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North Hills Monthly

Passavant Hospital Foundation: Advancing Health and Wellness through Philanthropy

Oct 31, 2017 05:17PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

(l-r): Anthony Savannah, director, Community Engagement, Passavant Hospital Foundation; Fay Morgan, president and chief executive officer, Passavant Hospital Foundation; Susan Hoolahan, chief nursing officer and vice president, Operations & Patient Care Services, UPMC Passavant; and Dave Martin, senior vice president, Health Services Division, UPMC, and president, UPMC Passavant

For more than 37 years, one of the most important sources of transformational giving at UPMC Passavant has been Passavant Hospital Foundation, which has provided leadership support to expand programs, improve facilities, acquire technology and equipment, educate the community, and support patients in need. As the challenge of health care access continues to grow—and as technology and innovation open the door to new opportunities—the partnership between the Foundation and hospital is more important than ever.

“Passavant Hospital Foundation plays a vital role in making UPMC Passavant a world-class hospital in our backyard,” said hospital president David Martin. “It is a very active and generous group that has been an invaluable partner in our efforts to serve our patients with both excellence and compassion.”

Fay Morgan, Foundation president and CEO, said strong community support has been key to achieving its mission of support for UPMC Passavant in McCandless and Cranberry, advancing the health and wellness of the North Hills through education, outreach, and grant making.

“We focus on funding high-impact projects that improve patient care and the patient experience,” said Morgan. “We want to bring in the newest technology to ensure patients have the latest and best in patient diagnosis, treatment, care, safety, and comfort.”

Throughout its history, the Foundation has contributed more than $122 million to help fund various hospital projects. In 2015, the Foundation partnered with the medical staff to fund nearly $600,000 in renovations to the 6th Floor Pavilion where cancer inpatients receive care. More recently, the Foundation provided $1.9 million in renovations to two other nursing floors and $1.2 million to expand the Heart and Vascular Institute at Passavant.

Earlier this year, UPMC Passavant achieved Magnet® recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center—the highest national honor for nursing excellence. “Passavant Hospital Foundation is pleased to have played a role in this great achievement through our Nursing Education Fund,” said Morgan. In the past year, the fund disbursed $10,770 to assist 23 nurses as they worked to earn certification in their specialty areas.

The Foundation also supports UPMC Passavant through departmental grantmaking. For 2017, the Foundation announced 22 grants totaling nearly $342,000—thanks to a partnership with the Passavant Hospital Auxiliary and the hospital itself.

These projects, which ranged from $1,000 to $52,750, include:

• Glidescope® for better airway management during surgery

• Nerve block ultrasound for better pain management and fewer needle sticks

• Reclining chairs for patient comfort during lengthy cardiovascular diagnostic testing

• Ergonomic wheelchairs for easier in-and-out access

Other initiatives supported through the Foundation include:

• Free community health education seminars featuring doctors in various specialties promoting personal well-being 

• Bridge to Hope family support group, offering free, weekly meetings for those impacted by a loved one’s addiction

• Free transportation to cancer screenings, women’s health screenings, cancer support groups, and other programs

“Whether funding equipment that saves a life, or supporting our Patient Assistance Fund to help patients afford the medication and equipment they need after discharge, our donors have a direct impact on our ability to provide personalized, high-quality care at UPMC Passavant,” Morgan said.

To make a donation or learn more about giving options, contact Passavant Hospital Foundation 

at 412-748-6640, or visit

A Legacy of Caring

4th Annual Gala Raises More than $141,000 for UPMC Passavant Projects 

Patients at UPMC Passavant have a lot to celebrate.

Passavant Hospital Foundation’s fourth annual Legacy of Caring Awards Gala raised more than $141,000 for projects aimed at improving the patient experience and helping patients who struggle to pay for medication, transportation, food, or equipment after leaving the hospital.

“The success of this year’s gala will allow the Foundation to continue funding projects large and small that make a difference for patients and their families,” said Anthony Savannah, director of community engagement for Passavant Hospital Foundation.

Partnership was a focal point of the event, which brought together committed supporters from the hospital, Foundation, and community to help ensure the best health care, close to home. A sellout crowd of 460 people packed the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry for the Sept. 28 gala. Key to its success was the involvement of Physician Chair Scott E. Celin, MD, and Gala Chair Marion Piotrowski of Swanson Publishing.

During the event, the Foundation presented awards honoring 10 individuals who “have helped make UPMC Passavant a world-class hospital in our backyard.” 

Gala Honorees

Ten men and women were honored by Passavant Hospital Foundation at this year’s gala for their legacy of caring and commitment to excellence. 

Three named awards were presented to the following individuals:

Theodore “Ted” L. Crandall, MD, former head of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at Passavant, received the Reverend William A. Passavant Humanitarian Award in recognition of service to humanity in the tradition of the hospital’s founder. Dr. Crandall, who retired in 2017 after treating patients for more than 36 years, also served on the Executive Board of Oncology Hematology Associates.

Frank Finley and Louis W. Heyl, MD, received the John P. “Jerry” Auld Award for Community Service recognizing service to the hospital and the community’s health by nonemployees. A UPMC Passavant volunteer since 1992, Finley currently serves on the hospital’s board of trustees. He also has served on the boards of Passavant Hospital Foundation and Sherwood Oaks, including five years as board chairman. Dr. Heyl was among the leaders who formed Genesis Medical Associates in 1995 and has served as president since its inception, overseeing its growth into one of western Pennsylvania’s largest independent primary care groups. In addition, Dr. Heyl donates his time and talents to the community, locally and abroad. In 2016, he went on a medical mission to Caracol, Haiti, where he and his team saw 236 patients in two days and helped to build a church.

Steven R. Jones, MD, and Margaret Lattanzio, RN, MSN, CCRN, received the James C. and Henrietta D. Lear Leadership Award recognizing significant leadership for patient care and/or growth of the hospital. Dr. Jones, of Metropolitan ENT Specialists of UPMC, has been affiliated with Passavant since 1986. Since 2009, he has held numerous leadership roles with the hospital staff, including serving as department chair, secretary-treasurer, president-elect, president, and now past-president. His leadership has helped transform the Medical Executive Council and the medical staff Peer Review Process. Lattanzio, programmatic nurse specialist for cardiovascular services at UPMC Passavant, joined the hospital staff in 1990. She works with families dealing with a loved one’s critical illness and acts as liaison with physicians. A member of the hospital’s Ethics Committee, she helps set policy and confers on cases. She is an advocate for the Race to No Place benefitting the American Heart Association and organizes a yearly “Donate Life” event for CORE (Center for Organ Recovery and Education) at Passavant.

Other gala awardees included:

Jo Ann Hovis, RN, who received the Legacy of Service Award in recognition of her longevity of service, is a nurse on Passavant’s 6th Floor Pavilion. She has worked at Passavant throughout her 45-year nursing career.

Darlene Hills, RN, BSN, CCRN, and Gayle Sklarsky, RN, BS, CCRN, critical care nurses in Passavant’s Intensive Care Unit, who received the Legacy of Caring Award recognizing commitment to excellence in patient care. Hills, an ICU nurse since 1988, has authored and co-authored nursing courses using simulation and is co-chair of the hospital’s Interdisciplinary Informatics Council. Sklarsky, a unit mentor, began her nursing career at Passavant in 1983 and has worked in ICU since 1988.

Cindy Emminger and Judith Shisler, RN, OCN, who received the Spirit of Passavant Award recognizing those who go the extra mile and exhibit pride in working at Passavant. Emminger, who works in the Quality & Risk Department, has served in many behind-the-scene roles during her 33 years at Passavant. She organizes the Quality Fair supporting excellence in patient care and the Stroke Dinner supporting patients treated for stroke and their families. Shisler, lead nurse at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Passavant, joined the hospital staff in 1980. Her efforts to improve the patient experience include taking time to place patients who have developed friendships in rooms together, and coming in on her day off to help insert IVs for patients with difficult veins. She also volunteers as a massage therapist at the Oncology Nursing Society’s three-day camp for cancer survivors.

A Grateful Family

Gala attendees heard inspirational words from Beth Clark of Volant, whose sister, Lisa Annino, had received financial support through the Foundation’s Cancer Care Fund.

“The Cancer Care Fund was such a blessing for Lisa, who faced a terminal illness, lost her job, her insurance, and the ability to care for herself,” said Clark in a special video presentation. “We are forever grateful.”

Also in attendance was Lisa’s mother, Bernice Hoffman, who flew in from Nevada to personally thank the Foundation and hospital for the care her daughter received. Lisa died in 2016.

More than $25,000 raised at the Gala was designated for the Foundation’s Patient Assistance Efforts to aid patients who struggle financially and can’t afford to pay for medicine or equipment needed during treatment or at discharge. 

A Cornerstone of Passavant

Gala attendees were treated to a PowerPoint presentation of photographs taken by Elsie Unertl during construction of Passavant Hospital. 

Elsie was so thrilled to see a hospital being built in her North Hills neighborhood she took photos nearly everyday from 1962 to 1964. One photo—taken by her daughter, Janet—shows Elsie sitting on the hospital’s cornerstone.

Passavant Hospital Auxiliary was recognized during the Gala as a cornerstone of the hospital. Janet Unertl Heidet, now president of the Passavant Hospital Auxiliary, provided her mother’s photos. 

Recognizing Pet Therapy Dogs

More than two dozen certified pet therapy dogs visit regularly at UPMC Passavant to help patients cope with health problems, reduce stress, and improve mood. Five dogs and their handlers received a special nod at the Gala when they appeared on stage with Kelly Agnew, MD, of Tri Rivers Musculoskeletal Centers, who served as master of ceremonies.  The dogs were lauded as representative of the hospital’s 492 volunteers, both two and four-legged. 

For more information on the Passavant Hospital Foundation, visit or call 412-748-6640.