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June 9, 2011

People of the Times

Samuel Stebbins, director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), has been recognized by the Pittsburgh-based Minority Emergency Preparedness Task Force (MEPTF) for his outstanding commitment and dedication to its goals. Stebbins has served on the task force since its inception three years ago.

MEPTF advocates for specific emergency preparedness needs of the racially disparate communities through coordinated assessment, mitigation and recovery initiatives. After initiating the only citizens emergency response team in Allegheny County (located in the Arlington Heights housing community), MEPTF has expanded its agenda to include projects involving minority preparedness, sudden infant death syndrome awareness and prevention, violence prevention, personal safety and caregiving.

The task force is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and is funded in part by the Birmingham Foundation. Membership includes a wide variety of agencies, such as GSPH, the City of Pittsburgh EMS, American Red Cross, Allegheny County departments of health, human services and aging, UPMC, One Vision/One Life and Voices Against Violence.

The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) selected Patrick Mullen, assistant director of the School of Arts and Sciences Advising Center, as an Administrators Institute Award recipient for his dedication and leadership to the advising program at Pitt.

Since 1983, NACADA has honored individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising.

The goals of NACADA are to promote high-quality academic advising and professional development of its membership and to enhance the educational development of students. Mullen will be honored during NACADA’s annual conference in Denver, Oct. 2-5.

Chandralekha Singh, a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was elected to the four-year chair line of the American Physical Society (APS) Forum on Education. The forum seeks to involve its members in activities related to physics education at all educational stages, from elementary to graduate school to lifelong learning.Singh

Singh will be responsible for overseeing the invited sessions at the two national APS meetings, the publication of three newsletters and communications with the executive members of other APS units on issues including co-organizing the invited and plenary sessions at various meetings.

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, part of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, announced recently that Lee Ann Munger, director of the institute’s Center for Women in Business, has been nominated by Gov. Tom Corbett to serve on the State Charter School Appeal Board. The position will allow Munger to apply her professional expertise to evaluating appeals from applicants whose charters have been denied by their local school district.

In her role as director of the institute’s Center for Women in Business, Munger works through the PowerLink program to create for-profit advisory boards for women-owned businesses. The boards create a customized match between the owners’ strengths and a team of experts including CEOs, CPAs, strategic marketers and other professionals.

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, a virologist who accepted the Nobel Prize in Medicine for research that led to the identification of the human immunodeficiency virus, is the 2011 recipient of the Graduate School of Public Health Porter Prize in recognition of her outstanding achievements promoting health and preventing disease through her contributions to HIV/AIDS research.barre-sinoussi

GSPH bestowed the award on Barré-Sinoussi last month, following her scientific lecture on the diverse host responses to HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus infection and a community lecture on the global benefit of multidisciplinary science in researching HIV.

Barré-Sinoussi is the director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. She and Luc Montagnier received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 for their discovery of HIV, which stemmed from Barré-Sinoussi’s 1983 publication that reported the discovery of a retrovirus in a patient at risk for AIDS.

Along with her research activities, Barré-Sinoussi is president of the scientific committee of the National Agency for AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Research and heads the agency site in Southeast Asia.

Established in 1983 by the Health Education Center, the Porter Prize is named in honor of the center’s founding chair, Milton Porter.

Since 1999, the prize has been administered by GSPH with support from the Adrienne and Milton Porter Charitable Foundation.

Several faculty members in the Schools of the Health Sciences recently were acknowledged with awards or accolades.

Michael Beach of the School of Nursing’s Department of Acute and Tertiary Care received a $100,000 award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to provide $10,000 scholarships for 10 second-degree students during next fall and spring terms.michael_beach

Beach, who has worked in the tri-state area in search and rescue and disaster management for the past 15 years, leads the new trauma and emergency preparedness sub-specialty within the acute care nurse practitioner area of concentration. Through this emphasis, students are trained in disaster and mass casualty care.

Kathryn Puskar, coordinator of the psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist program at the nursing school,kathryn_puskar received the 2010 Ellen Rudy Clore Excellence in Research Writing Award from the Journal of Pediatric Health Care for an article she co-authored entitled, “Identification of Suicide Risk Among Rural Youth: Implications for the Use of HEADSS (Home, Education, Activities, Drug use and abuse, Sexual behavior and Suicidality).”

Puskar’s research interests focus on adolescent health, life transitions, depression and coping methods.

Paul A. Moore, who chairs the Department of Dental Anesthesiology at the School of Dental Medicine, was invited to represent the dental profession on the U.S. surgeon general’s expert panel on “Prescription Drug Abuse in Youth,” which convened in Washington, D.C. Moore discussed abuse issues in the health care setting.

• Also at the School of Dental Medicine, Alexandre Vieira of the Department of Oral Biology was appointed to the board of directors of the Society for Clinical and Translational Science (SCTS).

vieiraVieira researches the genetics of oral facial clefts, caries and periodontal diseases.

SCTS was created by the National Institutes of Health in 2006 to  heighten awareness of the discipline of clinical and translational science in academic institutions, industry and philanthropy, as well as among the broader public and governmental leaders at the local, state and national levels.

David Fitz has been named vice president for Academic Affairs at the Titusville campus, effective July 1. Fitz will be responsible for all aspects of academic affairs, including faculty affairs, curriculum review and academic records and registration. He also will serve as a member of the UPT president’s senior staff.fitz

Fitz comes to Pitt-Titusville after having served as the academic vice president for five years at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill. His administrative credentials at MacMurray include serving as assistant vice president for academic affairs, interim chair of the Department of Education, chair of the Department of History and Political Science and member of the faculty status committee.

Fitz earned his PhD in political science at Pitt.

Pitt-Bradford has named Britt Moore as the new head coach of the men’s basketball team. Moore has spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Albright College in Reading, Pa., including the last two as associate head coach.

Moore helped guide the Albright Lions to a 99-57 record, posting 15 or more victories in five of his six seasons as a coach.

The team won the 2010 Middle Atlantic Commonwealth Conference championship.


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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