On Saturday, March 19, the Allegheny County Medical Society (ACMS) Foundation hosted “Pittsburgh Proud”— its annual community awards and fundraising gala. Taking place at Heinz Field, East Club Lounge from 6:30–11:00 p.m., Pittsburgh Proud honored this year’s ACMS award winners.
This year’s recipients include Judith S. Black, MD, MHA, who was honored with the Frederick M. Jacob Outstanding Service Award. The award, established in 1966, honors a physician who has performed outstanding service to the ACMS. A member of ACMS since 1975, and a long-time advocate of advance care planning, Dr. Black has been a significant contributor and performed extensive work regarding the development and distribution of the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) / Allegheny County Medical Society (ACMS) Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney form. Dr. Black advocates for patients and families to have conversations about end of life treatment choices and to choose a healthcare agent and complete a living will.
Dr. Black has been the medical director for Senior Markets at Highmark, Inc since 1998. A practicing geriatrician with 35 years of medical experience, she provides the medical expertise that helps Highmark enhance and coordinate the care of older adults. Dr. Black has been instrumental in developing and implementing senior wellness and prevention programs, including a comprehensive flu immunization program and senior fitness programs. She works collaboratively with numerous community organizations advocating for seniors.
John A. Straka, MD, received the Ralph C. Wilde Award which is presented to a physician who exemplifies the personal and professional characteristics of the late ACMS President, Dr. Ralph Wilde, as a physician, teacher, leader, and human being.
Dr. Straka received his medical degree from Creighton University in 1966. He is board certified in otolaryngology, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngic allergy. After completing his residency in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery in Pittsburgh he went on to serve as assistant chief of otolaryngology at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington D.C. between 1971 and 1973, where he served as a Major in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Jan D. Smith, MD, FRCP, was presented with with the Physician Volunteer Award. The Physician Volunteer Award, established in 2001, honors a physician member who donates significant amounts of time and expertise towards the provision of medical care on a volunteer basis.
Dr. Smith is board certified in anesthesiology, critical care medicine, internal medicine and pulmonary disease, and currently serves as professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He was actively involved in the development of critical care medicine under the late Dr. Peter Safar and led several departments of anesthesiology before returning to his home in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Smith regularly travels to his native South Africa to work in the field of HIV medicine, TB and critical care medicine. He has helped set up a number of educational programs and recently worked in Tanzania at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College helping to train anesthesiologists, nurses and assistant medical officers in the delivery of anesthesia care. He has also served as an external examiner for the local Tanzanian anesthesia board examinations. On many of these trips he has taken equipment kindly donated by American companies to be used by those less fortunate, thereby improving local medical care.
ACMS also honored the late Chris Allen, MD, with the Nathaniel Bedford Primary Care Physician Award. The Nathaniel Bedford Primary Care Physician Award, given by the ACMS since 1975, honors a primary care physician who has demonstrated long-term dedication to the physical and psychological needs of patients.
A 1975 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Dr. Allen completed his internship and residency at Montefiore Hospital. He was a member of several professional societies including the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Allen helped to establish Shadyside Medical Associates when physician / hospital organizations were just starting to become popular in the late 1990s. He was medical director of Shadyside Medical Associates and a leader in organizing primary care at Shadyside Hospital. He continued to recruit physicians to the practice and specialty of primary care at large. In addition, he became a leader within the UPMC System and served as a member of the Physician Advisory Committee (PAC) within the Division of Community Medicine.
Mark J. Laskow received the Benjamin Rush Individual Public Health Award. Established in 1947, the award honors a lay individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the betterment, health and welfare of citizens in Allegheny County.
Laskow is a Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Greycourt & Co., Inc., a premier provider of financial advisory services. He is being recognized for his work as a member of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation Board and as a founding member and chair of the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative. This collaborative effort of local health care agencies, foundations, regional hospitals, and federal health agencies proved to be a great breakthrough that applied quality and improvement controls to successfully reduce hospital-borne infections, and became a national standard.
Laskow has been a trustee of UPMC Shadyside Hospital since 1983 (formerly Shadyside Hospital) and has been chairman of the Shadyside Hospital Foundation since 2001. Mr. Laskow has also served as board member and treasurer of LEAD Pittsburgh since 2004. He is currently vice-chair of UPMC Health System, serving as chair of the audit and information technology committees. Mr. Laskow also serves as chair of UMPC Health Plan.
ACMS also presented five Pride in Pittsburgh awards. The awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have made a significant contribution to improved healthcare in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The 2010 Pride in Pittsburgh award recipients include Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy, PNC Grow Up Great, Ann L. McGaffey, MD, Fredric V. Price, MD, and Greta K. Rooney.
The Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy was recognized for their public service work in establishing a clinical site at the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center to serve uninsured patients. Under the direction of J. Douglas Bricker, PhD, dean; and Autumn Stewart, PharmD, assistant professor of pharmacy practice; interns, residents and fellows from the school counsel patients on medications and diet as part of the school’s doctor of pharmacy experiential program at the Center.
PNC Grow Up Great recognizes that learning in a child’s early years is essential for their long-term success. Through PNC Grow Up Great, a 10-year, $100 million initiative with a focus on underserved children, the program provides the leadership, advocacy, funding, tools, and volunteers to help educate parents, caregivers, and communities on how to prepare young children for school and life. Founded by The PNC Financial Services Group, Grow Up Great and PNC Crezca con Éxito, form a comprehensive bilingual, corporate-based school readiness program.
Ann L. McGaffey, MD, a family medicine physician, is the medical director of the Bloomfield-Garfield Health Center, a UPMC-affiliated community health center. Established in 1984, the center cares for over 7,100 patients annually. The Bloomfield-Garfield Family Health Center is the home base for UPMC St. Margaret’s School Health Program, which provides comprehensive physicals, health screening and health education to local elementary schools and The Neighborhood Academy.
Dr. McGaffey is being recognized for her work in co-developing childhood obesity intervention tools and games called Fitwits. Fitwits was developed in collaboration with Associate Professor Kristin Hughes of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design and with the East End Pittsburgh children, Fitwits team residents and public health evaluators. Dr. McGaffey also worked with UPMC St. Margaret Director of Pharmacy Education, Patricia Klatt, PharmD, to provide in-school teaching and asthma kits to the City of Pittsburgh Schools, helping to manage the care of asthmatic children resulting in a drop in emergency room visits.
Fredric V. Price, MD, gynecologic oncology, chairs the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists International Network, through which he organized a training program for surgeons in Honduras to improve the treatment of cervical cancer for patients in Central America. Dr. Price has also participated in three volunteer surgical mission trips to Haiti through Hospital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, and in two trips to Guyana with the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps. He has received the West Penn Hospital ob/gyn alumni award for community service three times in recognition of his work in poor communities overseas.
The individuals that nominated Dr. Price for the Pride in Pittsburgh award also noted his technical surgical skills, attentive follow-up with his patients, and responsiveness to referring physicians. He was noted for his caring and compassionate bedside manner and the amount of time he spends with patients.
Greta K. Rooney was recognized for her work as the chair of two annual fundraising events, the Steelers Style Fashion Show since 2002 and the Taste of the Steelers since 2004. The proceeds from those events have benefited the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC and the Cancer Caring Center.
During the time Mrs. Rooney chaired the events, more than $4 million (gross) has been raised to support the work of these two facilities in both basic research and patient care. Her personal leadership has resulted in steady increases in the amount of funds raised for these valuable community resources.
The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, earned the Benjamin Rush Organization Health Service Award. Established in 1947, the award honors a lay organization in appreciation of outstanding contributions to the health and welfare of the citizens of Allegheny County.
The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has been dedicated to providing food to families and individuals in need in the community for more than two decades, collecting and distributing food through a 380+ member network in 11 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. Its mission is to feed the hungry in southwestern Pennsylvania through a network of partners and to mobilize our region to end hunger.
For more information, visit www.acmsgala.com.