Katie Pushor takes the helm as Vitalant’s board chair

Vitalant (vye-TAL-ent), formerly known as Blood Systems, has elected local business leader and community advocate, Katie Pushor, as its board chairperson. Pushor brings 30 years of experience in business and community leadership to the Scottsdale-based leader in transfusion medicine. She previously served as Chair of Vitalant’s Finance and Investment Committee.

Pushor has served as a director of publicly traded companies since 1998. She served as the president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and as the executive director of the Arizona Lottery. She spent 10 years with MicroAge, Inc., (a Fortune 500 IT services business) as its executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Currently, she owns and operates an executive coaching practice, Inner Capital, in Scottsdale where she coaches business leaders across the United States and locally including Salt River Project, J.P. Morgan Chase and Arizona State University.

“I am honored to serve as Chair of the Vitalant board. This organization has grown from its early roots in Scottsdale to become a critical link in our nation’s health care system, supplying blood to hospitals across the United States. Transfusion medicine is a pillar of community health focused on the life-transforming potential of blood donations,” stated Pushor. “Blood is also a complex resource that needs commitment from the next generation of donors. I look forward to using my diverse business background to support Vitalant’s journey to inspire a renewed commitment to the community blood supply in Arizona and nationally.”

Mercury adds Penny Taylor to staff

One of the greatest players in Phoenix Mercury history, three-time WNBA Champion Penny Taylor has been named an assistant on head coach Sandy Brondello’s staff, the team announced today.  Taylor, who was the team’s Director of Player Development and Performance in 2017, did not coach in 2018 after becoming a mother.  She will now move to the front bench alongside 14-year assistant coach Julie Hairgrove on the Mercury’s three-coach staff. 

“We always want Penny Taylor involved with our team, and we are thrilled that she will return as an assistant coach in 2019,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman.  “Penny understands the game as well as anyone associated with our league from an X-and-O standpoint and from the perspective of a player who competed at the highest levels for nearly two decades.  We are excited about the opportunity to add another strong female voice, and to grow the pool of former WNBA players in the coaching ranks.”

Taylor and wife Diana Taurasi are the only players who were part of all three Mercury championship teams (2007, 2009, 2014), and she spent 10 of her 13 career seasons playing in Phoenix.  Following her retirement in 2016, Taylor oversaw the on-court development and skill-training of Mercury players in 2017 when the team put her retired number in the rafters. 

Xochitl Wilson named community oral health liaison for Esperança

Esperança, a Phoenix-based nonprofit whose mission is to improve health and restore hope both locally and globally, announces  Xochitl Wilson has been hired as the organization’s Community Oral Health Liaison.

The Community Oral Health Liaison is responsible for the coordination and delivery of education for the Sonrisas con Esperança (Smiles with Hope) program. She will work closely with community partners such as school districts, community centers and/or dental clinics to execute the oral health program and provide smile bags to at least 12,960 Arizona children. 

Most of Wilson’s previous work experience has been working across disparate communities in Maricopa County. From Diabetes education, Childhood Obesity Classes and General Nutrition to both children and adults, Wilson’s desire to help those with limited community resources has been her driving force to continue working in the area of health and well-being.

“In the local communities where we work, more than 64 percent of kindergartners suffer from untreated tooth decay,” said Jeri Royce, president and CEO of Esperança. “This leads to a host of other problems including chronic disease and missed school days. Having Xochitl work directly with this community will be a tremendous benefit for these kids and their families.”

First Place AZ elects Joyce Millard Hoie to board

First Place® AZ has elected Joyce Millard Hoie, a nonprofit executive with 20 years of experience, to serve on its board of directors.   

The nonprofit’s new 81,000-square-foot, $15.5 million residential property for adults with autism and other different abilities—First Place–Phoenix—is located in the heart of the city at 3001 N. Third St. Ushering in a new era of housing options for special populations, First Place is combining apartments, the Transition Academy independent life skills program and the Global Leadership Institute to advance more community-integrated and independent living options. In addition to 55 apartments, First Place–Phoenix offers residents a suite of supports, as well as amenities that include a sports pool, culinary teaching kitchen, community center and LEGO lounge.

“Joyce’s extensive experience in nonprofit leadership, especially in organizational capacity, lifecycle stage assessment and business development will be incredibly valuable to First Place as our organization matures,” says Sara Dial, chair of First Place’s eight-member board.  

Millard Hoie is the former, longtime executive director of Raising Special Kids, where she was responsible for statewide program development, public policy advocacy, financial management and revenue generation. She has received five gubernatorial appointments to state policymaking boards and councils, most recently as a member of the ABLE Oversight Committee, Arizona’s tax-advantaged savings program for people with disabilities.

Jianqin Lu joins UA College of Pharmacy

The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy has appointed Jianqin Lu, BPharm, PhD, as assistant professor in pharmaceutics/pharmacokinetics in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. 

Dr. Lu’s research applies synthetic chemistry, nanoparticle engineering, and tumor immunology to develop efficacious nanotherapeutics to address the pressing unmet needs in current cancer therapy. His expertise in pharmaceutics, bioconjugation chemistry, nanomedicine and tumor immunology helps to develop transformative and clinically translatable nano-enabled immunotherapeutics for combatting cancers.

“Dr. Lu brings to the college much needed pharmaceutics expertise in cancer immunotherapy,” said Xinxin Ding, PhD, department head of pharmacology and toxicology. “His innovative research on the development of a nano-enabled platform for cancer immunotherapy will facilitate the overall cancer drug discovery and development efforts in the department and provide unique opportunities for our students in the Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate and undergraduate programs to participate in cutting-edge research.”

Janine Hinton joins National League for Nursing program

University of Arizona College of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Janine Hinton, PhD, MN, RN, CHSE has been selected through competitive application for the National League for Nursing’s yearlong Leadership Development Program for Simulation Educators.

The program is one of three tracks in the NLN Leadership Institute, an initiative of the NLN Center for Transformational Leadership. The simulation faculty leadership development initiative, now in its ninth year, is designed for faculty members interested in assuming leadership roles in the research or administration of simulation programs in nursing education.

The 2019 Leadership Institute cohort is a group of 46 nurse-educators chosen from colleges, universities and health-care institutions around the world. The 12 pursuing the Simulation Education Leadership track will study for a year under the direction of Susan Forneris, PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE-A, and Mary Anne Rizzolo, EdD, RN, FAAN, ANEF. Dr. Forneris is director of the NLN Center for Innovation in Simulation and Technology.

Zoe Cohen earns UA’s Five-Star Faculty Award

Zoe Cohen, PhD, assistant professor of physiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, was honored for excellence in teaching and mentoring with the Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award at the 2019 UA Awards of Distinction Ceremony. 

First presented in 1983, the Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award, sponsored by the UA Honors College, is the only award for UA faculty members that is determined by UA undergraduate students.

Each year, a committee of undergraduate students reviews all nominations, selects the top five nominees and conducts interviews and/or class visits to choose a winner.

UA undergraduate students from across campus have the opportunity to nominate excellent faculty members and each year a wide range of colleges and majors are represented. Finalists are selected on the basis of excellent teaching and engagement with students.

The award was presented to Cohen by Terry Hunt, PhD, dean of the UA Honors College. The annual awards ceremony celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of UA faculty members and are presented by the Office of the Provost, the Honors College, the Graduate College and the GIFT Center at the UA Foundation.