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AHN Announces Transition of Prominent Leaders to Critical New Roles

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

David Parda, MD, Appointed President of Allegheny General Hospital, Jeff Cohen, MD, Named Chief Physician Executive, Community Health and Innovation

Pittsburgh, PA - Allegheny Health Network (AHN) today announced two significant transitions in its leadership team. David Parda, MD, has been named President of Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), succeeding Jeffrey Cohen, MD, who is assuming a newly created role for the organization as Chief Physician Executive, Community Health and Innovation. Both appointments are effective January 1, 2020.

Dr. Cohen has served as the President of AGH, AHN’s flagship quaternary academic medical center, since 2016. Under his leadership, the hospital has experienced a significant financial and clinical transformation.  AHN is currently building a new $80 million Academic Cancer Center at the hospital that will serve as the network’s hub for cancer care research and innovation.  AGH also recently opened a new critical decision unit and next week will cut the ribbon to a new $10 million state-of-the-art facility for diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal disorders. 

In his new role, Dr. Cohen will act as the liaison between AHN and Highmark Health on all initiatives involving population health, social determinants of health, and the economic well-being of the many communities served across the network’s footprint.  He will also help coordinate AHN and Highmark Health efforts to develop new products and bring new technologies to market.

Prior to becoming president of AGH, Dr. Cohen served as Director of AGH’s Division of Urology, a position he held for two decades and in which he earned national recognition as a leading clinician and researcher in his field. He also helped to build one of Pennsylvania’s largest and most respected urology practices, the Triangle Urology Group.

Dr. Parda too is a nationally recognized, long-time physician leader at AHN.  Previous to the formation of AHN in 2013, he served as West Penn Allegheny Health System's oncology chair, and before that served as chair of radiation oncology at AGH.  He has helped to build one of the largest and most innovative cancer programs in the country over the past two decades, and has spearheaded the Cancer Institute’s ongoing $300 million capital investment strategy.  That investment will culminate next year with the opening of the Cancer Institute’s Academic Center and also includes the opening this year of various new cancer units at West Penn Hospital and five new comprehensive community cancer centers across the western Pennsylvania region. 

Dr. Parda has been a pioneer throughout his career in the fields of radiation oncology, precision medicine and multidisciplinary cancer care coordination, and he has been instrumental in cultivating AHN’s unique clinical and research partnership with Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. He joined AGH in 1998, and like Dr. Cohen, has a deep knowledge of the hospital, its history, and its people that makes him uniquely qualified for the president’s role, said Cynthia Hundorfean, president and CEO of AHN.

“Both Dr. Cohen and Dr. Parda are extremely talented and dedicated physician executives who are respected by colleagues, patients, and peers across the country,” said Hundorfean. “Our network has taken tremendous strides over the last six years in establishing itself as a provider of choice in the Western Pennsylvania region for high-quality, patient-centered and community-focused health care. The leadership of clinicians like Drs. Parda and Cohen has been central to that success and we look forward to this exciting next chapter in their distinguished careers of service to AHN and our patients.”

The transition of Drs. Cohen and Parda into new high-level organizational roles at AHN is consistent with the network’s commitment to a clinician-led leadership model. Each of AHN’s seven Pennsylvania hospitals is now led by a clinician and each of AHN’s clinical institutes is also physician-led. Today, there are more than 400 clinicians in leadership positions throughout the network.  The model mirrors that established by some of the nation’s preeminent medical centers, including the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, and is viewed as a leadership structure that promotes high-quality, high-value clinical care and exceptional patient experiences.

“It’s been a privilege to serve a hospital and be part of an organization that truly believes in its charitable mission and achieves that mission by placing the health and welfare of our patients and communities at the center of every decision we make and everything we do,” said Dr. Cohen. “I’m excited about the opportunity I now have to play an even bigger role in helping AHN and Highmark Health leverage innovation and partnerships to improve health and quality of life for all of our community’s residents.”

Certified by the American Board of Urology, Dr. Cohen received his medical degree from the State University of New York – Syracuse Upstate Medical Center. He completed his internship and residency training in surgery and urology at the Case Western Reserve – University Hospital of Cleveland, and a fellowship in urologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston. His research has led to the development of new technologies for urological disorders and has helped to pioneer cryosurgery for the treatment of prostate and renal disorders.

A graduate of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Parda completed a residency in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and a residency in radiation oncology at Georgetown University, with additional cancer research training at the National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is board-certified in both internal medicine and radiation oncology.

Under Dr. Parda’s leadership, AHN’s radiation oncology network has become the largest in the country accredited by the American Society for Radiation Oncology and the AHN Cancer Institute has become the first and only integrated program in western Pennsylvania accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. The Cancer Institute now employs more than 200 physicians and 500 oncology professionals who provide a complete spectrum of advanced oncology care at 24 affiliated oncology clinical sites across western Pennsylvania.

“Cancer is a disease that impacts almost everyone in some way at some point in their lives and I am incredibly proud of and grateful for the opportunity I have had to help build an outstanding program at AHN that makes a difference in lives of so many every day,” said Dr. Parda. “The health care professionals at AHN, in oncology and in every institute, are second to none, and I can think of no better opportunity to help further advance that tradition on a broader scale than as the leader of AGH and its 3,500 exceptional employees.” 

Dr. Parda will continue to oversee the AHN Cancer Institute during its transition to new leadership in the coming months.