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Highmark Foundation grant enables health science programs to partner with West Penn Allegheny patient simulation center

By: Paul Kovach, Chief Communications Officer
February 15, 2011

PITTSBURGH (February 15, 2011) … As Chatham University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)programs continue to grow, so too does the need for access to advanced patient simulator technology, which can greatly enhance the pre-clinical instruction of health science students. Through the generosity of a $106,850 grant from the Highmark Foundation, Chatham will partner for two years with the Simulation Teaching and Academic Research Center (STAR Center) at West Penn Allegheny Health System to provide DPT and MPAS students with access to a state-of-the-art center that replicates actual clinical environments such as acute care, obstetric and operating room settings.

“The Highmark Foundation is proud to support Chatham University and its efforts to expand patient simulator technology, said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. “With the grant, more students will enhance their learning experience and be better prepared for entering the health care work force.”

“Since we first acquired our own patient simulators in 2005, our health science enrollment has increased dramatically and the technology has advanced to provide an even more realistic training environment,” explained Luis A. Ramos, MS, PA-C, director of Chatham’s Physician Assistant Studies program. “At the STAR Center our students will be able to engage in a full range of medical simulations that will better prepare them for real-life situations.”

Patricia Downey, PT, PhD, DPT, OCS, director of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, adds, “Through the course of this two-year program we will also collect data during and after the simulation-training period to compare with student outcomes from previous years, enabling us to further enhance our curriculum and future student success. Simulation training has been found to positively impact hospitals and medical schools. The use of simulation training has been shown to shorten the length of caregivers’ learning curves, thus reducing institution’s costs on errors and mistakes.”

“We have always envisioned the state-of-the art STAR Center as a resource for the wider community as well as a training site for West Penn Allegheny’s medical students, nursing students and others,” said Donald J. Wilfong, MD, Vice Chief, Department of Medicine, West Penn Hospital, and Medical Director of the STAR Center. “We are excited to partner with Chatham in this endeavor and salute the university on its long history of excellence in higher education and commitment to educating the next generation of health professionals.”

About the STAR Center
The Simulation, Teaching and Academic Research (STAR) Center was established in 2007 through an initial $500,000 grant from the Highmark Foundation. Housed on The Western Pennsylvania Hospital campus in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood, the STAR Center is a simulation-training hub for a variety of medical professionals, including nursing students, allied healthcare students, and resident-physicians, practicing clinicians, researchers and emergency medical technicians.

West Penn Hospital’s STAR Center is unique because it replicates an actual clinical unit of a hospital as well as a fully equipped ambulance, enabling students to practice and perfect procedural skills, electronic charting and administration of medications. Computerized robotic mannequins mimic the physiology of human patients (blood pressure, heart rate, breath sounds, etc.) and can be programmed to display symptoms of a wide range of health conditions; supplies are set up just like hospital units, including IV administration kits, dressing carts and blood draw kits. Students can also learn emergency care for mothers and infants in the Family Birthing/Neonatal Center.

Two patient rooms replicate an intensive care unit with high-fidelity Laerdal SimMan® patient simulators. A control room between the two ICU beds allows students to be videotaped while responding to clinical scenarios set up by their instructors who can then assess and review student performance and competence with the individual and/or group. The latest SimMan® 3G is so advanced that it can cry, bleed, convulse and suffer cardiac arrest. This interactive manikin provides users with immediate feedback on the interventions as well. Four nursing bays have lower fidelity mannequins, Laerdal Nursing Anne Simulators and a Laerdal Mega Code Kid pediatric simulator. NOELLE™ Birthing and Maternal Simulator by Armstrong Medical and Sim Neonate are housed in the Family Birthing Center. The STAR Center has various add-on modules for simulation of trauma and wound care and owns and operates 18 task trainers for practicing procedures, such as lumbar punctures, intravenous therapy, central line insertions and joint injections.

The STAR Center replicates a hospital’s actual medication process with a crash cart, placebos and a Pyxis® supply system with access to controlled and emergency medications allowing students to learn and practice the medication system. STAR also has a simulated hospital documentation system, CHAS. The CHAS and Pyxis simulated systems help to reduce patient and procedural errors because students have an opportunity to practice procedures prior to using them in the clinical setting, consequently allowing the student to spend more quality time with their patients.

Virtual tours of the STAR Center are available at

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information call 800-837-1290 or visit

Chatham U. among Bike Pittsburgh’s inaugural class of bike-friendly employers

By: Bike Pittsburgh
February 9, 2011

PITTSBURGH (February 9, 2011) … Bike Pittsburgh recognized Chatham University and other Pittsburgh employers with its first annual Bike Friendly Employer awards at the organization’s annual meeting on February 9. Chatham was recognized for being the first Pittsburgh employer to enact the Commuter Tax Benefit that reimburses employees up to $20 a month for bike related expenses and for opening a student-run bike collective as part of the Office of Sustainability.

(Click here to read more.)

Other winners include East End Food Coop, Google, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, OTB Bicycle Cafe, Mullen, REI, Springboard Design, The Sprout Fund, Urban Design Associates, and Whole Foods Market with.

With the support of the Sprout Fund and The William Benter Foundation Bike Pittsburgh established the Bike Friendly Employer (BFE) program to help local employers put all the necessary components of being “bike friendly” in place.

“A bike-friendly workplace not only serves in attracting talented employees, it also represents a key element in an organization’s sustainability practices, says Lou Fineberg, Program Manager, “In a city still steeped in it’s smoky heritage by the outside world, bicycling represents a fundamental and highly visible shift of our city’s culture and livability.”

According to Fineberg the two essentials that all BFE’s have in common is a culture that promotes biking to work, and bike parking that is secure, conveniently located, and exceeds demand. Amenities like storage and changing facilities, how bicycling is incentivized, participation in events, and how well employers inform and connect their bicycling employees also plays a role.

Phyllis Barber, Highmark Sustainability Coordinator worked closely with Bike Pittsburgh in developing a Bicycle Action Plan. “The Bike Friendly Employer program” she said, “has provided an opportunity for us to share with our employees instructions on safe bike commuting and maintenance, as well as the environmental and health benefits of riding a bike to work. We appreciate Bike Pittsburgh’s leadership in the community.”

Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship hosts nonprofit management expert Kate Dewey following recent visit to The White House

By: Amanda Kennedy, Senior Public Relations Specialist 
February 2, 2011

PITTSBURGH (February 2, 2011) … The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University continues its monthly Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series with Kate Dewey, principal of Dewey & Kaye, a McCrory and McDowell Company, discussing “Non-Negotiable Management Practices Nonprofits must Adopt to Thrive in 2011 and Beyond” on Friday, February 11, 2011, at 7:30-9:30 a.m.

The $25 admission fee includes a continental breakfast and networking session which precede the presentation. Registration and information is available at or by calling 412-365-1253.

Ms. Dewey will discuss the challenges facing nonprofits in a poor economy and the changes organizations should incorporate to define future success and value. Rebecca U. Harris, the Center’s director, notes, “Most nonprofits are facing a variety of issues in 2011 that show no sign of disappearing, including budget cuts and increasing competition from for-profits.”

Ms. Dewey was invited by the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation to attend the State of the Union Address on January 25, 2011. Kate spent an evening with Senior Administration Officials, watched the President’s State of the Union Address in the South Court Auditorium at the White House, and then was part of the Town Hall discussion. “The discussion before and during the event with people who were sitting nearby was focused on what was not said – the future health of nonprofits,” Ms. Dewey explains. “With the state budget pressures before us coupled with a proposed freeze on discretionary spending, nonprofits may feel an even greater squeeze than anticipated for the next three to five years. Nonprofits will need to think about how they manage through this “New Normal” as well as getting more organized to package their case in economic and service terms if they want to be part of the horse-trading that is about to begin.”

About Kate Dewey
Kate Dewey is the founder of Dewey & Kaye, the fifth oldest consulting practice in the United States, dedicated to serving community-based nonprofits and foundations. In 2005 she merged her practice with McCrory & McDowell LLC. She has more than thirty years of direct experience with a variety of nonprofit organizations, foundations, public agencies and corporations at the local, state and national level. Kate is particularly interested in strategic alliances and building sustainable nonprofit delivery systems. Kate is the 2008 winner of the ATHENA Award and 1999 Recipient of the Greater Pittsburgh YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award.

Considered a thought leader in the sector, she has been quoted in a variety of national and local publications including the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Times, Council on Foundations, Pittsburgh Business Times, Washington Post, and the Post Gazette. In 2009, Dewey & Kaye released the nationally recognized research report, The Recession’s Impact on Safety Net Needs in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Nonprofit Leadership: A Model for Growing Leaders. Additional publications include: Nonprofit Mergers: an Assessment of Nonprofits’ Experiences with the Merger Process; Nonprofit Capacity in Changing Times; Imagine, Involve, Implement: Transforming Grantmaker Practices for Improved Nonprofit Results; and Basic Steps in Establishing a Corporate Giving Program, published by the Council on Foundations.

About CWE
The mission of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University is to educate, create economic opportunities, and foster entrepreneurial thinking for women entrepreneurs, women in business, and students. The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs in both new development and growth stages of their businesses to start, develop and significantly grow their companies by utilizing Chatham resources, programs, faculty expertise, and student assistance. CWE also provides programming targeted to local and regional women in business. This programming is designed to teach women in business how to think and act entrepreneurially by focusing on innovation and creativity within the context of an existing organizational environment. And finally, CWE offers specific programs for both undergraduate and graduate students which help them learn the skills needed to become either successful entrepreneurs or successful women in business. For more information about programs offered by CWE call 412-365-1253 or visit

About Chatham University 
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information call 800-837-1290 or visit

Food lovers, rejoice – the second annual Local Food Showcase returns to Chatham on March 10

By: Amanda Kennedy, Senior Public Relations Specialist
February 1, 2011

PITTSBURGH (February 1, 2011) … Chatham University and its Master of Arts in Food Studies program along with Penn State Extension of Allegheny County are proud to announce the second annual “Local Food Showcase: a Grower / Buyer Event” will return to Chatham’s Athletic & Fitness Center at the Shadyside Campus on Thursday, March 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Local Food Showcase brings together western Pennsylvania farmers, value-added producers, food industry purchasers, and food lovers with farm-to-table cooking demonstrations with local chefs, tastings of regionally-produced foods, educational workshops, and a chance to meet the hard-working people who grow food throughout the region.

This year’s Local Food Showcase includes two morning workshops from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.: “What is the real value of connecting to the local food system?” is designed for buyers while “Pricing Techniques and Marketing Strategies to Increase Sales” is targeted toward food producers and businesses owners and is presented by Chatham’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship. Pre-registration is required for the workshops.

The entrance fee for food producers and the general public is $10 at the door. Registration for the full day is $50 and includes one workshop and entrance to the showcase, and includes a vendor’s table at the showcase in addition to one workshop. For further information, and to register for workshops or as a vendor, contact Penn State Extension, Allegheny County at (412) 473-2540 or email

The mission of the Local Food Showcase is to foster economic development through business relationships between farmers and chefs, retailers, wholesalers, and institutions for the upcoming 2011 growing season and beyond. The event was designed by Penn State Extension and Chatham’s Master of Arts in Food Studies program to help strengthen the local food infrastructure in western Pennsylvania and to raise awareness among the general public about the socioeconomic value of locally-grown and purchased food.

About Penn State Cooperative Extension
Penn State Cooperative Extension in Allegheny County gives local residents easy access to the resources and expertise of the Pennsylvania State University. Through educational programs, publications, and events, cooperative extension agents deliver unbiased, research-based information to Allegheny County citizens.

About Chatham’s Master of Arts in Food Studies 
The Master of Arts in Food Studies is one of the few graduate food studies programs in the U.S and the only one to offer both sustainable agriculture and culinary arts and cuisine within a liberal arts environment. The Master of Arts in Food Studies at Chatham University is unique in its emphasis on a holistic approach to food systems, from agriculture and food production to cuisines and consumption, providing intellectual and practical experience from field to table. As part of Chatham’s new School of Sustainability and the Environment, the program emphasizes the global and the local in economic, social, and development aspects of sustainable food and agriculture.