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May 30, 2002


The School of Nursing honored three individuals for outstanding service to the school.

The 2002 Distinguished Alumna Award was presented to Rose E. Constantino, associate professor. The 2002 Honorary Alumni Awards were presented to Lynda Davidson, associate dean and professor, and J. Roger Glunt, former president of the Pitt Alumni Association and a member of the University's Board of Trustees.


Richard E. McDowell, who is stepping down in August as president of the Bradford campus, has been named president emeritus.

The title was announced by Judge John M. Cleland, chairman of Pitt-Bradford's advisory board, during Bradford's annual commencement on April 28.

The emeritus title is conferred upon individuals who have made significant contributions to the University through long and distinguished service in administration, teaching, research and/or service.


The Bradford campus presented its first faculty excellence in teaching award to Lauren Yaich, assistant professor of biology. Yaich, who has been teaching at Pitt-Bradford since 1998, received the award at the college's April honors convocation.

The selection committee reviewed letters of recommendation, student evaluations of teaching, syllabi and grade distribution. The committee also considered the teachers' knowledge of subject matter and their advising and dedication in working with students beyond the classroom in such activities as internships and research projects.


Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences, has named Loren H. Roth the first recipient of the Senior Vice Chancellor's Extraordinary Service Award.

Roth, who serves as the associate senior vice chancellor for health sciences at Pitt and as senior vice president of medical services for UPMC Health System, is being recognized for his efforts in conceptualizing and coordinating the implementation of a biodefense infrastructure for the University, UPMC Health System and western Pennsylvania.

The Senior Vice Chancellor's Extraordinary Service Award was created to recognize a service to the Schools of the Health Sciences, the University and the community that goes beyond the requirements and expectations of the individual's usual role and position and to recognize a truly outstanding achievement or accumulation of achievements.

Levine said, "The leadership and actions of Dr. Roth in a time of crisis and turmoil, following the horrors of 9/11 and the anthrax mailings, exemplify the extraordinary."


The School of Medicine has appointed Patrick S. Moore to a faculty position as professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, and Yuan Chang, as professor, Department of Pathology.

Moore and Chang come to Pitt from Columbia University where they discovered Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also called human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8). KSHV, which causes Kaposi's sarcoma, the most common malignancy occurring in AIDS patients, also is linked to other disorders that involve a compromised immune system.

The research undertaken by Moore and Chang centers on the discovery of new pathogens through the use of novel methods for sorting and amplifying gene fragments. Using this strategy, they discovered that KSHV, a previously unknown virus, belongs to the family of herpes viruses. Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a disease in which cancer cells are found in the tissues under the skin or mucous membranes, can be very aggressive in people whose immune systems are suppressed.

Prior to this discovery, scientists had worked for 20 years to find an infectious agent associated with KS. KSHV is one of only a handful of viruses linked so far to cancer in humans.


The Division for Research of the Council for Exceptional Children has awarded its Distinguished Early Career Research Award to Rollanda O'Connor, associate professor at the School of Education.


Robert W. Matson, professor of history, was presented with the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching during commencement exercises at the Johnstown campus on May 4. Matson joined the Pitt-Johnstown faculty in the Division of Social Sciences in 1983.

UPJ President Albert L. Etheridge called Matson "an accomplished teacher and scholar. His students find him to be progressive, inspirational and challenging. They attest to his demand for excellence and to his rigor in the classroom. Additionally, his students view him as a motivator, as a mentor, and as an individual for whom they have tremendous respect."


William C. Frederick, professor emeritus of business administration at the Katz Graduate School of Business, delivered one of the Ruffin Lectures on business ethics at the Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia, last month.

The Ruffin Lectures, sponsored every two years, feature leading scholars from of variety of academic disciplines speaking on themes relevant to business ethics. This year's theme was Biological Sciences, Business and Ethics.


The following Pitt emergency medicine physicians won poster presentations at the recent Pennsylvania American College of Emergency Physicians meeting: Craig Frater, emergency medicine resident, won best poster presentation for "Cyclobenzaprine with ibuprofen vs. ibuprofen alone in acute myofascial strain: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial."

Jason Cillo and Heather Walker, emergency medicine residents, won best oral presentation for "Can the combination of clinical risk assessment and ELISA D-Dimer testing reduce the need for duplex ultrasound in the ED diagnosis of acute lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?"

Jawaid Akhtar, Department of Emergency Medicine, won best faculty discussant at the CPC competition.


Ellen Detlefsen, associate professor of library and information science in the School of Information Sciences, has been awarded the 2002 Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education Award of the Medical Library Association, the national association of health information professionals.

The Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education Award honors outstanding educators in the field of health sciences librarianship and informatics who demonstrate skills in teaching, curriculum development, mentoring, research or leadership in education at local, regional or national levels.

Detlefsen has joint appointments in the women's studies program and the Center for Biomedical Informatics.

Her areas of expertise include biomedical and health sciences information, medical informatics, and resources and services for special populations such as patients and health care consumers and the aging and their caregivers. She directs the Highmark Minority Health Link initiative, which seeks to build minority-sensitive health materials for health care consumers in the African American communities of western Pennsylvania. This project is supported by a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield grant.


Three fellows from the School of Medicine's Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition have received awards.

Surinder Devgun, gastroenterology research fellow, won a 2002 Clinical Research Award from the American College of Gastroenterology for his original clinical research related to small-bowel transplantation. His project evaluates the muscle contractions of the transplanted small bowel and evaluates the pain perceptions that patients experience after small-bowel replacement.


Christianna Kreiss won the American Gastroenterological Association/Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition Faculty Transition Award. This award provides $36,000 over a two-year period, enabling Kreiss to continue her research on the development of post-operative ileus.


Amitabh Suman won the American Society for Liver Diseases Advanced Hepatology Fellowship Award, which will enable him to participate in an additional year of training at the University's Center for Liver Diseases. Suman's research interests include the outcome of liver transplantation in hepatitis C patients.


English professor Michael West and two students in his Irish literature course have won first prizes in the Frank O'Connor Essay Contest sponsored by Auburn University. West won for his essay, "Prodigal Sons and Prodigal Fathers: Interpreting O'Connor's 'The Late Henry Conran' in the Light of Literary History." The prize included a $500 award.

West also was awarded a Pitt University Center for International Studies 2002 Research Abroad Program (RAP) grant to study in Ireland with two other Pitt students taking his Irish literature course. West received the UCIS RAP grant for his project "Frank O'Connor, James Joyce and the Irish Short Story."


Current and former Pitt faculty members were honored by the Pittsburgh Children's Museum for their dedication to children's literacy issues. The 2002 Outstanding Friend of Children Award is given to those who have made a positive impact on the lives of children.

Margaret Kimmel is a professor and chair of the Department of Library and Information Science. She is a nationally known storyteller, as well as an author and editor of several books for children.

Joan Brest Friedberg, a retired professor of literature at Pitt, and Elizabeth Segel, a former Pitt faculty member, are co-founders of Beginning With Books, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy by introducing children to books and reading at a young age.

Amy Kellman, former lecturer in Pitt's School of Information Sciences, is the program specialist for Children's Services at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Gary Stoehr, associate dean for student and academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy, has been named president-elect of the Rho-Chi Society, the pharmacy profession's national academic honor society.


Researchers from Pitt's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute received awards at the American Transplant Congress, the joint scientific sessions of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS).

John J. Fung, Thomas E. Starzl Professor of Transplantation Surgery and director of the Starzl Transplant Institute, received the AST Novartis Clinical Science Award. The award is given to a distinguished clinical scientist who has made significant contributions and is recognized as a leading expert in the field of transplantation. The award carries a $25,000 cash prize, but because two winners were announced this year each recipient will receive a $12,500 reward. The award will support Fung's research in transplant tolerance, an area of study that aims to find ways that allow patients to permanently accept their organs without the need for anti-rejection drugs.

Eric Marderstein, a first-year post-doctoral research fellow in the School of Medicine's Department of Surgery, received one of two ASTS Roche Laboratories Scientist Scholarships. He will receive $70,000 over two years in order to support the direct costs of research aimed at improving the function of transplanted livers by better understanding the molecular mechanisms of graft preservation injury.

Marderstein works in the laboratory of David Geller, associate professor of surgery at the Starzl Transplant Institute.

Transplant Institute fellows and faculty also won Young Investigator Awards. Such awards are given to those under the age of 40 who submit a scientific abstract judged to be among the best. The award provides the recipient with $1,000 to help defray the cost of attending the meeting. Receiving Domestic Young Investigator awards were Michael deVera, clinical transplant fellow, who won for his abstract "Liver Transplantation in Patients Co-infected With HIV and Hepatitis C," and Zhiliang Wang, a research transplant fellow who won for his abstract "Inhibition of Chronic Rejection by Donor Dendritic Cells in Combination with Anti-CD40L mAb."


Andrew T. Rose, assistant professor of civil engineering technology at the Johnstown campus, has received the Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society 2002 award for Instructor of the Year. The organization solicits nominations from the society's upperclassmen.


Friends and family of Robert A. Newcombe, a former assistant to the president and admissions pioneer at the Bradford campus, have pledged $15,000 to establish a scholarship in his name. The scholarship, which commemorates Newcombe's 80th birthday, honors him for his commitment to the college and his dedication to young people.

At Pitt-Bradford, Newcombe served as assistant to the president until his retirement in 1993. He also helped to develop and refine the college's admission program and was the first to coordinate its alumni activities.


Tony Hoagland, assistant professor in English, has received a 2002 Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, one of eight writers to earn this national award. Hoagland previously received the Academy of American Poets James Laughlin Award for his second book of poetry entitled "Donkey Gospel" and the 1992 Brittingham Prize in Poetry for his first book, "Sweet Ruin."


Richard Benfer, vice president of community initiatives for UPMC Health System, has received the Regent's Award from the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE) in recognition of his efforts to improve community health through local partnerships, education programs and health screenings.

The award is given annually to a hospital administrator in the western Pennsylvania region "in recognition of significant contributions toward the achievement of the goals of the ACHE and the advancement of health care management excellence."

Benfer organized UPMC's community initiatives program in 2000 after serving as chief operating officer of UPMC Presbyterian for a year and a half. Prior to that he led Braddock Medical Center's integration into UPMC Health System.

Benfer's commitment to community health dates back to 1993 when he created one of the first community partnerships while at Braddock. This eventually led to one of the first State Health Improvement Partnerships in Pennsylvania in 2000.

He also created programs to meet the needs of the Braddock community, including the House of Hope, a home for chemically addicted women.

Additionally, he helped create an early childhood program and Community Mothers Help Chest, a facility that provides assistance to low-income mothers and children.

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