NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for January, 2017

Strong Foundations: McKeesport Hospital Foundation a Mon Valley Cornerstone

This is the first in a series about the many hospital foundations that support UPMC’s mission to serve the community.

For 40 years, the McKeesport Hospital Foundation has remained a cornerstone of the Mon Valley Region, providing support for the community and UPMC McKeesport through grant funding, programming and other projects.

Heatherington Point is the foundation’s most recent project, one of its largest and most rewarding to date. Over the last decade, the board of directors of the McKeesport Hospital Foundation, in particular D. James Heatherington, former foundation board president and hospital board chair, has worked tirelessly to improve the environment surrounding the hospital campus. Finally, in 2015, the foundation’s vision became realizable with the purchase of 10 parcels on Fifth Avenue, directly across from the hospital’s D-Level entrance.

On Dec. 12, 2016, the finished surface-level parking lot, named in honor of Heatherington and his untiring efforts to advance this project for the benefit of all those connected to the hospital and the city, was unveiled and dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The pride the foundation takes in providing the hospital with a secure and beautifully landscaped parking lot and the city with a newly redesigned visual entrance is unparalleled. The completion of this project is simply one more way in which the foundation has worked to improve the health and well-being of local residents.

The foundation also supports local nonprofits whose mission aligns with its bylaws and goals — those that work to achieve that shared goal in a way that the foundation cannot accomplish on its own.

Similarly, the McKeesport Hospital Foundation supports UPMC McKeesport through its grant-giving process. Each year, the hospital’s administrative team presents one or more proposals for which it would like the foundation to provide financial backing. Normally, these grants go toward infrastructure, equipment and aesthetic upgrades throughout the facility. The next project, a two-year commitment, will help provide a much-improved “front” entrance to the hospital through the courtyard. (more…)

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Myths and Tips for Healthy Eating

We asked Thomas Hritz, dietitian manager at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, for some tips on healthy eating.

To many people, taking the first step is the most challenging part of a diet change. What is the best way to begin?

A: Focus on the positive and add healthy foods to your diet instead of subtracting foods you enjoy eating. For starters, the recommendation is about three to four servings of fruit and four to five servings of vegetables. A serving is about half of a cup, but everyone’s body is different, so a handful is a quick measurement for your body. Hydrate your body by drinking water and low calorie beverages throughout the day.

What do you believe is the biggest myth about healthy eating?

A: The biggest misunderstanding about nutrition is the belief carbohydrates are unhealthy. Complex carbs are your main source of energy, and around 50 to 60 percent of calories should come from carbs. Replace simple carbs with complex carbs by staying away from sweets and eating more whole grains found in oatmeal, brown rice and any 100-percent whole wheat food. To balance a meal, incorporate vegetables by adding them to your pasta or consume a bowl of whole grain pasta alongside a salad. Remember, diet is all about balance. (more…)

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‘A Rose is a Rose is a Rose,’ but the Blooms on this Float Carry an Extra Message

Today, UPMC executives honor organ, tissue and cornea donors with special notes placed on personalized rose vials that will hold a rose on the Donate Life float in the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.

Sponsored by Donate Life America, the float carries the message of the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation to the world. There currently are nearly 120,000 individuals awaiting lifesaving organ transplants, and 8,000 deaths occur each year as a result of a shortage in organ donors.

“We are proud to honor donors and their families who gave such a priceless gift — the gift of life,” said John Innocenti, president of UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside.

Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) representatives reached out to UPMC executives for their support of organ donation awareness, asking them to sign a note for this year’s float. The 2017 Donate Life Rose Parade® Float, “Teammates in Life,” is a Polynesian catamaran, the sails of which will feature 60 floral portraits of donors. Families of deceased donors will “row” the float while living donors and recipients will ride or walk alongside during the parade.

“This float truly depicts the circle of life, from the unfortunate tragedy and grief that some families must endure, to the miraculous hope given to someone so sick,” said Angie Hockman, professional services liaison at CORE. “I am hopeful that anyone watching this parade who has never considered registering as a donor will start that conversation with their family and make the choice to give the greatest gift of all, life.”

Visit the UPMC Transplant Services for more information.

To become an organ donor, go to

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