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February 8, 2007


William D. Heller, a Facilities Management staff member, has been selected to join the Pennsylvania Strike Team 1, a regional organization geared to provide urban search and rescue capabilities and to respond to hazards.

Founded in 1998, the organization plans for a potential domestic terrorism event, as well as other special rescue situations, from a regional perspective.

Heller will join a team of rescue specialists who serve the more than 3 million people in a 13-county area of western Pennsylvania as part of the Pennsylvania Region 13 Task Force.

The task force boasts strong relationships with local, county, state and federal organizations that formalize mutual aid and intergovernmental agreements to respond to weapons of mass destruction, chemical emergencies and other human-made and natural disasters.


Albert L. Etheridge, president of the Johnstown campus, has been awarded a certificate of meritorious service and life membership from the South Asian Literary Association, a allied organization of the Modern Language Association of America.

The award recognizes Etheridge for his pluralistic view of American education and culture, and for his ongoing contributions to:

• The encouragement of multicultural literature.

• The establishment of a home at UPJ for the South Asian Review, the refereed journal of the literary association.

• The establishment of a representative international scholarly forum for the examination of South Asian languages and literature in a broad cultural context.

• Generous support to the journal and its editor, Kamal D. Verma, UPJ professor of English.

Etheridge is retiring from UPJ on June 30.


David A. Vorp, associate professor of bioengineering and surgery, was elected to the board of directors of the Biomedical Engineering Society for a three-year term.

Vorp recently was named to the executive committee of the bioengineering division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and to the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology.

He also was named to the editorial board of the Journal of Biomechanics, and is director of the newly created Center for Vascular Remodeling and Regeneration.


Daniel Budny, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and academic director of engineering freshman programs, received the 2006 American Society of Engineering Education Distinguished Service Award in the educational research and methods division.


Ching-Chung Li, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and in the Arts and Sciences Department of Computer Science, was inducted as a fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR) at the 2006 international conference on pattern recognition held in Hong Kong.

IAPR is composed of nonprofit, scientific and professional organizations that focus on pattern recognition, computer vision and image processing.


Bopaya Bidanda, chair and Ernest E. Roth Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, has joined the board of trustees of the Institute of Industrial Engineers as the senior vice president of continuing education.

Bidanda also is serving as chair of the Council of Industrial Engineering Academic Department Heads.


Among faculty in the Schools of the Health Sciences whose work recently has been acknowledged with awards and accolades are the following:

• Jeannette South-Paul, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the School of Medicine, has been selected to receive the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s 2007 Pride in the Profession Award.

The Pride in the Profession Awards were created by the AMA Foundation to honor physicians who, through their service, have brought a sense of pride to the medical profession and whose actions promote the art and science of medicine and the advancement of public health.

South-Paul, one of only four physicians to receive the award in 2007, is being honored for her efforts in helping patients who are poor, disabled or disadvantaged through a medical career that has been guided by a special interest in providing care for the underserved and underrepresented and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in medicine.

• The American Pharmacists Association Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management has selected Melissa Somma, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at the School of Pharmacy and director of the Rite Aid/University of Pittsburgh Patient Care Initiative, to receive its merit award in community and ambulatory practice.

Somma was chosen based on her extensive contributions to community pharmacy practice. She will receive the award at the APhA annual meeting awards ceremony March 18.

• Charles F. Reynolds III, UPMC Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry, School of Medicine, has been named a recipient of the American College of Psychiatrists’ (ACP) Award for Research in Geriatric Psychiatry for his contributions to the field.

Reynolds’s career has focused on clinical research in mood and sleep disorders of later life. He also has developed tools for young physicians to help increase the recruitment and retention of junior investigators in geriatric psychiatry.

Reynolds will receive the award at the ACP annual meeting this month.

• Douglas Kondziolka, vice chairman of neurological surgery and professor of radiation oncology at the School of Medicine, recently was installed as president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, an international organization dedicated to promoting public welfare through the advancement of neurosurgery with a commitment to excellence in education, and by dedication to research and scientific knowledge. Kondziolka will hold the position through September. He also was installed as the Peter J. Jannetta Professor of Neurological Surgery at a ceremony held on Dec. 19.

• The Scleroderma Foundation has appointed Carol Feghali-Bostwick, assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, to its board of directors. Feghali-Bostwick will serve a three-year term on the board of the Scleroderma Foundation, which is an organization that serves the interests of people with scleroderma, an autoimmune disease noted for the thickening and tightening of the skin.

The foundation has 21 chapters and 175 support groups nationwide and each year funds at least $1 million of new grants for scleroderma research.

• Susan Albrecht, associate professor and associate dean for student and alumni services, development and public relations at the School of Nursing, has been elected to the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) board of directors for 2007. AWHONN focuses its efforts on the delivery of care to women and newborns in hospitals as well as in home care and ambulatory care settings.

Albrecht has been a member of AWHONN for more than a decade, and she has chaired a number of advisory panels and led a smoking cessation project for the organization.

• Malcolm McNeil, Distinguished Service Professor and chair in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, has been awarded a Research Career Scientist appointment by the Veterans Administration (VA).

The Research Career Scientist designation recognizes McNeil’s achievements and contributions to the advancement of science, the VA research service and national and international research communities, as well as his collaboration with and mentoring of other scientists. One of a select group of researchers to receive this honor, McNeil will receive support for his study of the language disorder aphasia and the motor speech disorder apraxia, both of which frequently result from stroke.


Gary T. Dovey has been named director of the Business Resource Center at the Bradford campus.

Dovey will manage the operations of the center, which helps entrepreneurs achieve successful business start-ups and helps existing businesses with expansion and retention planning and grant research and writing.

Dovey most recently was the new industry manager for the Oil Region Alliance, a nonprofit economic development agency based in Venango County. His accomplishments there included leading the recruitment of businesses to the Barkeyville Industrial Park, which is now at capacity.

Prior to that, Dovey worked in the private sector and spent 10 years in the U.S. military as a policeman.


Perla Ilagan, assistant professor of nursing at Pitt-Bradford, has been named an ambassador to the National League for Nursing, where she will help the nursing education community advance excellence and transform nursing education.

The National League for Nursing works to advance excellence in nursing education by preparing the nursing workforce to meet the needs of diverse populations in an ever-changing health care environment.

Ilagan will help to foster the relationship between the Pitt-Bradford nursing department and the NLN, which is the accrediting agency for nursing education.


Shailendra Gajanan, associate professor of economics at Pitt-Bradford, has been selected to coordinate the Pitt in India program for summer 2007.

The program, which gives students the opportunity to study in India, runs June 9-Aug. 1 and is based at the University of Hyderabad. This is the first time a Pitt-Bradford professor has been chosen to coordinate the program.

Students in the program are required to take two or three courses. Credits earned can be used for an Asian studies certificate, a product realization certificate or a certificate in international business.

Along with coordinating the program, Gajanan also will teach two courses, “Modern Indian Economy” and “Design and Development.”

In addition to classes, the program includes weekly trips to local sites, and also to local businesses, companies, factories and call centers. Students also take a 10-day trip to north India to visit the Taj Mahal, palaces in Jaipur, archeological sites in New Delhi and other places of historical importance.

To be eligible for the program, students must have a 2.75 quality point average and have completed two semesters at a Pitt campus.

More information about the program can be found at The deadline to apply is March 2.


Pitt-Greensburg professor Jeffrey Sposato’s book investigating Felix Mendelssohn’s Jewish heritage, a finalist for a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, was named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2006 by Choice magazine.

“The Price of Assimilation: Felix Mendelssohn and the Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitic Tradition” was one of 13 music titles singled out in the magazine’s January issue.

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