Penn State Health board welcomes three new directors

Penn State Health has announced the appointment of three new members to its board of directors, all from Highmark Health.

The board appointments, approved Friday by the Penn State Board of Trustees, are part of the innovative strategic partnership announced by Penn State Health and Highmark Health in December 2017. The organizations have committed a collective investment of more than $1 billion toward the development of a high-value, community based healthcare network designed to keep care local and enhance collaboration with community physicians.

Also as part of the agreement, Penn State Health announced last week (Feb. 20) that Dr. Tony G. Farah, executive vice president, chief medical and clinical transformation officer for Highmark Health, had joined the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Board of Directors.

Joining the Penn State Health Board of Directors for one-year terms are Deborah Rice-Johnson, Karen Hanlon and Thomas VanKirk.

Deborah Rice-Johnson is president of Highmark Inc. Rice-Johnson is responsible for providing senior leadership and strategic direction for Highmark's core health insurance business and diversified businesses. She also has responsibilities in product development, provider networks and reimbursement, clinical services, sales and operations.

With more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Rice-Johnson has held several management positions at Highmark and its predecessor company. She serves on the boards of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Carlow University, the Duquesne Club, Blue Health Intelligence of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the Whitaker Center, and is the board chair of the Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania and is board president for Variety the Children's Charity. She also is on the board of trustees for the Civic Light Opera of Pittsburgh.

Rice-Johnson graduated from Carlow University with a bachelor's degree in business management.

Karen Hanlon is executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer for Highmark Health. A certified public accountant with more than 20 years of finance experience, she oversees the Highmark Health finance organization. She also serves as the chief financial officer and treasurer for a number of Highmark subsidiaries.

Before joining Highmark in 1997, Hanlon worked in public accounting at KPMG Peat Marwick. She has been a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants for over 15 years. She is currently on the board of Leadership Pittsburgh and serves as treasurer.

Hanlon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Grove City College.

Thomas VanKirk is executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary for Highmark Health. VanKirk is a member of the leadership team, as well as supervisor for the company's legal affairs and manager of the legal department. He also serves as secretary on the board of directors at Highmark Health.

VanKirk came to Highmark Health from the law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, where he served as chairman and chief executive officer. He was chief executive officer from 2003 until 2009, and he was chief operating officer for more than 18 years. At Buchanan, VanKirk was a practicing litigator and corporate advisor.

He serves on the executive committees of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Pennsylvania State Economy League. He is on the boards of trustees for the University of Pittsburgh and the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh; on the board of the United Way of Allegheny County; and on the board of visitors for the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. He also serves on the executive committee and board of directors of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

VanKirk graduated from Bucknell University and earned a juris doctorate from Penn State's Dickinson School of Law.

Read full biographies for Rice-Johnson, Hanlon, and VanKirk here.

The strategic partnership between Penn State Health and Highmark Health focuses on improving access, quality and affordability of health care for people across south central Pennsylvania. It aims to create a value-based, community care network, including new facilities, to ensure patients and members in central and southcentral Pennsylvania will get quality healthcare treatment close to home, including primary, specialty, and acute care.

EDITORS: High-res, downloadable photos of Rice-Johnson, Hanlon and VanKirk can be found here.

February 26, 2018 Penn State Health News

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