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July 7, 2011

People of the Times

Linda Siminerio, executive director of the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute, recently received the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award. The award is presented to an individual who demonstrates significant contributions to the understanding of diabetes education, has spent many years of effort in the field and has benefited recipients of education.

SiminerioLindaSiminerio, who also holds faculty appointments in the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing, is one of the first pediatric diabetes educators in the United States and has helped to establish 46 ADA-recognized diabetes self-management programs in Pennsylvania. She also has served on the Pennsylvania Chronic Care Commission, whose efforts are aimed at improving services to people with diabetes.

Siminerio is the author of the National Standards for Diabetes Education and the International Diabetes Standards and Curriculum.

She has served as senior vice president for the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and as chair of the IDF World Congress in 2009. She was the editor-in-chief of Diabetes Forecast and is a past president of Health Care and Education for the American Diabetes Association.

Stephen C. Cook has been named director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Center at Children’s Hospital and UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI).

CookCook comes to Children’s Hospital and HVI from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he served as assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine and director of non-invasive imaging and research for the adolescent and young adult congenital heart disease program.

Cook brings to the center extensive experience in serving adolescents and adults with congenital heart disease as a board-certified physician in four specialties: adult and pediatric cardiology, internal medicine and pediatrics. He is an expert in the transition of care of patients with congenital heart disease from adolescence to adulthood.

His other areas of expertise are non-invasive cardiac imaging, including echocardiography, cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging and cardiac computed tomography in adults with congenital heart disease.

Cook serves on many national committees to help define best practices for this population of heart patients. He is co-chair for the adult congenital heart association research committee and a member of the Alliance for Adult Research in Congenital Cardiology, a multicenter collaboration to promote relationships between adult congenital heart disease programs, to support research efforts and to improve outcomes of adults with congenital heart disease.

Pramod Bonde, a faculty member in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Transplantation, was recognized for his research by the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs with the Willem J. Kolff / Don B. Olsen Award.

Bonde’s winning research is titled “Innovative Free-Range Resonant Electrical Energy Delivery System (Free-D System) for a Ventricular Assist Device Using Wireless Power.”

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has elected Jeremy M. Berg as the next president of the nonprofit. His term begins July 1, 2012.

BergWebLast December Berg was named the inaugural associate senior vice chancellor for science strategy and planning for the Schools of the Health Sciences, a leadership role that aims to foster the University’s position on the forefront of biomedical research.

Berg had directed the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the National Institutes of Health since 2003. He left that position last month to join the Pitt administration. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology, School of Medicine.

As NIGMS director, Berg oversaw a $2 billion budget that funded research in the areas of cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, bioinformatics and computational biology.

Before serving at NIH, Berg was a professor and the director of the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for 13 years. He is well known for his research on the role of zinc in nucleic-acid binding proteins.

Elias Aizenman, a faculty member in the medical school’s Department of Neurobiology, has been elected chair of the International Society for Zinc Biology, 2011-13.

The society is an international, nonprofit organization whose goal is to bring together scientists from a diversity of fields who have a common interest in the structural, biochemical, genetic and physiological aspects of zinc biology.

Research in Aizenman’s laboratory is directed towards investigating cellular signaling processes leading to neuronal cell death, including zinc-mediated neurotoxicity.

Lisa Nelson, a faculty member in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, has been appointed to the Department of Homeland Security’s data privacy and integrity advisory committee. DPIAC works with the DHS privacy office, providing advice on the department’s implementation of privacy protections in DHS operations ranging from counterterrorism and cybersecurity to immigration.

Nelson specializes in the areas of science, technology and society. She recently was a co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant to explore the societal perceptions of biometric technology; those findings are published in her 2010 book, “America Identified: Biometric Technology and Society.”

Sandra Mitchell, chair of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, has been elected to serve as member-at-large for the history and philosophy of science section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest society for general science.

Mitchell’s research focuses on epistemological and metaphysical issues in the philosophy of science, centered on scientific explanations of complex behavior.

A team of Pitt police officers finished fifth overall in the slow ride skills category at the Steel City Police Motor Unit Skills Competition held last month.

Hosted by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the three-day competition raised more than $10,000 in support of the Wounded Warriors Project.

The Pitt team participants were Jim Kenna, Sam Salvio, Brian Kopp and Brian Turack.

In addition, Salvio placed third in the individual slow ride skills category and Kopp finished second in the overall category, novice division.

The following Department of Anesthesiology faculty members recently were invited to serve on American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) committees:

Shawn T. Beaman, associate residency program director, was named to two-year terms on the committee on residents and medical students and the committee on trauma and emergency preparedness.

Barbara W. Brandom, director of the North American Malignant Hyperthermia Registry, was named to a one-year term on the abstract review subcommittee on anesthetic action and biochemistry.

Doris K. Cope, vice chair for pain medicine and program director of the pain medicine fellowship, was named to a three-year term on the newsletter committee and one-year terms on the committee on pain medicine, the abstract review subcommittee on chronic and cancer pain and the abstract review subcommittee on history and education.

Andrew Herlich, chief anesthesiologist at UPMC Mercy, was named to the committee on ambulatory surgical care, appointed through 2014. He also was named an alternate delegate to the ASA House of Delegates, through 2014.

Herlich serves as the ASA liaison to the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Dental Society of Anesthesiologists/American Society of Dental Anesthesiologists.

Raymond M. Planinsic, director of hepatic transplantation anesthesiology, was named to a one-year term as adjunct member of the committee on transplant anesthesia.

Erin A. Sullivan, director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology and associate chief anesthesiologist at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, was reappointed for a one-year term to the educational track subcommittee on cardiac anesthesia; the committee on surgical anesthesia (through 2013), and the committee on governmental affairs (beginning in October through 2013).

Jonathan H. Waters, chief of anesthesiology at Magee-Womens Hospital, has been named to the committee on blood management, through 2012.

Staff members of the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) have been recognized recently.

Renae Barger, formerly assistant director for access services, has been named executive director of the Middle Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

• HSLS director Barbara Epstein is serving as the regional medical library director on a five-year contract from the National Library of Medicine. HSLS will serve as the regional medical library for the Middle Atlantic region, one of eight such library systems nationally.

Leslie Czechowski, formerly assistant director for collections and technical services, succeeds Barger as assistant director for access services. Her areas of responsibility include the library’s circulation and document delivery departments, as well as stacks and space management and onsite and remote storage facilities.

Nancy Tannery, newly named HSLS senior associate director, is the recipient of the Medical Library Association’s 2011 Estelle Brodman Award for the Academic Medical Librarian of the Year. The award recognizes “an academic medical librarian at mid-career level who demonstrates significant achievement, the potential for leadership and continuing excellence.”

Christina Graham, director of Student Activities at the Bradford campus, has been chosen by the Pitt-Bradford Staff Association for its 2011 Staff Association Award.

ChristinaGrahamGraham is the adviser for the Student Government Association, Student Activities Council and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

She organizes the annual “Movin’ On” new student orientation, oversees spending for more than 40 campus student clubs and organizations, sits on the UPB Cultural Festival committee, teaches a freshman seminar class focused on leadership development and is president-elect of the Staff Association.

The annual staff recognition award honors an employee whose performance consistently exceeds the standards and expectations set for his or her position or whose work in the community surpasses the expectations of the organizations he or she serves.


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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