Dawn Gideon Symposium

The Dawn Gideon Symposium is an annual educational event funded by the Dawn Gideon Foundation, conducted by the Department of Health Policy and Management in cooperation with the HPM Alumni Association, and is co-sponsored by the Center for Healthcare Solutions. This symposium is Grand Rounds eligible.

2023 Symposium

Thank you for attending the 2023 lecture "Rural Health at a Crossroads: Reinventing for the New Economy" on October 30. Watch for details of the 2024 lecture! 

Watch the recording

Symposium Description

Rural Health at a Crossroads: Reinventing for the New Economy
October 30, 2023

For many citizens, losing the local hospital would threaten the livelihood of the town's economy and its people. Although rural health systems face what traditional hospitals experience, they have a smaller, often more vulnerable population to support operational expenses. Handling supply chain disruptions, workforce burnout, and managing financial losses while maintaining clinical quality is especially challenging as rural facilities determine how to return to pre-pandemic profitability while unit costs continue to increase. But many have discovered innovative solutions like partnering with nearby critical access facilities, operating mobile clinics and pursuing grant opportunities. Join our panel experts as they discuss the challenges to sustain these hospitals, including how they address limited funding, regulatory restrictions, problems with transportation and internet accessibility while continuing to provide quality care as a priority.

Moderator & Panelists
"Marty Raniowski"
Marty Raniowski

Moderated by Marty Raniowski
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Pennsylvania Medical Society


Lisa Davis
Director, Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health 
Outreach Associate Professor of Health Policy and Administration, Penn State

Andrew Watson
Professor of Surgery and Senior Medical Director, UPMC Health Plan
Senior Medical Advisor, UPMC Enterprises

Steve Wolfe
President and CEO
Indiana Regional Medical Center

About Our Speakers

Lisa Davis ensures that the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health exceeds its mission of being a source of networking, coordination, and technical assistance to advance rural health care delivery. On national, state and university levels, she serves on a wide range of boards of directors, advisory committees and task forces focused on rural health policy, rural health research, economic development, outreach and education, vulnerable populations and specific health issues such as oral health and cancer. 

Davis is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, an Outstanding Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association, and an Award for Individual Contributions to Public Health from the Pennsylvania Public Health Association. The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health received the Award of Merit and the Award of Excellence from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.

Andrew Watson is a fourth-generation surgeon and the eighth surgeon in his family. He earned his master's degree at the University of Oxford and attended medical school at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He did his surgical training and fellowship at UPMC. He is an actively practicing colorectal surgeon specializing in minimally invasive inflammatory bowel diseases and complex re-operative abdominal surgery. He is a professor of surgery and works within the division of colorectal surgery. Watson is widely published and recognized as a telemedicine expert. 

Watson spends the majority of his time working for corporate UPMC. He is the senior medical director for digital health at the UPMC Health Plan, focusing on digital health and strategy for Health Plan members. He is a senior medical advisor for UPMC Enterprises focusing on digital health innovation and investment opportunities. He is also a senior medical advisor for UPMC International and focuses on telemedicine and access. 

He actively uses and helps to develop telemedicine at UPMC and has personally conducted over 800 telemedicine visits for pre- and post-surgical patients. He is past president of the American Telemedicine Association and an advisor to the American Board of Telehealth.

Steve Wolfe is the current president and CEO for Indiana Regional Medical Center (IRMC). Under his leadership for more than 20 years, there has been significant turnaround of IRMC's performance and results in its five organizational vitals: finance, service, quality, growth and people. The leadership team has led the organization's growth of approximately 250%, consistently achieved top decile national outcomes for quality and service metrics, been voted a best place to work 15 times by employees and physicians and achieved a national goal of being named to the Fortune 100 List. 

Moderator Marty Raniowski is the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the largest physician-run association primarily focused on state-level health issues impacting Pennsylvania physicians and their patients. It consists of about 17,500 physicians, physicians-in-training and medical practice administrators from across the Commonwealth.

Raniowski's professional career spans two decades of experience with state government, academia, client-based research and association management. He has a distinguished career in health care policy, including a position as deputy secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). During this time, he provided leadership for staff working to implement statewide health plans. Among some public health disasters and threats that he addressed during his tenure were Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, Superstorm Sandy, and Ebola. Prior to advancing to deputy secretary, Raniowski began his career with the state as director of health planning in 2007. As an association professional, he served as senior director of public advocacy with the American Heart Association's (AHA) Pennsylvania/Delaware Affiliation, where he worked with numerous partners to promote AHA initiatives including quality improvement in primary care and hospital settings. His career in government also includes positions with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee and the Governor's Chief of Staff's Office.

Past Symposia

2022 Lecture - The Parallel Pandemic: Impact on the Workforce 

Marty RaniowskiWatch Video

Moderated by Marty Raniowski
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Pennsylvania Medical Society


Ritu Thamman, M.D., FACC, FASE

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Buffy Kelly

Managing Director, Huron Consulting Group

Kimberley Finnerty

Nurse and VP of Workforce Planning, Highmark

Ritu Thamman, Buffy Kelly, and Kimberley Finnerty

About Our Presenters

Kimberley Finnerty is the Vice President of Workforce Planning, Financial Operations, for Allegheny Health Network (AHN). Kimberley’s responsibilities include planning, developing, and evaluating enterprise-wide strategic staffing to ensure timely and high-quality patient care. Kimberley works closely with the Senior AHN Executive Leadership team, as well as the executives in the finance and operational areas. Kimberley often collaborates with multidisciplinary teams, which ensures the integration of care expectations in operational business units, as well as the equitable allocation of workforce resources across the network. Kimberley allocates workforce resources based on patient acuity and care need, develops business unit models, participates in business unit workflow projects to enhance staffing efficiencies, and leads network and hospital-level workforce planning initiatives through identified tactics and in collaboration with established committees. Kimberley and her team collect, collaborate and analyze internal and external workforce data, trends, analytics, and insights to assess gaps, and prioritize risks and opportunities. They also design key elements of operational and financial dashboards related to workforce management and financial operations.  In addition, she reports workforce planning information related to business operations, budget analysis, productivity management, operational analytics, contingent labor contracting and analytics. Kimberley was key in staffing the Covid Vaccination Clinics hosted by AHN.

Kimberley has worked with AHN for the last sixteen years serving in multiple leadership roles. Prior to AHN, she worked at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She graduated from Duquesne University and has been a Registered Nurse for 25 years. Kimberley is also a major in the United States Air National Guard. In 2000, she received the prestigious Cameo of Caring Award. She is also the current President of the West Jefferson Hills School Board, as well as a Chairperson for the Steel Center Vocational School Executive Advisory Board. Kimberley enjoys spending free time with her husband and three boys in the South Hills area.

Dr. Ritu Thamman is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is a writer and the co-course director for Narrative and the Experience of Illness at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also part of the Health Humanities faculty at the Center for Bioethics and Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh. Her book on the prevention of burnout in medicine was published in 2021. The following year she received the Carl R. Fuhrman Clinical Educator of the Year from the School of Medicine. Dr. Thamman started the Women in Cardiology Chapter PA ACC in 2018 and her writing and interpretation of scientific articles have led to her being a top social media figure for advocacy and education.

Buffy Kelly has over 25 years of healthcare and consulting experience which began in the clinical laboratory. She is also highly skilled in the operations and optimization of workforce management and patient flow throughout hospital and ambulatory settings. Buffy’s other areas of interest focus on management structure redesign, including op model re-design/span of control, operational improvement, outsourcing and facilitating organizational change. She has extensive experience working in union environments.

Buffy grew up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, played college volleyball at Eastern Wyoming College and graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Medical Technology. She began her healthcare career working in the laboratory at a 25-bed critical access hospital in rural Wyoming where she gained experience working in rural medicine. Buffy owned a consulting firm before joining Huron and consulted with clinical and anatomical laboratories in 60 healthcare systems across the country to improve efficiencies, optimize staffing and technology and provide system consolidation guidance.

Buffy continues to live on a working cattle ranch in Wyoming with her husband of 25 years, Clay, and their two children Rachel (22) and Chance (19) who are both students at the University of Wyoming. Buffy is also a professional photographer and enjoys golfing and traveling in her free time. 

2021 Symposium - Covid-19 - Challenges Faces, Lessons Learned, Moving Forward

Monday, November 8, 2021
1-2:30 p.m.


Marty Raniowski, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Pennsylvania Medical Society

View video

  • Anita J. Tarzian, Deputy Executive Director, National Center for Ethics in Health Care


Amy Cashdollar, Chief Operating Officer, Allegheny Health Network, Wexford Hospital Michael Morley, Associate Partner, McKinsey and Company
2020 Symposium - How COVID-19 is Changing the Virtual Health Care Culture: Access, Experience, an Financial Incentives

Monday, November 9, 2020
1-2:30 p.m. 

Decades prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, health care systems around the globe were actively engaged in thoughtful design, refinement, and implementation of smart solutions to address patient flow, access to quality care, and operational management. While many innovative solutions were in place or previously proposed at various levels in health care administration and delivery, the pandemic forced patients, providers, and payers to shift to virtual health applications seemly overnight. Our expert panelists working in the field will discuss the far-reaching effects that COVID-19 has had on virtual health care culture—including lessons learned—to provide a framework for solutions addressing access, experience, and financial sustainability. 


Angela Perri, Vice President, Strategic Alignment, Transformation & Consumer Innovation, UPMC Health Plan

View video

  • Larry Stuckey, Managing Director, Huron Consulting Group


Tom Priselac, President and CEO of Cedars - Sinai Health System Chris Johnson, President of TeleTracking Technologies, Inc. 
2019 Symposium - Reading the Sign Posts: How Healthcare Organizations are using Social Determinants of Health to Address Health Disparities

Monday, November 11, 2019, University Club, Ballroom B
Noon          luncheon and arrival
1:00 p.m.    lecture and webcast portion of the program
2:30 p.m.    meet and greet


Ebbin Dotson, Assistant Professor of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health

View video



Melinda Buntin, PhD, Mike Curb Professor of Health Policy and Chair, Department of Health Policy, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Maureen Hydok, RN, MBA, Healthcare Senior Director, Huron Consulting Group Thuy Bui, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine; Director, Social Medicine Fellows Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2018 Symposium - Innovation Impact: Collaboration, Consolidation, and Competition in Health Care

Innovation Impact: Collaboration, Consolidation, and Competition in Health Care
Monday, November 12, 2018, University Club, Ballroom A
Noon Luncheon and arrival
1:00 PM lecture and webcast portion of the program
2:30 Meet and greet

View video


Everette James, M. Allen Pond Professor of Health Policy and Management; director, Health Policy Institute, University of Pittsburgh


Hear senior health care leaders explore how organizations are adopting innovative strategies to survive and prosper in the new environment. Experts answer your questions on innovations in technology, service delivery, and organizational change.

  • Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation officer, executive vice president, UPMC Enterprises


Sarah Ahmad, senior vice president, innovation and transformation strategy, Highmark Health Lou Shapiro (HPM ʼ85), president and chief executive officer, Hospital for Special Surgery
2017 Symposium - Tackling the Social Determinants of Health: The Next Big Challenge in Health Care’s C-Suites

Monday, November 13, 2017; University Club, Ballroom A2017 Lecture Flyer

View video

How and why must the nation’s leading health care organizations address the social determinants health in their corporate strategies?

Hear from former president and CEO, ROBERT HENKEL (’83), how Ascension Healthcare plan to achieve—by 2022—zero preventable health care disparities across the continuum of care.

Then get a broader perspective on how management must evolve to efficiently and equitable address population health from a reactor panel that includes:

Mike Blackwood (’80) former president and CEO of Gateway Health, Marian Jarlenski, assistant professor of health policy and management, and GARY PERECKO (’81) president of Main Line Health System’s Riddle Hospital.


View 2017 Program (pdf)
Tweet and tag #Gideon @PittPubHealth

2016 Symposium - Health Care’s Newest Code Blue: The Need for Cash Infusion and Restructuring!


2016 Lecture flyer
Monday, November 14, 2016; The William Pitt Union Ballroom


View webcast video

The health care industry is one of the most turbulent industries in this country. It consumes the largest percentage of GDP of any industry, and has resulted in both tremendous fortunes and business failures. Regulations and reimbursement methods have become very diverse and complex, and these affect both the financial and clinical performance of health care organizations. Every year, one or more segments of the health care industry cycles through a restructuring for various reasons. This panel will explore why there is so much turbulence in the industry and whether there is any way to improve the prospects of a health care business’s success amid all of these challenges. The speakers will explore...

The key drivers of operational and financial performance in this industry; The government’s enormous impact on the success or failure of the healthcare business by exploring ongoing increases in government regulation, ongoing changes in reimbursement rates, fraud issues, and the impact of qui tam actions; The unique challenges of turning around a non-profit entity and the restrictions on restructuring options for such non-profits; Whether there is really any way to turn around a healthcare business heavily dependent on Medicare and Medicaid funding; and Whether investors should be putting their capital to work in this industry.


2:30 Audience Q/A

3:00 Adjournment

View the Webcast video or download the program booklet (PDF).

2:00 Alumni Reactor Panel

David Hunter, past managing partner, Hunter Partners Robert Henkel, president & CEO, Ascension Health; executive vice president, Ascension Michael Young, president & CEO, PinnacleHealth System
  • James Nugent, managing director, Huron Consulting Group
  • Nancy Peterman, chair, Chicago Business, Reorganization & Financial Restructuring Practice, Greenberg Traurig, LLC

12:30 Invited Speakers

Suzanne Koenig, president SAK Management Services, LLC


11:30 Arrival

11:45 Lunch Buffet

12:15 Welcome

Mike Evans, president, HPM Alumni Association Mark Roberts, professor and chair, Department of Health Policy and Management