> 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 1998, 2002, and 2015 she was named Pittsburgher of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine, and in 2020 and 2021 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 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, 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 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. During 2020, she worked closely with the Department of Human Services’ and the Department of Health to provide Learning Networks for staff in skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes and congregate living through the Educational Support and Clinical Coaching Program and Regional Response Health Collaborative Program. Previously, Bonenberger worked 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 manager for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF). In this role, she supports the Foundation’s health technology innovation work. Ms. Butler was a part of the team that organized Liftoff PGH 2020, a virtual summit hosted in December 2020 aimed at preparing the Pittsburgh region for the future of health care. The ongoing Liftoff PGH initiative now focuses on how Pittsburgh can continue to develop as a leader in population health and safety. Ms. Butler supports the Patient Safety Full Court Press team and National Patient and Provider Safety Authority (NPSA). 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.
> 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), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). 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 (PPC) 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, community based care organizations, 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 PA PQC Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative, Patient Centered Medical Home and Centers of Excellence Learning Collaborative Networks, Minority AIDS Initiative, and Pittsburgh: A Safer Childbirth City. Ms. Condel has 30 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 PPC 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.
> 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.
> Emily Franke, LSW, MSW
Ms. Franke is a program associate on the JHF aging team. She is a licensed social worker with extensive experience in grief recovery, end-of-life choices, caregiving issues, and psychopharmacology. She honed these skills through positions at the Benedum Geriatric Center as a pre-licensed therapist and most recently as a psychiatric social worker on the Integrated Health and Aging Program unit at Western Psychiatric Hospital. She has worked to support individuals who are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety in the context of medical diagnoses and those experiencing caregiver or career-related burnout. Ms. Franke earned her dual bachelor's degrees in psychology and gender, sexuality & women's studies from the University of Pittsburgh, where she went on to graduate with her master's in social work. As a Hartford Fellow during her master's program, she worked to develop skills specific to serving the diverse older adult population with a specific focus on LGBTQIA older adults.
> 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.
> Lisa George, MPH, CHES
Senior Communications and Program Specialist
Ms. George is a senior communications and program specialist for the JHF aging team, focusing on end-of-life initiatives and supporting overall communications efforts. Prior to joining the foundation, Ms. George spent more than two decades with the Oncology Nursing Society's publications department, where in her final role she served as senior editorial manager. During her tenure with the society, she was instrumental in launching and managing the organization's book publishing program, developing award-winning resources for cancer care professionals and patients and families affected by the disease. Ms. George earned a bachelor's in English literature and a master's in public health with a focus on behavioral and community health sciences, both from the University of Pittsburgh. During her master's work, she participated in research examining the acceptability and utility of screening for unmet social needs in the clinical setting. She also is a Certified Health Education Specialist and a graduate of the JHF 2020 Patient Safety Fellowship.
> 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.
> 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, a patient safety initiative focused on establishing a new independent federal agency, the National Patient and Provider Safety Authority (NPSA). For the Feinstein Fellowships, he works with the Fellowship team in recruiting new fellows, planning and executing the Fellowship program, and maintaining robust relationships with alumni post-Fellowship. 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 supports the team by conducting research and drafting related documents as needed (e.g., patient safety ecosystem map). He also currently serves as the Business Development Lead on the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement’s (NRHI) Emerging Leaders Council working on a project to address health equity in member communities through using effective casemaking. Prior to joining JHF, he was a consultant at Gateway Health Plan, a Medicaid Managed Care Organization, supporting an innovative multi-sector initiative (Thrive18) to address the 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
Mr. Huber is the chief communications officer for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organizations — the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). As a member of senior leadership, he oversees communications planning, strategy, and implementation throughout JHF's programs. Mr. Huber also directs the Patient Safety and Salk Health Activist Fellowships and contributes to the management of the Health Activist Network. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, he served as the director of communications for Codman Square Health Center, a nationally recognized and award winning, multi-site FQHC located in Boston. He is a past board member of Codman2, a partnership between Codman Square Health Center and Codman Academy Charter Public School (CACPS), the first co-located health and education partnership in the country. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute for Community Health Leadership Program. Mr. Huber earned his bachelor’s in philosophy from Gordon College, which included an academic year studying at Oxford University, and a master’s in health communication from Boston University. He is also a professional photographer who founded his own business, Give and Take Pictures, and has been featured in a variety of regional publications in New England.
> Cindy Johnson, CPA
HIV/AIDS Project Accountant
Ms. Johnson is the project accountant for the HIV/AIDS project team. Before assuming this role, she was a contractor with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) for 18 months. Previously, she was a senior staff accountant at Endocrine Society in Washington D.C. for seven years. Her areas of expertise include using netForum Accounting Management Software through monthly report reconciliation, A/R functions, and credit card reconciliation. Ms. Johnson holds an active CPA license, and she received a BSBA in finance from Old Dominion University.
> Bridget Jordan
Ms. Jordan is the administrative coordinator for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. She has over eight years' experience in operations and customer service. Shortly after relocating to Pittsburgh from Columbus, OH, Ms. Jordan accepted a position as operations manager at The Candle Lab. Using her abilities in management and organization, she played a pivotal role in growing this unique business concept into a successful and established business.
> 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.
> Hanifa Nakiryowa, MID
Global Health Associate
Ms. Nakiryowa is a global health associate for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and primarily works under the Foundation’s nonprofit operating arm the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) where she assists with maternal and child health advocacy and research. In addition to her role in the foundation’s maternal health agenda, Ms. Nakiryowa coordinates the statewide WIC Stakeholders Collaborative working to improve maternal health outcomes by strengthening linkages between the WIC program and other wrap-around support services with a goal to improve WIC referrals, enrollment, and retention of WIC-eligible families across Pennsylvania. Ms. Nakiryowa joins the foundation with extensive experience working on community-based maternal and child health projects, including UNICEF-FBO maternal and child health programs in Uganda prior to coming to the United States. 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. She also holds a master’s in economics from the University of Nairobi in Kenya and a bachelor’s degree in education from Makerere University in Uganda.
> 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 led an intergenerational reading program which inspired children to love reading while learning values through meaningful connections with seniors. 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. She is a licensed nursing home administrator and is certified in ethics and compliance management from St. Louis University.
> Sarah Pesi, MSPPM
Ms. Pesi is the part-time policy assistant supporting the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Adolescent Behavioral Health Initiative, including the Youth Advocacy Network and Teen Mental Health Collaborative, as well as the Full Court Press health policy initiative. Sarah brings platform-building expertise, having earned a Master of Science in Public Policy & Management with a concentration in public policy analysis from Carnegie Mellon University, and she earned a BA in Public Policy Studies and a minor in social services administration from Chatham University. Sarah is passionate about empowering teens and youth, and about the role of individuals to make a difference. She became interested in public policy after writing and passing her own piece of legislation in PA as a teen. Sarah also works part-time as Teen Engagement and Outreach Coordinator at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, where she focuses on wellness, outreach, and service with teens.
> Maureen Saxon-Gioia, MSHSA, BSN, RN
Project Manager and Nurse Senior Quality Improvement Specialist
Ms. Saxon-Gioia is a project manager and nurse senior quality improvement specialist for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organizations. She worked at JHF from 2007 to 2014, and she will serve as project manager for the Teaching Nursing Home Initiative. Her role has a primary focus in aging and long-term care, supporting workforce training and education initiatives related to improving healthcare quality, patient safety, and workforce development. This builds upon her involvement in previous quality improvement initiatives, in which she conducted in-depth assessments and evaluations, participated in organizational redesigns, and executed teaching and coaching engagements using lean methodology for healthcare organizational transformation. Her career spans many years as a point-of-care nurse in both neuro intensive care and high-risk labor and delivery in an academic medical center. Ms. Saxon-Gioia also brings recent experience in post-acute care for patients receiving home health services. She led compliance and quality improvement activities to promote value-based care and professional nursing development through evidence-based care initiatives. She earned her bachelor's in nursing from Pennsylvania State University and her master's in health services administration from Robert Morris 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.
> Richard Smith, MSW
Chief Relationship Officer and Project Director (HIV/AIDS)
Mr. Smith has been with the Foundation for over a decade and serves as Chief Relationship Officer (CRO) and the HIV/AIDS project director. In the CRO role, he focuses on creating equity and reducing conflict. Mr. Smith’s goal is to create a positive, cross-collaborative culture in the workplace and hopes to increase job satisfaction, morale, engagement, and retention among staff. As the HIV/AIDS Program Director, 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, program design, and community development. 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. Prior to JHF, he was a Quality Manager and Crisis Social Worker for more than four years at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> Nancy D. Zionts, MBA
COO and Chief Program Officer
Ms. Zionts, COO/Chief Program Officer for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, is responsible for the grant agenda for the Foundation, and its operating arms, Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative and Health Careers Futures. Areas of focus include: Aging/Long Term Care and End of Life, Quality & Safety, and Health Careers (including Fellowships and Community Health Workers). During 2020, she led the Department of Human Services’ COVID-19 Learning Networks for both the Educational Support and Clinical Coaching and Regional Response Health Collaborative Programs for Skilled Nursing and Personal Care/Assisted Living Residences throughout PA. She had previously led the planning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s transition to Managed Long Term Services and Supports/Community HealthChoices, as well as the Foundation’s Senior Connections Initiative. She was the lead principal team member on federally funded projects including the RAVEN (Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations among Nursing Facility Residents). She has been active in the development of many of the Foundation’s initiatives including its women’s heart health initiative, Working Hearts, Closure and Caregiver Champions Initiatives, The JHF Fellowship, On Death and Dying: The Elephant in the Room, Tomorrow’s HealthCare, the Champions Programs, the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative, and in the development of relevant publications including Longer Lives Better Health: Helping Seniors Preserve their Physical, Mental and Social Well-being, Moderating the Effects of Aging: A Caregiver’s Manual, and Closure Community Conversations Implementation Guide. Ms. Zionts has been a member of Grantmakers in Aging for over 20 years and has served on the Board and many of its Committees, including the Finance Committee, and is the 2020 Kelly Pruitt Award winner from the Southwestern PA Partnership for Aging. Ms. Zionts is a native of Montreal, Canada who holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA, both from Concordia University. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was employed for ten years at Forbes Health System in the areas of planning and continuous quality improvement.
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.