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November 25, 2009

People of the Times

phil-williamsFaculty member Phil Williams has been named the holder of the Wesley W. Posvar Chair in International Security Studies in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). He also is the new director of the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, which is part of both GSPIA and the University Center for International Studies (UCIS).

Williams, who previously served as Ridgway Center director from 1992 to 2001, has published extensively in the field of international security, including the books “Crisis Management,” “The Senate and U.S. Troops in Europe” and, with Mike Bowker, “Superpower Detente: A Reappraisal.”

During the last 16 years, his research has focused primarily on transnational organized crime. Williams was founding editor of the journal Transnational Organized Crime and has edited several publications on combating organized crime and the trafficking of women.

Most recently, he has focused on alliances among criminal organizations, as well as on terrorist finances, drugs and violence in Mexico, and complexity theory and intelligence analysis.

In 2007-09, he was a visiting research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, where he wrote two monographs, “The New Dark Age: The Decline of the State and U.S. Strategy” and “Criminals, Militias and Insurgents: Organized Crime in Iraq.”

The University established the Posvar chair to honor the late Pitt chancellor Wesley Posvar, who died in 2001. Posvar, who had been a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, served as chancellor from 1967 to 1991 and was renowned for his early recognition of the importance of international studies, establishing UCIS during his years as Pitt’s leader. The Posvar Chair always is held by the professor who also serves as director of the Ridgway Center.

The Ridgway Center was established in 1988 under the auspices of GSPIA and UCIS. Dedicated to the American general whom many historians credit with saving the U.S. position after China’s intervention in the Korean War, the center addresses new security challenges facing the United States and the international community.

School of Law faculty member Harry J. Gruener received the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Law Alumni Association annual reception last month.

Gruener teaches courses in family law and family law drafting and is the director of the law school’s Family Law Clinic. He has been included in every edition of “The Best Lawyers in America” since 1991, has been named in every edition of Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Pittsburgh and was included as one of Pennsylvania’s Super Lawyers from 2004 to 2009. He received the law school’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005.

The 2009 Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Award was presented last week to Rohan Ganguli, professor of psychiatry, pathology and health and community systems at the School of Medicine and professor of psychiatry and Canada research chair at the University of Toronto.

The award was presented at the 26th annual Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Conference, the nation’s longest-running scientific meeting devoted to exploring the latest research findings related to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

Ganguli’s research focuses on reducing the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes in people with schizophrenia and other serious mental illness in order to increase their life expectancy, which currently is 25 percent lower than in the general population.

At the conference, Ganguli delivered a lecture titled “Closing the Mortality Gap: How to Live Longer So You Can Enjoy Your Recovery.”

Michael_ShulloMichael Shullo, a faculty member in pharmacy and therapeutics, will serve on a task force for the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplant to develop guidelines for immunosuppression and rejection management in heart transplant recipients.

Shullo’s clinical practice interests include solid organ transplantation, immunology and cardiology. His direct patient care practice is in thoracic transplantation with a specific interest in immunosuppressants and cardiovascular drug therapy.

Gerald Barron of the Department of Health Policy and Management was named the 2009 recipient of the Allegheny County Medical Society Benjamin Rush Individual Public Health Award. The award is given by ACMS to a individual in appreciation of outstanding volunteer contributions to the health and welfare of citizens of Allegheny County.

Barron is the director of public health consults and director of the Pennsylvania Preparedness Leadership Institute, both through the Graduate School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health Practice. From 1996 to 2006, he was the deputy director of the Allegheny County Health Department, capping off an association with that agency that began in 1971. Barron served as the president of the Pennsylvania Public Health Association from 2003 to 2005. In 2008, he was given the GSPH Distinguished Alumni Award.

Barron will be honored by ACMS in January.

UPMC recently announced that Thomas V. Inglesby is the new director and chief executive officer of the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC.

Inglesby has been the chief operating officer and deputy director of the Baltimore-based Center for Biosecurity since its founding in 2003 and is a faculty member in medicine and public health at Pitt’s School of Medicine and Graduate School of Public Health. An infectious disease physician by training, Inglesby was one of the founding members of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, where he served as deputy director from 2001 to 2003.

Inglesby has been an adviser to numerous government, scientific and academic organizations on issues related to biosecurity. He has served on committees of the Defense Science Board and the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences and most recently was appointed to the technical committee on national health security strategy and as a member of the Maryland governor’s H1N1 flu advisory board.

Inglesby was a principal designer, author and controller of the widely recognized Atlantic Storm exercise of 2005 and of the Dark Winter smallpox exercise of 2001. He is co-editor-in-chief of the journal Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice and Science and has authored a number of widely cited publications on anthrax, smallpox and plague and on a range of biosecurity issues, including medicine and hospital preparedness, scientific research strategy, pandemic response and national security.

The Center for Biosecurity is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen national security by reducing the risks posed by biological attacks, epidemics and other destabilizing events, and to improve the nation’s resilience in the face of such events.

Inglesby succeeds Tara O’Toole, who was appointed under secretary for science and technology in the Department of Homeland Security.

Pitt-Johnstown faculty members Malcolm and Diane Van Blerkom are the recipients of the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) Robert Griffin Award for Long and Outstanding Service. VanblerkomM

Malcolm Van Blerkom is  a  faculty member in educational psychology and interim chair of the Division of Education. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association. Last year he published a textbook titled “Measurement and Statistics for Teachers.”

Diane Van Blerkom is a faculty member in education. She is a member of the National Association for Developmental Education, and is the author of four textbooks on reading and study strategies; two of her texts are in their sixth edition.VanblerkomDiane

The Van Blerkoms have been members of CRLA for about 15 years and have served the organization in a variety of capacities. They helped to establish the media advisory board on which Diane Van Blerkom now serves.

Among his other activities, Malcolm Van Blerkom has been a long-standing member of CRLA’s editorial advisory board.

In 2007, the Van Blerkoms each received an award from CRLA for the Outstanding Article of the Year published in the Journal of College Reading and Learning.

Two members of the Pitt community were among the honorees at the annual YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh Racial Justice Awards, which were presented last week.

laurence glasco

Laurence Glasco, a faculty member in history, was honored in the education category. Glasco, who has taught African-American history at Pitt since 1969, is the author of two books about the history of black Pittsburgh.

george milesPitt trustee George L. Miles Jr. was honored as the president and CEO of WQED Multimedia, which won in the company or business category. Miles joined WQED as its CEO in 1994. During his tenure, he launched or maintained a variety of diverse programming, such as OnQ magazine, Rick Sebak’s Pittsburgh history series, T. J. Lubinsky’s music programs and Chris Fennimore’s cooking shows.


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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