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Pitt earned the 2023 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award

  • Community Impact
  • Our City/Our Campus

The University of Pittsburgh has received the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ 2023 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award.

The award recognizes Pitt’s outstanding community engagement work exemplified through The Pittsburgh Study, the largest community-partnered intervention study in the U.S. to study thriving among children and adolescents.

“The prestigious Magrath Award demonstrates that The Pittsburgh Study and Pitt’s commitment to the community is among the nation’s most powerful and effective examples,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Joan Gabel.

The Pittsburgh Study is a longitudinal study of 8,000 Allegheny County youth from birth to adulthood aiming to determine the most important biological, social and community influences that support healthy development. Various issues are examined — from quantifying neighborhood noise and pollution to accessing public services — to understand the factors contributing to a participant’s well-being.

“The Magrath Award is a particularly meaningful acknowledgment of the University’s efforts to deepen and broaden our community impact, and I’m grateful to the many programs, partners and community collaborators who are leading the way,” said Lina Dostilio, vice chancellor of engagement and community affairs.

In the study, Pitt-affiliated researchers employ a shared decision-making model with community members and partners, ensuring an inclusive process and an egalitarian experience for participants. All scientific committees are co-led by non-University affiliated individuals and professional scientists, with over half of each committee made up of community members as citizen scientists.

Teenagers sit in front of a class of elementary school students

The study was launched in 2018 by the School of Medicine’s Liz Miller, the Edmund R. McCluskey Chair in Pediatric Medical Education and professor of pediatrics, public health, and clinical and translational science; and Terence Dermody, the Vira I. Heinz Distinguished Professor and Chair of Pediatrics.

“Centering community voices is essential to the work of discovery within our academic institutions,” Miller said. “I am thrilled about this prestigious recognition for our co-created work, designing for collective impact."

The Pittsburgh Study’s contributors and supporters include 240 community members, non-profit organizations, a cross-disciplinary academic team and the cooperation of local school districts with support from local foundations and endowments.

Pitt was one of four finalists for the Magrath Award after having received a regional W. K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award in August. The University earned the national Magrath Award at the APLU’s annual meeting on Tuesday.


— Nichole Faina, photography by Tom Altany