Priya Narasimhan and Alumna Vivian Davidson Hewitt were among the 2017 recipients of the Heinz History Center Awards, which annually recognize individuals who represent the commitment to excellence that has defined the Pittsburgh community throughout the years and profoundly contribute to the proud history and collective heritage of the region. Narasimhan is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the CyLab Mobility Research Center. Her research interests lie in the fields of dependable distributed systems, embedded systems and mobile systems. She is president and founder of YinzCam, Inc., a company focused on mobile live streaming and experiential technologies for live events, including NFL and NHL games. Hewitt, a 1944 graduate of Margaret Morrison Carnegie College, has enjoyed an illustrious career as a prominent librarian and African-American art collector. She served as the first African-American librarian in Pittsburgh, and was the first black chief librarian for the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Council on Foreign Relations. She was president of the Special Libraries Association. “The Hewitt Collection” was recognized as one of the finest African-American art collections in the world. She received an honorary degree at commencement last May.
Martin Gaynor, the E.J. Barone University Professor of Economics and Public Policy, is a 2017 recipient of the International Health Economics Association’s (iHEA) Kenneth J. Arrow Award, which recognizes excellence in the field of health economics. Each year, iHEA presents the Arrow Award, named after Economics Nobel Laureate Kenneth J. Arrow, to authors of the year’s best published pieces on the subject of health economics. The 25th Arrow Award is awarded to Gaynor and his co-authors, Carol Propper and Stephan Seiler, for their paper “Free to choose? Reform, choice and consideration sets in the English National Health Service,” which was published in one of the leading journals in economics, the American Economic Review. Gaynor’s research focuses on competition, antitrust policy, and health care markets. He has served as director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission, testified before Congress, worked with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on its health innovation initiative, and advised the governments of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and South Africa on competition issues in health care. Find out more.
Joel Greenhouse recently co-chaired a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee to investigate whether the methods used to evaluate the safety of long-distance trucks and buses were adequate. The committee found that while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) used to identify vehicles at high risk for future crashes is conceptually sound, several features involving its implementation need to be improved. Specifically, the committee proposed that FMCSA develop a more statistically principled approach based on item response theory (IRT) to measure the "safety fitness" of each carrier. IRT models have been applied successfully in informing policy decisions in other areas such as hospital rankings. If the new model is then demonstrated to perform well in identifying motor carriers that need interventions, FMCSA should use it to replace SMS. Find out more.
Elizabeth Chodos has been named director of Carnegie Mellon's Regina Gouger Miller Gallery. Chodos joins CMU from the Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency in Saugatuck, Michigan, where she has worked since 2010, most recently as executive and creative director. During her career, Chodos has focused on promoting the work of contemporary artists through residencies, higher education, exhibitions and public programming, a practice she said she would continue at CMU. Chodos said the opportunity to work at the Miller Gallery appealed to her because of Carnegie Mellon's reputation as a renowned research institution. The combination of a rich research environment and extensive arts programs is a setting, she said, that creates connections across fields and demonstrates how "the arts, politics, science and technology intertwine and overlap." Find out more.
George Romero, a 1960 graduate of the College of Fine Arts who became known as the father of the zombie movie, died July 16. He was 77.
Romero is perhaps best known for creating the 1968 film "Night of the Living Dead," which has been included in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry for its social commentary and was named one of the top cult films by “Entertainment Weekly” in 2003. In all, he directed more than a dozen films, including "Dawn of the Dead," "Day of the Dead," "Land of the Dead" and "Diary of the Dead." His 1982 film "Creepshow" was partially filmed at CMU. Read his obituary in The New York Times.