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UPMC Senior Services Celebrates Senior Champions

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Ashley Trentrock

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WHAT: The annual Celebrating Senior Champions dinner and auction honors those who improve the lives of seniors in western Pennsylvania, champion senior causes and help make the region a model for healthy aging. More than 600 guests are expected to attend this event, which has raised more than $1.8 million in its 11-year history. 


WHY: Proceeds support the UPMC Senior Communities Benevolent Care Fund,  providing financial assistance and services to eligible senior residents of UPMC Senior Communities




  • Grand Champions: William E. Klunk, M.D., Ph.D., distinguished professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Pittsburgh, and Chester A. Mathis, Ph.D., distinguished professor of radiology at Pitt. For their joint research efforts in Alzheimer’s disease, the two colleagues share the 2004 MetLife Foundation Award, the 2008 Potamkin Prize and the 2009 Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute Awards.

    Klunk is co-director of the Pitt Alzheimer Disease Research Center. Currently, he is the Levidow-Pittsburgh foundation chair in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia disorders and was the past chair of the medical and scientific advisory council of the national Alzheimer’s Association. 

    Mathis is the director of the Pitt Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Facility, and UPMC endowed chair of PET Research.  

  • Community Champion: Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, under the leadership of Lisa Scales, president and chief executive officer. Through advocacy efforts, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has become a primary driver in comprehensive anti-hunger endeavors regionally, statewide and at the national level. Food-insecure seniors are more likely to have health concerns and with anticipated growth in the senior population, the organization is dedicated to ensuring that no senior has to choose between buying food or medicine.  

  • Caregiver Champion: Ralph T. DeStefano, who retired in 1999 following a very successful career in health care and labor law practice. In 2009, he returned to work to accept the position of president and chief executive officer of Passavant Hospital Foundation and retired again in 2013. He has been highly influential, serving on numerous boards in the northern region of Pittsburgh, and is a true ambassador for UPMC Passavant. DeStefano was instrumental in supporting the evolution of Cumberland Woods Village independent living campus that now serves as an important social outlet for thousands of seniors. 

  • Emcee: Kiya Tomlin, who designs and manufactures apparel for her own boutique in Etna. She is wife of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin. 


WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 16


  • 5:30 p.m., cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and auction.
  • 7 p.m., dinner. 


WHERE: Omni William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, 15219.


Tickets are still available for purchase by calling 412-864-3524 or online at   


Note to Media: To cover this event, contact Ashley Trentrock at 412-529-9092 or