consistent body of highly distinguished work, served as role models and advanced opportunities for African Americans in the engineering industry. The award further recognizes those whose accomplishments have enriched both their profession and the world with intelligence, talent and vision.

Lewis specializes in soil mechanics, seepage and groundwater, foundation engineering, design and construction of earth dams and pavement analysis and design. His current research interests include seepage into excavations, seepage characteristics of impoundments, dynamic properties of copper tailings, behavior of laterally loaded piers, geotechnical properties and consolidation behavior of industrial sludge, and analysis/design of culverts/tunnels built by the inflatable form process.

Lewis is the founder and past director of the Pitt Engineering Impact Program (1969-1999). He has been a member of the Maritime Transportation Research Board of Directors (National Research Council).

Lewis is a member of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, and the national honor societies Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, Pi Mu Epsilon and Chi Epsilon.

He also has served the Pittsburgh section of ASCE as a director and president of the associate member forum.


Savio L-Y. Woo, W.K. Whiteford Professor in the Department of Bioengineering; professor of mechanical engineering, and professor of rehabilitation science and technology, has been selected as the engineering school’s 2005-06 Board of Visitors Faculty Award recipient.

The award recognizes engineering faculty who have had productive academic years in areas such as program development, leadership in development of graduate research programs, meritorious recognition by peers at the national level and special recognition as a teacher.

The award carries a $4,000 grant in support of scholarly activity.

Woo’s accomplishments during the last year include serving as principal investigator on grants totaling more than $3.4 million and publishing 10 peer-reviewed articles, three book chapters and 15 referred proceedings. He also served as program director for the bioengineering department’s intramural and extramural internship/mentorship program.

Woo, who is founder and director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center, previously had been elected to the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering and Academia Sinica.

His research interests include biomechanics; experimental, theoretical and numerical analyses of the nonlinear material properties of biological tissues and new nonlinear viscoelastic theories for soft tissue; homeostasis of ligaments and tendons and their change following decreased or increased levels of applied stress and motion, and the methods to enhance the healing of the tendon, ligament and meniscus.


Emergency medicine physician Ronald N. Roth has been named Pennsylvania’s EMS physician of the year — an award bestowed by the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council. The award honors members who have made significant contributions to the field of emergency medicine.

Roth is associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Pitt’s medical school, chief of the department’s division of EMS and medical director of the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety.

Much of Roth’s academic career has been dedicated to prehospital care, paramedic education and emergency medical dispatching. He served as medical director for the UPMC-City of Pittsburgh Marathon and the 2005 Senior Olympic Games. His published materials have appeared in Annals of Emergency Medicine, Journal of Emergency Medical Services and Prehospital Emergency Care.

Roth earned a B.S. in biology from Penn State and his medical degree from Pitt, where he also completed his residency.

In 1987, Roth joined the Pitt faculty as clinical instructor of medicine in the Department of Medicine and later received two faculty appreciation awards from the residents of Pitt’s medical school. In 1995 he was named assistant professor of emergency medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine.


Douglas Fridsma, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the School of Medicine, has been honored for outstanding achievement in setting standards for clinical trial data. Fridsma, who also is a faculty member in the medical school’s Center for Biomedical Informatics, received the award from the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), which also elected him to its board of directors.

CDISC strives for the development of global, platform-independent data standards that allow various institutions to share information readily, especially clinical data gathered through research.

BRIDG (Biomedical Research Integration Domain Group), to which Fridsma has made significant contributions, is an important example of such a data-sharing system. BRIDG is a collaborative, open-source platform that translates data into a common language, both in syntax, or structure, and semantics, or meaning. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Health Level 7, an American National Standards Institute-accredited standards developing organization, and CDISC have joined efforts to produce BRIDG.

“Every group’s input is critical to developing a universal model for data exchange,” Fridsma said. “We’ve been successful at engaging all those groups and keeping them all at the table.”

Fridsma’s contributions to open-source platforms for data exchange have come largely from his work on the NCI cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG), which is focused on developing interoperability standards for cancer centers nationwide.


Barbara Burstin, a faculty member in the history departments at both Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, is the new chair of the Board of the United Jewish Federation (UJF) of Greater Pittsburgh.

UJF is one of western Pennsylvania’s leading philanthropies. It also serves as the central planning and fundraising organization for the Jewish community of Pittsburgh.

Burstin is the first educator to be elected as the top volunteer leader of the United Jewish Federation.

UJF, which engages more than 1,000 volunteers and has a staff of 50, distributes more than $24 million annually to meet health, social service and educational needs in Pittsburgh, Israel and throughout the world.

At Pitt Burstin teaches the “U.S. and the Holocaust” course and a course on the American Jewish experience. A recognized Holocaust educator, Burstin is the immediate past chair of UJF’s Holocaust Center. She also served on the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission for 14 years.

Burstin is a past president of the Hillel Jewish University Center, where she chaired the center’s capital campaign. She is a frequent lecturer on the history of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and currently is writing a book on that subject.

Burstin is the creator and director of the documentary film “Jewish Legacy: Pittsburgh,” chronicling the history of Jewish Pittsburgh over the past 150 years. The film was nominated for a regional Emmy Award.

Burstin is a recipient of the Sonia Aaron Levinson Community Relations Award, which recognizes individuals who pursue the Jewish ideals of social justice and concerns for all humankind. She has been honored by the Pittsburgh Chapter of Hadassah, the women’s division of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Society for Technion and has received the Natalie Novick Community Leadership Award.

She also won the Oskar Halecki Prize from the Polish-American Historical Society for her book “After the Holocaust: The Migration of Polish Jews and Christians to Pittsburgh."


Vikas Mittal, professor of business administration at Pitt, and colleague Wagner A. Kamakura, Ford Motor Co. Professor of Global Marketing at Duke University, have been named 2006 recipients of the William F. O’Dell Award by the Journal of Marketing Research (JMR).

Mittal and Kamakura were honored for their article “Satisfaction, Repurchase Intent and Repurchase Behavior: Investigating the Moderating Effect of Customer Characteristics,” published in the February 2001 issue of the JMR.

The article was cited as having made the most significant long-term contribution to marketing theory, methodology and/or practice.

The O’Dell Award will be presented at the American Marketing Association’s 2006 winter marketing educators’ conference in February.


Bernard D. Goldstein, who is stepping down as dean of the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) at the end of 2005, was awarded the 2005 Distinguished Service Award from the American College of Toxicology at its annual meeting last month.

The award recognizes Goldstein’s service and contributions to the field of toxicology and is the most prestigious award given by the American College of Toxicology.

Goldstein is an environmental toxicologist whose research interests have focused largely on the concept of biological markers in the field of risk assessment. He has published in the areas of blood toxicity, the formation of cancer-causing substances following exposure to inhalants, various aspects of public health decision-making and global issues in environmental health.

Goldstein has served as an officer with the U.S. Public Health Service and as an assistant administrator for research and development at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This fall, Goldstein and his wife, Russellyn Carruth, an adjunct professor in Pitt’s School of Law, created the Goldstein Award to support two GSPH students — one student from the Center for Minority Health who is exploring the environmental causes of health disparities, and the other student, working with the Center for Public Health Practice, who is focusing on an area in public health practice. The award provides partial support for tuition.

The inaugural winners of the Goldstein Award are K. Leroy Irvis fellow Roderick L. Harris, for his outstanding research and application of information technology in creating model curriculum for cultural competency training, developing evaluation instruments and creating a toolbox of web-based resources for public health and health care utilization data, and Diane L. Downie for her work on the study “Public Health Workforce Recruitment, Retention, and Promotion in the Civil Service System.”

Downie is a master’s candidate in the Department of Infectious Disease and Microbiology and a research assistant at the Center for Public Health Practice


Elaine Trefler, assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), was awarded the 2005 lifetime achievement award of the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS).

NRRTS is dedicated to ensuring that people with disabilities are able to obtain high-quality rehabilitation technology and related services.

Through her work at SHRS, Trefler has collaborated with NRRTS to provide members with educational programs, including a review course for preparation for the Rehabilitation, Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America credentialing exam and the assistive technology training distance education program.


Lisa Fiorentino, assistant professor of nursing at Pitt’s Bradford campus, was chosen to be part of a four-member team that evaluated the nursing program at Salish Kootenai College (SKC) in Montana.

Fiorentino, who also is director of Pitt-Bradford’s radiological science program, was part of a team representing the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Last month, this team evaluated the Associate of Science in Nursing and RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs at Salish Kootenai College. The institution is a tribal college of the Flathead Nation of Indians, located on the Flathead Reservation in the Rocky Mountains, and is the third largest of 26 tribal colleges in the United States.

“It was most interesting to learn how tribal culture was infused across the learning community and within the various college curricula,” Fiorentino said. “Colleges tend to resemble one another, but SKC was unique.”

Fiorentino said the conceptual model, which illustrated the framework for the nursing curriculum, was the Medicine Wheel, symbolizing the holistic nature and connectedness of all things, with six feathers representing each of the six major educational outcomes.

Fiorentino was nominated to be a program evaluator in 1999 and since that time has evaluated several nursing programs across the United States.


Jeanine Lawn, assistant director of financial aid at Pitt-Johnstown, has been named director of financial aid.

A 2000 UPJ graduate, Lawn has been assistant director for five years.

Lawn is a member of the National and Eastern Associations of Student Financial Aid Administrators and is active in the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.


Katherine Verdolini, associate professor in communication science and disorders in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), has been named editor of The Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, a publication of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

The bi-monthly journal features studies of the processes and disorders of hearing, language and speech, and the diagnosis and treatment of such disorders.


School of Nursing faculty member Judith A. Erlen was honored by the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania for excellence in nursing research. Erlen is a professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Development, doctoral program coordinator, associate director in the Center for Research in Chronic Disorders and director of the Technology: Research in Chronic and Critical Illness training grant.

Erlen’s research focuses on her interests in patients with chronic disorders, medication adherence, quality of life and ethics. Combining these multiple interests has led to her studies of medication adherence in patients infected with HIV and to her work on medication-taking practices among community-dwelling patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania presents annual awards to exceptional nurses practicing in the commonwealth.


Scott Mark, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, will serve a two-year term on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Foundation research advisory panel. The foundation is committed to fostering research in the areas of medication safety and clinical pharmacy practice innovations.

The foundation’s research advisory panel consists of pharmacy research experts to help guide the foundation in its research efforts and assist the board and staff in establishing research priorities and identifying funding opportunities.


Staff member Justin Stewart has been named Pittsburgh Service & Support Professionals 2005 Pittsburgh Help Desk Analyst of the Year. He won the award Dec. 1 at the organization’s annual awards dinner.

Stewart, who this month will complete a Pitt degree in information science, is a support analyst/systems analyst III with the Financial Information Systems (FIS) support desk. He has been with the FIS support desk for two years as a full-time employee, and previously had worked for the support desk as a student employee. He was recognized for a number of accomplishments at FIS, including developing a new-user training class, Root Cause Analyst project work and preparing documentation.

In the nomination form, Stewart’s manager Ivy Novick noted, “Justin is the ‘go-to’ person for our team. He shows excellent leadership skills, he has an exceptional personality and all of our customers love him.”

Stewart now moves on to the Help Desk Institute’s National Help Desk Analyst of the Year competition, which begins with a regional award program early in 2006.

Pittsburgh Service & Support Professionals is a local chapter of the Help Desk Institute (HDI), the world’s largest membership association for the service and support industry.


Thomas Headley, executive director of Westmoreland Heritage, has been appointed to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission for a three-year term.

Part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the commission works with federal, state and local authorities to preserve and promote the iron, steel and coal heritage in a nine-county region.

Westmoreland Heritage, based at Pitt-Greensburg, is a countywide partnership of organizations and individuals that expands historical tourism in the area and supports the education of county residents about local history.

Westmoreland Heritage co-sponsors the St. Clair Lecture at UPG, which brings a scholar to campus to discuss an important aspect of the county’s history.

Westmoreland Heritage also supports the Westmoreland County Historical Society’s St. Clair awards program, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have made contributions to preserving and promoting the county’s history.

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