Introducing New Board Chair Deb Caplan

Debra L. Caplan

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation is pleased to introduce our new Board Chair, Debra L. Caplan, a long-time Board member and friend of the Foundation. Caplan served as past JHF Board Vice Chair from 2018-2020, Chair of JHF's Distribution Committee from 2012-2016, and she is currently Board Chair of JHF's operating arm Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). In addition to her years of involvement with JHF, Caplan's extensive experience and knowledge of health care as an administrator, a community activist, and personal involvement with Montefiore Hospital lend great value to her new position as JHF Board Chair. 

"We're at a profound moment in our nation's and healthcare system's history, and I believe the Jewish Healthcare Foundation is uniquely positioned to continue to play an important role," said JHF Board Chair Debra Caplan. "There has never been a more critical time for swift advocacy and thoughtful philanthropy to repair the ongoing damage from COVID-19 and to address pre-existing critical healthcare issues that persist during this pandemic. The Board and staff of JHF have the expertise and the clout to continue to drive the necessary responses to the pandemic, and I look forward to ensuring we do all that we can to support our community and partners."

The new year will see Caplan lead JHF toward its three primary policy objectives as part of its new Full Court Press Initiative, but many of JHF's ongoing programs will continue to play crucial roles in responses to the pandemic.

Caplan is no stranger to tireless work in the healthcare sphere. Montefiore Hospital was a second home to Caplan, a Squirrel Hill native with family ties to the hospital, and the college summers she spent working at Montefiore profoundly influenced her career. She first made her mark in Massachusetts at the Department of Public Health. Caplan created policy and protocols for the state's first emergency medical system and established training programs for emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Launching the state's first poison control program and a statewide trauma system was next. After serving in a leadership role at the state Office of Emergency Medical Services for five years, she went on to join the storied Brigham and Women's Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital. There, as a young vice president with an array of operational responsibilities, she developed the program that performed the first heart transplant in New England.

Caplan returned to Pittsburgh with a master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School. She served as a vice president at Allegheny General Hospital with oversight of many operational departments, academic programs, and strategic and community development initiatives. Caplan spent 27 years as a top administrator at West Penn Allegheny Health System and Allegheny Health Network before retiring in 2015. Caplan currently serves as an Executive-in-Residence at the Forbes Funds advising nonprofit leaders on governance and management and has an independent healthcare and nonprofit consulting practice.

Caplan is active across the Pittsburgh community and serves on a number of local boards, including Partner4Work, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and WQED (where she served as a past board chair). She currently serves as President of the Pittsburgh International Women's Forum.

As the new JHF Board Chair, Caplan looks forward to guiding the ongoing collaboration between Board members and JHF staff. She will leverage her deep ties to the community and experience in healthcare leadership to inform strategic decisions across JHF's array of projects and programs. 

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