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HUNTINGTON, WV -

Marshall University's medical school has a new chairman of the department of family and community health.

Dean Joseph I. Shapiro of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine announced the selection of Stephen M. Petrany. He succeeds John Walden, who served as chairman for five years. Walden is taking a new position with the school.

Petrany has been a professor in the department and a full-time faculty member since 1989. 

In other news from the school, Linda Spatig, a professor of educational foundations at Marshall's College of Education and Professional Development, has co-written a book with her daughter, Layne Amerikaner.

"Thinking Outside the Girl Box: Teaming Up With Resilient Youth in Appalachia" tells the story of a youth development program for adolescent girls in Lincoln County.

Spatig spent more than 12 years studying the resiliency program. She began the work in 2006-2007, when she was given extra time and assistance through her selection as a Drinko Fellow.

Through the program, mentors help girls develop leadership skills, including exercises to let them recognize and build on their own strengths. The girls worked with poet Colleen Anderson and "Mountain Stage" musician Ron Sowell, writing poems and songs and publishing their work.

Amerikaner is a communications specialist at People for the American Way in Washington, D.C.