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May 28, 2009


Harvey Borovetz, chair of the Department of Bioengineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, has been designated as Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering in honor of his internationally recognized scholarship, leadership and contribution to the field of bioengineering. Appointment to distinguished professorship is among the highest honors the University bestows upon a faculty member.

Borovetz also holds the Robert L. Hardesty Professorship in the Department of Surgery in the School of Medicine and is professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the Swanson school.

Under Borovetz’s leadership since 2002, the number of full-time faculty in bioengineering has risen to 20, with more than 100 other faculty holding secondary academic appointments in the department, including more than two dozen physicians.

Pitt’s bioengineering department, which is a member of a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center consortium, is ranked among the top five public bioengineering programs in the U.S. News and World Report graduate school rankings.

Borovetz’s current research interests focus on the design and clinical utilization of cardiovascular organ replacements for both adult and, particularly, pediatric patients.

Since 1986, he served as the founding director and now as the bioengineering faculty liaison for the University’s clinical bioengineering program in mechanical circulatory support, a one-of-a-kind program that supports patients who are implanted with a left ventricular assist device, or biventricular assist devices, as a bridge to cardiac transplantation or bridge to recovery. This work in mechanical circulatory support followed Borovetz’s early efforts in which he worked with cardiac surgeons in applying extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to treat a large series of neonates in respiratory distress.


Sandra Kane-Gill, associate professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, has been elected as a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) and will be recognized at the ACCP annual meeting in October.

Kane-Gill’s research interests focus on economic, clinical and humanistic evaluations for critically ill patients, specifically, quality of life in patients receiving sedatives/neuromuscular blockers, patient safety and developing models of cost for acute illness. Her research projects have spanned the areas of infectious diseases, anticoagulation, sedation and adverse drug events.

She joined the School of Pharmacy faculty in 2001.


The pharmacy school’s Neal Benedict has been named the Stan Cohen Teacher of the Year for 2009. The award is presented by the graduating class to a faculty member for outstanding teaching during the classroom portion of the professional curriculum.

The award is named in honor of the late Stan Cohen, a 1957 graduate of the School of Pharmacy who served on the faculty from 1979 to 1998.

Benedict is involved in both the cardiovascular and critical care curricula at the pharmacy school. He also precepts pharmacy students, as well as pharmacy practice and specialty residents in the residency program at UPMC.

He joined the clinical faculty as a critical care specialist with an appointment as assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics in 2005.


At its recent graduation ceremony, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs honored a group of its faculty with teaching commendations based on their student evaluations.

Honored were: Donald M. Goldstein, who also delivered the keynote address at the ceremony; Michael Sealy; Kevin Kearns; Carolyn Ban; David Korman; David Cercone; Michael Hummel; Anthony Giunta; Rajen Mookerjee; Dennis Gormley, and Lisa Nelson.


Warren Fass, director of the psychology program at Pitt-Bradford, recently served on two task forces for Society for Teaching (STP) psychology committees.

Fass served on the STP presidential task force on interdivisional relationships and the STP task force on targeted member recruitment.

The purpose of the task force on interdivisional relationships was to assess the nature of STP’s relationship with other American Psychological Association divisions and identify ways in which these relationships could be strengthened.

While serving on the targeted member recruitment task force, Fass reviewed membership trends over the last several years to ascertain which membership category would be best suited for a targeted recruitment effort, working collaboratively with the chairperson of the recruitment, retention and public relations committee to develop strategies to pursue members.

The Society for the Teaching of Psychology advances understanding of the discipline by promoting excellence in the teaching and learning of psychology.


Brian Root, a resident director in the Office of Housing and Residence Life at Pitt-Greensburg, recently was elected to a two-year term as the communications commission chair of the Pennsylvania College Personnel Association (PCPA). In this position, he will sit on the association’s executive board and oversee and recommend action affecting overall policy of PCPA publications such as the e-newsletter, web site and alternate recruitment publicity.

PCPA is one of Pennsylvania’s primary professional associations in the student development/student affairs profession.


Steven Stern, professor of psychology, and Malcolm Van Blerkom, associate professor of education and educational psychology, have been appointed acting division chairpersons at the Johnstown campus. Stern will head the Natural Sciences Division and Van Blerkom will chair the Education Division.

Stern joined the Pitt-Johnstown faculty in 1996. His research interests include psychological effects of technology, automation and the Internet; Internet experiments; computer-synthesized speech; assistive technology, and disability or distortion of memory for speech. He is a grants reviewer for the social sciences and humanities sub-committee of the Central Research Development Fund.

Stern has written numerous books and has published in national publications including Advances in Psychology Research, Applied Cognitive Psychology, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Experimental Psychology and International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

He was a 2007 recipient of the Dr. Edward A. Vizzini Teacher of the Year Award.

Van Blerkom joined the Pitt-Johnstown faculty in 1988. He teaches courses including Introduction to Educational Psychology, Introduction to Exceptionality, Introduction to Psychology, Adolescent Development, Measurement and Statistics for Teachers, History and Philosophy of Education and Students with Special Needs.

Van Blerkom is vice chair of the Cambria County Mental Health/Mental Retardation advisory board.

He has written for national publications including Measurement and Statistics for Teachers, Educational Psychology and the Journal of College Reading and Learning.


The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania announced the winners of the 45th annual Golden Quill Awards this month. The competition recognizes professional excellence in written, photographic, broadcast and online journalism in western Pennsylvania.

Pitt affiliates who were winners and finalists of the 2009 Golden Quills are:

• Ervin Dyer of Pitt magazine was a winner in the magazine features category for “The Smallest Soldier.”

• Kimberly K. Barlow of the University Times was a finalist in the non-daily newspapers health/medical category for “Playing Patient” and a finalist in the non-daily newspapers continuing coverage category for “Open Access Series.”

• Morgan Kelly of the Pitt Chronicle was a finalist in the non-daily newspapers feature category for “The War According to Ms. Haynes.”


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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