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News: Press Releases

UPMC Altoona Foundation Honors Three Blair County Residents for Dedicated Service

2016 Healthcare Honors Recipients Feted


ALTOONA, Pa., Jan. 20, 2017 UPMC Altoona Foundation recognized the 2016 Healthcare Honors Award recipients Ann Benzel, Dr. Vijay Janakiraman, and Catherine Sprouse, R.N., during its “Winter Splendor” event at the Blair County Convention Center today with more than 800 attendees.

Individuals are recognized for their many years of service and generosity in support of UPMC Altoona and its patients. Awardees are nominated by UPMC Altoona employees, physicians, volunteers and patients. A committee makes the final selection from among the nominees.

Ann Benzel, Hospital Trustee
Ann Benzel of Hollidaysburg has served as a trustee of the UPMC Altoona Hospital since 2004. She also is a trustee of the UPMC Altoona Foundation, having served as chairperson from 2008 to 2011. Ann’s dedication to the hospital and its Foundation are hallmarks of her distinguished career in supporting and leading area not-for-profit agencies.

“Ann’s leadership and generosity have strengthened the ability of every organization she has served to fulfill its mission. Her dedication to the enrichment and well-being of her community touches every aspect of what it means to be a servant leader who places others above self in all her actions,” said Tim Balconi, president, UPMC Altoona Foundation. “Our community is healthier, better educated, and even more entertained because of Ann’s selfless dedication and hard work.” “Ann’s leadership and generosity have strengthened the ability of every organization she has served to fulfill its mission. Her dedication to the enrichment and well-being of her community touches every aspect of what it means to be a servant leader who places others above self in all her actions,” said Tim Balconi, president, UPMC Altoona Foundation. “Our community is healthier, better educated, and even more entertained because of Ann’s selfless dedication and hard work.”

Dr. Vijay Janakiraman, Cardiologist, Leader, and Mentor
Dr. Vijay Janakiraman of Hollidaysburg is a cardiologist with UPMC Altoona Pleasant Valley Cardiology, 1528 Pleasant Valley Blvd. He has been practicing in the area since 1979 as an internist, followed by cardiology in 1983.

“Additionally, he has served as medical director of the hospital’s Cardiology Department for 13 years,” Balconi said. “During this time, Dr. Janakiraman provided impactful guidance during numerous expansions and significant technological advancements.”

Previously, Dr. Janakiraman served as a board member at the former Mercy/Bon Secours hospital for 12 years and served as chairman of the Credentialing Committee for more than 16 years.

And for many years, he volunteered his expertise weekly at the hospital’s Partnering for Health free clinic, serving people who otherwise would not receive cardiac care.

“His compassion for his patients and his passion for medicine will continue to touch lives through another generation as he passed along his love of medicine to his two children, both of whom are physicians,” Balconi said.

Catherine Sprouse, R.N., Champion of Quality Care for Every Patient
In 2014, Catherine of Altoona retired as director of UPMC Altoona Case Management with 44 years of service.

A 1970 graduate of the Altoona Hospital School of Nursing, Catherine attained many advanced state and national certifications during her career, especially in quality and utilization review.

“Whether she served as a staff nurse or in management, Catherine’s focus on providing and increasing the quality of health care for area residents made a lasting difference in their lives,” Balconi said.

For a group photo of honorees, contact Patt Keith at 814-330-7631 or KeithPS@upmc.edu .


About UPMC

A $13 billion world-renowned health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. UPMC provides nearly $900 million a year in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 65,000 employees, more than 25 hospitals, 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a more than 3 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical and behavioral health services insurer in western Pennsylvania. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC ranks No. 12 in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals. UPMC Enterprises functions as the innovation and commercialization arm of UPMC while UPMC International provides hands-on health care and management services with partners in 12 countries on four continents. For more information, go to UPMC.com







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