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October 13, 2005


Janice Zgibor was awarded the 2005 New Author Golden Pen Award from the Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ), which is published by the National Association for Healthcare Quality. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the journal.

Zgibor is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health and director of evaluation at the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute. She received the award for her article “Improving the Quality of Diabetes Care in Primary Care Practice,” which ran in the July/August issue of JHQ.

Pitt co-authors include Harsha Rao, Jacqueline Wesche-Thoboden, Janis McWilliams and Mary T. Korytkowski.


John Kirkwood, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s (UPCI) melanoma program, was honored last week by the Melanoma Research Foundation at a ceremony in New York City.

Kirkwood received the 2005 Wings of Hope award for outstanding achievements that have led to significant advances in the treatment of melanoma, a disease that kills more than 7,500 people in the United States each year.

The Melanoma Research Foundation’s Wings of Hope award, established in 2002, recognizes and celebrates individuals (or companies) who have had a major impact on or made a significant contribution to melanoma patients and their families or health care and science as it relates to the field of melanoma. The award was named in honor of a story about a hummingbird written by Eileen Shanon in remembrance of her son who died of melanoma.

In addition to the Melanoma Research Foundation award, Kirkwood also received the European Award for Interferon and Cytokine Research from the European Society of Cytokine Research. The award was conferred at the society’s annual research meeting on Oct. 3.

Under Kirkwood’s direction, UPCI’s melanoma program has developed new and effective treatment approaches for this disease. He has received international acclaim for leading a multi-center study developed on the basis of his pioneering work with biological treatments for melanoma that has provided the first adjuvant, or additional, therapy for treating patients with high-risk melanoma, a type likely to recur despite surgery.

Kirkwood also is leading a number of highly promising clinical trials for cancer vaccines and biological response modifiers — naturally produced substances that spur the body’s own immune system into recognizing and destroying melanoma.

He joined UPCI in 1986 as director of the melanoma program and as professor and chief of the division of medical oncology at Pitt’s School of Medicine.

Robert P. Edwards, former director of gynecologic oncology at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, has rejoined UPMC as director of research and outreach education of the Center of Excellence in Ovarian Cancer at Magee-Womens Hospital.

Before going to Kentucky in 2002, Edwards served as medical director of gynecological oncology at Magee and director of the gynecological oncology center at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. In his current position, he will serve as professor in the School of Medicine and vice chair for clinical affairs for the Division of Gynecologic Oncology.

Other new faculty members in the division include Paniti Sukumvanich, assistant professor, School of Medicine, and a specialist in genetic risk for breast and ovarian cancers; Thomas Krivak, assistant professor in the medical school and assistant fellowship director for the division, specializing in minimally invasive approaches to uterine cancer, and Kristin Zorn, assistant professor, School of Medicine, whose area of expertise includes cervical cancer screening and surveillance.


Ted Rice, associate professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at the School of Pharmacy, was elected as chair of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) section of clinical specialists and scientists.

The section’s members include pharmacists interested in advancing science and providing scientific and clinical specialty practice leadership within ASHP.


Kristin Bigos, a teaching fellow in pharmaceutical sciences at the pharmacy school, has been awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, a $71,640 pre-doctoral fellowship funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Bigos was honored for her research titled “Pharmacodynamics of IV Citalopram Using Functional MRI (F31MH076420).” She will study the impact of acute drug response on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal.

The study specifically focuses on the effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, citalopram on neuronal activation elicited during an affective task using fMRI, and will evaluate the impact of a polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene.


Susan A. Albrecht, associate dean for student and alumni services, development and public relations, and associate professor in the Department of Health and Community Systems at the School of Nursing, received the 2005 Distinguished Nurse Award from the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA).

Albrecht was one of seven registered nurses honored at the association’s annual awards ceremony last month.

The PSNA Distinguished Nurse Award recognizes a member of PSNA who has demonstrated leadership characteristics and has rendered distinguished service to the nursing profession, and whose contributions and accomplishments are of significance throughout out the commonwealth.


Gail Wolf will become a full-time faculty member in the School of Nursing, overseeing graduate programs in nursing administration.

Since last fall, Wolf has been a part-time faculty member while also serving as the chief nursing officer for UPMC. Her new appointment is effective Dec. 1.

Wolf’s career with UPMC began in 1996, when she was vice president for clinical services at UPMC Presbyterian, in addition to serving as chief nursing officer for the UPMC network of hospitals. Prior to that, she spent nearly 15 years at Shadyside Hospital, where she became vice president of patient care services.

UPMC has honored Wolf’s service to the organization by donating $25,000 to establish the Gail A. Wolf Graduate Nursing Leadership Award at the School of Nursing. The scholarship will provide support for nurses seeking advanced degrees in nursing administration.

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