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May 26, 2011

People of the Times

Lora E. Burke, a faculty member in the School of Nursing Department of Health and Community Systems, has received the Katherine A. Lembright Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Nursing Research from the Cardiovascular Nursing Council.

The award honors Pitt School of Nursing alumna Katharine A. Lembright who, as the American Heart Association’s assistant director for nursing 1960-81, played an important role in the development and growth of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing.

Burke also was honored by the UCLA School of Nursing as one of 60 distinguished alums in honor of the school’s 60th anniversary.

In addition, Burke received a $699,897 four-year award from the National Institutes of Health for her study, “Advancing Real Time Data Collection: Adaptive Sampling and Innovative Technology.”

Also at the nursing school, Paula Sherwood, a faculty member in the Department of Acute/Tertiary Care, was honored with the 2010 Distinguished Researcher Award from the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.

Sherwood also received a Fulbright Lecturing/Research Award in Finland for the 2011-12 academic year.prescott

John Prescott, Thomas O’Brien Chair of Strategy at the Katz Graduate School of Business, has been invited to join the editorial board of the Academy of Management Review.

John Murphy, a faculty member in the murphyDepartment of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, has been named president of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, a national professional society consisting of  about 14,000 members.

Two faculty members have received the 2011 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, which recognizes faculty for their mentoring of doctoral students.

The honorees are Jane Cauley, vice chair for research in the Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health; and Jennifer Grandis, the UPMC Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Cancer Surgical Research in the School of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology and director of the head and neck program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Cauley has spent the past 15 years examining the physical and psychological changes that occur in postmenopausal women. Her work has focused on the use of estrogen, the risks of hip fractures and the bone density and cholesterol levels of women who are going through menopause.

Cauley is a co-principal investigator for the Pitt site of the Women’s Health Initiative, a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored study. Her doctoral students have received fellowships and awards in recognition of their dissertation work — and have become faculty members and researchers holding leadership positions in their schools and in government research institutes. Cauley also has mentored students in other health-related disciplines, including nursing, audiology and physical and occupational therapy.

Grandis, who also is the assistant vice chancellor for research program integration in the Schools of the Health Sciences, began to focus on the biology of head and neck cancers during her medical training at Pitt’s School of Medicine. A physician-scientist, she has devoted her research career to studying the critical genetic alterations that characterize those cancers, with the ultimate goal of improving patient treatment and survival.

Grandis is senior editor for Clinical Cancer Research and the scientific editor for Cancer Discovery. She recently was elected to serve on the American Association for Cancer Research’s board of directors for the 2010-13 term.

Many of her doctoral students have developed careers as faculty members in tenure-stream positions and as researchers at cancer centers and hospitals.

On the national level, Grandis secured funding in 2005 for a conference on research training, which resulted in a new NIH funding opportunity aimed at training ear, nose and throat physicians to conduct research.

This is the sixth year the mentoring awards have been granted; each of the honorees received a cash prize of $2,500. The winners were selected from a pool of nominees whose names were submitted by Pitt doctoral students and faculty.

The Department of English recently announced a number of faculty honors.

colesNick Coles, director of composition, was elected president of the Working Class Studies Association. The association aims to develop and promote multiple forms of scholarship, teaching and activism related to working class life and cultures and to create partnerships that link scholarship with activism in labor, community and other working-class social justice organizations.

Coles teaches and writes about literacy and pedagogy, working-class literature, contemporary poetry and teacher-research. He also serves as field director of the National Writing Project, based at Berkeley, whose goal is to improve students’ writing and academic performance in K-12 schools.

Neepa Majumdar’s book, “Wanted Cultured Ladies Only! Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s to 1950s,” won an honorable mention in the Best First Book category of the 2010 Society for Cinema and Media Studies awards.

Majumdar, who also holds a faculty appointment in the film studies program, researches star studies, film sound, South Asian early cinema, documentary film and film history and historiography.

katzJoy Katz, an adjunct faculty member in the writing program, was named a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellow.

Six poems from her second book, “The Garden Room,” were set to music and premiered at the University of Nebraska Kearney New Music Festival in February.

Recent poems by Katz have appeared in “Ploughshares,” “Cincinnati Review” and “Notre Dame Review.”

Michael J. Fine, director of the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) and a faculty member in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the School of Medicine, has received the 2011 John M. Eisenberg Award for Career Achievement in Research from the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), a national organization of general internal medicine physicians working in U.S. academic medical centers.

fineThe award recognizes the career achievement of a senior SGIM member whose research has changed the way generalists care for patients, conduct research or educate students.

As director of CHERP, Fine has advanced the field of health research by developing a widely used conceptual framework for disparities research and making substantial contributions to the empirical medical literature in this field.

According to the VA, Fine’s work has transformed how generalists and pulmonary and infectious disease specialists manage pneumonia and has shaped national and international quality and efficiency standards for this illness.

Ty Ridenour, a faculty member in the  Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, will be presented with the Service to the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) Award on June 2, at the SPR annual meeting in Washington, D.C. SPR is an international society of researchers committed to developing and improving preventive interventions.

RidenourRidenour is director of the translation module of Pitt’s Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research. CEDAR includes a group of faculty representing the fields of genetics, methodology, psychiatry, prevention, developmental psychopathology and neuroscience.

In 2009, Ridenour began his term as chair of the Early Career Preventionist Network and as a board member of the Society for Prevention Research.

The women’s basketball team has announced two changes to its staff.

Meghan Bielich moves into the director of operations position after serving the past five years as the team’s video coordinator. In her new position, Bielich will coordinate and oversee travel for the Panthers. She also will serve as co-director of head coach Agnus Berenato’s summer basketball camps and as the program’s liaison within the athletics department. Bielich will coordinate the women’s basketball team’s community service efforts.

David Scarborough succeeds Bielich as the women’s basketball video coordinator. Scarborough was the men’s basketball director of operations at Robert Morris University the past two seasons. In that role, he developed and managed the team budget, coordinated travel and supervised the hiring and scheduling of student managers and graduate assistants.


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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