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Format: 04/17/2014
Format: 04/17/2014


Internationally Recognized Physicians Join West Penn Allegheny Health System

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Susan Manzi, MD, MPH, Named Chair of System’s Department of Medicine 

Joseph Ahearn, MD, Appointed Chief Scientific Officer for Allegheny Singer Research Institute

Pittsburgh, PA – West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) today announced the recruitment of two internationally recognized physician-scientists to fill prominent roles within the organization.

Susan Manzi, MD, MPH, and Joseph Ahearn, MD, co-founders and directors of the Lupus Center of Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) will join West Penn Allegheny in 2010.

Dr. Manzi has been appointed the first System Chair of West Penn Allegheny’s Department of Medicine. Dr. Ahearn will serve as the first Chief Scientific Officer for Allegheny Singer Research Institute (ASRI).

Dr. Manzi is internationally regarded as a pioneer in the research and care of patients with lupus and related autoimmune and rheumatologic disorders.

In her new role at WPAHS, Dr. Manzi will oversee all clinical, academic and scientific endeavors within the integrated Departments of Medicine at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), West Penn Hospital and West Penn Hospital - Forbes Campus. Together those Departments have more than 678 physicians on staff and educate or train approximately 200 medical students, 120 residents and 68 fellows annually.

The divisions that fall under the Department of Medicine include allergy, cardiology, dental medicine, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general/internal medicine, infectious disease, nephrology and hypertension, pulmonary, critical care and rheumatology.

Dr. Ahearn relocated to Pittsburgh from the Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine in 1996 to serve as Director of Research for the University of Pittsburgh Arthritis Institute. He is an internationally recognized expert in the causes and mechanisms of lupus and related immune disorders.

Collectively, Drs Manzi and Ahearn have authored several hundred medical and scientific reports, have secured millions of dollars for research from local and national funding agencies, have mentored more than 100 undergraduate, graduate, medical, post-doctoral and junior faculty trainees, and are inventors of technology that has led to more than a dozen international patents and patents pending.

They have received the Pitt Innovator Award twice for discoveries related to blood tests for diagnosis and monitoring of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as transplant rejection. This technology is currently licensed by Cypress Biosciences, San Diego, and focused on personalized medicine for patients with lupus and other autoimmune and rheumatic diseases.

“Drs. Manzi and Ahearn are two exceptionally talented and accomplished physician scientists whose contributions to medicine in their respective fields have been enormous. We are extremely thrilled that they have chosen to continue their stellar careers at the West Penn Allegheny Health System,” said Sanford Kurtz, MD, executive vice president, chief medical officer and president of the WPAHS Physician Organization.

Continuing, Dr. Kurtz said Dr. Manzi is the ideal choice to lead the System’s Department of Medicine:

“Dr. Manzi is a passionate patient advocate who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and vision in developing and managing integrated clinical programs that deliver the highest quality of patient care, encourage scientific innovation and educate the next generation of healthcare professionals. We look forward to the success of our Department of Medicine and its many divisions under her direction.”

According to Christopher Post, MD, Ph.D., ASRI president and scientific director, Drs. Ahearn and Manzi both have been remarkably successful in their translational - bench to bedside - research activities and the work they have done to advance ingenuity through private and federal funding partnerships and effective collaboration with scientific colleagues throughout the nation and world.

“Drs. Ahearn and Manzi created the Lupus Center of Excellence as a model program for integrated patient care and clinical translational research. The program’s close synchronization of basic and clinical research in the setting of a multi-disciplinary medical clinic has swiftly elevated our understanding about this disease while also making an immediate difference in the lives of those who suffer from it. It is the very same approach to advancing medicine that ASRI is built upon and we feel very fortunate to now have Dr. Ahearn on board to help lead our efforts,” Dr. Post said.

Dr. Manzi spoke of her decision to relocate: “As a native of Western Pennsylvania, there is no greater honor than to accept the role of System Chair of Medicine of the WPAHS. This is a unique opportunity to be a part of a new and exceptionally talented team of leaders who will change the landscape of healthcare in our region by transforming a great hospital system into an outstanding one by promoting and supporting creative models for the delivery of state-of-the-art patient care, and human disease focused research and education.”

Similar sentiments were voiced by Dr. Ahearn: “We are absolutely committed to the best possible multidisciplinary care for patients and the integration of that care with promising research to treat, cure and prevent their diseases. As health care in this region evolves we are thrilled to be at the tip of the cutting edge of the evolution. We are fortunate that Drs. Olivia, Kurtz and Post have recognized the value in our model at the Lupus Center of Excellence which we will now take to a much broader level.”

In addition to her work at UPMC, Dr. Manzi has served in leadership roles with numerous national and international scientific organizations, including the American College of Rheumatology, the Arthritis Foundation, the Arthritis Advisory Board of the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. She was previously recognized as a FastTracker by the Pittsburgh Business Times and is recognized perennially as one of the Top Doctors in America. She has been a regular guest on ABC’s Good Morning America as medical correspondent.

Dr. Manzi currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Lupus Foundation and the Foundation for the Lupus Center of Excellence. She has lectured extensively as a Visiting Professor at academic medical centers throughout the world and has served on numerous Scientific Advisory Boards for pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, Bristol Myers Squibb, Human Genome Sciences, Genzyme and Medimmune.

Dr. Manzi received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health. She completed residency training at Duke University Medical Center and a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Ahearn developed his career at Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine as medical student, intern, resident, fellow and faculty. He has received the W. Barry Wood Scholarship, an NIH Physician Scientist Training Award, the Hilda Irene Duggan Arthritis Investigator Award and Pitt Innovator Awards in both 2005 and 2006.

He has chaired or served on dozens of review panels for the NIH, including the Clinical and Translational Science Award peer review committee. He has served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Immunology and as scientific reviewer for more than 30 other medical and scientific publications. Dr Ahearn is currently executive editor of the journal Clinical and Translational Science.


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