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September 30, 2010

People of the Times

chu_edwardEdward Chu, an internationally renowned expert in the biology and treatment of colorectal cancer, has been named chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the School of Medicine and deputy director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI).

Before coming to UPCI, Chu served as a professor of medicine and pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine, chief of the section of medical oncology and deputy director of the Yale Cancer Center.

Chu is well-recognized for his contributions in understanding the action of anti-metabolites in cancer therapy. His findings have been published in more than 160 publications and his work has been funded through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Veterans Administration merit program. He has served as a member of numerous editorial boards and has been an active member of the peer review process, serving as a member and chair of the National Institutes of Health/NCI experimental therapeutics 1 study section.

In 1987, he began training in medical oncology at NCI, where he extended his interest in cancer pharmacology and gastrointestinal oncology, and he served as a tenured senior clinical investigator in the NCI-Navy medical oncology branch in Maryland.

Pitt has named Everette James as associate vice chancellor for health policy and planning at the Schools of the Health Sciences. James, currently serving as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, will assume this newly created position on Oct. 1.

James, who also will hold the title of professor of health policy and management at the Graduate School of Public Health, will be engaged in teaching, student advising and collaborative research among the six health sciences schools, as well as between the University and UPMC in the area of health policy.

He also will advise on legal issues related to new delivery models driven by health reform, and monitor, analyze and provide guidance on emerging health reform issues and reimbursement models.

As secretary of the health department since 2008, James has overseen the regulation of all hospitals, nursing homes and managed care plans in Pennsylvania, as well as the implementation of sweeping state and federal health reforms.

Prior to his appointment as secretary, James served as a senior adviser to the governor, counseling on health care issues affecting the commonwealth.

Before that, James was partner in the Washington, D.C., law office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene and MacRae with a practice focused on health, safety and insurance regulatory and compliance matters. James also served as senior adviser and deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

newman_anne.JPGAnne B. Newman, an internationally known expert in aging and public health, has been chosen to lead the Department of Epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH).

The recipient of numerous federal grants, Newman focuses on the medical, behavioral and genetic determinants of healthy aging. She has found that diseases while still in the early and asymptomatic stages can affect physical, cognitive and muscle function, and contribute to frailty as people age. Her work on body composition and fitness established the negative impact of high body fat on strength and walking performance, and demonstrated the importance of fitness to overall function in aging.

Newman has been a faculty member in epidemiology at GSPH since 2005 and directs the school’s Center for Aging and Population Health.

Pitt’s School of Nursing faculty recently have been recognized with awards:

• Lora Burke, a faculty member in nursing and epidemiology in the Department of Health and Community Systems, was elected chair of the American Heart Association Scientific Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism. She will serve in this role until 2012.

Burke also was appointed as a member of the clinical and integrative diabetes and obesity study section at the National Institutes of Health. She will serve in that role until 2013.

• Michael W. Neft, a faculty member in the Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, was selected to serve as chair of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists’ professional practice committee. Neft also was elected secretary of the Pennsylvania Association  of  Nurse  Anesthetists.

• Gail Wolf, a faculty member in the Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, received a Nursing Excellence in Teaching and Technology Award for her project, “The Virtual Hospital: A Simulation for Healthy Decision Making.” Through this project, students are able to experiment with solutions to real-life problems facing today’s health care leaders.

Shapiro_SteveUPMC last week announced the appointment of Steven Shapiro to the newly created role of chief medical and scientific officer. Shapiro serves as Jack D. Myers Professor of Medicine and chair of the medical school’s Department of Medicine.

As a member of UPMC’s executive team, Shapiro will provide medical leadership for a wide range of quality improvement, patient safety and care management initiatives that further the development of innovative and cost-effective treatments across the health system.

Shapiro also will spearhead scientific investigations into new models for understanding and addressing aggressive disease while minimizing over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

Initiatives under his leadership will bridge UPMC’s hospital division,  physician division and insurance division, and guide UPMC in driving the future of medicine and patient care.

Prior to joining Pitt and UPMC, Shapiro was the Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief, Pulmonary and Critical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

He will remain as chair of Pitt’s Department of Medicine while the search for his successor proceeds.

Raman_VenkataramananRaman Venkataramanan, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School of Pharmacy, was appointed as editor in chief of the American Journal of Analytical Chemistry.

Venkataramanan, who joined the Pitt faculty in 1980, also holds a faculty appointment in pathology at the School of Medicine and is a member of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, the Center for Clinical Pharmacology, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. He is the director of the Clinical Pharmacokinetics Laboratory.

Robert E. Schoen, a faculty member in medicine and epidemiology and a leader in the field of early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer, last week received the Sadie Gerson Distinguished Scholar Award.

The award was established in 2009 by Sandy Gerson Snyder in memory of her mother, Sadie Gerson, who died from colon cancer at the age of 51. The award supports educational programs for faculty and staff at the School of Medicine as well as the community at large, with the goal of broadening horizons and pushing the boundaries of knowledge as scientists, physicians and patients work together in the fight against colorectal cancer.

LeadbetterMegan Leadbetter has been named director of Admissions at the Titusville campus. Leadbetter joined Pitt-Titusville in 2008 as an admissions counselor and was promoted to assistant director of Admissions in 2009.

In her new position, Leadbetter will assume direct responsibility for UPT’s overall recruiting process with a focus on strengthening relationships with high schools in western Pennsylvania.

In the coming year, she will lead an effort to visit more than 100 high schools and participate in 25 college fairs with the goal of increasing the quality of students who apply directly to Pitt-Titusville.

Leadbetter is a 2007 graduate of Clarion University where she earned her B.S. in speech communications. She currently is enrolled at Walden University pursuing her master’s degree in higher education with a concentration in enrollment management.

Also on the Titusville campus, the UPT Learning Center has a new director and new staff members.

The new staff is led by Joanne Burgert, who comes to UPT after serving for 10 years as the director of learning support at Pitt-Bradford. In addition, Burgert was the coordinator of UPB’s freshman learning cluster program and a faculty member in education.

Assisting Burgert in the Learning Center are Shannon Barrios and Jillian Wooldridge.

In addition to tutoring, Barrios teaches Spanish and instruction and learning courses at UPT. She earned a B.A. from Bucknell University with a double major in English literature and music. Her master’s in public administration degree is from Columbia University.

Wooldridge is an electronics instructor at the Erie Institute of Technology and is teaching the freshman engineering seminar at UPT this year.

She earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Penn State-Behrend where she worked as a math tutor for three years. She also holds a B.A. in secondary mathematics education from Mercyhurst College and an MEd in curriculum and instruction from Gannon University.


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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