> Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
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 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. She is the author of numerous regional and national publications on quality and safety. Dr. Feinstein is the editor of Moving Beyond Repair, which explores the conditions required to successfully apply Lean as a system-wide quality improvement philosophy. In 2015 she was named Pittsburgher of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine, and in 2020 she was recognized as a member of Pittsburgh Business Times’ Power 100, a guide to the region’s most influential business leaders.
Dr. Feinstein is a founder and executive committee member of the Network for Regional Health Initiative, 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, 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 where she established 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.
> Elizabeth Balskus, MA
Quality Improvement Facilitator
Ms. Balskus is a quality improvement facilitator for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Ms. Balskus supports the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PA PQC) and various sites as a quality improvement coach. Currently a PhD candidate in Healthcare Ethics at Duquesne University, Ms. Balskus is completing her thesis on the need for and consequences of implementing a multi-dimensional concept of safety, including psychological, emotional, and communal safety in perinatal and psychiatric care. Previously, she has worked as a member of the STAR Clinic at PeaceHealth hospital in Eugene, Oregon, and as a postpartum doula. Balskus received a master’s in philosophy from the University of Oregon, where she served as a philosophy teaching fellow for four years.
> Stacie L. Bonenberger, MOT, OTR/L
Senior Quality Improvement Specialist
Ms. Bonenberger is a senior quality improvement specialist at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, with a primary focus on initiatives related to the aging population. Ms. Bonenberger provides knowledge and awareness for families and professionals to help them better understand how it feels to live with dementia and provides strategies to improve their relationships with individuals living with dementia. Ms. Bonenberger is one of the statewide coordinators for Dementia Friends Pennsylvania, a global initiative that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. She is an active member of the Dementia-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh work group and serves on the education committee. Ms. Bonenberger is also a member of the Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Task Force. As part of the JHF Aging Team, Ms. Bonenberger uses her quality improvement and coaching skills to develop and implement customized curricula, including Perfecting Patient Care℠, PRHI’s Lean Organizational Development approach. Ms. Bonenberger works to help long-term care facilities reduce avoidable hospitalizations through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation grant, RAVEN (Reduce AVoidable hospitalizations using Evidence-based interventions for Nursing facilities). Prior to joining JHF, she was the assistant facility director of occupational therapy at UPMC Passavant and has 17 years of clinical experience as an occupational therapist in Pennsylvania and Colorado. Ms. Bonenberger received her bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Massachusetts and her master’s in occupational therapy from Chatham University. She also earned a certification in computer programming from the University of Denver.
> Megan Butler, MS
Ms. Butler is an innovation associate for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF). In this role, she supports the Foundation’s health technology innovation work. Her primary focus is Liftoff PGH 2020, an initiative aimed at preparing the Pittsburgh region for the future of health care. In addition to this work, Ms. Butler also coordinates the summer internship program at the Foundation. Prior to joining JHF, she was a project manager for Treatspace, Inc., a referral management software company, where she managed software implementations in medical practices. Ms. Butler earned her bachelor’s in policy and management and decision science and her master’s in healthcare policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.
> Ashley Chung, MPH
Ms. Chung is a program officer for the HIV/AIDS Program at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Her work is centered around bridging the gap between frontline work and communicating community and provider needs to the PA Dept. of Health. In this role, she analyzes program data, evaluates provider service provision, and provides support during RFP processes, specifically procurement and final allocation of funds. Along with the rest of the HIV/AIDS team, she facilitates collaborative learning and peer-exchange opportunities for sub-grantees. Ms. Chung also works on the AIDS Free Pittsburgh (AFP) initiative in developing and implementing community assessments to help inform AFP’s outreach and education efforts. Prior to joining the foundation, she spent two years working in anthrax and pertussis vaccine development at the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C. Ms. Chung earned a bachelor’s in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Maryland and a master’s in public health from the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on infectious disease management, intervention, community practice, and certificate in global health. Her graduate research focused on HIV/AIDS education and prevention and reducing LGBT stigma.
> Jennifer Condel, SCT(ASCP)MT
Manager, Lean Healthcare Strategy and Implementation
Ms. Condel is the manager of Lean healthcare strategy and implementation for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and supporting organizations, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) and Health Careers Futures (HCF). In this role, she works with healthcare organizations to align quality improvement efforts at every level, to achieve their strategic vision and goals. This includes teaching, and coaching healthcare staff (senior leadership, management, and front line), in-person and virtually, PRHI's Perfecting Patient CareSM methodology for Lean organizational development. Ms. Condel works with diverse healthcare organizations, including primary care practices, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, AIDS service organizations, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Programs of All-Inclusive Care for Elderly (PACE), hospitals, and health departments, to redesign workflow processes in support of improved patient care and staff satisfaction. In her role as an experienced facilitator, Ms. Condel applies various learning collaborative approaches to engage organizations and staff in peer to peer knowledge sharing and improvement experiences to support the statewide Minority AIDS Initiative, Patient Centered Medical Home and Centers of Excellence Learning Collaborative Networks, and the PA PQC Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative. Ms. Condel has 29 years of experience in health care, including positions as a system-wide improvement specialist for the UPMC Health System, anatomic pathology laboratory manager and specialist in cytotechnology, as well as team leader for the UPMC Anatomic Pathology Learning Line, where she taught and coached a Histology Department Learning Line model for pathology using the Perfecting Patient CareSM methodology. She has published and presented in the areas of Lean philosophy and concepts, problem solving, and quality assurance. Ms. Condel earned her bachelor's in medical technology from the University of Pittsburgh and holds a cytology certification from UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.
> Kylea Covaleski, MPH, MSW
Ms. Covaleski is a program associate for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF). Her primary focus is Senior Connections. Prior to JHF, she worked as a program coordinator for the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project at the University of Pittsburgh, and as a graduate research assistant in adolescent behavioral health. Ms. Covaleski also has experience as a patient care technician at UPMC. While finishing her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Ms. Covaleski was a Juanita C. Evans Fellow. The Evans Fellowship provides comprehensive training to prepare future leaders in the fields of social work and public health. Additionally, she is a graduate of three of JHF’s Fellowships — Patient Safety, Quality Improvement Technology, Death & Dying — and is a former JHF summer intern. Ms. Covaleski earned her bachelor’s in psychology and dual master’s in public health and social work from the University of Pittsburgh.
> Kate Dickerson, MSc
Women's Health Specialist
Ms. Dickerson is a women’s health specialist for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organization the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). Ms. Dickerson leads the Foundation’s efforts to advance women’s health and health activism by directing the WHAMglobal initiative. She helps to outline the next frontier of women’s health and health services and build regional, national, and international partnerships. She supports JHF’s Health Activist Network and Feinstein Fellowships for multidisciplinary students and early-career professionals. Ms. Dickerson earned a bachelor’s in communication and rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh and received her master’s in healthcare policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College. Before enrolling at CMU, she served for two years as a federally certified health insurance navigator and led the Health Center Advocacy Program for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. Prior to that, she was an outreach associate for health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C.
> Robert Ferguson, MPH
Chief Policy Officer
Mr. Ferguson is the chief policy officer for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organizations—the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). In addition to working on JHF’s policy priorities, he manages the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PA PQC), the statewide HealthChoices Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Learning Network, the Reinvesting in Health Initiative that tests perinatal bundled payment models, the statewide Opioid Use Disorders Centers of Excellence (COE) Learning Network with Pitt PERU, the Southwestern PA Contact Tracing Consortium, and the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative (PHFC). He also facilitates the Pennsylvania Community Health Worker Steering Group. Previously, he managed projects funded by AHRQ and CMMI that implemented evidenced-based models for depression and substance misuse in primary care settings locally and nationally. Mr. Ferguson also served as a Health and Aging Policy Fellow at CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards & Quality, where he worked on the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative with a focus on integrating physical and behavioral health care. He earned his bachelor’s degree in health sciences at Northeastern University and a master’s in public health at the University of Pittsburgh.
> Carol Frazer, LPC
Practice Transformation Specialist (PRHI)
Ms. Frazer is a practice transformation specialist for the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI). Her responsibilities include training health systems to implement and sustain quality improvement strategies at the physician practice level. She is also a member of the Teen Mental Health Initiative team which is working to improve access to quality behavioral health care. Ms. Frazer previously contributed to the Community Health Workers Champions team, training frontline workers to identify and report possible mental health issues, and to increase their confidence in engaging those with a mental health diagnosis. Prior to PRHI, she served as director of care management at Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, where she developed a comprehensive integrated care management program and assisted in developing quality measures that met National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards. She also has experience as an outpatient therapist, clinical supervisor, and unit director at Mercy Behavioral Health, leading efforts to co-locate behavioral health in primary care settings. Ms. Frazer also maintained a private practice in the Pittsburgh area for 16 years, providing therapy to patients with comorbid health conditions, and training local nonprofits to help children cope with issues of sexual assault and alcohol dependency in their families. She earned her bachelor's in vocational rehabilitation at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and her master's in counselor education at the University of Pittsburgh.
> Christopher Garnett, MSS
HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator
Mr. Garnett is a program coordinator working with the HIV/AIDS team to optimize the level of HIV care in the southwestern Pennsylvania region through provider monitoring, education, training, and stakeholder collaboration. He has more than a decade of experience working in the HIV field, most recently as a social worker in the pediatric HIV clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Prior to Children’s Hospital, Mr. Garnett also served in a number of positions in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, including as an adolescent counselor at the Attic Youth Center for LGBTQ youth, and as a youth and adolescent HIV medical case manager with Action Wellness - a Health Services Organization in the Greater Philadelphia area. Mr. Garnett earned his bachelor’s degree in social work from Bloomsburg University, and a master’s degree in social services from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
> Millie Greene
Ms. Greene is the executive assistant to the president and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organizations—the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). Prior to JHF, she worked for 20 years as a bookkeeper/accountant/administrative assistant to the president and owner of a wholesale floor covering company. She also has experience in public accounting, having held positions with several local firms. Ms. Greene earned an associate degree in specialized business systems from Computer Systems Institute of Pittsburgh.
> Nicole Greer, RN, MPH, MPA
Quality Improvement Specialist
Ms. Greer is a quality improvement specialist for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF), working on several initiatives to improve the quality of care provided to older adults and strengthen community supports and services for seniors. She provides clinical education as part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ RAVEN initiative to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions among long-stay nursing home residents and oversees continuing education offered through the Tomorrow’s HealthCare™ online knowledge and learning network. She also managed JHF’s Community Health Worker Apprenticeship program. Ms. Greer supports JHF’s multifaceted end of life programming, including the Death & Dying Fellowship. She received her bachelor’s in nursing and master’s degrees in public health and public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and joined the foundation after working in the acute care setting.
> Steven Guo
Mr. Guo is a program associate for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF). In this role, he supports the Foundation in the following initiatives: the Feinstein Fellowships, the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PA PQC), and SWERVE, an initiative focused on patient safety. For the Feinstein Fellowships, he works with the Fellowship team in developing recruitment strategies for new fellows, planning the fellowship curriculum, and executing the program while in session. With the PA PQC, he manages and monitors the data collected from the statewide collaborative, while also creating data visualizations and dashboards to provide actionable insights for our partnered healthcare sites. Lastly, for SWERVE, he conducts research and creates related documents as needed, such as a patient safety ecosystem map. Prior to joining JHF, he was a strategy consultant at Gateway Health Plan, a Medicaid Managed Care Organization, supporting an innovative multi-sector initiative to address social determinants of health in the Northside communities of Pittsburgh. Mr. Guo earned his bachelor’s in decision science with a minor in healthcare policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.
> Lindsey Kirstatter Hartle, MBA, SHRM-CP
Ms. Hartle is the controller for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organizations—the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). She joined JHF in 2002 and is responsible for the organizations' financial functions and human resources. Ms. Hartle earned her bachelor's in environmental science from Salem International University and her MBA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
> Leah Holleran
Ms. Holleran is the business/office manager for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and its supporting organizations—the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). Previously, she worked at UPMC Mercy as a senior secretary in the department of surgery while also supporting surgical research, infection control, orthopedics, and the chief of pediatric surgery. Ms. Holleran holds an associate degree in business administration from Duff's Business Institute and completed the first year of RN coursework at Mercy School of Nursing.
> Scotland Huber, MS
Chief Communications Officer
> Mara Leff, MPH
Director of Innovation
Ms. Leff is the director of innovation for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF), and she leads Liftoff PGH, a conference and ongoing initiative to launch our region to the frontiers of health care. In addition, she contributes to the aging team by overseeing the Virtual Senior AcademyTM project (VSA) and senior exercise and recreation activities. Previously, she worked with members of the long-term care and aging team to develop strategies to advance JHF’s Senior Connections initiative, which included launching the VSA, rolling out Community HealthChoices in western Pennsylvania, and holding a series of community conversations in support of a master plan for senior services in the region. Ms. Leff has also contributed to the RAVEN (Reduce AVoidable Hospitalizations using Evidence-based interventions for Nursing Facility Residents) Initiative, which was approved for an additional four years (through 2020) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and participated in JHF’s efforts to improve behavioral health prevention and treatment services for adolescents. Prior to joining JHF, she served as an independent marketing and communications consultant and worked at Ogilvy Public Relations as an assistant account executive. While at Ogilvy, she participated in campaigns for the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, among other organizations. Ms. Leff earned her master’s in public health, behavioral health and communications from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, and her bachelor’s in global public health from George Washington University.
> Charles Morrison, JD, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Morrison is the chief financial officer for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organizations —the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). He has extensive healthcare experience and a strong background in financial management, administration, and risk management. Mr. Morrison brings a law degree and bar membership to his role at the Foundation. Most recently, he served as corporate director of finance and operations for The Axios Foundation, Inc., where he managed health programs that focused on increasing care access in developing countries through government and private support. He excels in new program planning and development; strategic and financial assessment of existing programs; and developing and implementing sound internal control policies for non-profits. Mr. Morrison earned his bachelor’s in accounting from Grove City College and his juris doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
> Deborah Murdoch, MPH
Ms. Murdoch is a program manager at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. In this role, she provides leadership for the Adolescent Behavioral Health Initiative (ABHI) and Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI), including grants management, quality improvement coaching, facilitation of collaborative learning and peer-exchange, analysis of program data, and documentation of lessons learned. Together with the ABHI team and partnering youth organizations, she is working on the development of a youth advocacy network focused on improved teen mental health services and supports. Ms. Murdoch has coordinated several other initiatives since joining the Foundation in 2013, including the Patient Safety and Jonas Salk Fellowships and a community-wide initiative to increase HPV vaccination. Prior to joining the Foundation, she spent eight years working in international public health, including two years working on a community-based HIV program in South Africa as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and three years in Uganda working on a national HIV and AIDS care and treatment program funded by the United States Agency for International Development. Ms. Murdoch earned a bachelor's in neuroscience from the College of William and Mary and an MPH from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
> Catherine Mutunga
Ms. Mutunga is the administrative assistant to the chief operating officer and chief program officer of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organizations, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). She also provides administrative support to the Foundation's Boards and Committees. As a member of the Aging Team, Ms. Mutunga supports all the aging initiatives. Prior to joining JHF, Ms. Mutunga worked in the cardiology department at the former St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh. She also worked for a leading insurance company in Kenya, as well as at the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya based in South Africa. Ms. Mutunga is a graduate from Kianda College (now Strathmore University) in Nairobi, Kenya. She has a diploma in human resources management from the University of South Africa.
> Hanifa Nakiryowa, MID
Global Health Associate
Ms. Nakiryowa is a global health associate for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF). Her primary focus is the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) and assisting with maternal and child health advocacy and research. Prior to JHF, she served as a special projects intern for The Pittsburgh Foundation. Ms. Nakiryowa is the founder of the Center for Rehabilitation Survivors of Acid Violence (CERESAV), which promotes health and human services for acid attack survivors in Uganda and advocates to prevent future attacks. She has also contributed to fundraising, advocacy, and awareness-building efforts for the Acid Survivors Foundation in Uganda, and she worked to enhance maternal and child health as a program monitoring and evaluation specialist for the UNICEF-FBO partnership program in Uganda. Ms. Nakiryowa was a H.J. Heinz Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her master’s in international development/human security studies. Ms. Nakiryowa earned her bachelor’s with education from Makerere University in Uganda and holds a master’s in economics from the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
> Julia Och
Ms. Och serves as a project manager with two initiatives at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. For AIDS Free Pittsburgh (AFP), she coordinates efforts among AIDS Free Pittsburgh partners – including local service agencies, health systems, academic institutions, and the Allegheny County Health Department – to identify HIV-positive individuals who are currently undiagnosed and link them to medical care, and engage those at risk of developing HIV through education, routine screening, and access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services. Ms. Och also organizes work for Pittsburgh: A Safer Childbirth City, an initiative that aims to reduce maternal deaths and narrow disparities. Prior to joining JHF, Ms. Och served as a policy specialist with Allegheny HealthChoices, Inc. (a non-profit behavioral health organization) and as an assistant planner at Gateway Rehab, where she provided project management support and analyzed program data. She also has experience in community health outreach on issues including substance abuse and sexual health. Ms. Och earned her bachelor’s in international development and social change and a master’s in community development and planning from Clark University.
> Morgan Overton, MSW
Community Engagement and Policy Associate
Ms. Overton is a community engagement and policy associate for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organization the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). She works on various initiatives to transform maternal health, racial, and reproductive equity on the community and policy level including Pittsburgh: A Safer Childbirth City, and the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative. In July, Ms. Overton was appointed to the City of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission. Before joining JHF, she managed GirlGov, a renowned youth civic engagement program at the Women and Girls Foundation. She has held numerous positions in public affairs at local, state, and federal levels, most notably as an organizing fellow for Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign. Ms. Overton also conducted autism clinical research at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital, and she is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited across Pittsburgh, Boston, California, and St. Paul de Vence, France. From the University of Pittsburgh, Ms. Overton earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in studio arts, as well as a master’s in social work with a focus in community organization and social action, and a certificate in human services management.
> Alyce Palko
Ms. Palko is the communications associate supporting the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. She creates web and social media content for the Foundation and its supporting organizations. She also provides communications support for events, presentations, and speaking engagements of senior staff, to promote the Foundation’s mission and strengthen stakeholder networks across programs. Prior to joining JHF, Ms. Palko wrote for the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Pitt Med magazine, and she created digital and social media content for a county library’s programs. Ms. Palko earned her bachelor’s in public and professional writing with a community health assessment certificate from the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Palko also completed the 2019 Summer Edge program at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
> Anneliese Perry, MS, NHA
Senior Quality Improvement Specialist
Ms. Perry is a senior quality improvement specialist at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organization the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI. Her primary focus is working on initiatives related to the aging population. She is one of the state-wide coordinators for Dementia Friends Pennsylvania, a movement to change the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Additionally, Ms. Perry leads an intergenerational reading program that inspires children to love reading while learning values and forming meaningful connections with seniors. Ms. Perry applies her experience in quality improvement and coaching to the CMS RAVEN (Reduce Avoidable hospitalizations using Evidence-based interventions for Nursing facilities) initiative. In this role, she develops and implements customized curricula aimed at assisting long-term care facilities in reducing avoidable hospitalizations. As a coach, she works with healthcare organizations on quality improvement efforts and educates workers in Perfecting Patient Care℠, PRHI’s Lean Organizational Development approach. Prior to joining JHF, she worked in in both home and community-based services as well as long-term care. She holds a master’s in professional leadership from Carlow University and a bachelor’s in psychology from Westminster College. In addition, she is a licensed nursing home administrator and is certified in ethics and compliance management from St. Louis University.
> Rachel Schaffer, MPH, MSW
Program Associate (HIV/AIDS)
Ms. Schaffer is a program associate working with the HIV/AIDS team to support sub-recipients of all Commonwealth program grants and Minority AIDS Initiative grants. As such, she assists in research, planning, evaluation, and reporting on the Ryan White Law and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) policies, the Southwest PA Regional HIV Needs Assessment, and agency outcome measures for the Commonwealth program. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a master's in social work, with a focus on community organizing and social administration, and a master's degree in public health, with a focus on behavioral and community health. Schaffer has worked as an HIV tester and counselor at a non-profit agency and was also a suicide prevention counselor for a national, non-profit organization. During her graduate studies, she interned at the Hillel Jewish Community Center and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
> Marsha Shisman
Grants Manager (HIV/AIDS)
Ms. Shisman is the grants manager for the HIV/AIDS program funding that the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) distributes under contract with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She is responsible for the administration of funding and providing technical assistance to AIDS service organizations. Prior to JHF, Ms. Shisman served as a program coordinator in the Office of Executive Education at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, where she had earlier served as assistant to the Dean. A native of Ukraine, Ms. Shisman earned a bachelor's in engineering from the Institute of Municipal Engineering in Kharkov and a bachelor's in public relations from the College of Public Service, also in Kharkov.
> Richard Smith, MSW
Project Director (HIV/AIDS)
Mr. Smith serves as the HIV/AIDS project director at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. In this role, he provides program and technical support to grantees, including assistance with grant applications, funds utilization, database management, and capacity building. He has extensive experience in quality management having served as the continuous quality improvement coordinator for Albert Einstein Medical Center’s HIV clinic in Philadelphia, a committee member of the HRSA Collaborative, and a member of the HIV National Quality Program. Mr. Smith has a mental health counseling background and earned his bachelor’s in psychology from Lock Haven University and a master’s in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.
> Sue Steele
Ms. Steele is a program coordinator for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) focusing on HIV/AIDS. As part of the HIV/AIDS team, she assists in planning and evaluation, reporting, and education and training for JHF’s Ryan White Part B contract and the statewide Minority AIDS Initiative. She also serves as the advertising, marketing, and community outreach coordinator with AIDS Free Pittsburgh, an initiative the aligns with the national strategy to end the HIV epidemic. Ms. Steele served as primary coordinator for JHF’s former HPV Vaccination Initiative, working in conjunction with staff, the HPV Vaccination Initiative Advisory, and community organizations to develop and implement programs that increase the uptake of the HPV vaccine in the region. Prior to JHF, she served as vice president for education for the last seven of her 14 years at Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. Ms. Steele has a bachelor’s in art from the Pennsylvania State University and has completed ETR’s Training Institute’s Making Evidence-Based Programs Work.
> Natalie Stewart
Creative Communications Designer
Ms. Stewart is the creative communications designer supporting the Jewish Healthcare Foundation focusing on the Liftoff PGH initiative. Ms. Stewart specializes in visual design, having worked internationally as a communications director, graphic designer, and digital marketing officer. Prior to joining JHF, Ms. Stewart led communications at the Pittsburgh-based Green Building Alliance, developing the sustainability nonprofit’s first comprehensive visual identity in addition to managing messaging across media campaigns. She also spent three years in Jordan at a local television production company where she directed cross platform digital marketing and documentary script writing. Ms. Stewart holds a bachelor's in international studies from Johns Hopkins University.
> JT Stoner, MPH
Mr. Stoner is a project coordinator for AIDS Free Pittsburgh (AFP), partnering with members of the AFP coalition to plan and implement programs that enhance biomedical HIV prevention and treatment services, adherence, and access to care. A certified HIV prevention counselor, he previously created educational outreach programs for young adults as an intern at Allies for Health + Wellbeing (formerly Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force). He also served as a health advocate for consumers, providing testing services, counseling, and education on the HIV prevention medication PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). Mr. Stoner earned a bachelor’s in biochemistry and molecular biology from Dickinson College, and a master’s in public health with a focus on infectious disease management, intervention, and community practice from the University of Pittsburgh.
> Pauline Taylor, CQIA
Ms. Taylor is a program specialist for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organization the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI). She supports the Patient Centered Medical Home initiative, Centers of Excellence project, and the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative. Ms. Taylor also works on PRHI’s flagship Lean process improvement methodology, Perfecting Patient CareSM. Previously she held the position of practice director for more than two decades at Genesis Medical Associates, where she supervised a team of providers, implemented new quality improvement and technology initiatives to expand the scope of practice, and helped them achieve Patient Centered Medical Home status. Ms. Taylor is a certified quality improvement associate.
> Kyle Terrill, MSW
Mr. Terrill is a program assistant for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) working on the aging team. Prior to joining as a staff member, he previously was an intern at JHF helping on the GRAN and Community Health Worker projects and completed a social work internship with the Foundation of HOPE Aftercare Program. Mr. Terrill's other work experience includes working as a research specialist for UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital in the fields of neuroscience and mental health research. Mr. Terrill was an Edith Baker Integrated Healthcare Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh and completed his second-year internship at UPMC St. Margaret Hospital. He earned his bachelor's in biology at Geneva College and a master's in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.
> Brian Turcsanyi, MBA
Director of Technology and Analytics (PRHI)
Mr. Turcsanyi is the director of technology and analytics for the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), a supporting organization of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. His primary focus is Tomorrow's HealthCareTM — an online knowledge and collaborative-learning network. He also assists the communications department with web-based content distribution and manages research databases. Previously, Mr. Turcsanyi managed the informatics needs of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Pathology Quality and Healthcare Research group, which included an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded "Improving Patient Safety by Examining Pathology Errors" database, and the CDC-funded "Best Practices for Pathology" database. He developed a data mart involving the laboratory information system, and others, to track the progress of the Toyota Production System interventions in the Histology lab. Mr. Turcsanyi earned his bachelor's in management information systems at Pennsylvania State University, and his MBA at the University of Pittsburgh.
> John Tyler
Mr. Tyler is the administrative coordinator for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and its three supporting organizations, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). He coordinates all external and internal meetings in the QI2T Center, and provides administrative support to the Feinstein Fellowships, WHAMglobal events, the Patient Centered Medical Home and COE projects, and organizational Board meetings. Prior to joining JHF, Mr. Tyler worked in the hospitality industry for five years at Home2Suites and the Pittsburgh Marriott North in both the front office and sales. He has completed coursework in communications and digital media production at Butler County Community College and Slippery Rock University.
> Nancy D. Zionts, MBA
COO and Chief Program Officer
Ms. Zionts is the chief operating officer and chief program officer for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organizations —the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). She oversees a grant agenda that includes aging, end-of-life care, health workforce development, quality and safety, The Feinstein Fellowships, and public health. She has been a principal staff person for the state roll out of Community Health Choices in southwestern Pennsylvania, and on federally-funded grant projects including the eight-year, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid- funded RAVEN initiative to reduce hospitalizations from skilled nursing facilities, CER for Behavioral Health Integration (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), and Quality Improvement for Polypharmacy in the Elderly, and Pathology (both through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
She currently is the lead staff for the Educational Support and Clinical Coaching Program (ESCCP) Program with the PA Department of Human Services, formed to respond to COVID-19, and leads the Foundation’s Aging and Senior Connections team. Ms. Zionts chairs the Coalition for Quality at the End of Life (CQEL), which aligns healthcare systems, providers, payers, community groups, government, philanthropic, and faith-based organizations to ensure that patients and families have the end-of-life experience they desire.
She was engaged in the development of Tomorrow's HealthCareTM(THC) — an online knowledge and collaborative learning network. Ms. Zionts was the primary contact for the five-state Quality Innovation Network (QIN) program, for which PRHI was a contractor to Quality Insights. In this role, she led efforts to bring PRHI's Lean-based Perfecting Patient CareSM curriculum and THC to providers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and Louisiana to reduce health disparities, promote chronic disease management, and lower costs.
She has served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees, including Grantmakers In Aging and Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, was a member of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Block Grant Advisory Board, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Planning and Allocations Committee, United Way’s Seniors Initiative, and is a member of the Advisory for the Johnson Institute. Ms. Zionts has been active in the development and implementation of many JHF initiatives including the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative, the Squirrel Hill Health Center, Coordinated Care Network, the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry, and Elderhostel Pittsburgh. She has been involved in the development of special publications, including Longer Life, Better Health, the Aging Environmental Scan, Moderating the Effects of Aging: A Caregiver's Manual, the Health Information Technology Scan, and Twelve Breaths a Minute.
Prior to joining JHF, she was employed for ten years at Forbes Health System in the areas of administration, planning, and continuous quality improvement. Ms. Zionts is a native of Montreal, Canada and earned both her bachelor’s in chemistry and an MBA at Concordia University.
Judith Black, MD, MHA
> Bruce Block, MD
Health Care Quality Consultant
Dr. Block is a health care quality consultant for the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), a supporting arm of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, which also includes Health Career Futures and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal).
As PRHI’s Chief Learning and Medical Informatics officer from 2010 to 2020, Dr. Block supported the implementation of evidence-based, person-directed quality improvement methods in health care. He led PRHI's regional EHR implementation initiative, which served more than 850 medical providers at more than 350 practice sites. He then led a team to assist many of these practices in achieving Patient Centered Medical Home recognition and is presently on the faculty of Pennsylvania’s HealthyChoice PCMH Learning Network. Most recently, Dr. Block has participated in PRHI’s Reinvesting in Health initiative that is seeking to explore and implement innovations in perinatal care through process redesign, payment incentives, and community engagement.
Seeing the need for expanded team care, Dr. Block developed a Champions program for medical office MAs and LPNs, which provided training and coaching to elevate practice skills to care for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, depression, and asthma. Dr. Block was the regional physician lead for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid-funded COMPASS Behavioral Health Integration project. He also served as co-PI with PA SPREAD on a four-year Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality network quality improvement grant to enhance QI capabilities in practice groups in the region. Dr. Block works with teams of trainers and coaches at PRHI to assure content reliability and teaching efficacy throughout the range of educational offerings. He serves as faculty with PRHI’s Perfecting Patient and Community Care training programs, which support organizational development using application of Lean methodology. He has been particularly interested in working with Community Mental Health Centers, FQHCs, and Social Service agencies to enhance readiness for value-based payment initiatives.
Dr. Block received his medical degree from Yale and practiced as a family doctor in rural western Pennsylvania from 1972 to 1981 with the National Health Service Corps. During that time, he developed a rural health system involving four other underserved sites. From 1981-2010, he served on the faculty of the Shadyside Hospital Family Medicine residency program, as Medical Director of the 40 physician Family Health Center, and as Director of the Primary Institute. In 1985, he developed an electronic health record for the Family Health Center and managed later transitions to Cerner and EPIC EHRs. As part of that effort, he also created and implemented evidence-based care protocols for office and community-based maternity and pediatric care.
In 1998, he co-founded and served as medical director for the Centers for Healthy Hearts and Souls, a non-profit coalition of over 40 African American churches. This community-based health promotion organization provided county-wide smoking cessation, nutrition education, and exercise programs; depression and cancer screening; and diabetes self-care support for nearly 20 years.
In 2011, Dr. Block received the John Heinz Award for Volunteerism from United Way. In 2016, Dr. Block received the Family Medicine Educational Consortium's "Power to Change Our World" award. Dr. Block is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and adjunct Professor of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.