University of Pittsburgh | Pitt Home | Pitt Home | Find People | Contact Us Pitt Home |

Executive Committee

John O'Donnell, DrPH, MSN, CRNA, RN

Director, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Nurse Anesthesia Program

John O'Donnell, MSN, CRNA, RN

John O'Donnell is currently Director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Nurse Anesthesia Program. He has been active in human simulation education since 1994 and is the Associate Director for Nursing Simulation at the Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research or WISER. He  earned his doctorate in epidemiology in 2009 from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.   His dissertation was titled "Development of an Optimal Patient Transfer Task Set and Simulation-Based Intervention to Reduce Musculoskeletal Injury in Healthcare Workers" (University of Pittsburgh IRB# 0511041) was funded by Department of Defense (Award # DAMD 17-03-2-0017, $471,000.00). His work was honored as the 'Best Dissertation of the Year in the Department of Epidemiology Award, 2009-2010'

O’Donnell consults in the area of technology applications, human simulation, patient safety, program development and as an expert in anesthesia and nursing care. He instructs students of all levels from hospital based AD programs to PhD students in nursing as well as students in the Schools of Dental Medicine and Graduate School of Public Health. He is charged with developing simulation programs for the > 5000 practicing nurses in the 19 hospitals of the UPMC health system. Finally, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the national Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF).

Areas of scholarly and research interest include hierarchical task analysis methods in simulation, multidisciplinary simulation interventions supported by web based curriculum, case-based education al programs for anesthesia providers and nurses, and epidemiology related to patient and provider safety.

Helen K. Burns, PhD, RN, FAAN

Adjunct Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Helen K. Burns, PhD, RN

Helen Burns is an adjunct professor in the Department of Community Health Systems at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

Dr. Burns brings a background of experience as a clinician, educator, and administrator in acute care community hospitals, academic healthcare and public health. Currently she is the Senior VP and Chief Nursing Officer for Excel Health, formerly she had the position of Associate Dean for Clinical Education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. Dr. Burns served as Deputy Secretary for Health Planning and Assessment for the Pennsylvania Department of Health where she was instrumental in the development of the State Health Improvement Plan and provided oversight of the Commonwealth’s interdepartmental initiative for healthcare workforce planning and the survey research of Pennsylvania’s licensed nurse population. She currently holds an appointment to the DHHS National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice.

Scott Coulson, MBA

Associate Director of The ETI, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Scott Coulson acts as the Learning Technologies Coordinator for ELITE, and is the Associate Director for the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Educational Technology and Innovation. In this capacity, he works with many faculty in developing course material for use in technology-rich environments utilizing such technologies as distance education, in-class student response systems, CD-ROMS, interactive
television, desktop video and database backed Web-based instruction.

Alice Blaceck, DNSc, RN

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Alice Blaceck, DNSc, RN

Alice Blazeck is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. Dr. Blazeck is the Simulation Coordinator for the ELITE Faculty Development Program. Dr. Blazeck is the primary teacher for “Applied Cardiopulmonary Critical Care”, a senior special topics course and “Foundations of Nursing Practice I”, the first term sophomore level course with direct patient contact. She has instructed clinical experiences for senior-level students at Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh and for sophomore and junior-level students at Pittsburgh’s Veterans’ Administration Hospital. She also instructs junior and sophomore students in the development of their clinical practice. Dr. Blazeck is a member of the team launching the initial BSC3 Basic Simulation Critical Care Course using high fidelity simulation for critical care staff nurse orientation at UPMC Passavant Hospital. In addition to her teaching experience, Dr. Blazeck practiced on coronary, medical, surgical, thoracic, and trauma intensive care units and general medial surgical units in many cities in the northeast.

Paul E. Phrampus, MD, FACEP

Director, Peter M. Winter Center for Simulation, Education and Research (WISER)

Paul E. Phrampus, MD, FACEP

Dr. Paul E. Phrampus is the Director at the Peter M. Winter Center for Simulation, Education and Research. He received a B.S. in Biology from Old Dominion University and an M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a board certified Emergency Physician who completed residency training at the University of Pittsburgh where he now holds an appointment of Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Phrampus has been very active in patient safety efforts in airway management and led a team to create an airway algorithm and an accompanying difficult airway management simulation course specific to the practice of emergency medicine. This course has now been completed by the entire emergency medicine faculty staff of the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. This course will soon be deployed across the emergency departments of the universities 19 hospital system.

Dr. Phrampus has an extensive background in Emergency Medical Services and serves as an active EMS medical director. He has deployed simulation technology for both testing as well as competency assessment measures in EMS services in Southwestern Pennsylvania. He co-authored a simulation course for flight crew training for Stat Medevac, which operates 16 helicopters, multiple fixed wing aircraft and employs over 200 crew members, flying over 10,000 missions per year.

He has been active in education for many years and was recently awarded the faculty excellence award by the University of Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine Residency. He is a frequent lecturer on various topics in medicine. His interests in education include the implementation of technology into the world of education to increase the efficiency of learning and developing models of cognitive decision making assessments. He has many years of experience with computer system and electronics gained from his years of service in the United States Navy.

Benjamin W. Berg, MD

Director of Simulation at the University of Hawaii

Benjamin W. Berg, MD

Benjamin W Berg, Clinical Professor of Medicine, was born in London UK, and received his M.D. degree from the Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed Internal Medicine residency followed by a Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC. He is board certified in these specialties. Dr. Berg retired from the US Army in 2005. He served as the Internal Medicine Residency Director, Chairman of the Institutional Review Board, and as the Director of Graduate Medical Education at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu HI. Dr. Berg has conducted multiple clinical telemedicine and distance learning programs and now holds an appointment as the Director of Simulation at the Telehealth Research Institute, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine. His primary research interests include active work in advanced telemedicine for intensive care unit patients, simulation based medical education, and distance learning using simulation and advanced technologies. He currently directs or participates in over $5M DOD funded research programs in telehealth and simulation based medical training.

Barbara R. Demuth, MSN, RN

Director of Telehealth CERMUSA, Saint Francis University

Barbara R. Demuth, RN, MSN

Barbara Demuth has served as the Assistant Director for Telehealth for The Center of Excellence for Remote and Medically Under-Served Areas (CERMUSA) at Saint Francis University since 1998. During this time period, Barbara has successfully directed the development and implementation of CERMUSA's entire Telehealth program while providing assistance in the establishment of healthcare oriented distance learning projects. Throughout her employment with CERMUSA, she has supervised both the initial creation and the continuous progression of numerous research protocols. Her nursing background includes experience in acute care, long term care, education, administration, quality assurance, and as a nurse practitioner. Ms. Demuth earned her Master of Science in Nursing from Pennsylvania State University and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Roger Carpenter, PhD, RN

Chairperson, Department of Health Restoration, West Virginia University School of Nursing

Roger Carpenter, PhD, RN

Roger Carpenter is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Chair, Department of Health Restoration at West Virginia University School of Nursing. He has been active in education technology since 2003, teaching with distance technology in synchronous and asynchronous online classrooms in both graduate and undergraduate programs.  He provides oversight of teaching, clinical tract, tenure-track, and tenured faculty teaching in undergraduate and graduate programs at West Virginia University.  In addition, he is currently implementing a laptop program, combining both face-to-face and distance technologies in the development of teaching/learning experiences that will be integrated into the baccalaureate nursing program.  Areas of scholarly inquiry include appraisals of illness in chronic disease, adherence to health behavior recommendations, and the Appalachian culture. 

Mary Rodgers Schubert, MPM, RN

Director, Continuing Nursing Education, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Mary Rodgers Schubert

Mary Rodgers Schubert is director of continuing nursing education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. She is responsible for planning, development, implementation and assessment of live and online continuing nursing education activities to promote lifelong learning for professional nurses focusing in the areas of advance practice, education, education, leadership, and re-entry into practice.

Ms. Schubert brings a background of experience as a clinician and administrator in acute care hospitals and academic settings. She holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the Pennsylvania State University and a master of public management from Carnegie Mellon University.