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Awards And Accolades: University Of Pittsburgh Schools Of The Health Sciences Announce Faculty, Staff Achievements

PITTSBURGH, September 8, 2006 — The faculty, staff and students of the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences are often recognized by academic and scientific societies and other prestigious organizations for their significant achievements and exceptional leadership. Among those whose work has recently been acknowledged with awards and accolades are the following:

  • The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) named John O’Donnell, C.R.N.A., M.S.N., director of the nurse anesthesia program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, as Program Director of the Year. The recognition is given annually by the AANA Board of Directors for substantial contributions to the profession of nurse anesthesia in scholarship, education and leadership. Mr. O’Donnell, who also is the associate director for nursing programs at Pitt’s Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research, received the honor specifically for his incorporation of human simulation into nurse anesthesia education. In addition to his roles at Pitt, Mr. O’Donnell has helped to develop numerous simulation-based courses for certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) students and practicing providers at other institutions. He also has mentored other faculty members on the use of simulation in CRNA training and practice.
  • School of Nursing faculty members Lora E. Burke, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., Susan M. Cohen, D.S.N., A.P.R.N., and Marilyn Hravnak, Ph.D., R.N., C.R.N.P.-C.S., C.C.R.N., F.C.C.M., will be among 55 nurse leaders who will be inducted as Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing during the Academy’s 33rd Annual Meeting & Conference, on November 11, 2006, in Miami, Fla. Fellows are chosen from nursing executives, policy makers, scholars, researchers and practitioners based on their contributions to nursing and health care, with specific consideration given to work that has broad implications for health policy affecting all Americans. Dr. Burke is a professor in the department of health and community systems at the School of Nursing. Dr. Cohen is an associate professor in the department of health promotion and development, and Dr. Hravnak is an assistant professor of acute and tertiary care and coordinator of the school’s acute care nurse practitioner program.
  • Katherine L. Wisner, M.D., M.S., professor of psychiatry, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh has been named president-elect of the Marcé Society. Her term as president-elect will run from 2006 to 2008, and she will serve as the society’s president from 2008-2010. The Marcé Society is an international society for the understanding, prevention and treatment of mental illness related to childbearing. A prolific and well-known researcher on the topic of depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period, Dr. Wisner serves as director of the Women’s Behavioral Health Care program at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
  • The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA) recently recognized two School of Pharmacy faculty members for their accomplishments in the field. Senior associate dean Randall Smith, Ph.D., received the PPA’s Mortar and Pestle Award for his service to the pharmacy profession, including his work on the Rite Care project, a collaboration between Rite Aid and the School of Pharmacy to provide Medication Therapy Management Services to patients, and his active involvement in the PPA. Melissa Somma, Pharm.D., assistant professor at the School of Pharmacy and director of the Rite Aid/University of Pittsburgh Patient Care Initiative, received the PPA’s Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award, which is given to a pharmacist who received his or her degree within the past ten years. Dr. Somma was chosen specifically for her work in developing patient-care practices in community-based pharmacies.
  • At its 24th Annual Testimonial Dinner in October, the Arthritis Foundation, Western Pennsylvania Chapter will present its Physician Achievement Award to Thomas A. Medsger, Jr., M.D., Gerald P. Rodnan Professor of Medicine and chief of the rheumatology division at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Medsger was chosen for the honor based on his leadership and dedication to arthritis care and research, particularly his work in the area of systemic sclerosis, or scleroderma. In addition to his other duties, Dr. Medsger also serves as director of Pitt’s scleroderma research program.
  • Myrna Silverman, Ph.D., professor emerita in the department of community and behavioral sciences at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, was selected as the recipient of Presbyterian SeniorCare’s 2006 Samuel K. McCune Award for Distinguished Service. The award was given for Dr. Silverman’s exceptional services in support of aging-related concerns and for significant positive impact on the lives of elderly Americans. This award is named in honor of former Presbyterian SeniorCare Board Chair and leader, Sam McCune, who served the organization for 34 years.

The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences include the schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the Graduate School of Public Health. The schools serve as the academic partner to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Together, their combined mission is to train tomorrow’s health care specialists and biomedical scientists, engage in groundbreaking research that will advance understanding of the causes and treatments of disease, and participate in the delivery of outstanding patient care. For fiscal year 2005, Pitt and its institutional affiliates ranked 7th nationally among educational institutions in grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to preliminary data.

For more information about these awards or the Schools of the Health Sciences, please contact Susan Manko at 412-647-3555.

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