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March 19, 1998


George Bandik, lecturer in the chemistry department, received the 1998 Post-Secondary Teacher Award at the Carnegie Science Center's Science Awards for Excellence on March 14.

Bandik, who earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University, has worked at Pitt for 18 years. A tireless advocate for the University's role in education, Bandik sees this award as a special kind of recognition. "As undergraduate program coordinator, my major contribution is teaching, so to me this is an exceptional honor," he said. "I get a lot of personal satisfaction from teaching, and to get this award makes me feel better about teaching, makes me want to do the job even better."

Craig Wilcox, chemistry department chairperson, described Bandik as an outstanding example for the entire department. "His love for teaching and for his science shows in everything he does here," said Wilcox. "He's fair and sympathetic and yet he sets very high standards for his students. He always has a smile and he always has time for any student that comes by." The Science Awards for Excellence Post-Secondary Teach-er Award includes a $1,000 prize that Bandik plans to split between laboratory programs and undergraduate scholarships in the chemistry department.


Christine L. Pistella, of Health Services Administration in the Graduate School of Public Health, has been appointed to the National Healthy Start Grantee Data and Evaluation Committee by the National Office of Healthy Start, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services.

Healthy Start is a national initiative for the prevention of infant mortality through community-based partnerships.


Michael L. Boninger, assistant professor, division of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UPMC Health System, has received the 1998 Young Academician Award of the Association of Academic Physiatrists.

The award honors a doctor of physical medicine, out of training no more than five years, who has demonstrated outstanding performance in teaching, research and administration. Boninger has received numerous grants for his research in physical medicine. His most prestigious grant, a Clinical Investigator Development Award from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), focuses on determining the cause of secondary musculoskeletal injuries in manual wheelchair users.

He is currently the principal investigator on four grants (totaling more than $1.5 million), and is co-investigator on other projects funded by the NIH, the Veterans Administration and the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Boninger is research director of the division of physical medicine and rehabilitation, and has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters. His effectiveness as a teacher has received the highest rating of all attending physicians for the past three years in anonymous surveys of medical residents. In recognition of his work with graduate students, he recently assumed a joint appointment in the School of Engineering's mechanical engineering department.

Boninger played a crucial role in the start of the UPMC's Assistive Technology Clinic. This clinic uses a multidisci-plinary approach to the provision of assistive technology devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, and augmentative communication devices. He is medical director of the UPMC's Center for Assistive Technology.


Joseph J. Schwerha has been named director of the division of occupational and environmental medicine and a professor of environmental and occupational health in the Graduate School of Public Health.

Schwerha's duties will include management of the residency program in the occupational medicine program as well as updating the master's curriculum.

As medical director of US Steel, Schwerha headed the company's medical programs and was responsible for safety, industrial hygiene, the employee assistance program and managed psychiatric care. While at US Steel, he established the Gary Family Medical Center for employees/retirees and their families. The project has since become a national model.

Schwerha, who has a degree in medicine and a master's in public health, earned his B.A. at Pitt.


Rose Constantino, associate professor of nursing, recently received three national awards.

The first award, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association's Innovation Award, is presented annually to one nurse in the U.S. who goes beyond his or her regular duties to help patients. Constantino was nominated by her colleagues for her commitment and compassion in providing advocacy and support to women and children seeking protection from abuse.

Philippine Union College in the Philippines gave Constantino the 1997 Outstanding Alumni Award for Exceptional Academic, Professional and Community Achievement.

Filipino American Magazine chose Constantino as one of 20 persons in the U.S. and Canada to receive the Filipino Image Award for her "inspirational and dynamic leadership, and unwavering support to enhance a positive Filipino image in the U.S. and Canada."

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