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June 12, 2008


Faculty in Pitt’s Schools of the Health Sciences recently have been acknowledged with awards and accolades. These include:

• David J. Kupfer, Thomas Detre professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine and medical director and director of research at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, will serve as chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s task force to develop the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-V). The work group is composed of more than 120 world-renowned scientific researchers and clinicians with expertise in neuroscience, biology, genetics, statistics, epidemiology, public health, nursing, pediatrics and social work, who review scientific advances and research-based information in the field of psychiatry in order to update the manual. DSM-V is expected to be published in 2012.

• Steven T. DeKosky, professor and chair of neurology at the School of Medicine, has been appointed as chair of the executive advising committee of the Alzheimer’s Association’s new International Society to Advance Alzheimer Research and Treatment. The society is the first collegial group that represents all areas of Alzheimer’s disease investigation.

• Neil Resnick, professor and chief, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, and director of the Institute on Aging, was honored as the 2008 Distinguished Professor by the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM). The objectives of the distinguished professor program are to raise the visibility of aging-related research and education among SGIM members through a series of sponsored educational and mentorship activities and to improve the care of older persons.

• Rolf Loeber, Distinguished University Professor of Psychiatry and professor of psychology and epidemiology in the School of Medicine, recently received two distinguished honors.

He was elected as a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, a select group of scientists who promote the quality of scientific and scholarly work. Loeber’s election was based on his work in criminology and developmental psychopathology.

In addition, he was elected as an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy for his work in Irish history, architecture and literature.

• Jennifer Grandis, professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology in the School of Medicine, and program leader, head and neck cancer program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, recently was awarded a clinical professorship from the American Cancer Society. Grandis, one of only three recipients of a clinical professorship this year, will receive $400,000 over five years.

• Doris M. Rubio, associate professor of medicine, biostatistics and nursing; director, Center for Research on Health Care Data, and co-director, Institute for Clinical Research Education, School of Medicine, has been selected by the Hedwig van Ameringen executive leadership in academic medicine (ELAM) program for women, as one of the 2008-2009 ELAM fellows.

ELAM is a core program of the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine. It bills itself as the only national program dedicated to preparing senior women faculty for leadership at academic health centers.

• Jennifer Lingler, assistant professor, Department of Health and Community Systems, School of Nursing, recently was awarded the Brookdale Leadership in Aging Fellowship from the Brookdale Foundation. This highly competitive national award was created to encourage emerging leaders in the field of aging.

The fellowship provides two years of support to junior academicians to focus on a project that will help establish them in an area of aging research.

• Annette DeVito Dabbs, assistant professor in the Department of Acute Tertiary Care, School of Nursing, won this year’s award for the best research presentation by a nurse or social scientist for her abstract, “A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Pocket PATH vs. Standard Care and Early Self-Care Behaviors After Lung Transplantation” from the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

• Diane Helsel, assistant professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, was awarded the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association’s 2008 Outstanding Dietetics Educator Award. The award recognizes excellence in teaching, mentoring and leadership of educators in the American Dietetics Association-accredited dietetics education programs.

• Leslie Davis, president of Magee-Womens Hospital, will be the executive in residence for the 2008-2009 academic year in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Graduate School of Public Health. The executive-in-residence program fosters better relationships between the health administration program and the world of practice.


Five Pitt faculty members received Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards from the National Science Foundation. The awards fund junior faculty members’ emerging careers and include an education component that encourages outreach to women and underrepresented minorities.

Four recipients teach in the Swanson School of Engineering: Tracy Cui, an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering; Di Gao, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering; Lisa Weiland, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Jun Yang, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Rebecca Hwa, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, School of Arts and Sciences, also received an award.

Pitt is among 22 schools to receive five or more of the nearly 400 CAREER awards granted so far this year. The award cycle ends Sept. 30.


Marcus Rediker, professor and chair of the Department of History, received the fourth annual $50,000 George Washington Book Prize May 29 at Mt. Vernon for his award-winning book “The Slave Ship: A Human History.”

Administered by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the Amer-ican Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., the prize honors the most important new book about America’s founding era.

In addition to “The Slave Ship,” Rediker is the author of four other books. His writings have been translated into French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. His honors include a 2001 International Labor History Book Prize, a 1988 Merle Curti Social History Book Award, and a 1988 John Hope Franklin Book Prize.

He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The Organization of American Historians named him a distinguished lecturer, 2002-08.

Rediker has received other honors for “The Slave Ship.” In March, he was selected the 2008 Merle Curti Award winner by the Organization of American Historians.


Mark Redfern, Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering, has been appointed as associate dean for research in the Swanson School of Engineering, effective Aug. 1.

Redfern came to Pitt in 1988 after earning his PhD in bioengineering from the University of Michigan. His primary appointment is in the Department of Bioengineering, where he serves as vice chair, but he also holds appointments in otolaryngology, School of Medicine, and rehabilitation sciences and technology, School of Health Related Professions.

Redfern’s research at the Human Movement and Balance Laboratory, which is housed in the Swanson school, is focused in two areas: human postural control and ergonomics. The major goal of the postural control research is the prevention of falling injuries by investigating the factors that influence balance.

Redfern is associate editor of several journals, including the Journal of Applied Biomechanics and IEEE Transactions in Rehabilitation Engineering.

In announcing the appointment, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering Gerald D. Holder said, “In addition to being one of the most outstanding teachers in the school, Mark has a distinguished record of research with dozens of federal grants, particularly from NIH, and a very strong record of publication in the top journals in his fields of ergonomics and biomechanics. I am confident that Mark will bring leadership, energy and enthusiasm to the research initiatives in the school, helping us to achieve academic excellence in this domain.”


Harvey Wolfe, professor emeritus of industrial engineering, has received the 2008 Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers. The award recognizes outstanding educators who have contributed significantly to the industrial engineering profession through teaching, research, publications, learning innovation and/or administration in an academic environment.

Wolfe joined the industrial engineering faculty in 1964 and retired in 2006. He served as chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering from 1985 through 2000. He also served as chair of the Council of Industrial Engineering Academic Department Heads, as senior vice president for academia on the Institute of Industrial Engineers board of trustees and as president of the institute. He is a fellow of the institute.

The Holzman Award, the highest honor presented by the institute for career achievement in education, is named in honor of Albert G. Holzman, who was chair of industrial engineering at Pitt from 1965 until the time of his death in 1985. Holzman was the first industrial engineer ever to be named to the National Academy of Engineering.


Joel Weissfeld, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health, was awarded the 2008 James L. Craig Award for Teaching Excellence at GSPH’s 58th convocation.

The Craig award was established by GSPH alumnus James Craig to recognize GSPH faculty who have excelled in teaching and mentoring students. Craig awardees are nominated annually by GSPH students and selected by a committee of students and past Craig awardees. The Craig awardee receives a plaque, and his or her department receives $5,000, which the awardee can use for teaching-related activities.

Weissfeld earned his BA in chemistry and biological sciences from Kent State University, his MD from Johns Hopkins University and an MPH in epidemiology from GSPH. His research interests are cancer epidemiology and epidemiology and health services research.


Faculty and staff of the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) recently were honored.

• Barbara Epstein, HSLS director, was elected to a three-year term (2008-2011) on the steering committee of the Group on Information Resources of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

• Jonathon Erlen, history of medicine librarian, was appointed to the program committee of the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science meeting.

• Liping Song, electronic resources cataloging and access librarian, was appointed as co-chair for the cooperative online serials (CONSER) cataloging program standard record monitoring group. Song has been serving as a representative of CONSER since May 2007.

• Nancy Tannery, associate director for user services, was elected as secretary for 2008-2009 of the Libraries in Medical Education, a special interest group of the Northeastern Group on Educational Affairs of the AAMC.

• Mary Jo Dorsey, reference librarian, received the School of Information Sciences Margaret Mary “Peg” Corbett Award for best dissertation proposal for the preceding year.


Last month’s annual Carnegie Science Awards included several Pitt winners.

Pitt honorees and their awards were: Stephen F. Badylak, professor of surgery and deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Advanced Materials Award; John W. Manzetti, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, the Catalyst Award; Joseph L. McCarthy and Robert S. Parker of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Mary Besterfield-Sacre of the Department of Industrial Engineering, the University-Post-Secondary Educator Award; William R. Wagner of the Department of Surgery, the Life Sciences Award, and Joe Miksch, associate editor of PittMed magazine, honorable mention in the Journalism category.

The awards recognize outstanding science and technology achievements in education, research, entrepreneurship and commerce in western Pennsylvania.

Keynote speaker at the May 9 awards ceremony was Lee Gutkind, author and Pitt English professor.


Staff in Pitt’s Office of Public Affairs won a Golden Quill Award and were finalists for two other awards. The annual Golden Quill competition recognizes professional excellence in written, photographic, broadcast and online journalism in western Pennsylvania.

Bo Shwerin, former managing editor of Pitt Magazine, won in the Health/Medical Writing, Magazines category for “Danger Zone.”

Cara Hayden, Pitt Magazine senior editor, was a finalist in the Feature Writing, Magazines category for “Wonderlust.”

Cindy Gill, Pitt Magazine editor-in-chief, was a finalist in the Cultural Writing, Magazines category for “On the Edge.”


U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha is being recognized by Pitt-Johnstown with the school’s first-ever Distinguished Alumni Award. Murtha will be presented with the award at a reception in his honor during UPJ’s homecoming festivities in September.

The new award, established by the Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association, is the highest honor that the campus bestows upon its alumni. It annually will recognize alumni for individual achievements, leadership in their professions, service to their community and loyalty to their alma mater.

Murtha, who graduated from Pitt in 1962, attended the Johnstown campus for the first two years of his studies after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Following graduation, he volunteered to serve in Vietnam (1966-67) where he received the Bronze Star with Combat V (valor), two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

His honors include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal, the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award, the National Breast Cancer Coalition Leadership Award, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry’s Government Leader of the Year and Pittsburgh’s Riverperson of the Year.

A Democrat, Murtha has served the 12th Congressional District since 1974.

In 1994, Murtha established the John P. and Joyce Murtha Center for Continuing Education and Professional Development at Pitt-Johnstown, which offers graduate-level degrees in social work, engineering and nursing.


Lorraine D. Sylvia has been named vice president of finance and administration at the Johnstown campus. Sylvia was selected following a national search and will assume her duties July 1.

Sylvia will be responsible for developing and overseeing the annual campus budget, implementing audit and financial controls and guiding capital budget and facilities planning. She also will have general oversight of several administrative units including Human Resources, Auxiliary Services, Physical Plant and the business office.

Sylvia received her master’s degree in organization and management from Capella University and a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She comes to Pitt-Johnstown from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, where she served as vice president for finance and administrative services for the past five years. Her career also has included positions with Lockheed Martin, Capital One and Concurrent Technologies Corp.


UPMC announced the appointment of Will Cook as president of UPMC Mercy, effective July 7.

Cook has a broad base of operational health care experience in outpatient and inpatient services domestically and internationally. He held a number of operating positions with UPMC, including vice president of operations at Magee-Womens Hospital, and vice president, ambulatory care and transplant services at UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside.

Cook spent the early part of his career with the Johns Hopkins Health System where he held several positions, including director of operations for the Johns Hopkins International Medical Center in Singapore. Prior to that, he served as the administrator for emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and manager of ambulatory care operations at Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center.

Cook is an associate of the American College of Healthcare Executives.


Pitt-Bradford has renamed one of its top awards for business students in honor of associate professor emeritus David Blackmore.

Formerly called the Wall Street Journal Award, the David L. Blackmore Award for Excellence in Business is given to an outstanding business management senior.

“The criteria for selecting the student to receive this award are leadership in and out of the classroom and academic excellence,” said Lizbeth Matz, chair of the Division of Management and Education.

Blackmore began teaching business management at Pitt-Bradford in 1977. He was instrumental in developing the philosophy and curriculum still at the core of the business management program.

Blackmore served as president of the Faculty Senate as well as the chair of the business management department.

In 2000, he received the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award.


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

We welcome submissions from all areas of the University. Send information via email to:, by fax at 412/624-4579 or by campus mail to 308 Bellefield Hall.

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