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Allegheny Health Network Health Care Professionals Recognized as 2018 Healthcare Heroes

Monday, September 17, 2018

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Health care professionals at Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) are once again being recognized by the Pittsburgh Business Times as Health Care Heroes. For the sixth consecutive year, AHN has earned more honors than any other health care provider in the region at the annual PBT Health Care Heroes event in September.

“Allegheny Health Network is blessed by an exceptional, dedicated team of clinicians, executives and support staff at every level of our organization,” said Cynthia Hundorfean, Allegheny Health Network President and CEO. “We are extremely proud to have their accomplishments and efforts receive such well-deserved recognition by the Pittsburgh Business Times.”

The 2018 AHN Pittsburgh Business Times honorees include:

  • David Parda, MD, Career Achievement Award, for his long history of innovation and leadership in the field of cancer care. Dr. Parda, serves as the chair of Allegheny Health Network’s Cancer Institute where he presides over a time of unprecedented growth and innovation for the program that is helping to transform the delivery of high quality cancer care in the Pittsburgh region.  Under Dr. Parda’s leadership, AHN is currently building a half dozen new cancer centers across western PA, including a new Academic Cancer Center at AGH, and has launched a partnership with the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.
  • Susan Manzi, MD, Health Care Provider – Physician Award, for her tireless commitment to her patients and to advancing medicine for those who suffer with autoimmune diseases. Most recently, Dr. Manzi, who serves as chair of AHN’s Medicine Institute, was instrumental in opening the AHN Autoimmunity Institute at West Penn Hospital. The AHN Autoimmunity Institute combines multispecialty care with cutting-edge research, patient education and advocacy to advance the treatment of autoimmune diseases and accelerate discovery of a cure for more than 100 different disease types.  Dr. Manzi is nationally recognized for her research and patient care in lupus, and has published hundreds of research reports on lupus and related diseases.
  • Kenyokee Crowell, AHN Senior Vice President of Clinical Access, Healthcare Executive Award, for being the driving force behind AHN’s successful efforts to improve patient’ access to high quality health services – including its same-day appointments initiative. Since the same-day program launched in 2017, more than 260,000 same-day appointments have been filled, with specialists and primary care caregivers alike. Patient satisfaction is high (92 percent) for those who have gone through the same-day scheduling process and a significant number of same-day patients are new-patient appointments (four in 10 same-day specialty appointments are new-to-practice).
  • Allison Freeman, MD, Health Care Provider – Physician Award, for her efforts to provide children and families with more personalized care options for asthma and allergic disease.  Dr. Freeman, an AHN allergist, was the first local doctor to offer oral immunotherapy (OIT), or peanut desensitization treatment, for families who have children with severe tree nut allergies. OIT begins with a small amount of powder from the nut allergen followed by routine “up-dosing” appointments to help build up a child’s tolerance to the nut. Dr. Freeman is one of approximately 200 allergists nationwide who specializes in this novel therapy.
  • Marta Kolthoff, MD, Health Care Provider—Physician Award, for her work to implement the Perinatal Palliative Care program at Allegheny Health Network’s West Penn Hospital. The fetal hospice program addresses the needs of families who are expecting a child with a life-limiting disease.  The team provides compassionate care from the time of diagnosis to months after birth, involving specialists from fields including maternal-fetal medicine, genetics, neonatology, and nursing, all with expert-level training in perinatal bereavement and hospice care.
  • AHN Addiction Medicine Care Team, Health Care Provider – Non Physician Award, for its comprehensive, compassionate approach to caring for patients who have been identified as having a substance use disorder. Led by addiction medicine physician Mitchell West, DO, the care team is comprised of an addiction psychiatrist, behavior health specialist, pharmacist, clinical educator, peer recovery specialists, and more. Rather than treating the addiction alone, a principal goal of the team is to treat the whole person by integrating behavioral health and primary care. Patients are introduced to a range of treatment options including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), and can be connected with various community-based resources to address social issues such as employment and housing. For patients who are in need of higher levels of treatment, referrals are made to inpatient, residential or intensive outpatient programs.
  • Judith Schaad, DPT, Community Outreach Award, for her efforts in preventing lymphedema and treating complications for breast cancer patients in African American communities. Most notably, Dr. Schaad received a $25,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Greater Pennsylvania chapter. The grant, received in 2017 with its resources still being allocated today, provides patients with free compression devices, establishes a baseline for quality of life measures, allows funding for more therapists and provides backing for influential outreach in African American communities, a population with an elevated risk of lymphedema.
  • Becky Orler and Holly Chapman, Health Care Provider – Non Physician Award, for their tireless efforts and commitment to the Allegheny General Hospital living donor kidney transplant program. As a waitlist coordinator, Becky works closely with the living donor team to ensure living donor/recipient pairs are well cared for until the time of transplantation. As a living donor coordinator, Holly provides close support to donors to help ensure the best possible recovery.
  • Linda Leonard, Community Outreach Award. For one week every year, the YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Zelienople transforms into a respite for young burn victims who were formerly treated at the West Penn Burn Center and every year, campers are greeted by a familiar face: Linda Leonard, director of the West Penn Burn Camp. With the assistance of her staff of volunteers, Linda is responsible for the entire run of show for the week-long camp. From the speakers, to the activities, to the partnerships and the free Kennywood tickets, the camp staff calls it ‘Linda’s baby.’  Camp is free of charge to any child that has been treated at West Penn Burn Center, and has been held every year since 1986 – helping hundreds of children find a much-needed sense of belonging and camaraderie.
  • Craig Smith, Volunteer Award, for his work promoting organ donor awareness. In his early 20s, Craig was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a degenerating heart disorder that placed him on the national organ transplant waiting list. But, he had his second chance on the horizon and in October of 2015, Craig received a heart transplant at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. Today, he dedicates his time to helping others through Second Chance Fundraising, a non-profit organization founded by Craig. Based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Second Chance fundraising strives to increase awareness of organ donation and raises funds to provide financial assistance for families faced with the challenge of similar illnesses – in need of a second chance to call their own. In its first two years, Second Chance raised over $50,000 for its cause.