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March 20, 2008


Poet Toi Derricotte, professor of English and co-founder of Cave Canem Foundation, a forum for black poetry, has received two awards recognizing her career-long contributions to writers.

Poets & Writers, the nation’s largest nonprofit literary organization serving poets, fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers, honored Derricotte this week with the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award. The award is given annually to writers who volunteer time or money to writers’ causes, have advocated on behalf of other writers or have made an exceptional contribution affecting the lives of writers.

In May, the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Science will honor Derricotte with its Alumni/Alumnae Achievement Award in recognition of her exceptional achievements and contributions to society.


The Schools of the Health Sciences announced faculty whose work recently has been acknowledged with awards or accolades:

• Tao Cheng, associate professor in the School of Medicine’s biochemistry and molecular genetics program, was selected to receive the Scholar Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The award consists of $550,000 over five years and is given to highly qualified investigators who have shown a capacity for independent, sustained original investigation in the field of leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

• Eugene N. Myers, professor and emeritus chair of the Department of Otolaryngology in the medical school, was presented with the Grand Gold Medal of Comenius University for achievements in head and neck cancer and for his personal contributions in developing Slovakian otolaryngology.

Myers also was presented with a certificate of honorary membership in the Czech Society of Otolaryngology.

• Liza Villanueva, associate professor of medicine, director of non-invasive cardiac imaging at the UPMC Cardiovascular Institute and director of the Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, recently was selected to the Association of University Cardiologists (AUC).

Founded in 1961, the AUC is an organization with an active membership limited to 125 peer-elected academic cardiologists in the United States. The members are among the leaders in the field, and shape the course of research and training in cardiovascular disease in the United States.

• James Menegazzi, research associate professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine, recently won two awards from the National Association of EMS Physicians. He won awards for best scientific presentation and best cardiac arrest presentation.

In addition, Jon Rittenberger, research fellow instructor of emergency medicine, won the best fellow presentation award.

The awards were presented at the recent annual meeting of the National Association of EMS Physicians.


Neurosurgeon L. Dade Lunsford this week was honored by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. with a Physician of the Year Award in Clinical Excellence. The award honors a select group of physicians who have made notable contributions to the field of medicine. Honorees are selected from more than 600,000 physicians currently practicing medicine in the United States.

Lunsford, Lars Leksell Professor of Neurological Surgery at the School of Medicine and co-director of the UPMC Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery, has achieved international acclaim as an expert in stereotactic surgery. In 1987 UPMC, under Lunsford’s leadership, became the first hospital in the United States to use the Gamma Knife, a device for performing brain surgery without an incision. Today, UPMC has three such devices and remains a world leader in radiosurgery experience with more than 8,600 patients treated to date.

In 2007, Lunsford was named Distinguished Professor at Pitt, the highest honor the University accords a faculty member. He has published extensively, edited six books and lectured throughout the world.

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a national health care research and information company.


Susan Gillis Kruman, a clinical instructor in the School of Education’s Department of Health and Physical Activity, has been named Teacher of the Year/University Level by the Eastern District Association of the Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Gillis Kruman was recognized during a March 1 awards ceremony.

Gillis Kruman heads the dance minor program and directs the University Dance Ensemble. She has danced professionally in New York City and with Dance Alloy, a Pittsburgh professional contemporary dance company. She was Dance Alloy’s first director and a resident choreographer.

She was named 2007 Teacher of the Year/University Level by the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She also was an honoree for the “Women in the Arts: Founders, Pioneers and Instigators” event at the New Hazlett Theater in June 2007.


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments.

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