Accolades

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Employee Injury Rate Falls to Record Low

The University in 2017 posted its lowest-ever employee injury rate of 1.0, calculated in incidents per 100 full-time workers. 

Jay Frerotte, director of Pitt’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety, attributed the downward trend to ongoing efforts to enhance the University’s longstanding culture of workplace safety.

National figures have yet to be posted for 2017, but the University’s employee injury rate consistently has been below the national average for colleges and universities since the start of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current industry classification system in 2003. That year, the Pittsburgh campus rate was 1.8 compared to a national average of 2.7.

By 2016, Pitt’s rate declined to less than 1.2 — a campus low at that time  — compared with a national average of 1.9.

Margaret McDonald to Receive Association of American Medical Colleges Service Award

Margaret "Maggie" McDonald, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and international programs at the University of Pittsburgh’s Schools of the Health Sciences, will be presented with the Group on Institutional Advancement (GIA) Distinguished Service Award at the upcoming 2018 Association of American Medical Colleges National Professional Development Conference for Institutional Advancement.

The award recognizes McDonald for her significant and longstanding contributions to the GIA, the AAMC and her profession. In McDonald's nomination letters, colleagues recognized her as an accomplished writer and editor, dedicated to the GIA and academic medicine, and generous in sharing best practices to help advance the field.

Pitt Innovation Challenge Launches

The 2018 Pitt Innovation Challenge — or PInCh for short — launches March 12. Created and hosted by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, the challenge is designed to generate innovative solutions to difficult health problems. This year's competition focuses on addressing problems associated with human performance — from helping shift workers and soldiers perform at their best, to giving athletes a boost.

Teams must include at least one University faculty member, but can otherwise be made up of individuals from other educational institutions or non-academic organizations, such as community groups or businesses.

Winning teams will receive an award for direct costs and project management support to help execute a 12-month plan to take the team’s solution one step farther along the path of development. Applications for this year's challenge are due Monday, April 23 at 5 p.m.

Obagi in a white doctor's coat

Surgeon Named President of American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery

Suzan Obagi, an associate professor of both dermatology and plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, was named the 2018 president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery at the the group’s 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting held in February in Las Vegas. Obagi is the director of the UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center; she is also involved in training residents and physicians from around the world on the latest in cosmetic and laser surgery.

Obagi focuses on skin health restoration, autologous fat augmentation (fat transfer), neuromodulators and soft tissue fillers, chemical peeling, dermabrasion and lasers. Her research interests include ways to improve adipocyte (fat) survival after transplantation, patient safety in skin resurfacing, laser treatment for improving Raynaud’s phenomenon and ultrasound measurement of long-term fat graft survival after transplantation.

Davis in a dark suit jacket

Institutional Advancement Staffer, Pitt Alumni Among Philanthropy Up-and-Comers

Raymond M. Davis, a major gifts officer who focuses on the Florida region, has been named to Who’s Next: Philanthropy by local new organization The Incline.

Davis is a graduate of Walsh University and began his work in donor relations there. He joined Pitt’s Institutional Advancement staff in 2015 and is pursuing a master of studies in law degree at Pitt Law.

Who’s Next: Philanthropy recognized 17 individuals under age 40 who are making a difference in philanthropy in Pittsburgh.

Also named to the list were Pitt alumni Zack Block (LAW ’05), executive director of Repair the World: Pittsburgh; Sloane Davidson (GSPIA ’17), founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor; Pam Eichenbaum (A&S ’08), business development associate at Innovation Works; and Ryan Gayman (A&S ’12), accelerator manager at Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh and partner at CitizenCity.

clark

Russell Clark Wins Prize for Excellence in Advising

Russell Clark, a senior lecturer and undergraduate advisor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. Clark is advisor to all undergraduate physics and astronomy major and is responsible for training graduate teaching assistants for lab courses. The Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize, awarded through the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, comes with a one-time $4,000 cash award.

Sweet in front of a dark gray background

Cynthia Sweet Joins Pitt as Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Partnerships

Cynthia Sweet has joined the University’s Office of Economic Partnerships as associate vice chancellor for economic partnerships. In this newly created role, she will work closely with Rebecca Bagley, vice chancellor for economic partnerships, to advance University initiatives that aim to foster economic growth on campus and across the region. Among Sweet’s first priorities will be to guide and focus the corporate engagement office rollout strategy.

Sweet most recently was associate vice president of corporate and government relations at West Virginia University and was the founding director of WVU’s Corporate Relations Office. She previously served as senior university business liaison in the Office of Corporate Relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Sweet holds a bachelor’s degree in geography with a concentration in economic development and international relations from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning with a specialization in international economic development from UW-Madison.

Dietrich in a purple shirt

Dietrich Stephan Named Life Sciences Pennsylvania's 2017 Thought Leader of the Year

Dietrich Stephan has been named Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s 2017 Thought Leader of the Year.

The award honors an individual “who has a clearly articulated and enacted vision for advancing the scientific and business prowess of Pennsylvania; has harnessed diverse resources to implement that vision; has advanced Pennsylvania as a hub of the life sciences and has established broad, diverse support for his/her efforts to improve the lives of patients.”

Stephan, a renowned human geneticist and entrepreneur, is a professor of human genetics at Pitt Public Health and chief executive officer of LifeX. The LifeX initiative aims to translate life sciences discovery and invention to the marketplace, focusing initially on fighting cancer, Alzheimer's, multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, obesity and diabetes, and rare genetic diseases.

The award will be presented March 14 at the statewide life sciences trade organization’s annual dinner in Philadelphia.

 

Geoffrey Hutchinson and Amy Murray Twyning Honored with Teaching Award

Geoffrey Hutchison, an associate professor in Pitt’s Department of Chemistry and Amy Murray Twyning, a lecturer in the Department of English, have been named this year’s winners of the Tina & David Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards. The award was established in 1998 to recognize exemplary teaching in undergraduate studies at the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Honorees receive a one-time cash prize of $6,000.

Arthur G. Ramicone headshot

Chief Financial Officer Arthur G. Ramicone to Retire

Pitt’s chief financial officer, Senior Vice Chancellor Arthur G. Ramicone, has announced he will retire at the end of August, ending a 30-year career at Pitt. 

Ramicone began working at Pitt in 1988 as a manager of internal audit. He worked his way through the ranks and today oversees 14 departments, ranging from payroll to risk management. 

He is credited with implementing a number of new systems and upgrades over the years, including a data warehouse and a new travel management program, which itself has generated significant cost savings for Pitt.

“In the last 30 years, Art has made lasting contributions to the strength of this University,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “He is a leader known for his honesty, integrity and sense of humor — and for bringing great teams together to tackle the right challenges. As a result, the University finds itself in an enviable position of exceptional financial strength.”

MBA Program Ranked as One of the Best for Return on Investments Nationally

The University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is in good company. Katz’s MBA program is one of the best for return on investments nationally, according to a ranking from Social Finance (SoFi), a student loan refinancing company.

SoFi said Pitt’s Katz school, Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business were the only three schools whose graduates have excellent salaries and relatively low loan obligations. This is the first time the Katz school has been included in the SoFi ranking, which is developed independently of school-reported figures and instead uses data from 60,000 student loan refinancing applications the company received between January 2014 and December 2017.

Katz’s MBA graduates received the sixth best return on investment and the program ranked 17th in highest salary. It’s the second best return on investment and fourth highest salary among public programs ranked by SoFi.

Duck smiling and wearing a white collared shirt

Sociology Faculty Member's Research on Racism Recognized

The North Central Sociological Association recognized a Pitt faculty member’s paper on the perpetuation of racism in the United States with the association’s Scholarly Achievement Award. Waverly Duck and Bentley University faculty member Anne Warfield Rawls cowrote “‘Fractured Reflections’ of High-Status Black Male Presentations of Self: Nonrecognition of Identity as a ‘Tacit’ Form of Institutional Racism.” Duck is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Published in the journal Sociological Focus, the article says that black men encounter racism even at higher levels of status.

Pharmacy's Patricia Kroboth Wins Outstanding Dean Award

Patricia Kroboth, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and the Dr. Gordon J. Vanscoy Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will be given the 2018 American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) Outstanding Dean Award at the association’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 16-19.

The award recognizes a school or college of pharmacy dean who has made significant contributions to the APhA-ASP Chapter and promoted with distinction the welfare of student pharmacists through various community service, leadership and professional activities. The award was established in 2004.

New Exhibits Include Works By Professor Emeritus of Studio Arts

Two current art exhibitions — one in Detroit and one in the Bronx, New York — feature works by Pitt Professor Emeritus of Studio Arts Paul Glabicki. An internationally acclaimed multimedia artist, Glabicki taught in Pitt’s Department of Studio Arts for 40 years and served as its chair from 2000-2003.  

HUMAN/NATURE: Selections from the Kim Foster Gallery is already underway at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery at Wayne State University in Detroit and runs through March 23. Each artist, including Glabicki, examines the journey toward decoding the relationship between humans and nature, and how humans are organically drawn to consider this connection.

TICK-TOCK: Time in Contemporary Art runs Feb. 20 through May 5 at the Lehman College Art Gallery in the Bronx. Glabicki and the other artists were inspired by traditional and contemporary tools we use to chart time, from clocks and calendars to sundials and stopwatches.

Faculty Member Inducted Into French Order

Pitt faculty member David Pettersen has been inducted into the Ordre des Palmes académiques (Order of the Academic Palms) as a Chevalier (Knight) by the French government. The honor, said Pittsburgh’s Honorary French Consul Jean-Dominique Le Garrec, recognizes Pettersen’s efforts in establishing a faculty exchange between Pitt and the Université Lumière Lyon 2, his contributions to the expansion of French culture around the world and his research and writing about French literature and cinema. Pettersen is an associate professor of French and film and media studies and the associate director of the newly renamed Film and Media Studies Program in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. He will be recognized at an award ceremony in February.

Weber and Fisher

Duo Wins Award to Research Prosthetic Improvements

Doug Weber, associate professor of bioengineering, and Lee Fisher, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, were one of four University of Pittsburgh teams to receive a $5.3 million National Institutes of Health BRAIN award. 

The pair will research ways to eliminate phantom limb pain, a phenomenon where amputees feel pain from the missing limb, which can be long-lasting and severe. They will investigate how electric stimulation may both counter phantom limb pain and improve movement and balance in patients. If successful, improvements in sensory feedback could improve the quality of life for prosthetics users.

Two Psychologists Awarded for Early Career Achievement

Tristen Inagaki and Jamie Hanson have been named 2017 Rising Stars by the Association for Psychological Science, the leading international organization devoted to advancing psychology across disciplines. The Rising Star award is given to newly minted PhDs whose earliest work has already shown promise for broad impact far into the future of the field.

Inagaki is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. Using methods from social and health psychology, as well as pharmacology and affective neuroscience, she studies how we form and maintain social connections, and how those bonds positively influence our mental and physical health.

Hanson is an assistant professor of psychology and a research scientist at Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center. His work focuses on the neural circuitry that children and adolescents use to learn about different aspects of their environment. He also studies how such circuits are shaped by early life stress and why neural changes due to this stress confer risks for negative outcomes.

Honors Convocation Speaker Announced

Brian Primack, dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s University Honors College, will address faculty, students and guests as speaker of Pitt’s 42nd annual Honors Convocation at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Primack is also the Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Endowed Chair; the director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health; and a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and clinical and translational science. He was named leader of the University Honors College in summer 2017.

Peter Gianaros Helps Create New Health Disparities Report for American Psychological Association

At the beginning of 2018, the American Psychological Association published its first comprehensive report on stress and health disparities, compiled by a working group of interdisciplinary scientists from top institutions around the country, which included the University of Pittsburgh’s Peter Gianaros.

A professor of psychology and of psychiatry, Gianaros studies how the human brain influences and is influenced by physical health — particularly cardiovascular health, a major focus of the APA report. He directs the behavioral neurophysiology lab at Pitt and he is the former director of the Multimodal Neuroimaging Training Program of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University. The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Gianaros and Anna Marsland, also a professor of psychology and leading expert on the immune system and stress, funding to study socioeconomic disadvantage and brain aging.

“The new APA report is timely. Discrimination, living in poverty, and other sources of stress are linked to inequalities in health and longevity,” Gianaros said. “These problems will continue to grow unless there is more evidence-based support and advocacy for research funding on health disparities, greater public education and awareness, and community-level interventions that promote health equality for everyone in this country. The work that Dr. Marsland and I are doing is directed at better understanding and addressing these pressing issues.”

Melanoma Research Gets Financial Boost

The Woiner Foundation of Pittsburgh recently donated $50,000 to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Treatment Program, directed by John Kirkwood to support his internationally acclaimed melanoma research.

Under Kirkwood’s direction, more than 20 faculty researchers are leading multiple local, national and international studies that are advancing new therapies for the treatment of melanoma, a cancer that kills more than 10,000 people in the United States each year.

Kirkwood leads a number of highly promising clinical trials with cancer vaccines to spur the body’s own immune system into recognizing and destroying melanoma.