Awards and More

Issue Date: 
October 2, 2006

• The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has named John O’Donnell, director of the nurse anesthesia program in Pitt’s School of Nursing, as Program Director of the Year. The recognition is given annually by the AANA Board of Directors for substantial contributions to the profession of nurse anesthesia in scholarship, education, and leadership.

O’Donnell, who also is the associate director for nursing programs in Pitt’s Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research, received the honor for his incorporation of human simulation into nurse anesthesia education. In addition to his roles at Pitt, O’Donnell has helped to develop numerous simulation-based courses for certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) students and practicing providers at other institutions. He also has mentored other faculty members on the use of simulation in CRNA training and practice.

Barbara Shore, professor emerita in Pitt’s School of Social Work, will receive United Cerebral Palsy’s (UCP) 2006 Gertrude Labowitz Lifetime Achievement Award at UCP’s annual awards dinner Oct. 17.

Laurel Roberts, a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, was one of 16 microbiologists recognized at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Conference for Undergraduate Educators for completing a yearlong residency program to improve student learning in microbiological sciences.
The program brought together faculty committed to investigating and documenting significant issues and challenges in the teaching of microbiology. The residency program began in July 2005 at the four-day Institute on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at ASM headquarters in Washington, D.C., and culminated with a presentation at the ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators in Orlando, Fla., last May.

Pitt biological sciences lecturer Susan Godfrey has been accepted into the 2006 class of the residency program.

Paul J. Petrovich, senior technology consultant at the University’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence Small Business Development Center, has received the Tibbets Award, a national honor, for his services in connecting Western Pennsylvanian technology innovators with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding. SBIR is the federal government’s largest research and development grant program targeting small businesses.

Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has received national recognition from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, a New Hampshire-based organization founded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Hospital and American Nurses associations, and Health Care Without Harm. Magee received the “Making Medicine Mercury Free” award, a one-time citation for hospitals that have nearly eliminated mercury from their facilities. A potent neurological and developmental toxin, mercury can damage human health at extremely low levels. Hospitals can be a major contributor to mercury-air emissions, and hospitals that receive this recognition must meet stringent benchmarks for mercury elimination.

• Pitt School of Nursing faculty members Lora E. Burke, Susan M. Cohen, and Marilyn Hravnak will be among 55 nurse leaders who will be inducted as Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing during the Academy’s 33rd Annual Meeting & Conference on Nov. 11. Fellows are chosen based on their contributions to nursing and health care, with specific consideration given to work that has broad implications for health policy affecting all Americans. Burke is a professor in the nursing school’s Department of Health and Community Systems, Cohen is an associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Development, and Hravnak is an assistant professor of acute and tertiary care and coordinator of the school’s acute care nurse practitioner program.

Katherine L. Wisner, Pitt professor of psychiatry, obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, and epidemiology, has been named president-elect of the Marcé Society. Her term as president-elect will run from 2006 to 2008, and she will serve as the society’s president from 2008-2010. The Marcé Society is an international society for the understanding, prevention, and treatment of mental illness related to childbearing. A prolific and well-known researcher on the topic of depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period, Wisner directs the Women’s Behavioral Health Care program at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

• The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA) recently recognized two Pitt School of Pharmacy faculty members. Senior Associate Dean Randall Smith received PPA’s Mortar and Pestle Award for his service to the pharmacy profession, including his work on the Rite Care project, a collaboration between Rite Aid and Pitt’s pharmacy school to provide medication therapy management services to patients, and his active involvement in the PPA. Melissa Somma, assistant professor in the pharmacy school and director of the Rite Aid/University of Pittsburgh Patient Care Initiative, received PPA’s Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award, which is given to a pharmacist who received his or her degree within the past 10 years. Somma was honored specifically for her work in developing patient-care practices in community-based pharmacies.

• At its 24th Annual Testimonial Dinner this month, the Arthritis Foundation, Western Pennsylvania Chapter will present its Physician Achievement Award to Thomas A. Medsger, Gerald P. Rodnan Professor of Medicine and chief of the rheumatology division in Pitt’s School of Medicine. Medsger was chosen for the honor based on his leadership and dedication to arthritis care and research, particularly his work in the area of systemic sclerosis, or scleroderma. In addition to his other duties, Medsger also directs Pitt’s scleroderma research program.

Myrna Silverman, professor emerita in the Department of Community and Behavioral Sciences in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, has received Presbyterian SeniorCare’s 2006 Samuel K. McCune Award for Distinguished Service. The award recognized Silverman’s exceptional services in support of aging-related concerns and for significant positive impact on the lives of elderly Americans. This award is named in honor of former Presbyterian SeniorCare Board Chair and leader, Sam McCune, who served the organization for 34 years.

• A children’s book project initiated by Linda Winkler, a professor of anthropology and biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, and Katie Moran, an artist from New York City, has received a 2006 International Rotary grant.

The project is designed to create two children's books with local African cultural content and drawings of community life. One of the books tells the story of a girl named Grace, who lives in Karagwe. The second book is the sequel to an earlier book created by Winkler and her research group for use with children in Tanzanian AIDS-education projects. This sequel tells the story of an AIDS orphan named Adelina.

Winkler and Moran spent May and June in rural Tanzania’s Karagwe district developing the book. While there, they were welcomed by members of the Karagwe Rotary Chapter. The grant will be matched with contributions from Rotary clubs in the United States and used to publish books and distribute them to the Karagwe community.