Briefly Noted

Issue Date: 
October 25, 2010

Social Entrepreneurship Featured at Pitt Senate’s Oct. 26 Fall Plenary

The University Senate’s Fall Plenary, “Social Entrepreneurship at Pitt: Innovators, Change Makers, and Local Heroes,” will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 26 in the William Pitt Union’s Assembly Room.

Social entrepreneurs create ventures, products, or organizations that address social problems, in much the same way that business entrepreneurs pursue business opportunities.

“Social entrepreneurs combine research, knowledge, and a passion for change to make an impact on the world around them,” said Audrey Murrell, a professor of business administration, psychology, and public and international affairs and director of the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. She will deliver an overview for the plenary and will introduce Micah Toll, a Pitt social entrepreneur.

Toll is a junior mechanical engineering student and was the winner of Pitt’s “Big Idea” competition in both 2009 and 2010. Among other products, Toll created a portable, light weight construction material crafted from cardboard and foam to be used in disasters that occur in Third World nations where building materials are scarce. Toll and his work will be featured during the plenary.

Opening remarks will be delivered by Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. Rory A. Cooper, FISA/PVA Endowed Chair and a Distinguished Professor in the Pitt Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, will deliver the keynote address, “Social Entrepreneurship: Forging New Freedoms for People with Disabilities.”

“Staff, faculty, and students should attend to familiarize themselves with the wonderful work that is being done in classrooms, labs, and community-field projects. Innovative thinking and ideas can truly find a home at Pitt because our campus is a natural incubator for this type of knowledge and development,” said Murrell.

—By Odana Chaney

Annual Nordenberg Lecture in Law, Medicine, and Psychiatry Set for Oct. 28

Anne Tamar-Mattis, founder and executive director of Advocates for Informed Choice, will deliver the annual Mark A. Nordenberg Lecture in Law, Medicine, and Psychiatry at noon Oct. 28 in the University of Pittsburgh Barco Law Building’s Teplitz Memorial Courtroom. Her talk is titled “Legal and Ethical Issues in Medical Treatment of Children With Variations of Sex Anatomy.”

In her lecture, Tamar-Mattis will identify key legal and ethical issues in treating children with intersex conditions—variations of sexual anatomy or chromosomes that do not fit standard expectations for gender distinction. The talk will explore the ethics and law of surrogate decision-making on behalf of children in complex cases and discuss the balance between the medical need for knowledge and the child’s rights to privacy and dignity.

Advocates for Informed Choice is the first organization in the country to focus on legal advocacy for the civil and human rights of children born with intersex conditions. Tamar-Mattis has served for many years as an organizer in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) and intersex communities. She is the former director of the national LYRIC Youth Talkline and former program director of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center.

A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Tamar-Mattis earned a BA in religious studies at Brown University. She has returned to Berkeley law school as a lecturer teaching the classes Sex Discrimination and Sexual Orientation and the Law. She is the author of Exceptions to the Rule: Curing the Law’s Failure to Protect Intersex Infants (LexisNexis, 2006) and she writes a regular column in Endocrine Today, a professional journal reaching physicians who care for intersex children.

Pitt’s annual lecture in law, medicine, and psychiatry is named after Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, former dean of the law school, and is approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board for one hour of substantive CLE credit. Registration is available at the door. There is a $25 fee to obtain CLE credit with a check made payable to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

For more information, call 412-647-5700 or e-mail

—By Patricia Lomando White

Pitt Offers Oct. 29 Conference on Research Ethics

How vulnerable are the people academic researchers choose to study? Do institutional review boards (IRBs) go far enough in helping to protect the rights and welfare of research subjects?

These issues will be addressed in a free one-day conference at the University of Pittsburgh titled “Beyond the IRB: New Frontiers in the Ethics of Qualitative Research,” from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 29, in 2400 Posvar Hall.

Sponsored by Pitt’s Department of Sociology, the conference has been designed to set an agenda for ethical standards in qualitative research that extend beyond the areas currently in general use by IRBs.

“Changes in technologies, laws, and patterns of policing create new vulnerabilities for the people and social groups that are studied by social scientists,” said Kathleen Blee, Distinguished Professor of Sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences and chair of Pitt’s Department of Sociology. “Our conference is an opportunity to develop a new set of ethical standards that will guide qualitative research in the 21st century.”

At the conference, social science researchers from around the country will present information on ethical dilemmas they have encountered.

For more information, call 412-648-7580 or visit

—By Sharon S. Blake

Pitt Center for Latin American Studies Plans Nov. 20 Concert

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Latin American Studies, along with Pittsburgh Cardiovascular Institute and Med Health Services, will present the Eric Mintel Quartet in the third annual “The Americas—In Concert.” The free public concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in Pitt’s Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

Eric Mintel, jazz pianist and composer, created the Eric Mintel Quartet, which incorporates jazz and classical music. The quartet has traveled throughout the country combining these elements with choral music; it was invited to perform at the White House for President Clinton in 1998 and performed last year on NBC Philadelphia’s “The 10! Show.”

Mintel also will offer a jazz workshop for students at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. Jazz theory, ensemble performance, jazz rhythms studies, and stage presence tips are among the topics that will be discussed. Teachers are invited to arrange for their classes to attend the workshop. For more information on the workshop, contact Lilly Abreu at or 412-362-1771.

Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies is part of the University Center for International Studies. For more information, call 412-648-7392.

—By Sierra L. Starks

AAPD CEO to Deliver Thornburgh Lecture in Disability Law and Policy Nov. 4

Andrew J. Imparato, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD), will be the featured speaker 1-2:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy. The lecture will take place in Ballroom B of the University Club.

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was a student at Stanford University law school, Imparato has long been an advocate for people with disabilities. Before joining AAPD in 1999, he served as director of policy for the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency advising the president and Congress on public policy issues related to disabilities.

At AAPD, Imparato has worked with a coalition of disability, employer, civil rights, and faith-based groups in a political strategy that led to the passing of the 2008 ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) Amendments Act. This law revised the definition of disabilities to encompass and protect the millions of Americans with such impairments as epilepsy, diabetes, depression, and cancer.

Imparato has been featured on CNN, CBS News, Fox Sports, and BBC Radio, among other media outlets, discussing disability issues as well as his own condition.

Founded in 1995, AAPD is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan, cross-disability membership organization in the nation. It was founded in an effort to organize the disability community to become a force for social, political, and economic change. Under Imparato’s leadership, AAPD has quadrupled its membership and staff size.

The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series is sponsored by the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy. After receiving the 2003 Henry B. Betts Award, Dick and Ginny Thornburgh donated the proceeds from that award to the University of Pittsburgh to establish the lecture series. The fund has been supplemented by grants from Pitt’s Office of the Chancellor, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and School of Law.

The Nov. 4 event is free and open to the public, though preregistration is requested because of limited seating. A reception will follow the lecture. The lecture has been approved for 1.5 hours of substantive CLE Credit by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board. For more information on the event, CLE credit, or to preregister, visit

—By Sierra L. Starks

Pitt to Host 20th Annual Slovak Heritage Festival Nov. 7

The University of Pittsburgh Slovak Studies Program and the Pitt Student Slovak Club will present the 20th Annual Slovak Heritage Festival from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Cathedral of Learning’s Commons Room.

The free event will include performances by such local artists as the Pittsburgh Slovakians, Slavjane Folk Ensemble, and the University of Pittsburgh Carpathian Ensemble. Also among the festival’s many performers are the returning professional Slovakian artists the Singing Revil’ak Family and Jozef Ivaska.

Included in the schedule of events are cultural displays and lectures, as well as a Slovak cooking lesson by Lubos Brieda, creator of Vendors will sell Slovak and East European merchandise as well as ethnic food and pastries.

The Slovak Heritage Festival asks for donations of baked goods to help defray costs for this free public event. For more information about the festival, contact Christine Metil at 412-624-5906 or

—By Sierra L. Starks