2010 SHRS Award Recipients:
Dean’s Choice Award
LTC (Ret) Ophelia Munn-Goins, FACHE, RHIA
Health Information Systems
Ophelia Munn-Goins is a retired lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army with 21 years of service. In addition to domestic assignments, Ophelia was stationed in Korea, Italy, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. In 1988, she was assigned to Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, as the functional information systems officer where she and her staff redesigned the Medical Patient Accounting and Reporting and Medical Regulating subsystems of the Theater Army Medical Management Information System, or TAMMIS. Ophelia oversaw the operation of TAMMIS, the first medical field system used under harsh desert combat conditions in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Selected by the Army to attend Pitt for a master’s degree in health information systems, Ophelia was then assigned to Washington, D.C., as the patient administration division consultant where she worked to integrate a medical information system with other systems. Her military awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Joint Meritorious Defense Medal, Army Accommodation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Saudi Arabian Kuwait Liberation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, and Expert Medical Badge.
Ophelia is now employed as senior Army instructor for the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at East Columbus High School in Lake Waccamaw, and is serving her second term on the Bladen County Public School Board of Education District 1. She is also a doctoral candidate at Fayetteville State University. She is active in many other civic and service organizations and maintains certification through the North Carolina Health Information Management Association, American College of Healthcare Executives as a fellow, and American Health Information Management Association.
Denise English, PT
Denise, an alumnus of SHRS’s Department of Physical Therapy, has been the driving force behind the development of the Rehabilitation Technician Training Program at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti. Having worked on development projects in that country since 1988, Denise realized the need for training programs that would develop local human resources and enable Haitian rehabilitation workers to serve in their communities. Once envisioned, she and a team of volunteer rehabilitation educators and clinicians from U.S. and Canadian universities, set about developing the curriculum and recruiting teachers. Denise and another instructor were providing student training in Haiti when the devastating earthquake rocked the island in January 2010. They continued the training and demonstrated hands-on skills as they assisted patients pouring into the area for care.
Denise is a volunteer professional with Health Volunteers Overseas, Haiti site, where she serves as program director. She also serves as co-coordinator on their Rehabilitation Curriculum Committee, helping to develop a rehabilitation aide curriculum that can be implemented in other underserved areas. Denise continues to provide PT services in the Pittsburgh area and is actively involved in the American Physical Therapy Association’s Health Policy Administration Section and the Cross Cultural and International Special Interest Group.
She is a member of the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association, the Haiti Solidarity Group of the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, and Health Volunteers Overseas/Physical Therapy Overseas. She is a board member of Friends of Haiti and is active in other Haiti-related organizations. Denise received the HVO Golden Apple Award in 2006 and 2010, the St. Louis University School of Rehabilitation Sciences Florence Kendall Award, and the PPTA Humanitarian Award.
Distinguished Alumni Awards
Julianna M. Arva, ATP
Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Julianna received her master’s degree in rehabilitation science and technology at Pitt and is the European manager of Sales and Education for TiLite, an international wheelchair manufacturing company. Julianna previously held positions at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey, Permobil US, and Permobil Europe. She has extensive clinical experience in seating and mobility for both adults and children.
Julianna is active in standards development and clinical practice guidelines. She led the writing on the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America position paper on pediatric mobility. She has mentored and helped recruit outstanding students from Europe, and has opened doors for students from her native Hungary to study rehabilitation science and technology.
John T. Bianco, MS, CMO, NREMT-P
John received an associate degree in emergency medical services from Tidewater Community College, Virginia Beach, a Bachelor of Science degree in emergency medicine from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Science degree in emergency and public safety administration from Drexel University. While at Pitt, he served as a regional EMS training coordinator for the Emergency Medical Service Institute.
John went on to serve as EMS supervisor, instructor, and paramedic at Pennsylvania State University and also as paramedic at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College. At Penn State, he facilitated accreditation as a Department of Health-approved training institute and developed educational courses, quadrupling course offerings and tripling program enrollment. Presently, John is back in Virginia Beach as division chief, educator, and paramedic for the city’s Department of Emergency Medical Services. He is administratively responsible for providing public safety services to over 440,000 residents.
John is chief medical officer for The Commission on Professional Credentialing, site reviewer for the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, and charter member of the National Association of EMS Educators.
LTC Teresa L. Brininger, PhD, MBA, OTR/L, CHT
MS ’03, PhD ‘05
Teresa has made a significant contribution to the profession as an occupational therapist, certified hand therapist, and researcher. She currently holds the position of deputy for the Clinical and Rehabilitation Medicine Research Program at Fort Detrick, Maryland. And she is an assistant professor, adjunct faculty, at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
She has contributed to the profession through numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at national conferences. She serves on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Hand Therapists and is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Hand Therapy and the Army Medical Department Journal. Teresa continues to advance rehabilitation efforts through research and recently received funding support from Johns Hopkins Laboratory and Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research.
Teresa continues to participate in SHRS in the departments of Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and Health Information Management as a publication and Army grant consultant and a consultant for the Tele-Rehabilitation Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center.
Denise Dunyak, MS, RHIA
BS ’81, MS (SLIS) ‘86
Health Information Management
Denise has followed an extensive career path in Health Information Management and currently serves as marketing/business manager for Siemens. For years Denise has been called upon to serve as a mentor and to give presentations to the undergraduate and graduate students in SHRS’s Health Information Management programs, willingly traveling between Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia area where she makes her home.
She has been active in the American Health Information Management Association at the local, state, and national levels. She serves as secretary on the state PHIMA board and earlier this week, she was chosen by her peers to serve as president-elect of the Southeastern Pennsylvania HIMA. She is a frequent guest speaker at education sessions across the country, has chaired several professional committees, and has been published on a number of occasions. Her proudest industry achievements were serving as program chairperson of AHIMA’s 2007 annual conference in Philadelphia, and marching on Capitol Hill in support of HIM initiatives.
Recently, Denise initiated a scholarship fund at the School to assist deserving HIM students. She has also remained active in the Pittsburgh Alumni Association, serving on the Alumnae Council, as secretary of the South Hills and Greater Philadelphia Pitt Clubs, and regional director on the PAA Board of Directors for two terms.
Rachel M. Harken, MS, RD, LDN
BS ’95, MS ‘99
Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition
A registered dietitian and licensed dietitian-nutritionist, Rachel serves as a clinical dietitian at Allegheny General Hospital—Suburban Campus, Pittsburgh. She has also served as an instructor at Pitt and Mercy Hospital School of Nursing. Rachel is very active in her local, state, and national professional organizations, moving through the ranks of office for the Pittsburgh Dietetic Association and also serving as chair of the Council on Practice and co-chair of Legislative and Licensure Committee. She presently serves as president-elect for the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association. On the national level, Rachel serves on the State Advisory Committee for the Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition for the American Dietetic Association.
Among her honors, Rachel received the 2004 Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year award from the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association and the 1997 Columbia Super Star Award from Columbia Specialty Hospital, Dallas, Texas.
Laurence B. Leonard, PhD
Communication Science and Disorders
Larry is the Rachel E. Stark Distinguished Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at Purdue University. He is an internationally recognized researcher and teacher in the field of speech-language pathology with a primary focus in normal and disordered child language. His research continues to influence the understanding of language disorders in children and the effectiveness of language treatment procedures. Larry received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of South Florida before coming to Pitt for his doctoral degree in speech pathology/psycholinguistics.
Prior to his career progression at Purdue, Larry served on faculty at Memphis State University. He has been the primary investigator on numerous NIH grants, and he has published an extensive number of peer-reviewed research articles. His publications also include chapters in edited volumes and a book. Larry’s recent research has focused on developments in children with specific language impairment and he studies SLI across different languages. He also conducts research on the effectiveness of language treatment procedures.
Larry received Purdue’s Sigma Xi Research Award, the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Fellow status of ASHA, and the Alfred K. Kawana Council of Editors Award of ASHA. He has also received multiple editors’ awards from professional speech, language, and hearing research journals.
K. Ashley McFall, MS, CRE, CVE
Ashley completed her master’s thesis work within the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheelchair Transportation Safety and was a winner of the 2004 RESNA student paper competition. She also assisted the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation with the development of a community-based assessment for transition process. Since her time as a student at Pitt, Ashley has been working with the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ “Start on Success” program, a program for students with disabilities. The program was recently recognized as a model program by a National Technical Assistance and Research Center study.
Ashley serves as the co-chair for the Allegheny County Transition Coordinating Council, a board member for the national organization for Vocational Evaluators and Career Assessment Professionals, and in the leadership group for the National Community of Practice on Transition and Career Assessment.
Robert W. Richardson, PT, MEd, FAPTA
BS ’58, BSA ’59, MEd (Educ.) ’75
Bob established his career at St. Margaret Memorial Hospital, first as director of Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy then as vice president. He was also president of Suburban Rehabilitation Associates, which he founded and subsequently integrated with NovaCare, and was president and CEO of Optimum Care, Inc., a contract service in Grove City. He also served as associate professor in the Graduate School of Physical Therapy at Slippery Rock University and maintained that position until relocating to North Carolina in 1998. Bob is now the executive director of the Maria Parham Healthcare Foundation in Henderson, N.C., and previously served as that hospital’s rehabilitation director and vice president.
Bob served as president of both the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association and the American Physical Therapy Association. He also served on the Arthritis Foundation, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Centers, North Carolina State Arthritis Planning Task Force, North Carolina Arthritis Coalition, APTA North Carolina Chapter, Pennsylvania Governor’s Task Force on Physical Fitness and Health, and Governor’s Task Force on Arthritis.
Bob received Sigma Chi’s Significant Sig Award, Teaching Excellence Award from St. Margaret Memorial Hospital’s Department of Family Medicine, the PPTA Achievement Award, the Letterman of Distinction from Pitt’s Varsity Letter Club, the APTA Lucy Blair Service Award, the APTA Catherine Worthingham Fellow, and the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals’ 40th Anniversary Star Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rosemarie Rumanek Romesburg, PhD, MT(ASCP)
BS ’72, MS (GSPH) ’77, PhD (Educ.) ’87
Clinical Laboratory Sciences (discontinued)
Rosemarie received her undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. Much of her early professional experience was obtained at SHRS where she served on faculty and was named program director in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Today she is the founding dean of the School of Health Careers at Pierpont Community & Technical College in Fairmont, West Virginia, and professor and program director of the Medical Laboratory Technology and Laboratory Assistant Programs.
As dean, Rosemarie oversees seven programs within the school and encourages collaboration with other disciplines to form a problem-based learning community. She has contributed many articles, abstracts, and book chapters, and made countless professional presentations.
Rosemarie is a member of the West Virginia Community College Association, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, and West Virginia Society for Clinical Laboratory Science. She received the Paul E. Edwards Award for Teaching Excellence from Pierpont Community & Technical College of Fairmont State University, the Pi Alpha Award and the Edward P. Dolbey Scholarship from the Pennsylvania Society for Medical Technology, and the Omicron Sigma, American Society for Medical Technology President’s Honor Roll for Outstanding Service.
Charles Buz Swanik, PhD, ATC
MS ’95, PhD ‘98
Athletic Training/Sports Medicine
Buz Swanik has made significant contributions to the existing knowledge base in sports medicine. His research interests are focused on sensorimotor aspects of musculoskeletal pathology and anterior cruciate ligament knee injuries. He is an associate professor at the University of Delaware’s Department of Health, Nutrition & Exercise Science and on the faculty of the Biomechanics and Movement Science Program. He is also a clinical instructor with the National Athletic Training Association. Buz previously served as director of the Biokinetics Research Laboratory at Temple University and as Human Anatomy and Physiology course coordinator, and assistant professor and program director for Temple’s Graduate Athletic Training Program. He also served as assistant professor and graduate curriculum director for Athletic Training at West Virginia University after serving as clinical supervisor, instructor, and research coordinator at Pitt.
Widely published in peer-reviewed journals, Buz has been an invited speaker at national and international meetings and symposia, and has mentored graduate and doctoral scholars and clinicians. He has served as editor for the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation; associate editor for the Journal of Athletic Training Today; member of the Post-Professional Education Committee for NATA; and member of the Free Communications Subcommittee for the NATA Research and Education Foundation. He has received several Outstanding Research Manuscript awards and was first-place winner for Scientific Exhibit of the Sports Medicine/Arthroscopy Section of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Click here to see a list of previous SHRS award recipients.
SHRS Legacy Laureates:
The University of Pittsburgh Legacy Laureate program was established in 2000. The program recognizes outstanding alumni who have excelled both professionally and personally.
Dr. Charles I. Berlin (’58)
Dr. Berlin, a clinically- and research-trained audiologist, helped identify and name the Mengel –Konigsmark-Berlin-McKusick syndrome, a condition of conductive hearing loss and malformed low-set ears. This world-renowned specialist received his Doctor of Philosophy in Speech and Hearing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1958. Since then he has taught at several institutions such as Johns Hopkins and is currently a research professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Berlin has served on several national advisory boards and has been awarded major Department of Defense or NIH Research Program grants. The million-dollar Dr. Charles I. Berlin Chair in Genetic and Molecular Hearing Science established at the LSU Department of Genetics is possibly the first of its kind to honor an audiologist and hearing scientist.
Click here to see a list of previous SHRS Legacy Laureate recipients.
Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Fellow:
The University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Fellow recognizes alumni for their outstanding achievement professionally and serve to the community.
Dr. Jacqueline Weis Liebergott ('67, '73)
Dr. Liebergott was named a Distinguished Alumni Fellow by the University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association for creating a legacy of leadership. Liebergott is the first woman president of Emerson College in Boston. At Emerson, she raised academic standards, increased the size of the school and its financial stability, and introduced its first doctoral degree in speech-language pathology. Liebergott received her master's degree in speech and doctoral degree in speech and theatre arts from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include language acquisition and language disorders in children. Liebergott is also known for her advocacy of the arts and women and families. She was a founding member of Boston Arts Academy, the city's first high school for the arts, and taught the first women's studies class at Emerson.