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Pitt Nursing Programs Rank No. 1 in State, Top 10 in Nation

The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing placed high in recent rankings published in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

Pitt Nursing’s doctor of nursing program is ranked top in Pennsylvania according to the rankings and moved up to fifth from seventh in the nation. The master of science of nursing program also moved up to seventh from eighth in the nation.

Multiple indicators are used to create these rankings, including peer assessment, student selectivity and achievement, mean grade-point average, faculty credentials and academic achievements, among others.

A list of other program rankings can be found here.

Veser in a lab coat and goggles

Department of Energy-backed Research Aims to Boost Rust Belt Manufacturers

Two new research collaborations led by Götz Veser, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, aim to boost manufacturing industries in America’s Rust Belt. The research is backed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and totals nearly $10 million.

One project is a collaboration between Pitt and Ohio-based chemical manufacturer Lubrizol that aims to replace Lubrizol’s current practice of batch processing chemicals with continuous processing; the latter gives much greater control over the processing conditions of chemicals. Veser's other project aims to find an efficient way to convert methane to benzene, a key part of sustainable processing that has not yet been commercialized due to low efficiency.

Read more about the grants at the Swanson School of Engineering's website.

Philosophy, Library Among Pitt’s Highlights in International Rankings

The University of Pittsburgh was one of 22 institutions with at least one subject ranked at No. 1 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018. The University’s philosophy program was recognized with a No. 1 ranking for the third consecutive year. Pitt was also featured in the new ranking for the library and information management subject (No. 9). Academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per paper and h-index — a calculation that reflects most-cited papers and citation totals — are among the factors that may contribute to a specific ranking. To see the University’s entire performance in these rankings, visit the rankings webpage.

New Issue of Student-run Publication The Pitt Pulse Now Live

The Pitt Pulse, a student-run biomedical science magazine and multimedia platform, has published its spring edition. In this issue, find pieces about medical care for prison inmates, flu vaccines, what brain scientists have to say about the 2016 election and more. A hard copy of the magazine can be picked up in Langley and Chevron Hall, the ground floor lobby of the Hillman Library, the University Honor’s College and the Biology and Neuroscience advising offices.

Beck in a blue suit, white shirt and striped blue tie

David Beck Named Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants

David Beck, an assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Physician Assistant Studies Program, has been recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants for exemplary achievement in service to the profession, the advancement of health care and in dedication to the community. This honor is bestowed upon an elite group of less than one percent of practicing PAs.

Beck studies the application and evaluation of transformative learning in educating health professionals, among other topics.


statue of a panther

Two Student Teams to Compete in Rice Business Plan Competition

Two Pitt teams are among 42 competitors from around the world competing for more than $1.5 million in prizes in the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition. This is the first time two Pitt teams have been selected to compete at the Rice competition. Team Four Growers is developing a robotic tomato harvesting system and Team FRED is designing a platform for dynamic social science modeling. Both teams have been honing their entrepreneurial skills through Pitt’s Innovation Institute programs and are contestants in the March 29 Randall Family Big Idea Competition on campus.

The Rice Business Plan Competition, which bills itself as the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition, is set for April 6-7 at Rice University in Houston.

Med Students Celebrate Match Day

Medical students and their families and well-wishers gathered in the Petersen Events Center Friday, March 16, for the ceremonial opening of the envelopes at Match Day — a national event where fourth-year medical students simultaneously learn where they will be completing their residencies.

Of the 146 Pitt students who matched, 37 will be staying in Pittsburgh. Two Pitt records were also broken: 10 students matched in orthopedics and nine matched in psychiatry — the highest ever for those specialties.

57 students, or almost 40 percent, matched in primary care fields, which is close to the 42 percent of last year’s class.

Personalized Education Grants Awardees Announced

An Uber or Lyft for finding a tutor, a Netflix for research opportunities, civic engagement programs and live broadcast internships in athletics are among the 17 projects awarded grants up to $26,000 through the Office of the Provost’s Personalized Education Grants Program. Personalized education is defined as enhancing learning through tailored engagement in educational activities that reflect each student’s unique identities, experiences, interests, abilities and aspirations. The winners will be recognized at a reception on March 26. For a list of the grantees, visit Pitt’s personalized education website.

Music Chair Deane Root Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Pitt Department of Music Chair Deane Root has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of American Music, which is a member of the Council of Learned Societies and a group of which Root was a founding member. At the society’s international conference in March, Root was lauded for his accomplishments — his deep and wide-ranging contributions to the study of American music; preserving and growing the Foster Hall Collection at the Stephen Foster Memorial and the archives of Pitt’s Center for American Music, of which he is director; and his successful initiative Voices Across Time, in which teachers from across the country come to Pitt’s main campus to learn how to integrate American music into social studies and language arts classes.

Root is an author, editor in chief of Grove Music Online, an educator, a mentor of young scholars and a past president of the Society of American Music. As its representative said when Root received the award, “Deane has exercised consistent leadership ... and has been at the forefront of musical discovery in a broad range of areas.”

Savio Woo Honored as Inaugural Orthopaedic Research Society Fellow

Savio L-Y. Woo, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Bioengineering of the Swanson School of Engineering, was honored by the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) as an Inaugural Fellow at the annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 10, 2018. Woo received this honor in recognition of his outstanding service and leadership, substantial achievement, expert knowledge and significant contributions to the field of musculoskeletal research and the ORS. Woo served as president of the ORS from 1985 to 1986, was a member of the board of directors from 1983 to 1987 and has been chairman or member of various ORS committees.

GSPIA Alumna Named Nonprofit Leader in Social Work

Sharon L. McDaniel (GSPIA ‘91) will receive the 2018 Social Work Day on the Hill Outstanding Individual in the Nonprofit Sector Award. The award is presented by the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy and the 2018 Social Work Day on the Hill Planning Committee. McDaniel will be recognized for demonstrating a commitment to promoting the principles and values of the social work profession in the pursuit of social and economic justice.

McDaniel is the president and CEO of A Second Chance, Inc., a licensed foster care agency that meets the unique needs of kinship families in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties. She founded A Second Chance in 1994, about three years after obtaining her Master of Public Administration degree from Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

She will be honored during a reception at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., on March 21.

SHRS' Walt Stoy Receives Leadership Award

Walt Stoy, Director and Professor of Pitt’s Undergraduate Program in Emergency Medicine, recently received the James O. Page/JEMS Leadership Award at the EMS Today 2018 conference.

The award is given to individuals or agencies who have exhibited the drive necessary to develop improved emergency medicine systems, resolve important emergency medicine issues and bring about positive changes to the field.

Stoy, who teaches in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and created the bachelor’s degree program in Emergency Medicine for emergency medical services personnel at Pitt in 1988, is internationally renowned for his endeavors in the field and regarded as a national leader in emergency medical services education.

Pitt News Wins State Student Journalism Awards

The writers, photographers, videographers and editors at The Pitt News, Pitt's student newspaper, cleaned up in the 2018 Keystone Awards contest for student journalists in Pennsylvania. The newspaper won four first-place awards, four second-place awards and three honorable mentions.

First-place awards went to Christian Snyder for column writing, John Hamilton for photography, Raka Sarkar for illustrations and Janine Faust for a personality profile. 

Stephen Caruso, Zoe Pawliczek and Ashwini Sivaganesh won second place in the news category for their collaboration on a story, as did James Evan Bowen-Gaddy and Amber Montgomery for a personality profile and Elaina Zachos for a photograph. Hamilton, Sivaganesh and Rachel Glasser secured an honorable mention in the general news category, Garrett Aguilar earned an honorable mention for his basketball preview cover illustration, and Li Yi earned an honorable mention for the photograph.

Robotic Harvester Team Picked to Compete for the ACC InVenture Prize

Four Growers, a student team that’s developing a tomato-harvesting robot, will represent Pitt in the 2018 ACC InVenture Prize innovation competition. The annual event pits one team of undergraduates from each Atlantic Coast Conference university in competition for $30,000 in prizes. Students will pitch their innovations to a panel of judges before a live audience April 5 and 6 at Georgia Tech. The Four Growers team includes Brandon Contino (ENGR ’17) and Dan Chi, a mechanical engineering student in the Swanson School of Engineering (both pictured), as well as senior neuroscience student Daniel Garcia.

Four Growers has competed in several Innovation Institute student innovation programs, including last spring’s Blast Furnace student accelerator and the most recent Startup Blitz innovation competition.

The team also is competing for $100,000 in prizes at the March 29 Randall Family Big Idea Competition at Pitt and is among two Pitt teams at the Rice Business Plan Competition in Houston April 6 and 7.

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.


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.