Freddie H. Fu, Maria Kovacs Honored as Pitt Distinguished Professors

Issue Date: 
July 12, 2010
Freddie H. FuFreddie H. Fu
Maria KovacsMaria Kovacs

The University of Pittsburgh has honored two faculty members in the School of Medicine, one as a Distinguished Service Professor and the other as a Distinguished Professor. Freddie H. Fu has been named as Distinguished Service Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Maria Kovacs has been named Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry.

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg made the appointments, which became effective July 1, based on the recommendation of Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher.

The rank of Distinguished Service Professor recognizes distinctive contributions and outstanding service to the University community in support of its multifaceted teaching/research/service mission; the rank of Distinguished Professor recognizes extraordinary, internationally recognized scholarly attainment in an individual discipline or field.

Biographical information on the faculty honorees follows.

Freddie Fu is the David Silver Professor and Chair of Pitt’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He holds secondary appointments as a professor of physical therapy in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, professor of health and physical activity in the Pitt School of Education, and professor of mechanical engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. In addition, he has been the head team physician for Pitt’s Department of Athletics for more than 20 years.

Known internationally as a pioneer in anatomic double-bundle ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction surgery, Fu and his research team recently were awarded a $3.2 million National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases grant to compare anatomic double-bundle and anatomic single-bundle ACL reconstruction surgeries. He is the founding medical director of the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine and has trained more than 500 surgeons and physicians worldwide and approximately 60 surgeons through Pitt’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Fellowship Program.

In 2008, Fu and his wife, Hilda Pang Fu, made a $1 million commitment to the OREF/AOSSM/Dr. Freddie H. and Mrs. Hilda Pang Fu Research Award. The award, which was created in cooperation with the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, will support research directed by either a female orthopaedic surgeon or an orthopaedic surgeon researcher of either gender on a topic of interest to female athletes.

Currently serving as president of the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, Fu has held offices in numerous professional and academic organizations, including a recent term as president of AOSSM. His research efforts have led to more than 160 professional awards and honors, nearly 860 national and international presentations, more than 350 peer-reviewed articles, and editorship of 28 major orthopaedic textbooks.

The Hong Kong native received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his MD from Pitt.

During her 40-year career, Maria Kovacs, a professor of psychiatry in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has earned a reputation as one of the most highly respected researchers in child and adolescent depression. Kovacs’ research on those with depression spans ages ranging from late childhood to adulthood, and she has examined the presentation, outcome, and public health implications of early-onset affective mood disorders.

During the past decade, Kovacs has led a multidisciplinary international team of investigators in a project on risk factors for juvenile-onset depression that combined molecular genetic, brain physiology, behavioral observation, and clinical perspectives. She also has developed a novel psychotherapy for depression based on principles of emotion regulation that is being tested with children.

Kovacs is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society, which elected her as a Fellow in 1998.

In 2003, the Institute for Scientific Information recognized Kovacs as one of the most-cited researchers (in the top 1.5 percent) in psychology and psychiatry for the 19-year period spanning 1981 to 1999. She has served on the advisory committees for both DSM-III and DSM-IV—the third and fourth editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which provides the standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders for the American Psychiatric Association.

Kovacs earned her BA in psychology from Queens College of the City University of New York, her MEd in psychology from Columbia University Teachers College, and her PhD in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Department of Psychology.