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November 25, 1998


Lewis Kuller, University Professor of public health and professor and chairperson of epidemiology in the Graduate School of Public Health, has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Founded in 1848, AAAS represents the world's largest federation of scientists and has more than 144,000 individual members. Kuller is being honored because of his research related to the causes and prevention of heart disease, especially the determinants of the development of coronary artery disease in women. Among his many current projects are a study on cardiovascular risk factors in women and a clinical trial on cardiovascular risk factors and menopause.


Susan Albrecht, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, won a nursing research award as part of the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania for her work on a smoking cessation intervention program with pregnant women and high-risk teens. Nursing research awards are given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the body of clinical nursing practice, education or health policy through the research process. The Nightingale Awards, which have existed for 10 years, honor nurses living or employed in Pennsylvania for excellence in nursing.

During the past eight years, Albrecht's research has shown that more than 50 percent of teen girls who participated in the intervention program successfully quit smoking during pregnancy. These research findings have been used in school health curricula and by many health professionals and have been published both nationally and internationally.


James Alexander, professor of political science at Pitt's Johnstown campus, was among several founding members honored at the 20th annual conference of the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) in Washington, D.C.

Alexander chaired the association's task force on graduate curriculum reform in budgeting and financial management, a two-year project that developed model curriculum options for M.P.A. and Ph.D. programs, and served as the ABFM national chair in 1987.


Kenneth Service, director of news and information, has been elected to the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows.

Service was one of only 22 individuals inducted nationwide this year, bringing the total membership of the college to 311ãless than 2 percent of the more than 19,000 members of PRSA. Election to the College of Fellows is based on a record of excellence in the practice of public relations, personal and professional qualities that serve as a role model for other practitioners, and contributions to the field and to the community.

An accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, Service is a member of the executive committee of PRSA's Counselors to Higher Education section and past chairperson of PRSA's Energy and Natural Resources section. He is also a past recipient of the Communicator of the Year Award from the Pittsburgh PRSA chapter. Thomas A. Medsger, Gerald P. Rodnan professor of medicine in the School of Medicine, was presented with the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 1998 Distinguished Rheumatologist Award. The award is given to an ACR member who has made outstanding contributions in the areas of patient care, clinical scholarship or service to benefit patients with rheumatic diseases. Medsger is widely recognized for his accomplishments in all three designated areas. His research contributions include more than 250 refereed and invited scientific publications, mainly concerning systemic sclerosis and closely related connective tissue diseases. Medsger has been a member of the faculty in the School of Medicine for more than 27 years and won a Golden Apple award for teaching excellence from medical students and several teaching distinction citations from internal medicine house staff. He has assisted both national and local patient support groups in leadership positions, including the Arthritis Foundation, the Lupus Foundation of America and the Scleroderma Foundation. He has been named one of the "Best Doctors in America" by his peers for the past six years.


Reagan McClain and Karen Wells, third-year students in the Health Law Certificate Program in the School of Law, recently won first place at the National Health Law Moot Court Competition. The team was also awarded Best Brief Honors. They were coached by Stella Smetanka, clinical associate professor of law and faculty adviser.

Teams argued both sides of an issue that involved the question of propriety of a benefits cap on AIDS treatment for an employee of a hospital. Judges scored the teams on evidence of research; knowledge of the record, issues and law; organization and reasoning; responses to questions; forensic performance and courtroom demeanor.

Held at Southern Illinois University, 26 teams from 22 schools participated in the competition. The team won a $1,000 scholarship grant to the Pitt School of Law for their first place win, and a $500 scholarship grant for Best Brief. This is the highest honor the school has received in its four years of participating in the competition.

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