Awards & More

Issue Date: 
January 22, 2007

The American College of Physicians’ Pennsylvania Chapter has selected Roberta Ness to receive its Pennsylvania Chapter Laureate Award. The award honors college masters, fellows, and members who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in medical care, education, and research, or who have provided service to their communities, chapters, and the college. Ness, professor and chair in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, was recognized for her contributions to women’s health as well as work related to women internists.

Michael Boninger, professor and vice chair for research in the School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, was inducted into the National Spinal Cord Injury Association’s Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame recently during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.’s, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Boninger, who also is associate dean for medical student research in the medical school, has done extensive research on the prevention of pain and injury in wheelchair users. He was honored for his contributions to enhancing the quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Thomas Kleyman, chief of the renal-electrolyte division and professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology in Pitt’s School of Medicine, has been selected as the next editor of the American Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology. Kleyman will take over the editor post for a three-year term that begins July 1, 2007.

Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine has received Excellence in Organization Activity recognition from Achieva, a nonprofit organization within a family of organizations that collectively comprises Western Pennsylvania’s largest provider of comprehensive services and support for persons with disabilities and their families.

Pitt’s dental medicine school was honored for its commitment to the special oral healthcare needs of people with disabilities demonstrated through its operation of a special-needs dental clinic. The dental school also integrates students in a rotation in the clinic, which prepares future dental hygienists, general dentists, and dental specialists to treat individuals with disabilities as part of general community practice.

John T. Yates Jr., founding director of Pitt’s University Surface Science Center, has been awarded the 2007 Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry, to be presented at the Spring 2007 American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting. This is Yates’ fifth ACS award.

Among Yates’ research highlights are his surface chemistry studies and the use of single-walled carbon nanotubes as tiny test tubes. He and his research group have developed new surface measurement techniques and are using these techniques to study molecular processes on metal, semiconductor, and insulator surfaces. Yates has examined the molecular structure and chemical reactivity of surface species, as applied to corrosion prevention, catalysis, semiconductor processing, and nanotechnology.

After 25 years with Pitt, Yates joined the University of Virginia on Jan. 1 as a professor and Shannon Fellow in the Department of Chemistry. He will continue to work within the area of surface chemistry, as well as explore the new field of astrochemistry, which examines the way molecules in space are synthesized. At the request of N. John Cooper, dean of Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, Yates will remain chair of the Research Advisory Committee of Pitt’s Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering, a position for which he will return to Pitt monthly.

Two Pitt buildings were among the recipients of the American Institute of Architects at Pittsburgh’s 2006 Design Awards. Payette Associates Architects and JSA Architecture Planning Engineering Interior Design both earned the Honor Award in Architecture for the design of the Pitt School of Medicine Biomedical Science Tower III. In addition, Pfaffmann & Associates, P.C., received the Award of Excellence for Open Plan for the maintenance and historical preservation of the Cathedral of Learning.

Pitt Professor Emeritus George H. Shames received the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Honors of the Association award during the 2006 ASHA convention in November. The Honors of the Association recognizes distinguished contributions to the field of speech, language, and hearing. Honored individuals have made outstanding contributions to the discipline of communication science and disorders, research, administration, or service to state or national organizations.

During his career, Shames made a substantial and enduring contribution to the field of speech-language pathology and has had a profound and lasting impact on fluency research through his scholarly investigations, inventions, and gifts as a teacher and mentor, according to ASHA. A licensed, clinical psychologist as well as a speech-language pathologist, Shames brought his expertise as a counselor into his clinical practice and to his research and first brought widespread attention to the role of operant conditioning in fluency disorders.

Bopaya Bidanda, Ernest E. Roth Professor and Chair of the Pitt engineering school’s Department of Industrial Engineering, has been appointed to the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Board of Trustees. He is also an IIEE senior member and fellow, and serves as a director of IIEE’s Pittsburgh chapter.
Bidanda’s research focuses on manufacturing systems with a special focus on group technology, reverse engineering, cellular manufacturing, lean manufacturing, human issues in manufacturing, product development, and manufacturing modernization.

Jerry Samples, vice president for academic and student affairs at Pitt’s Johnstown campus, has been elected a Distinguished Fellow of the International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning (ISETL).

To be recognized as a Distinguished Fellow, Samples demonstrated significant contributions in the following three areas: scholarship related to teaching and learning in higher education as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications and/or funded grants; teaching in higher education, including, but not limited to, the implementation, evaluation, development, and/or improvement of effective teaching strategies; and service to higher education, including active participation in and contribution to ISETL for several years.

Scott Mark, Pitt assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, was selected as the recipient of the National Capital Healthcare Executives (NCHE) 2006 Healthcare Mentorship Award for his dedication to mentoring pharmacy professionals. NCHE is an organization of more than 350 healthcare executives who represent a wide variety of healthcare institutions, including hospitals, health and governmental agencies, foundations, and other related organizations.

The American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) has invited Melissa Somma, assistant professor and director of the Rite Aid/University of Pittsburgh Patient Care Initiative, to serve as a member of the APhA/American Society of Consultant Pharmacists Medication Therapy Management Certificate Program advisory board. The certificate program is designed for pharmacists practicing in the community and ambulatory environments, corporate chain managers, consultant pharmacists, and pharmacy educators to implement sustainable, medication therapy management practices. Somma also was invited to serve as a member-at-large for the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Strategic Planning Committee.

Pitt Book Center staffer John Potter recently participated in the third annual videoconference Consortium on the Inclusion and Care of the Underrepresented in Clinical Research. A member of Pitt’s Center for Minority Health’s (CMH) Community Research Advisory Board, Potter and other CMH faculty and staff made presentations during the videoconference.

E.J. Borghetti has been promoted to the position of associate athletic director for media relations. Borghetti serves as a spokesperson and primary contact to the media for Pitt athletics and as counselor, advisor, and strategic collaborator for Director of Athletics Jeff Long as well as Pitt coaches and senior administrators. He also oversees Pitt athletics print and Web publications.

“E.J. is such a valuable asset to not only the University of Pittsburgh, but the entire Pittsburgh community, and we are pleased to be able to reward him in this way,” said Long. “His expertise in the field of media relations, as well as Pitt athletics as a whole, makes him an invaluable part of our athletic department.”

Borghetti currently oversees daily publicity efforts for the Panthers’ 19 intercollegiate sports. In promoting Pitt’s football team, Borghetti in 2003 handled the publicity for receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a unanimous All-American who was the first-ever sophomore to be selected the Walter Camp Player of the Year. Fitzgerald also won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up. Borghetti also promoted consensus All-American receiver Antonio Bryant, who won the Biletnikoff Award in 2000. Pitt is the only school with multiple Biletnikoff winners.
Recently, Panthers linebacker H.B. Blades was named a first team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Sports Illustrated.

Borghetti’s writing was recently recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). His profile of Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt received a “Second in the Nation” citation in CoSIDA’s national writing contest.