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Biography

James E. Taylor, Ph.D.
Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Management Officer
UPMC

James E. Taylor is both chief diversity and inclusion officer and chief talent management officer at UPMC, one of the nation’s largest and most successful integrated health care delivery and finance systems. In his capacity as chief diversity and inclusion officer, Dr. Taylor is responsible for the development and implementation of leading-edge diversity initiatives that differentiate UPMC. To this end, he executes next-generation inclusion strategies that advance the diversity management capability of UPMC, and its national presence as a health care provider and insurer. As chief talent management officer, Dr. Taylor provides oversight to the design and execution of an integrated roadmap that provides UPMC with highly effective and technologically advanced employee learning, organizational development, succession planning, and consultative services aligned to the institution’s long-term priorities.

Prior to joining UPMC, Dr. Taylor served as chief learning and diversity officer at Carolinas HealthCare System. In this role, he was charged with driving the transformational culture of the organization through the development of products and services that improved its competitive position in the marketplace. Dr. Taylor has also served as executive director, diversity strategy execution and workplace inclusion at Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation's largest not-for-profit health plans.

Dr. Taylor earned both a doctorate and master’s degree in organizational psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, and completed his undergraduate studies at Ithaca College in New York, where he now serves on the board of trustees. He received an executive leadership certificate from the Harvard Business School. Dr. Taylor has been awarded for his work both within and outside the health care industry, as he is actively engaged in many philanthropic and community-based endeavors, holding multiple board appointments and supporting numerous charitable activities.

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Office: (412) 822-3692
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Mike Urbin, PhD is a motor-systems neuroscientist with an interest in the neurophysiology of stroke and spinal cord injury. He is a health scientist in the Human Engineering Research Laboratories and an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Urbin earned a doctoral degree in Kinesiology from Auburn University in August 2012. He is currently funded a Career Development Award through the Veterans Health Administration.

 

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Anthony Delitto is the dean of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) and professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. He received his BS in Physical Therapy from SUNY Buffalo, NY, his MHS in Physical Therapy and his PhD from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. He is active in the Sections on Orthopedics and Education, and Past-President of the Section on Research for the APTA. Delitto has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed research papers. He actively treats people with painful musculoskeletal disorders and his current research is focused on implementing classification and treatment effectiveness studies into quality improvement initiatives. He is also conducting trials in exercise interventions for people with Parkinson's disease. He was awarded one of the first large pragmatic trials from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a multi-site, $13-million grant (the TARGET study) to investigate innovative ways to reduce the transition of acute low back pain by having physical therapists partner with primary care and deliver psychologically informed physical therapy to patients with acute low back pain who are at risk for persistent pain.

His awards include: Golden Pen Award, APTA, 1992; Steven J Rose Award for Excellence in Research, APTA Section on Orthopaedics, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2015; Marian Williams Award for Research in Physical Therapy, APTA, 1997; Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA, 2000.

 

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Sanjeev Schroff, PhD
Professor and Gerald E. McGinnis Chair in Bioengineering
Engr-Dept Chairperson's Office, Medicine, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Bioengineering Department
Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy (Bioengineering), University of Pennsylvania, 1976 - 1981
M.S., Master of Engineering (Electrical), McMaster University, 1974 - 1976
B.S., Bachelor of Technology (Electronics), Indian Institute of Technology, 1969 - 1974

 

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Dr. Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD is the Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC. Dr. Sowa also serves as Co-Director of the Ferguson Laboratory for Orthopaedic and Spine Research, and Medical Director of UPMC Total Care- Musculoskeletal Health. She holds joint appointments in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Bioengineering.

Dr. Sowa completed her PhD in Biochemistry and Medical Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her PM&R residency at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University.  She has served as a clinician scientist in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for over ten years, where she also functioned as Vice Chair for Clinical Outcomes and Quality Care.  She has been active in developing new models of care, assessment of patient reported outcomes, and inter-disciplinary work groups to improve the quality of care that we provide.  In particular, she has fostered collaboration between various disciplines to improve care of patients with low back pain.

As Co-Director of the Ferguson Laboratory, which has a rich history in musculoskeletal research, she leads a diverse group of scientists including engineers, physiatrists, molecular biologists, orthopaedic surgeons, and neurosurgeons working together to develop innovative treatments for spine conditions and low back pain. The ultimate goal of her research program, which has garnered national and international recognition, is to apply this knowledge to the development of individualized treatment programs for low back pain. Dr. Sowa has also established herself as a committed teacher and mentor, and is active in multiple professional societies with diverse membership, underscoring her collaborative approach.

 

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Steven Graham, MD, PhD is Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He also serves as Director of the Geriatric Research Educational and Clinical Center (GRECC) which provides an integrated program of basic biomedical, clinical and health services research, education of trainees and practitioners, and clinical demonstration projects designed to advance knowledge regarding care of the elderly, with an emphasis on stroke. His research focuses on the mechanisms by which neurons die after stroke and brain trauma. 

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Dr. George F. Wittenberg is a Neurologist in the VAPHS, and Director of the Laboratory for Research on Arm Function and Therapy (RAFT), affiliated with the Rehab Neural Engineering Labs. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 2018 as the outgoing Director of the VA Maryland Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence. Previously, he was Director of the Rehabilitation Program within the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He obtained his doctorate degree in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, in 1991 and completed medical school in 1993 at the same university. Dr. Wittenberg had further clinical and research training at Washington University, St. Louis and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was on sabbatical 2012-2103 working with Stephan Swinnen and Ilse Jonkers on the brain basis of reaching in 3D, at KU Leuven University in Belgium in the Dept. of Kinesiology.

His ongoing research interests presently lie in using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional imaging to understand motor cortical reorganization following stroke and in designing and testing new methods for neurorehabilitation. He was the site principal investigator in VA Cooperative Study #558, “Robotic Assisted Upper-Limb Neurorehabilitation in Stroke Patients” and continues to study the neural plasticity that underlies robotic rehabilitation. He is developing hybrid methods of combining TMS with robotic and virtual reality training, and multimodal physiological monitoring with feedback control of robotic assistance, to maximize the return of motor function after neurological injury by harnessing activity-dependent brain plasticity.

 

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Nitin Sharma received the B.E. degree in Industrial Engineering from Thapar Institue of Engineering and Technology, India, in 2004, and the M.S. degree and the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, in 2008 and 2010, respectively. He was an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. From 2012-2017, he was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pittsburgh and promoted to an Associate Professor in 2018. In 2019, he joined Joint Biomedical engineering department at the North Carolina State University-Raleigh and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as a tenured Associate Professor.

His research interests include the modeling, optimization, and control of functional electrical stimulation (FES), hybrid exoskeletons that combine  FES and a powered exoskeleton. His research group has recently started looking into using ultrasound imaging-derived sensing signals to address human robot interaction problems in rehabilitation. He has won O Hugo Schuck Award for the Best Application Paper from the 2008 American Control Conference. His research in hybrid exoskeletons is funded by three NSF awards and one NIH R03 Award. He won NSF CAREER Award in 2018.

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