A brief look at hires, promotions, awards and honors

New hires

and promotions

Maria Landschoot has joined Affinity Connection, State College, as an editorial assistant.

After graduating from Penn State in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as an editorial assistant at Routledge, a leading publisher of academic books.

Awards and honors

John A. Casciotti, senior associate deputy general counsel for personnel and health policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, is the 2018 recipient of its Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service.

Presented annually, the award is given to a D.C. Bar member whose career exemplifies the highest order of public service.

Casciotti, who has served in the Defense Department’s Office of the General Counsel since 1988, is a 1970 graduate of Altoona Area High School.

Don Walkovich, Renee Johnstonbaugh and Laura Biggs have been named to the board of directors of Skills of Central Pennsylvania. Walkovich is the Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Saint Francis University, overseeing 10 academic programs.

Johnstonbaugh, who lives in Clearfield County, has worked in the medical assistance field for approximately 12 years, first with the Enrollment Program as an Outreach Specialist/Team Lead for six years, then as a Senior Community Health Navigator with AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania, one of the Medicaid-managed care organizations.

Biggs, who lives in Hawk Run, is a registered nurse, holding a BSN from Georgetown University. Her specialty area has always been neonatal intensive care.

Andrew Gurman, an orthopedic hand surgeon who practices in Altoona, was named the 2018 recipient of the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award is considered the highest honor a member can receive from PAMED.

In 2016, Gurman became the first Pennsylvania physician in 34 years to be elected American Medical Association president.

Course completions and certifications

Fit N Fun House owner/

instructor Michelle Gardner and instructor Gina Khoury recently became Certified AMPD Power Flow and AMPD Kettlebell Fitness instructors.

Kristin (Farabaugh) Eckenrode, a 2012 graduate of the Physicians Assistant Program at Saint Francis University, has been nationally recognized for earning a specialty credential called a Certificate of Added Qualifications from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Eckenrode, who is employed by UPMC Altoona, was recognized for earning a CAQ in Hospital Medicine, a distinction earned by meeting licensure, education and experience requirements and then passing a national exam in the specialty.