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Four Heritage College faculty recognized as top Ohio University newsmakers

February 7, 2022

Four faculty members from the Heritage College were among the top 10 newsmakers at Ohio University in 2020. Dan Skinner, Ph.D.; Liz Beverly, Ph.D.; Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.; and Lawrence Witmer, Ph.D., were recognized by the university for sharing their work and expertise through stories in the media and helping to elevate the university’s national and global profile. Every year since 2015, Ohio University has recognized faculty whose expertise is featured in the media.  

  • Daniel Skinner, associate professor of health policy, ranked third on the faculty newsmakers list. He was mentioned in the media 266 times in 2020, often providing information about COVID-19 policies as well as Ohio’s response to the pandemic. Skinner is editor-in-chief of World Medical & Health Policy, co-director of the Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship and director of OHIO’s Comparative Health Systems-Cuba program. Skinner also hosts “Prognosis Ohio,” a weekly podcast about health and health care in Ohio on WCBE. 
  • Fourth on the list was Patrick O’Connor, professor of neuroscience and anatomy. He had 171 media mentions, most from stories about his new discovery, the Falcatakely, a bird that lived around 68 million years ago in the Mesozoic era. O’Connor is an expert in paleontology, addressing how organisms are matched to their environments and how changing environments influence biotic diversity on the planet. He has been a faculty newsmaker every year, ranking in the top 10 for now the fourth time. O’Connor has been involved with the discovery and description of several animals new to science, including the titanosaurian sauropod Rukwatitan bisepultus and the crocodyliforms Pakasuchus kapilimai and Rukwasuchus yajabalijekundu from the Cretaceous era in what is now Tanzania, among many others.  
  • Elizabeth Beverly, associate professor and Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Ralph S. Licklider, D.O., Endowed Professor in Behavioral Diabetics, was fifth on the list with 92 media mentions. This is Beverly’s fourth year as a newsmaker and second year making the top 10. She was quoted by many media outlets about a study she led that found that 80% of medical students feel low sense of personal achievement. Beverly is an expert on behavioral diabetes, psychosocial factors, diabetes self-care and qualitative methods. She has also collaborated with OHIO’s GRID Lab and OhioHealth to help train health care providers through virtual reality simulations.   
  • Lawrence Witmer was ranked seventh with 76 media mentions. Witmer, Chang Ying-Chien professor of paleontology and professor of anatomy, was featured on the October 2020 National Geographic cover, highlighting his cutting-edge achievements in paleontology. Witmer has been a newsmaker since the beginning of the Faculty Newsmakers honors in 2015, being named a top newsmaker four times. His expertise is in paleontology, fossils, vertebrate morphology and evolution, among others. Many of his mentions also came from a story about using CT scans to determine if dinosaurs released heat from their bodies, finding that T-rex used its large nose sinuses to let out excess heat. 

Other Heritage College faculty who made the newsmakers list include: Ann Dietrich, Anna Kerr, Berkeley Franz, Beth Longenecker, Bill Burke, Brian Clark, Cory Baumann, Craig Nunemaker, Darlene Berryman, Gillian Ice, Isaac Kirstein, Jackie Wolf, Jane Broecker, Jody Gerome, Joseph Bianco, John Kopchick, John Schriner, Joseph Groenke, Kelly McCall, Ken Johnson, Loren Anthes, Nancy Stevens, Nathaniel Szewczyk, Randal Longenecker, Sarah Adkins, Sarah Rubin, Scott Anzalone, Sharon Casapulla, Shouan Zhu, Susan Williams, Todd Fredricks, Yang Li and Zelalem Haile. 

Visit the faculty newsmakers website for a full list of 2020 newsmakers