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October 27, 2011

People of the Times

sitesSchool of Social Work Professor Emeritus Edward Sites recently was named one of 16 new Pitt Legacy Laureates. The Legacy Laureate program recognizes alumni for their personal and professional accomplishments.

Sites holds the record as the longest-serving faculty member in the history of the School of Social Work and is known as one of its most successful principal investigators. He developed a comprehensive child-welfare training program — one of the nation’s largest child-welfare training systems — that now is used in every Pennsylvania county.

Sites earned his Master of Social Work degree, summa cum laude, from the School of Social Work and his PhD from the School of Education.

Throughout his career, Sites has promoted ecumenical understanding and cooperation, most notably through his 38-year leadership of the joint Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work degree offered by the University in conjunction with Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

He is the only social worker who was appointed to the Pennsylvania Board of Psychologist Examiners, and he has served on other governing bodies that hear charges of unethical conduct brought against social workers.

Sites has been honored as the Social Worker of the Year in Pennsylvania by the National Association of Social Workers, and he has received the Bertha Paulssen Award from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award, as well as the School of Social Work Distinguished Alumni Award.

MickleMarlin Mickle, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor in the Swanson School of Engineering, is the 2011 recipient of the Ted Williams Award in Electrical Engineering. The award is presented annually to a professor or student in recognition of innovative and exceptional contributions that further the growth of the industry through work as an educator and entrepreneur.

Mickle, who also is executive director of the Swanson Center for Product Innovation, has held engineering positions with IBM and Westinghouse Electric Corp. and has served as program director of the systems theory and applications program of the National Science Foundation.

One of the longest serving engineering professors in Pitt history, Mickle is renowned for harnessing the power of radio waves in convenient, low-cost applications such as power harvesting.

The U.S. Department of Defense established a standard radio frequency identification for all UHF RFID applications based on Mickle’s research.

Ellen Frank, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and professor of psychology at the School of Medicine, is one of two researchers to receive the 2011 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health from the IOM. The prize, consisting of a medal and $20,000, recognizes Frank’s decades-long efforts to enhance the treatment and understanding of mood disorders.

Her conceptualization and testing of novel psychotherapeutic approaches to mood disorders has led to far-reaching improvements in knowledge about and treatment of depression, and has changed the nature of clinical practice throughout the world. Her work has demonstrated the psychosocial components of mood disorders and their effects on circadian rhythms and other biological processes that contribute to such disorders.

Frank developed interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), which blends interpersonal psychotherapy with behavioral intervention and is effective in teaching patients how to order their lives and stabilize their social routines to avoid new episodes of depression or mania.

In response to other professionals’ interest in receiving training in IPSRT, Frank established a training institute to disseminate this intervention both nationally and abroad.

Kara Bernstein, a School of Medicine faculty member in molecular biology and genetics, has been awarded the first PNC/University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Director’s Distinguished Scholar Award.

Bernstein received her PhD from Yale and conducted post-doctoral research at Columbia. She seeks a better understanding of the biological processes related to cancer, with a focus on DNA.

Bernstein’s lab studies how double-strand breaks in DNA are repaired. Understanding this process will advance understanding of tumor formation and could lead to the development of new cancer treatments.

andersonDavid Anderson, a faculty member and director of diversity and inclusion at the School of Dental Medicine, was selected as the recipient of the 2011 National Dental Association Foundation/Colgate-Palmolive Faculty Recognition Award in the category of administration/service.

Anderson also recently was awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the ethics program of the American College of Dentists Foundation. The scholarship will be used to complete a graduate degree in ethics. Anderson’s research interests include bioethics and health policy.

A lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, Anderson also has served as president of the Dental Society of Western Pennsylvania, the Prosthodontic Society of Western Pennsylvania and the Rotary Club of Lawrenceville, as well as chair of the Pennsylvania dental political action committee.

School of Nursing faculty recently were honored:

beachMichael Beach was selected to serve on the mobile acute care strike team for the disaster medical assistance team, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Beach, who has worked in search and rescue and disaster management for the past 15 years, leads the trauma and emergency preparedness sub-specialty within the acute care nurse practitioner area of concentration.

constantinoRose Constantino of the Department of Health and Community Systems received the 2011 Most Distinguished Alumni award from Adventist University of the Philippines.

Constantino’s research focuses on health outcomes of abused women who experience domestic violence and enter a women’s shelter, and women whose spouse committed suicide.

Mary Beth Happ of the Department of Acute/Tertiary Care received the 2011 Distinguished Alumna Award from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.

happHapp’s research focuses on understanding and improving communication with nonspeaking patients in acute and critical care settings. She has studied the processes of care and communication among patients with prolonged mechanical ventilation and has explored the feasibility of using electronic communication aids with nonspeaking ICU and postoperative head/neck cancer patients.

Happ holds a secondary appointment at the Center for Bioethics and Health Law and is a participating faculty member at the Institute to Enhance Palliative Care.

sherwoodPaula Sherwood of the Department of Acute/Tertiary Care was selected as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Sherwood’s research examines behavioral and biological markers of distress in caregivers and patients with neurologic disorders.

Janet Stewart of the Department of Health Promotion and Development was presented with the 2011 Research Article Award from the journal Research in Nursing and Health, for her article, “Test of a Conceptual Model of Uncertainty in Children and Adolescents with Cancer.”stewart

Stewart’s research is focused on pediatric cancer, specifically children and their families’ adjustment to the diagnosis and treatment trajectory.

Ronald A. Brand, the Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Professor and founding director of the Center for International Legal Education in School of Law, this month received the Leonard J. Theberge Award for Private International Law at a meeting of the American Bar Association section on international law. The award honors individuals who have made long-standing contributions to the development of private international law. brand

The award honors Leonard J. Theberge, chair of the section 1970-80, who had been president of the Media Institute, a business news study group, and past president of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest.

In November Brand will be awarded the degree of Doctor Iuris Honoris Causa by the University of Augsburg, Germany, Faculty of Law to commemorate cooperation between Pitt’s law school and Augsburg.

Brand has led more than two decades of collaboration with the Augsburg school, beginning with a U.S. Department of State grant to celebrate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. The two schools have exchanged faculty and students and engaged in cooperative teaching experiences.


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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