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Celebrating Senior Champions

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Community Champion — Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation has long held the frail elderly and those with chronic diseases as core to its mission. Under the founding leadership of Dr. Karen Wolk Feinstein, President and CEO, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and its two operating arms, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative and Health Careers Futures, perform a unique mix of grant making, research, teaching, coaching, and project management. These entities are a leading voice in patient safety, health care quality, and related workforce issues.

Dr. Feinstein takes pride in the collaborative approach that the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative employs toward improving quality across a variety of important health care initiatives, from chronic disease management, to hospital acquired infections, to patient safety, to the design of senior-friendly health systems. They remain an active community-wide stakeholder, facilitating broad information sharing and benchmarking, and training health care staff at all levels in lean-based quality improvement methods.

With its educational mission, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation supports dedicated fellowships, internships, and other student-programs advancing knowledge and leadership among the health care workforce. Fellowships in quality improvement techniques, patient safety, and the cultural and ethical issues associated with death and dying are among their contributions to our broad community. Outreach also includes content development to benefit seniors and their informal caregivers and serves multiple stakeholders in healthcare quality and safety. In 2016, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation launched Senior Connections, strengthening senior services related to transportation and housing, exercise and recreation, geriatric‐friendly primary care, and nutrition.

Dr. Feinstein’s personal mission to improve end-of-life care has resulted in a nationally recognized programming initiative called “Closure,” as well as important local conversations and a unique fellowship. Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Chief Program and Operating Officer Nancy Zionts’ passion for aging and end-of-life issues has been critical to the Foundation’s success. Expertise in palliative care has been fundamental in their role as partner to the Aging Institute of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh on the RAVEN initiative, designed to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations among nursing home residents.