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March 7, 2002

UCIS names winners of 1st GAP grants

The first group of grants from the Global Academic Partnership (GAP) has been announced by Pitt's University Center for International Studies (UCIS).

GAP was launched last fall to strengthen interdisciplinary research on, and curriculum development in, global themes at Pitt while enhancing the University's international scholarly ties and raising its international profile.

The partnership provides seed money grants of up to $25,000 plus administrative resources to support international research conferences and workshops on global issues on the Pitt campus.

The GAP program is sponsored by UCIS, the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), the International Business Center in the Katz Graduate School of Business, the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA).

Teams of faculty from at least two Pitt schools were eligible to submit a proposal for the grants. At least one of the faculty members had to be from the Katz Graduate School of Business, the School of Engineering, GSPH or GSPIA.

Eligible projects relate to one of six issue areas of the UCIS Global Studies Program: sustainable development, globalized economy and global governance, changing identities in a global world, technology and society, international security and conflict resolution, and global health.

The first conference, to be held in May, is "Environmental and Public Health Recovery and Protection in Yugoslavia." The conference will examine the environmental and public health consequences of armed conflict. It will be led by Radisav Vidic, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, who will be joined by collaborators from GSPH and FAS, as well as participants from Yugoslavia.

GSPIA professor of public and urban affairs Louise Comfort, working with faculty from Pitt's School of Information Sciences, will conduct a research workshop titled "Hazard Reduction and Response in Metropolitan Regions: An Interdisciplinary Model."

Scheduled for October, the workshop will include participants from Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador and Japan who will discuss metropolitan models of risk assessment and responses to human-made and natural disasters.

Kenneth Thompson, associate professor of psychiatry and Soros Foundation Physician Advocate Fellow at Pitt, will lead a third GAP project, "Addressing Health Disparities, Social Inclusion and Community Development." Thompson will be joined by a faculty team from the School of Social Work and GSPH and community health representatives. The fall workshop will address the causes of and policy responses to health disparities between racial/ethnic communities and socioeconomic groups in postindustrialized areas, with particular focus on university/community health partnerships. It will include participants from New Castle and Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Martin B. Weiss, associate professor and chair of the Department of Information Science and Telecommunications, and Kenneth Sochats, assistant professor of information science, will work with faculty from the School of Information Science, the Katz school and partners in the United Kingdom on a workshop titled "Demand Aggregation for Broadband Deployment in Rural Communities." The summer workshop will attempt to create a set of resources to assist community leaders in identifying and accumulating existing and potential demand for broadband access.

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