December Faculty and Staff Features
Marcella Fierro, M.D., professor emeriti, Department of Pathology
Fierro, who served as chief medical examiner for Virginia from 1994 to 2007, was honored by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance during the group’s 30th anniversary celebration this month.
Fierro was one of 30 individuals honored for their significant contributions in the movement to end sexual and domestic violence. According to the organization, Fierro used her time with the Virginia Commission on Family Violence Prevention project to share the data collected from her office on intimate partner homicide.
Fierro’s innovative data analysis included studying information on deaths that were associated with intimate partners. The data served to help shape legislation in Virginia, while contributing to improvements in local programs by helping advocates better understand lethal risk factors for the families they serve.
“Fierro believed that by taking the tragedies that came through her morgue, she had a chance to advocate for those who could no longer advocate for themselves-- bringing about good from their pain and suffering,” according to the Action Alliance.
Mary Jo Grap, Ph.D., R.N., Nursing Alumni Endowed Professor at the School of Nursing
Mary Jo Grap, Ph.D., R.N., VCU School of Nursing
Grap has been selected to receive a 2012 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Research Abstract Award for her poster abstract "Sedation as a mediator of the stress response during mechanical ventilation." Grap will present her findings in May at the National Teaching Institute 2012 in Orlando, FL. Co-authors of the abstract are former VCU Nursing professor Cindy Munro, Ph.D., R.N., associate dean for Research and Innovation and professor at the University of South Florida College of Nursing, and Jessica Ketchum, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics at VCU. NTI is the National Critical Care Conference sponsored by AACN. Grap's abstract was part of the VCU School of Nursing's NIH-funded SAVE study, "Sedation Effects in Mechanically Ventilated Patients."
Grap also was part of a team of VCU inventors who recently were issued a U.S. patent titled, "Prevention of Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP)" for a new device intended to reduce pneumonia in mechanically ventilated, critically ill patients. It will be part of an endotracheal tube (breathing tube) that will either absorb oral secretions, preventing them from moving around the tube and into the lungs potentially causing pneumonia, or it will be a device that would contain anti-bacterial properties so that any secretions that may reach the lungs do not contain pneumonia causing bacteria.
Nicholas Farrell, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry
Nicholas Farrell, Ph.D.
Farrell, professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been named to the Irish Voice Newspaper’s 2011 Irish Education 100, a listing of the most significant education leaders in the United States of Irish heritage.
Earlier this year Farrell, who is internationally recognized as an expert on platinum-based anti-cancer drugs, co-founded the North American-based Wild Geese Irish Scientific Network, an organization designed to allow Irish scientists in Ireland and North America to “connect, communicate and collaborate.” Farrell serves as president of the network.
Farrell, a native of Dublin, was named a 2010-2011 Jefferson Science Fellow from the U.S. State Department. The Fellowship, which is administered by the National Academies, is designed with the purpose of engaging academics at the forefront of science, technology and engineering (STE) in the formulation and implementation of American foreign policy. Approximately 10-12 awards are granted annually and recipients spend a year at the State Department or U.S. Agency for International Development advising top officials on areas requiring STE expertise.
The listing appeared in a special edition issue of the paper and an award ceremony took place at the home of the Irish Consulate General in New York City on Dec. 14.
Kathryn A. Murphy-Judy, Ph.D., associate professor of French, School of World Studies
Eugenia Muñoz, Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish, School of World Studies
Murphy-Judy, associate professor of French in the School of World Studies, assumed the presidency of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) during the group’s annual conference in October. Her term lasts for the next two years.
During the same conference, Muñoz, associate professor of Spanish in the School of World Studies, was awarded “best of conference” for her presentation titled “A method of teaching Literary Reading, Analysis and Interpretation.” Muñoz will present again at the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages next April in Baltimore.
FLAVA’s conference celebrated its 100th year. FLAVA is the longest-standing state language education association in the United States and consists of nearly 500 Virginia language educators from pre-K through higher education.
Janett Forte, M.S.W, LCSW, VCU School of Medicine, VCU Institute for Women’s Health
Forte, assistant professor of psychiatry, and program director with the VCU Institute for Women’s Health, was honored by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance for her significant contributions to addressing, educating, increasing awareness and providing services related to violence against women.
The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance celebrated its 30th anniversary by honoring 30 individuals or groups during their annual Act, Honor, Hope gala on Dec. 3 at the Renaissance Center. The honorees included sexual and domestic program directors, law enforcement officers and legislators.
Forte has spent most of her professional career serving the sexual and domestic violence community in a number of ways. As the founder and coordinator of the Chesterfield Sexual and Domestic Violence Resource Center, Forte made a dramatic impact on developing community responses and helped establish a local government commitment to coordinated services in the Richmond community. She also established one of the first domestic violence coordinating councils and has provided training on a local, statewide and national level. Forte has served as the president of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.
Forte, who joined VCU in 2003, has taken her work to an international level by helping to fundraise and build services for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and to address women's health issues in underserved parts of the world such as Central America and Haiti.
In a release, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance stated that Forte “truly makes this issue a global one with her passion and dedication.”
At VCU, Forte has helped develop resources for both VCU and VCUHS Human Resources Departments designed to assist managers in recognizing signs of domestic violence and to provide employees with resources for information and referrals to community services. Through the VCU Institute for Women’s Health, Forte coordinated a collaborative model health care project aimed at addressing the clinical and mental health needs of women in three domestic violence shelters. Through the VCU Institute for Women’s Health Domestic and Sexual Violence collaborative efforts, she brings together key stakeholders to create initiatives, strategies and interventions to increase awareness and education by developing model responses to intimate partner violence in the health care setting and community.
In 2011, Forte led a research team through a Department of Health and Human Services funded survey that served as the first phase of a more comprehensive ongoing strategy to engage medical students in violence against women and girls prevention efforts.