Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD
Dr. Karen Wolk Feinstein is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its three operating arms, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). Combined, they perform a unique mix of grantmaking, research, teaching, coaching, and project management in order to serve as a regional catalyst for progressive health care.
Under her leadership, JHF and PRHI have become a leading voice in patient safety, healthcare quality, and related workforce issues. When Dr. Feinstein founded PRHI, it was among the nation’s first regional multi-stakeholder quality coalitions devoted simultaneously to advancing efficiency, best practices, and safety by applying industrial engineering principles. Dr. Feinstein founded HCF to assist the region’s healthcare industry in attracting, preparing, and retaining employees. WHAMglobal was established to empower women to lead efforts to advance healthcare systems that are transparent, respectful, accountable, and equitable.
Dr. Feinstein is widely regarded as a leader in healthcare quality improvement and patient safety, and she frequently presents at national and international conferences. She was a presenter at the 2016 TEDxBeaconStreet event, an independently organized Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) event with a global audience. She has served on the faculties of Boston College and Carnegie Mellon University and taught at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Feinstein is the author of numerous regional and national publications on quality and safety. She is the editor of Moving Beyond Repair, which explores the conditions required to successfully apply Lean as a system-wide quality improvement philosophy. In 1998, 2002, and 2015 she was named Pittsburgher of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine, from 2020-2022 she was recognized as a member of Pittsburgh Business Times’ Power 100, and in 2021 and 2022 she was selected by City and State PA as one of Pennsylvania's Health Care Power 100.
Dr. Feinstein is a founder of the Network for Regional Health Improvement (now a part of the Civitas Networks for Health), a past President of Grantmakers In Health and Grantmakers of Western PA, and founder and co-chair of the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative. She serves on many nonprofit, governmental, and for-profit boards, including the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Allegheny Parks Foundation, the Highmark Health Quality, Safety & Value Board, and the National Board of Medical Examiners. She’s appointed to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Health Research Advisory Committee, Board of Visitors of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, UPMC Presbyterian/Shadyside Board of Directors, and the UPMC System-wide Patient Care Committee. She is a founding member of the national Women of Impact coalition and a member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) where she was the first chair of Pittsburgh’s IWF chapter and co-founded their Women in Health Care Special Interest Group.
Dr. Feinstein earned her bachelor’s degree in American History at Brown University, her Master of Social Work at Boston College, and her doctorate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Dr. Feinstein has Honorary Doctorates from Chatham and Carlow Universities.