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Awards and Accolades: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Announce Faculty, Staff Achievements

PITTSBURGH, March 12, 2010 – The faculty, staff and students of the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences often are recognized by academic and scientific societies and other prestigious organizations for their significant achievements and exceptional leadership. Among those whose work has been acknowledged recently with awards and accolades are the following:

  • Anda Vlad, M.D., Ph.D., received an Early Career Development Award funded by the Ovarian Cancer Academy of the Department of Defense. The five-year, $840,000 grant will fund Dr. Vlad’s investigation of tumor-promoting genetic mutations and testing of novel ovarian cancer therapies.
  • Jacob Larkin, M.D., fellow, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health, School of Medicine, received a three-year, $300,000 award, jointly sponsored by the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, to support his research on placental response to injury.
  • J. Anthony Graves, Ph.D., M.D., a researcher and physician in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, is an awardee of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The award is named after Dr. Amos who was the first African-American to serve as a department head at Harvard, and is part of the RWJF’s “Building Human Capital” initiative. There are up to eight scholars selected each year who receive a yearly stipend of $75,000 and $30,000 to use toward research. The award runs for four years.
  • Maribeth McLaughlin, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, was elected to a three-year term on the governing council of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Section for Maternal and Child Health. The governing council is a 15-member body comprised of CEOs and senior executives from the nation’s women’s and children’s providers who advise the AHA on member service strategies, public policy issues, advocacy positions and emerging issues.
  • Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC will receive a Hospital of Choice Award from the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers at the 2010 National Conference on Service Excellence in Healthcare Organizations in May. The award recognizes those hospitals that have developed a collaborative relationship with physicians, health and managed care organizations in their communities.
  • Elizabeth Skidmore, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, received the 2009 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Academic Educator Award. Dr. Skidmore was selected for this honor because of her excellence in teaching and mentoring occupational therapy students and practitioners in neurobehavioral science and the treatment of neurological disorders.
  • Joanne Baird, MA, OTR/L, assistant professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, received the 2009 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Educator Award. Baird was selected for this honor because of her longstanding and exemplary contributions to fieldwork education for occupational therapy students.
    • In addition, both Ms. Baird and Mary Lou Leibold, MS, OTR/L, were recognized for their expertise as fieldwork educators by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) when she was selected to become a regional trainer for the new AOTA initiative “Fieldwork Educator Certification Program.”
  • Jong Jin Kim, Ph.D. candidate and research assistant, Department of Bioengineering, received an American Heart Association’s Claude R. Joyner, M.D., Research Award for his work that will focus on the mechanism of complex cardiac arrhythmias and their role in sudden cardiac death.
  • John Pacella, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine, UPMC Cardiovascular Institute, received an American Heart Association’s Claude R. Joyner, M.D., Research Award for his research on coronary collateral blood vessels, the body’s natural bypasses to blocked arteries. Dr. Pacella’s work will focus on determining the size of these collaterals in the microcirculation, as well as how they regulate blood flow between neighboring coronary arteries.
  • Brian Zuckerbraun, M.D., Samuel P. Harbison Assistant Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine, received the American Heart Association’s James A. Shaver, M.D., Research Award for his work focusing on the use of inhaled nebulized sodium nitrate as a potential therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension, a disease of the small arteries in the lung. The award is presented to the top-scoring project by a physician-scientist in western Pennsylvania.
  • Joon Sup Lee, M.D., clinical director, UPMC Cardiovascular Institute; associate chief, Division of Cardiology, School of Medicine; and associate professor, Department of Medicine, has been named president-elect of the American Heart Association, Allegheny Division. Dr. Lee will serve as president from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012.
  • Kareem Abu-Elmagd, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S., director, Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Center, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, and professor of surgery, School of Medicine, has been named president-elect of the Intestinal Transplant Association. He will serve a two-year term in this role, followed by a two-year term as president.

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. Since 1997, Pitt and its affiliated university faculty have ranked among the top 10 educational institutions in grant support from the National Institutes of Health.

For additional information about the Schools of the Health Sciences, please visit www.health.pitt.edu.

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