In the past two weeks, Provost Ann Cudd has announced two new special assistants to her office to deal with very different topics.
Tiffany Gary-Webb, associate professor in the Department Epidemiology and associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, is serving as special assistant to the provost for race and the social determinants of equity, health and well-being.
Chandralekha Singh, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and founding director of the Discipline-based Science Education Research Center, has taken on the additional role of special assistant to the provost for quantum education.
Both appointments began on Sept. 1, 2021.
Gary-Webb will lead the Race & Health Collaboratory. She also will work with John Wallace, vice provost for diversity and development, his staff and the staff of the Center on Race and Social Problems to implement the other core components of the Race and Social Determinants Initiative.
This University-wide cluster hire and retention initiative is designed to transform Pitt’s expertise in, and research on, race and social determinants of equity, health and well-being and, help to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for diverse faculty.
Specifically, the initiative will focus on four interrelated goals: 1) significantly increase the number of faculty who are hired, promoted and retained who work in these fields; 2) attract, recruit and graduate undergraduate and graduate students for whom these issues are important; 3) raise the University’s local, national and international profile and expertise in research related to race and social determinants of equity, health and well-being, and 4) increase the University’s capacity to effect sustainable societal change.
Gary-Webb’s research focuses on three areas: the social determinants of diabetes and obesity, interventions to improve diabetes outcomes for minority populations, and translation of research findings to practice and real-world evaluation. She has a bachelor of science degree from Penn State; and a master of health science and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
In announcing the appointment on Oct. 19, Cudd said Gary-Webb “is uniquely suited to work with the Office of the Provost to implement the work surrounding such a critically important University-wide initiative.”
In her new role, Singh will work to develop undergraduate and graduate programs in quantum science, convening a committee of faculty members from across the University who share interests in quantum science and contribute to our Quantum Science Initiative.
Cudd said in her announcement that, “The importance of quantum science has emerged as a space that is key to Pitt’s academic and research portfolios.
“Pitt’s efforts in quantum science are distinctive strengths to build upon: to develop programs and create a robust learning environment, to build skill, to create and access, and to grow diversity and numbers of engaged students.”
Singh is a part of Q2Work, a National Science Foundation-funded program that provides support for the Quantum Information Science education ecosystem through digital tools, outreach, and collaborative workshops. Q2Work is a member of the National Q-12 Education Partnership launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the NSF. Additionally, her research focuses on how to improve the teaching and learning of subjects like physics at all levels.
She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois, and she earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in physics from the University of California and a B.S. with honors in physics at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India.
— Susan Jones
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