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Passavant Hospital Foundation

Honoring a Legacy of Caring in our Community




Passavant Hospital Auxiliary provides life-saving grant to control traumatic bleeding


In 1972, the American Heart Association launched its first mass citizen training in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR — an emergency life-saving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. The goal of this training was to increase the survival rate from cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting. The result? The use of immediate CPR was able to double or triple the chances of survival.

Megan Tomaino, MPAS, PA-C (left) and Betsy Tedesco, DNP, RN, CEN, NEA-BC, PHRN, (right) display the new Stop-The-Bleed kits at UPMC Passavant

Similar to how CPR prepared bystanders for a cardiac emergency, a new movement, called Stop the Bleed®, or STB, aims to train non-medical personnel in

methods that control traumatic bleeding.


“An adult can bleed to death in three to five minutes,” said Megan Tomaino, MPAS, PA-C, a physician assistant, certified, at UPMC Passavant.


“Essentially, STB is about training everyone to help a victim buy time until help arrives in the form of EMS (in the community) or the Rapid Response Team (in the hospital),” said Betsy Tedesco, DNP, RN, CEN, NEA-BC, PHRN, clinical director of emergency services at UPMC Passavant. “With traumatic bleeding, time is crucial. So, if we can intervene quickly with the first person encountering the victim, we can save a life.”


The bleeding control techniques taught through STB include the use of a tourniquet, as well as applying direct pressure to the wound and packing the wound with gauze.


Traumatic bleeding injuries are not uncommon. “People suffer massive bleeding from car accidents, pedestrian accidents, work-related accidents, home accidents involving knives or power tools, and recreational activities, just to mention a few,” Megan said.


Megan recently submitted a grant request to the Passavant Hospital Auxiliary to provide STB equipment for UPMC Passavant, opportunities to

train hospital staff, and the opportunity to develop a community-based training program. The Passavant Hospital Auxiliary, which funded the grant, is an arm of Passavant Hospital Foundation.


With the funding, Megan was able to equip the hospital’s security officers and maintenance staffs with STB kits and training. “Specifically, security officers were concerned about people suffering traumatic bleeding in the parking lots they routinely patrol. These officers were provided with tourniquets they can carry with them on their utility belts while on patrol,” Megan explained. Additionally, STB kits were installed in the hospital’s maintenance workshops, in the event that a worker sustains an injury. In such cases, hospital personnel can render immediate bleeding control until the hospital’s Rapid Response Team arrives. Hospital registration staff is being trained,as well, in case a bleeding victim arrives in the building with an injury.


“Megan has thought ‘outside the box’ with her training program. She has essentially engaged anyone that could arrive or see the victim first,” Betsy said.


The grant provided 15 wall kits for the first- and ground-floor hallways and entrances of UPMC Passavant in McCandless and Cranberry Townships, and 20 kits to be stored on the in-patient nursing units. It also provided 30 tourniquets with belt holders for the security officers and 70 more tourniquets for employees in house-

keeping, registration, maintenance, and other non-clinical areas.


Future plans include another grant from Passavant Hospital Foundation to fund STB training kits for use at various community events, where members of the public can be trained in STB techniques.



UPMC Passavant Security Guard Greg Bolar demonstrates the use of a tourniquet he has been equipped to carry

“I want to credit the Passavant Hospital Auxiliary for the tremendous amount of support they’ve provided,“ Megan said. “I went to them with an idea and

they helped me transform my idea into a vision and a mission. Without them, the Stop-the-Bleed project would not have been possible.” n



Cancer survivorship celebration continues to serve patients after 12 years


The 12th Annual UPMC Passavant Celebration of Survivorship was held at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center in Ross Township on June 23, and was attended by 190 cancer survivors and 120 caregivers.


The event, for which Passavant Hospital Foundation has provided funding and volunteer assistance every year, included dinner served by oncology nurses and

physicians, fellowship with other cancer survivors and their guests, live entertainment, and presentations addressing various issues affecting cancer survivors at all stages of their journey. The evening ended with a candle-lit Survivorship Recognition Ceremony. Bill Hogle, a cancer survivor and registered nurse at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Passavant, served as emcee; Brother Shamus McGrenra, a Franciscan friar at St. Francis University and 10-year cancer survivor, was the keynote speaker.


“My message was about hope. I am living proof of the power of prayer and the modern miracle of ‘medicine UPMC,’” Brother Shamus said.


An avid cyclist for 30 years, Brother Shamus had been shocked to his core when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in 2013. He relocated to Pittsburgh from his home in Loretto, PA so he could be treated at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Passavant. There, he underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments five days a week for six consecutive weeks.


“Halfway through, I had to go on a liquid diet. I couldn’t eat real food. I lost 20 pounds. I was in so much pain that two different medications were prescribed to relieve the pain. I was sleeping 18 hours a day. I was not a happy camper,” he said. His treatments ended in August 2013 and he was able to return to his home and job.


Three months later, he learned the cancer had spread to his lungs. “I had the tumor surgically removed but decided I would not undergo any more treatment,” he said. His oncologist, Brian Laughlin, MD, however, didn’t allow him to give up, and persuaded him to try another round of chemotherapy. It worked. Today, Brother Shamus is completely cancer-free and has resumed working and cycling.


“When they asked me to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Survivorship Celebration, it only took me a nano-second to say ‘yes,’” he said, eager to share his story of hope.


Cancer Survivorship programs like this are now widely recognized as an integral part of comprehensive cancer care. n



Bridge to Hope launches free, in-person education series for families with a loved one battling substance abuse


On Wednesday, September 27, the award-winning Bridge to Hope support group will enhance its services by adding a monthly education series aimed at equipping families with the knowledge and insights they need to deal with loved ones who are battling substance abuse disorder.


“Each month we’ll welcome a guest speaker who is an expert on specific issues surrounding substance abuse disorder,” said Bridge to Hope Facilitator Ken Johnson. “We’ll cover topics like the trauma associated with addiction, family concerns, establishing positive boundaries, plus uplifting, positive messages for recovery.”


Bridge to Hope will continue meeting weekly, with the first three meetings of the month being held virtually. These meetings will offer the same high level

of support, with members of the group focusing on their shared ideas, experiences, hopes, and successes. The last Wednesday of each month will feature the in-person education series, held at 7:00 p.m. at the Passavant Hospital Foundation Conference Center located at 700 Cumberland Woods Drive in McCandless Township. Every meeting is free and open to all.


Bridge to Hope is a community outreach program of Passavant Hospital Foundation, and has served more than 5,000 local families since its inception in 1999.


For details, call 412-748-6640 or go to Bridge2Hope.orgn




Passavant Hospital Foundation president Anthony R. Savannah (center) presents a CRNA Tuition Assistance Award to Christine Anthony, CRNA; Meredith Scheier, CRNA; Tyler Schultz, CRNA; and Marissa Palmer, CRNA

Passavant Hospital Foundation assists CRNAs with tuition costs


Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) play an integral role in health care, providing anesthetics to patients in every practice setting and for every type of surgery or procedure. Their training includes doctorate-level programs that can cost more than $100,000. To help attract the most qualified and skilled CRNAs to the UPMC Passavant team, Passavant Hospital Foundation has provided a CRNA Tuition Award of $120,000 — or $30,000 each — to four recent CRNA graduates and new hires at UPMC Passavant. The money is given as a partial tuition loan forgiveness. In return, award recipients have committed to serve at UPMC Passavant for at least the next three years.


“We’re advancing health and wellness throughout our community, so it’s important that we have the best CRNAs available, and we’re happy to provide this assistance to get the best recruits,” said Anthony R. Savannah, president of Passavant Hospital Foundation. n



Passavant Hospital Foundation to offer FREE health and wellness programs


Passavant Hospital Foundation is offering a variety of interactive health and wellness education programs to the public at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) North Campus. All are free, but registration is required by calling 412-788-7546. This fall’s programs include:


Solutions for Hip or Knee Pain

Tues., Sept. 12, 2023 n 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. n Led by Eric Chen, MD, director, Anterior Hip Surgery at UPMC Passavant.


Updates in Colorectal Screenings

Tues., Oct. 10, 2023 n 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. n Led by David S. Medich, MD, chief, UPMC Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, UPMC Passavant


Updates in Lung Cancer

Tues., Nov. 14, 2023 n 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. n Led by Theresa Celender, MPAS, PA-C, FAPACVS, Physician Assistant, Department of Thoracic Surgery at UPMC Passavant.



Support the mission of

Passavant Hospital Auxiliary


Comprised of volunteers, Passavant Hospital Auxiliary conducts fundraising events to benefit the patients, families, and staff of UPMC Passavant. Projects funded by the Auxiliary range from free valet parking passes for outpatients to the establishment of two end-of-life care rooms at the hospital.


One of the Auxiliary’s biggest fundraisers is the Lights of Love Tree, which has been displayed in the hospital lobby for the past 36 holiday seasons. The tree is adorned with lights and dove ornaments, each of which is designated in honor or memory of loved ones. To designate a light or ornament in your loved one’s name this year, call 412.748.6640.



Passavant Hospital Foundation's Eighth Annual Legacy of Caring Gala

Thursday, September 21, 2023 at DoubleTree by Hilton, Pittsburgh-Cranberry


2023 Legacy of Caring Honorees are:



Virginia Balderston, MD

Internal Medicine, HealthQuest Medical Associates – UPMC

24 Years of Service


When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dr. Balderston reached out to the UPMC Passavant chief medical officer to offer her services in whatever capacity was needed. She and her family provided home-cooked meals for hospital staff and physicians; she volunteered to vaccinate health care workers, first responders, teachers, and then the public. When hospital units were struggling, she and her husband, Dr. Ted Vuchinich, brought in treats to boost morale and lend a compassionate ear. She is known for taking her time, listening, caring, and being available to help when needed.



Maria Dowling, MSN, RN, CSRN

Diagnostic Imaging Services; Lung Cancer Screening Program Navigator – UPMC Passavant

36 Years of Service


In 1992, Maria became one of the first cardiac catheterization nurses at UPMC Passavant. She helped develop several services in the field of cardiology, including electrophysiology. In 2016, she played a key role as the co-chair of the Magnet Committee, contributing significantly to UPMC Passavant’s first Magnet® designation in 2017.



Lisa Gliozzi, BSN, RN

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Passavant

37 Years of Service


Working in gynecological oncology, Lisa is known as being efficient, kind, caring, compassionate, and going above and beyond to help her patients and co-workers. She takes the time to make sure her patients clearly under-

stand any procedures and treatments and makes sure their questions and concerns are addressed. She also volunteers at the UPMC Passavant Hillman Cancer Center Survivorship event every year and participates in the Ovarian Cancer Walk.



Wende Goncz, DO

Vice-Chair and Clinical Director of Anesthesia;

President, UPMC Passavant Medical Staff

22 Years of Service


Wende is a highly valued member of the medical staff and medical executive leadership team at UPMC Passavant. She enjoys volunteering for Operation Walk, a Pittsburgh- based volunteer medical service organization that provides free surgical treatment for patients in developing countries. Her volunteer trips expand to Havana, Cuba and she has been the lead physician for Anesthesia four times in Antigua, Guatemala with her fifth

lead trip this fall. Dr. Goncz volunteers for and supports the Light of Life Mission in Pittsburgh and is a champion for fundraising and food drives benefiting North Hills Community Outreach. She exemplifies and advances the values of quality and excellence in her leadership and clinical roles both inside and outside of UPMC Passavant.



Peggy Hayden, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

Director of Cultural Excellence; Magnet® Program Director; Executive Director of Education – UPMC Passavant

11 Years of Service


When someone or something needs to be celebrated, Peggy is the first person to lead the cheering squad. She is a mentor and teacher to countless Passavant associates and nursing students in doctoral and master’s level programs. She has

been instrumental in leading UPMC Passavant to achieve national recognition twice as an ANCC Magnet designated hospital, one of only 8% among U.S. hospitals.



Suresh Mulukutla, MD

Interventional Cardiology

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Passavant

19 Years of Service


Dr. Mulukutla is Chair of Cardiology at UPMC Passavant. In addition to seeing patients and performing surgeries, he mentors fellows who are looking to pursue a career in

cardiology and leads the analytical research team for cardiology.




Michael Pagnotto, MD

Tri State Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

14 Years of Service


Specializing in hip and knee replacement, Dr. Pagnotto started his tenure at UPMC Passavant in 2011. He has led a remarkable change in culture around hip and knee replacement, making UPMC Passavant a destination for total joint care, and a regional leader in orthopaedic robotic surgery. Along with his expert surgical care, he has developed a reputation for adding a personal touch with his patients. Many of his patients are amazed that he personally calls them the night before surgery.



Theodore Vuchinich, MD

Pulmonologist, Pulmonary Partners; UPMC Passavant

21 Years of Service


Dr. Vuchinich has been a key player in instituting improved processes for care of our cardiac, neuro, pulmonary and critical care patients. He and his wife, Dr. Balderston, have provided numerous lunches for the nursing staff and have distributed ice cream via a cart to boost morale. Dr. Vuchinich is someone with strong principles and ethics, and he models the UPMC values daily.


If you would like to purchase tickets or

secure a sponsorship, please contact

Anthony R. Savannah at 412-748-5788

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