Noteworthy News

Noteworthy News

May 2015

Honors and Awards

McClendon and Schwenk
Jennifer McClendon is presented the DHS Teaching Award by Vice President Thomas L. Schwenk

McClendon awarded Division of Health Sciences teaching honor

Jennifer McClendon, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Social Work, is the recipient of the 2015 Division of Health Sciences (DHS) Teaching Award. The teaching award is given annually to a member of the Division of Health Sciences faculty who has been nominated, peer reviewed and selected to receive the award for excellence in teaching.

Some comments about Jennifer and her teaching that the selection committee provided included, "Dr. McClendon is a gifted teacher. Using multiple methods to ensure the engagement of different types of learners and her deep knowledge of the social work field. She builds professional relationships with her students to build them up as learners and as members of our larger community. She engages students with real world examples, seeks their input and discussion while facilitating opportunities for learning, maintains a communication style that students find down to earth, warm and educational. Students consistently report Dr. McClendon's courses as among their most intellectually engaging and personally rewarding experiences in the social work department. They adore her, learn from her and clearly respect her counsel. Dr. McClendon has also made significant contributions in teaching through her work on curriculum development, including both MSW and BSW levels, individual student mentorship, and buildings connections between students and professionals working in community.

McClendon will now be put forth at the nominee from the Division of Health Sciences for the university F. Donald Tibbitts "Excellence in Teaching Award" in the fall. Special thanks to the members of the DHS Teaching Award Committee for the many hours they spent observing teaching and reviewing the portfolios of all of the candidates. They are: Kristen Clements-Nolle, Chair, School of Community Health Sciences, Heather Gough, School of Social Work, Stephanie DeBoor, Orvis School of Nursing, Gwen Shonkwiler, School of Medicine, Susan Ervin, Orvis School of Nursing and Alyssa O'Hair, C.A.S.A.T.

Carmen, Hagen, Melissa and Elizabeth Piasecki
Left to Right
. Provost Kevin Carman, Dr. Jennifer Hagen, Dr. Melissa Piasecki and daughter Elizabeth at Nevada Women's Fund Salute to Women luncheon. Dr. Piasecki was honored as one of the 2015 Women of Achievement.

Piasecki honored at Women of Achievement Luncheon

Congratulations to the School of Medicine's Dr. Melissa Piasecki, executive associate dean and professor of psychiatry who was honored by the Nevada Women's Fund as one of the 2015 Women of Achievement. She was presented at the luncheon by University of Nevada, Reno Provost Kevin Carman and was recognized for her outstanding contributions as a leader, teacher and physician. More than 1000 people attended the event that serves as major fundraiser for the Nevada Women's Fund that provides scholarships and grants in northern Nevada to support women and their families.

Wagner awarded $1,982,011 RO1 grant from National Institute on Drug Abuse

Congratulations to Karla Wagner, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Community Health Sciences, for receiving a five year $1,982,011 RO1 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to identify social network and social normative factors associated with HIV risk behavior, upstate of HIV testing and linkage to and retention in HIV care among African American Women.

School of Community Health honors John Packham with Worden Award

John Packham, Ph.D., director of health policy and research, School of Medicine, was awarded the John E. Worden award for 2015 which recognizes significant contributions to public health in Nevada and is named after the first state health officer, Dr. John E Worden.

Dr. Packham received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in Sociology and has spent his career providing health services and health workforce research, writing grants and conducting program evaluation for numerous organizations and agencies, helping with nonprofit incorporation and formation, and consulting with organizations throughout Nevada. His particular focus has been on rural health and he has been a key player in the development and continuation of rural health services. He has authored numerous articles and reports addressing health services needs in Nevada. Dr. Packham is a strong advocate for public health and has served as the president of the Nevada Public Health Association and continues to chair the NPHA Government Relations committee that tracks and advocates for Legislative actions important to public health. He serves on the Health Care and Medical Services Sector Council for the Governors Workforce Investment Board, serves as a member of the Executive Committee of Access for Healthcare Network, is on an advisory committee for the National Rural Health Network, and is the Nevada Representative for the Flex committee of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.

Dr. Packham is also a valued Adjunct Professor in the School of Community Health Sciences teaching classes that address health policy for undergraduates and provides numerous guest lectures. He supports the MPH program by providing important internship opportunities and jobs post-graduation.

Longo elected to Faculty Senate

Bernadette Mae Longo, Ph.D., R.N., APHN-BC, CNL, associate professor, Orvis School of Nursing, was elected as the new Faculty Senate representative, representing the Division of Health Sciences. Dr. Longo will help make decisions about campus policies, make recommendations to the university president, gather faculty opinions on current issues and will share information about the Senate's activities with you, her constituents. She will serve from June 2015 to June 2017. You may contact Bernie with any questions or concerns related to faculty governance on campus at

Shadley receives national award

Meri L. Shadley, Ph.D., LMFT, LCADA, LCS, associate professor and academic coordinator for the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies, received the Foundation for Recovery's "Excellence in Addiction Research and Education" award.

Ro awarded $1.3 million national grant

Suengil Ro, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Medicine, was awarded a $1.3 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases to study the engineering of functional smooth muscle cells from gastrointestinal myofibroblasts.

Publications and Presentations

  • Jordan March, medical student, Class of 2017, was published in and featured in the June issue of the American Academy of Dermatology for an article he co-authored entitled "Practical application of new technologies for melanoma diagnosis."
  • Dayue Duan, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, published an article entitled "Calm down when the heart is stressed: Inhibiting calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II for antiarrhythmias" in Trends Cardiovasc Med., 2015 Feb 7. pii: S1050-1738(15)00037-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tcm.2015.01.016. [ePub ahead of print]
  • Christopher von Bartheld, M.D., director of the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Cell Biology, School of Medicine, was published in Cell & Tissue Research 360, Number 1, pages 1-194 featuring his work, "Quantitative Techniques for Imaging Cells and Tissues. Dr. von Bartheld served as guest editor, together with Dr. Fred Wouters (Germany), to create a special issue of the long-established journal in the field of cell biology: Cell & Tissue Research. This issue, published in April 2015, contains the work of thirteen teams of cutting edge researchers, including close collaborators of the inventor of super-resolution microscopy, the 2014 nobel laureate (Stefan Hell). This collection of reviews covers the intersection of imaging, image analysis and quantitative approaches and will be useful for cell biologists who wish to introduce or expand quantitative cell biology in their research.
  • Gale Craviso, Ph.D., professor, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, co-authored an article entitled "Adrenal chromaffin cells do not swell when exposed to nanosecond electric pulses" that was published in Bioelectrochemistry. 2015 Jun;103:98-102. doi: 10.1016/j.bioelechem.2014.08.006. ePub 2014 Aug 23.
  • Mariam A. Ba, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Cherie A. Singer in the Department of Pharmacology was awarded a Minority Training Development Scholarship by the American Thoracic Society to present her work at the annual conference in Denver, CO on May 19, 2015. Dr. Ba's talk was titled "miR-25 as a potential novel therapeutic target in allergic inflammation and asthma."
  • Scott Early, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, was published in Physiological Reviews. 2015 Apr;95(2):645-690 for an article he co-authored entitled Transient Receptor Potential Channels in the Vasculature.

Faculty and Staff

Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy promoted

Kevin Murphy M.M., has been promoted to Web Systems Manager for the Division of Health Sciences and School of Medicine. Murphy is responsible for "conducting" and managing all aspects of web projects, including project planning, design, programming, execution and maintaining the content management system that supports the enterprise needs of the Division of Health Sciences and School of Medicine. In addition to these duties and in his spare time, he also serves as the orchestra conductor for the Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company, having conducted 13 musical productions.

Yumei Feng

Feng joins Department of Pharmacology

Yumei Feng, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.H.A., was recently hired and appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Feng comes to us from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. Dr. Feng currently receives research support from the American Heart Association, Colorado State University College Research Council, the Institute of International Education and NIH. Dr. Feng holds a US Patent for "Compositions acting as (pro)renin receptor antagonists."

Kuzhipala receives Sandra A. Daugherty Award from School of Community Health Sciences

The Sandra A Daugherty award was given James Kuzhipala, a recent MPH graduate in the School of Community Health Sciences. The award is given to a medical or graduate student who demonstrates the greatest impact on health disparities from the work done during their internship and culminating experience. Students applied for the award by writing a brief report on their activities and these were judged by a faculty panel. This was the first year that it was awarded to a School of Community Health Sciences student.

The award was created by the Sandra A. Daugherty Foundation as a tribute to her research skills, her joy at mentoring young faculty and medical students and her humanism as a physician. Dr. Sandra Daugherty spent her medical career as a clinical researcher and epidemiologist, earning a national reputation for her work in hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome and women's health issues.

NRAP student receives Silver Paw Award

Jordan Fugate, a student worker and peer support specialist at the Nevada Recovery and Prevention Community (NRAP), received the Center for Student Engagement's Silver Paw Award. She was acknowledged for her efforts with both the NRAP Center and as president of the student organization, NRAP Pack.

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