Awards & More

Issue Date: 
February 12, 2007

Pitt Professor of Medicine James A. Shaver has received the Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh Award for 2007 from the American Heart Association (AHA), Pittsburgh Division.

The award recognizes outstanding leadership in the fight against heart attack and stroke. It is named in honor of the late Peter J. Safar, Distinguished Professor of Resuscitation Medicine at Pitt, who was known as “the father of CPR.”

Shaver has been a Pitt faculty member for more than 40 years. He is responsible for opening and directing the first cardiac catheterization laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), formerly known as Presbyterian University Hospital. From 1971 until 1994, Shaver was director of cardiology in Pitt’s School of Medicine.

His clinical and research interests have focused on valvular heart disease, adult congenital heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and the physiologic basis of heart sounds and murmurs.

“Dr. Shaver’s accomplishments as a physician and educator should serve as a model to anyone wishing to pursue a career in academic medicine,” said Barry London, Pitt professor of medicine, chief of the School of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology, and director of the UPMC Cardiovascular Institute. “His dedication and contributions to the field of cardiology are a testament to his commitment to excellence. I’m proud to know and work with him. Many practicing cardiologists today say they owe their careers to Jim Shaver.”

Shaver has trained more than 200 cardiologists, many of whom now practice in Western Pennsylvania.

He has been an active member of the American Heart Association at the local, state, and national levels since 1968. From 1968 until 1981, Shaver served on the research, professional education, and executive committees of what was then called the Western Pennsylvania Heart Association. He was president of the organization from 1980 to 1981.

Shaver received his medical degree at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia in 1959. Following an internship at the University of Pennsylvania, Shaver joined Pitt in 1960. In 1965, he completed his fellowship in cardiology here and became an instructor of medicine. From 1971 to 1994, Shaver was chief of the medical school’s cardiology division. He has received numerous awards and honors related to his teaching, including the Pitt medical school dean’s Kenneth E. Schuit Award for Master Educator in 2002 and the Cardiovascular Fellows Teaching Award for 1993.

Shaver’s bibliography includes more than 75 peer-reviewed manuscripts, more than 40 invited papers and reviews, and nearly a dozen book chapters on adult cardiology, cardiovascular hemodynamics, and the physiologic basis for heart sounds and murmurs. Also, Shaver has served as an editorial reviewer for Circulation, Chest, the American Journal of Cardiology, the Journal of American College of Cardiology, and the International Journal of Cardiology.

Shaver continues to be active in the practice of adult cardiology and spends much of his time teaching cardiovascular disease medicine to students and cardiology fellows.

In recognition of Shaver’s dedication to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart disease, along with his steadfast commitment to service with the American Heart Association, the Pittsburgh Division of the AHA has established the James A. Shaver Research Fund to give future scientists the opportunity to advance their research on cardiovascular medicine.

Daniel Romesberg, a faculty member and undergraduate advisor in the Pitt School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Sociology, has won the inaugural 2007 Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising.

Undergraduate students and department chairs in the Arts and Sciences were asked to submit the faculty names to the school for consideration. It was no surprise to sociology department chair John Markoff that Romesberg won the $5,000 award.

“Dan is always there for the students, whether it’s about their academic progress, applying to graduate school, or going into the job market,” said Markoff. “He’s a splendid classroom teacher, too. Students sing his praises and often talk about how Dan has helped them with major decisions about their studies or careers.”

Romesberg, who has been advising undergraduates in sociology for 10 years, also has created an extensive internship program, with opportunities at more than 150 regional programs and agencies. Romesberg has earned four degrees from Pitt—a B.A. in sociology, an M.A. in sociology and social work, and a Ph.D. in sociology.

Ampco-Pittsburgh manufactures and sells custom-engineered equipment throughout the United States.

Susan Gillis Kruman, clinical instructor in the Pitt School of Education’s Department of Health and Physical Activity, has been named Teacher of the Year/University Level by the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.

Gillis Kruman is the program head for the dance minor at Pitt and directs the University Dance Ensemble. She has danced professionally in New York City with the Virginia Laidlaw Dance Theater and the Shoestring Dance Ensemble. The first director of Dance Alloy, a local professional contemporary dance company, she also served as its resident choreographer.

Gillis Kruman developed the Arts Education Project, which offers multisensory teaching for high school, undergraduate, and graduate seminars on the history of dance, and The Early Moderns, a multimedia CD-ROM on dance from 1880 to 1935. She has presented local and international dance workshops, master classes, and choreography and dance-technology sessions.

Gillis Kruman’s other honors include the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Professional Honor Award in 1993; the Eastern District Honor Award in 2003; and the National Dance Association Presidential Citation in 2005.

In addition, Pitt’s Office of Student Affairs recognized Gillis Kruman for teaching excellence in 2000; the recognition was based on a survey of Pitt students who stated that Gillis Kruman had had a “significant or positive impact” on their lives.

Gillis Kruman received her B.F.A. degree in dance performance from the University of Utah and her M.Ed. degree from Pitt.