Purdue names winners of first engagement awards

March 28, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University has announced its first awards for outstanding effort in engagement with local, state, national and global organizations.

The winning efforts by faculty in engineering, health and human sciences, education, and pharmacy range from helping local schools teach English learners to providing a food distribution program for HIV patients in Africa.

"These award winners exemplify the best of Purdue's efforts to turn ideas into reality and make the world a better place," said President Mitch Daniels. "They are improving the lives of others while teaching their students to do the same."

The winners are:

* Yuehwern Yih, professor of industrial engineering, the Faculty Engagement Fellow Award, given to a full professor whose work has led to a strong record in engagement.

Yih has worked with Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) to develop a system for distributing food to HIV patients in Kenya. Yih and some of her graduate students developed the Nutritional Information System (NIS), the first of its kind, in 2006. NIS has delivery scheduling and inventory tracking capabilities. It also tracks patient food prescriptions and connects the information with medical records so physicians and researchers can study the impact of nutrition on patient health. And it can tell donors the health outcomes and improvements resulting from their gifts. NIS provides support to more than 35,000 people. Although it was developed specifically for AMPATH, the system can be applied in other programs with similar missions.

* James Elicker, associate professor in human development and family studies, and Luciana de Oliveira, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, the Faculty Engagement Scholarship Award, given to assistant or associate professors with outstanding records of early achievement in, and strong indication of future contribution to, engagement.

Elicker has worked to enhance the quality of early childhood education at Purdue and throughout the state, including through his multi-year evaluation of Paths to Quality, which establishes a metric that enables parents to assess the quality of programs as they enroll their children. He was instrumental in formulating Indiana’s early learning standards, the Foundations to Indiana Academic Standards for Children Birth to Five, and he founded and co-directed the Infant-Toddler Specialists of Indiana, a statewide professional development network for persons working with children under age 3.

De Oliveira focuses on issues relating to English language learners (ELL), especially in preparing teachers. She has worked with a number of communities and partners in developing ELL programs. One of the most notable is her work with the Frankfort, Ind., school system. From 2007 to 2009 she served as a professional development specialist for the Frankfort schools, which have 60 percent ELL students, fourth highest in the state. Before her arrival, less than 10 percent of the district's teachers had received services focused on ELL. While she was there more than 60 percent did. She also worked with the Wabash Valley Education Center to provide professional development for in-service teachers across the state.

* Assistant professor of pharmacy practice Sonak Pastakia, and clinical assistant professors of pharmacy practice Ellen Schellhase, Monica Miller and Rakhi Karwa, the Corps of Engagement Award, given to a team for outstanding partnership and achievement in engagement.

In 2003 the Purdue University College of Pharmacy formed the Purdue Kenya Program (PKP) with the goal of developing sustainable pharmacy infrastructure and services, and providing and expanding sustainable access to high-quality health care.  PKP worked with AMPATH, Moi University School of Medicine, and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to implement an all-encompassing program in clinical services, teaching, pharmacy management and research. The program also has assisted the rapidly growing population of street children in Eldoret, Kenya. Through these partnerships with local Kenyan pharmacists, PKP creates clinical pharmacy infrastructure to provide inpatient care, pharmacy-based antiretroviral medication management, contextualized diabetes care, anticoagulation monitoring services and a research program to investigate the understudied characteristics of patients in sub-Saharan Africa.  In addition, PKP directs one of the only experiential training programs in clinical pharmacy in sub-Saharan Africa, developing future leaders of global health pharmacy. PKP has helped usher in a much-needed shift in the practice of pharmacy in Kenya by developing opportunities for pharmacists to engage in a patient-focused practice rather than the traditional product-focused practice. PKP’s investment in developing both the physical infrastructure and health-care workforce has improved outcomes for thousands of patients. Those numbers will continue to grow as these pharmacists expand their models throughout Kenya and other developing countries.

The engagement awards are open to Purdue faculty, staff and students. This year's winners were chosen by a committee composed of Purdue President Emeritus Martin Jischke, Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, and former Purdue Board of Trustees President Tim McGinley.

"We were fortunate to have a strong pool of candidates for these first awards," said Suresh Garimella, associate vice president for engagement. "These honorees set a high bar for future winners of the engagement awards."

The winners were honored Thursday (March 28) during a luncheon at Westwood, the president's residence.

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Source: Suresh Garimella, 765-494-9095, garimell@purdue.edu

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