UPMC: Alumni Honored by Pitt Public Health for Contributions

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health will recognize seven alumni for their outstanding service to the field of public health at a small awards ceremony tonight.

“If the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate change crisis have taught us anything, it’s that we are all members of one interconnected global society—what happens in one community impacts us all,” said Maureen Lichtveld, M.D., M.P.H., dean and Jonas Salk Professor of Population Health at Pitt Public Health. “The dedicated alumni I have the privilege of recognizing this evening are making positive differences in their communities, countries and the world. It is an honor that our school played a role in launching their remarkable careers.”

John Scott releaseJohn Scott, Ph.D., A.M., class of 2008, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Practice in recognition of his work as director of the Division of Biostatistics in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he also has served as deputy director and statistical reviewer for blood products and cellular, tissue and gene therapies. Prior to joining the FDA in 2008, he worked in psychiatric clinical trials at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. He has authored or co-authored numerous articles in areas including Bayesian and adaptive clinical trial design and analysis, drug and vaccine safety, data and text mining, and benefit-risk assessment.

IInmaculada Hernandez releasenmaculada Hernandez, Pharm.D., Ph.D., class of 2016, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Research in recognition of her extensive research and more than 80 peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals. Hernandez, an associate professor at the University of California San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, recently received an R01 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with cardiovascular disease. During the past year, Hernandez led a group of investigators evaluating geographic access to COVID-19 vaccine administration locations. Their analyses informed the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in medically underserved areas.

Shauna Clark releaseMary Beth Zeni releaseShauna Clark, Ph.D., class of 2008, and Mary Beth Zeni, Sc.D., M.S.N., class of 1993, will both receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Teaching and Dissemination. Clark serves as the inaugural diversity advisor to the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) director at the National Cancer Institute, part of the NIH. In her role at CCR, she develops and implements policies and programs to make the center a more diverse and inclusive environment, while highlighting and creating opportunities for historically underrepresented scientists. Zeni is an associate professor at Ursuline College in the Graduate Nursing Program and recently published an applied epidemiology textbook for advanced practice nurses. She focuses her research on access to equitable and quality health services for vulnerable groups.

Alexandra Bhatti releaseTushar Singh releaseAlexandra Bhatti, J.D., class of 2011, and Tushar Singh, Ph.D., M.D., M.S., class of 2014, will both receive the Early Career Excellence Award. Bhatti has worked as a public health attorney with nearly a decade of vaccine programmatic and policy experience in the government and private sectors. She currently is director of U.S. Vaccine Public Policy at Merck & Co., where she leads state and federal vaccine policy development and research and federal vaccine policy advocacy. Singh is regional advisor for the Field Epidemiology Training Program in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this role, he supports establishment and sustainability of the program and other workforce development programs.

Lyn Barry Robertson releaseLyn Barry Robertson, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., R.N., class of 2005, will receive The Margaret F. Gloninger Service Award, in recognition of her significant contribution to the community through volunteer service. Robertson is the associate director for health equity and community outreach and engagement at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Her primary focus is addressing health inequities within UPMC Hillman’s 29-county catchment area, addressing access to care-related issues, decreasing cancer burdens and improving health outcomes through the implementation of evidence-based interventions.