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Toppel Career Center Executive Director Awarded Fulbright

UM News

Christian Garcia

Christian Garcia

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 25, 2014)—Christian Garcia, the executive director of the Patricia and Harold Toppel Career Center, has received a Fulbright Scholar Program Award to participate in the US-Germany International Education Administrators Program. He will head to Germany in October for a two-week seminar designed to familiarize U.S. higher education administrators with Germany’s higher education system, society, and culture.

Garcia is among only 20 recipients of the Fulbright German study program, which is open to full-time college administrators who have significant involvement with international exchanges, alumni affairs, fundraising, or career services. He has plenty of experience with the latter. Joining the career center as associate director in 2001, he helped transform the center into one of the nation’s most innovative and dynamic, most recently spearheading its expansion and move to a new high-tech home on Ponce de Leon Boulevard.

He also serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that connects college career services and recruiting professionals interested in the employment of college graduates.

On his Fulbright, Garcia will spend the first week in Berlin, attending briefings and government meetings and visiting campuses and cultural events. During the second week, he’ll travel with a smaller group to other German cities.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the longtime chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who had a profound influence on America’s foreign policy. His vision for mutual understanding shaped the prestigious exchange program that bears his name.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, it operates in over 155 countries worldwide and awards approximately 8,000 grants annually, but just a few hundred to teachers and professionals. U.S. and foreign students and scholars receive the overwhelming majority.

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Medical Student and Former Navy Pilot Named UM’s First Tillman Military Scholar

Special to UM News

MIAMI, Fla. (June 24, 2014) —William Burns, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot who is entering his fourth year as a medical student, has been named the University of Miami’s first Tillman Military Scholar. The $15,000 award is given by the Pat Tillman Foundation to active-duty service members, veterans and military spouses who are pursuing higher education, and who wish to continue to be of service to others.

“Many would think twice about going back to school later in life for a second career,” said Burns, 40, a lieutenant commander who has been in the Navy for nearly 20 years. “Instead, I see it as an opportunity to continue my service to others through healing. I believe my operational experience will give me a unique perspective in the Navy Medical Corps, and I am excited about the future.”

Burns is the first UM applicant ever selected for the honor, and the only applicant out of seven from UM selected this year. The Pat Tillman Foundation — named for the Arizona Cardinals star who left a successful professional football career in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to enlist in the U.S. Army, and who was killed in Afghanistan two years later — selected a total of 60 scholarship recipients from 7,500 applications received nationwide.

“This is a tremendous honor for Will and the school,” said Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and associate professor of medicine. “I cannot think of a student better suited for this award. Will is a class act who represents the fine qualities that the late Pat Tillman displayed.”

The Pat Tillman Foundation agreed.

“William stood out for his desire to not only continue his service at home, but also to leverage his military leadership skills in a new field — medicine,” said Cara Campbell, the foundation’s program manager. “Nearly a quarter of Tillman Military Scholars have similarly gone on to pursue their education in medicine. We’re proud to support him in that endeavor.”

Burns will meet his fellow Tillman Military Scholars at the fifth annual Pat Tillman Leadership Summit, which is being held June 26-29 at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

He became a pilot after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1995, in part because he originally hoped to be an astronaut. Although that never happened, his career has been filled with plenty of Earth-bound excitement. Over the next 16 years, he was deployed to the Mediterranean, to Kosovo, and twice to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan to provide close air support in his F/A-18C Hornet to ground troops in the thick of the action.

Ultimately, however, it was the quieter times during stateside duty that led Burns to medicine.

“I had thought about becoming a physician while I was at Annapolis, but aviation won out,” he said. “I’m not big at sitting behind a desk, so I looked for something else to do in between deployments. When I was stationed with theVFA-25 squadron in California in 2008, I became a volunteer EMT. Later, while working at the Pentagon, I became a volunteer firefighter/EMT for Fairfax County, Virginia. In 2010, I began applying to medical schools.”

In some ways, Burns’ gradual shift into medicine was predestined. Growing up in Tulsa, Okla., he had medical-military role models right at home. His mother was a nurse anesthetist, and his stepfather was a family physician — both had served in the U.S. Army Reserve — and his father had been a U.S. Army Special Forces medic in Vietnam.

Burns is a lifelong Hurricanes fan with a strong interest in international medicine, so the Miller School was also a natural choice. Since he arrived, he has distinguished himself through his leadership — he has been president of his class three years running — and through his commitment to service — he becomes the new executive director of the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service program, known as DOCS, in the fall.

He has also volunteered his time and expertise through Medical Students in Action (in the Dominican Republic) and Project Medishare through Caneshare (in Haiti), as a Step 1 Review Course teacher and anatomy teaching assistant, and as a volunteer counselor during Heart Week at Camp Boggy Creek, which serves seriously ill children and their families.

Burns will owe the Navy four years of active duty service after he graduates, and unlike most of his classmates, he will be matching with a residency at a military medical center. If he pursues emergency medicine, his options will be Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, in Virginia, or Naval Medical Center San Diego, in California. If he pursues his other interest, trauma surgery, a third option will be Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

“I am committed to service,” said Burns, “but I also am always seeking new challenges. I look forward to a career in medicine because it will fulfill both of those goals.”

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Richard K. Parrish II Receives Florida Society of Ophthalmology’s Leadership Award

Richard K. Parrish II

Richard K. Parrish II

MIAMI, Fla. (June 25, 2014) — The Miller School of Medicine’s Richard K. Parrish II has received the John R. Brayton, Jr., M.D., Leadership Award from the Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO), the state’s preeminent professional association for physicians who specialize in vision care.

The award, presented at the FSO’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., recognizes a Florida-based ophthalmologist who exemplifies leadership and dedication to the profession.

Parrish joined the medical school faculty as assistant professor in 1982, was promoted to professor in 1994, and served as residency program director from 1995 through 1999. From 1996 through 1999, he was chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology. He currently serves as associate dean for graduate medical education for the Miller School, chairman of the Graduate Medical Education Committee, and  the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) Designated Institutional Official for Jackson Memorial Hospital. He has a principal interest in glaucoma surgical care and was project chairman of the National Eye Institute Fluorouracil Filtering Surgery Trial. He is a vice-chairman of the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) and principal investigator of the OHTS Optic Disc Reading Center.

Parrish earned his undergraduate degree from Indiana University and his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine. He completed his internship at the University of Alabama and his residency in ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, where he also served as chief resident. He completed a clinical fellowship in glaucoma and a research fellowship in glaucoma at Bascom Palmer.

Parrish has been involved with the American Ophthalmological Society since 1996 and was a member of FSO’s Board of Directors from 1996 to 1999. He also currently serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Ophthalmology and as the executive editor of the Glaucoma Section of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

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Pioneering Physical Therapist Honored for Advancing Her Field

Meryl Cohen

Meryl Cohen

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 25, 2014)—Among the nation’s first cardiovascular and pulmonary (CVP) physical therapists, Meryl I. Cohen, assistant professor of clinical physical therapy and a member of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, has received the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Catherine Worthingham Fellow Award for her pioneering and innovative contributions to the field.

In accepting the association’s highest honor, Cohen shared the credit with her “village”— her patients, students, family members, friends, colleagues, and bosses, who she said enabled her success. “I am thrilled and very humbled to receive this award,” she said. “Thank you to my village.”

In the 1970s, Cohen was among the first physical therapists to recognize that progressive mobilization, when adequately monitored and followed by CVP conditioning, would offer high-risk individuals the opportunity to successfully return to their communities. She later developed several cardiac rehabilitation programs, including in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and South Florida.

In 1985 she was among the first three professionals the APTA recognized as board certified cardiopulmonary clinical specialists. As a professor, she has won six Teacher of the Year awards, and has served as a mentor and advocate to those rising in the CVP area of the physical therapy profession.

Cohen also has been recognized by the APTA and its components almost every year for her expertise in CVP physical therapy. Her honors include Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Practice by the Massachusetts Chapter of APTA, the Linda D. Crane Lectureship, and two research awards.

The Catherine Worthingham Fellow designation honors individuals whose sustained leadership, influence, and achievements have advanced the physical therapy profession. The APTA represents more than 88,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide.

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Daniel Berg Honored for His ‘Genius’ at Resolving Management Problems

Special to UM News

Daniel Berg, left, receives the Siwei Cheng Award in Information Technology and Quantitative Management at the IAITQM meeting in Moscow.

Daniel Berg, left, receives the Siwei Cheng Award in Information Technology and Quantitative Management at the IAITQM meeting in Moscow.

CORAL GABLES,  Fla. (June 24, 2014)—Daniel Berg, distinguished research professor of engineering, received the prestigious Siwei Cheng Award in Information Technology and Quantitative Management at the second annual meeting of the International Academy of Informational Technology and Quantitative Management (IAITQM) in Moscow this month.

Berg received the honor during the June 3-5 gathering for being “a person who has devoted genius efforts to applying quantitative methods and information technology to solve management problems.” The award is named for a former top leader in the Chinese Congress who heads a major program on economic theory at the renowned Chinese Academy of Science.

IAITQM was established in 2011 to promote innovative excellence in information technology and quantitative management; the organization has founding members from more than 50 countries, including the United States, China, Japan, Australia, and Turkey.

Berg was both surprised and honored by the award, noting that IAITQM members represent the most talented and experienced experts in his growing field. He also noted that the award’s namesake will be visiting the UM College of Engineering this year and looks forward to his interaction with the faculty and students on several topics.

Berg previously was dean and provost at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as provost and president at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Institute Professor of Science and Technology. He received his B.S. in chemistry and physics from the City College of New York and his M.S. and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Yale. He was employed by Westinghouse Electric in a variety of technical/managerial positions, including technical director.

Berg serves as the American editor of the International Journal of Services Technology and Management. He is the author of four books, five book chapters, and more than 80 refereed journal articles. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow of The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS); and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

His many additional awards and honors include the IEEE Engineering Management Section Educator of the Year Award; the International Association for Management of Technology’s Award for Distinguished Achievement in Management of Technology; the IEEE Educational Activities Board Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education; the National Academy of Engineering Service Award; the Townsend Harris Medal, City College of New York; the Wilbur Cross Medal, Yale University; and the Belden Prize for Mathematics.

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