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Leadership Team

Excela Health has been gifted with a diverse and respected group of community leaders who serve voluntarily on our Board of Trustees. These individuals give of their time and talents to govern this important community asset and are committed to our mission of improving the health and well-being of every life we touch.

Excela Health Board of Trustees Officers

  • Teresa Petrick, Chair
  • Edward DePasquale, CPA, Vice Chair
  • Heather Walker, MD, Secretary
  • Alfred R. Reitano, Treasurer

Excela Health Leadership Team

Our Excela Health leadership team manages the day-to-day workings of the health system and includes:

John M. Sphon, Chief Executive Officer

John Sphon brings a 37-year track record as a seasoned and successful healthcare executive to his position as Chief Executive Officer at Excela Health, which he assumed in December 2019. Prior to his present role, Mr. Sphon served in various leadership roles including Vice President of the Physician Practice Network for Excela Health (formally Westmoreland Health System) and Vice President of Excela Health Diversified Services. Most notably, he spearheaded the creation of the joint venture home medical/respiratory company, MedCare Equipment Company, LLC, with eight other health systems. Under his leadership, MedCare Equipment Company, LLC, realized growth from $16 million to $83 million in net revenue and an increase in employees from 66 to over 300 in a 12-year period. Mr. Sphon earned both his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A native of Westmoreland County, he serves as a member of the Economic Growth Connection Board and the Central Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce.

Thomas S. Albanesi, Jr., CPA, FHFMA, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Thomas Albanesi brings more than 35 years of financial management experience to his role as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Excela Health. He joined Excela Health in 2016. Mr. Albanesi began his career by spending 12 years with Ernst and Young. Mr. Albanesi’s experience also includes serving as Treasurer of West Penn Allegheny Health System, Chief Financial Officer at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Principal of Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, Inc. As a native of the Pittsburgh region, Mr. Albanesi received his Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Duquesne University and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1984. Mr. Albanesi is a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and a member of the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of Certified Public Accountants.

Helen Burns, PhD, RN, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer

Dr. Helen Burns has over 40 years of experience as a clinician, educator, and administrator in acute care community hospitals, academic health care, and public health. Dr. Burns joined Excela Health in 2010 as Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer. She previously served as Deputy Secretary for Health Planning and Assessment for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She is currently an adjunct Full Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, where she previously held the position as Associate Dean for Clinical Education. As a lifetime resident of Westmoreland County, Dr. Burns obtained a nursing diploma from the Latrobe Area Hospital School of Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She obtained a Master’s degree as a pulmonary clinical nurse specialist and earned a Ph.D. in medical surgical nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Burns achieved Nurse Executive-Advanced national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center and is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Thomas Chakurda, Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Thomas Chakurda brings over 30 years of experience as a senior level healthcare communications executive to his role at Excela Health as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. Prior to joining Excela Health in 2019, Mr. Chakurda held the position of Vice President for Communications at Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Boca Raton, FL, for 10 years. There, he was part of a senior executive team that produced a $125 million bottom-line improvement for the organization and helped to position the institution as the highest ranked Best Regional Hospital in Palm Beach County by U.S. News & World Report. In 1988, Mr. Chakurda joined Allegheny General Hospital and its parent organization as Assistant Vice President for Communications. In 1990, he was promoted to Vice President Mr. Chakurda also served as Vice President for Communications at West Penn Allegheny Health System for over a decade. He served as Director of Media Relations for Presbyterian-University Hospital and then joined Ketchum Public Relations as a Senior Account Executive. A native of Pittsburgh, Mr. Chakurda received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh.

Janice L. Devine, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Janice Devine has spent her 40-year career in healthcare in numerous operational, management and information technology roles, including owning her own IT Consulting Firm for 13 years. With this experience, she brings a broad base of knowledge to her role as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Ms. Devine joined Excela health in 2017. She also formerly served in information technology leadership roles for West Penn Allegheny Health System and a subsidiary of Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Ms. Devine is a southwestern Pennsylvania native and graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Business Administration. She is a Certified Professional in Health Information Technology (“CPHIT”), Certified Professional in Electronic Health Record (“CPEHR”) and a member of College of Healthcare Information Management (“CHiME”) and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (“HIMSS”). Ms. Devine also serves a board member of the Clinical Connect Health Information Exchange and an information technology steering committee member for Bridges Accountable Care Organization.

Laurie English, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Laurie English, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, has 31 years of healthcare experience in finance and human resources. As a lifetime resident of Westmoreland County, Ms. English joined Excela Health in 1988 as a Payroll and Accounts Payable Supervisor. She has previously held the roles of Group Manager of Benefits and Director of Human Resources before entering her current role as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer in 2013. A graduate of Carlow College in Pittsburgh, and Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Ms. English holds a Bachelor’s degree in finance and a Masters of Business Administration. She is a certified Senior Human Resource Professional with SHRM-SCP and a Senior Professional in Human Resources with the HR Certification Institute.

Dane Ficco, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, EHMG

Dane Ficco has 36 years of broad healthcare operations experience, both in hospital and medical practice settings, to support his role of Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of EHMG. Prior to joining Excela Health in 2019, he served as Chief Operating Officer with Crozer Keystone Health Network in Springfield, PA, and held Senior Vice President positions with McLeod Health located in South Carolina, and Aultman Health located in Ohio. He has overseen provider network growth, developed clinical service lines, designed and implemented multiple physician compensation models to encourage quality and productivity, and led the deployment of electronic medical record systems. As a native of Greensburg, Mr. Ficco holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from Saint Vincent College and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Carol Fox, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Carol Fox is a family physician with 30 years’ experience in group practice native to Southwestern Pennsylvania. A graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Fox is a product of Excela Health’s Family Medicine Residency Program based at Latrobe Hospital, graduating in 1990. A member of the residency faculty, Dr. Fox was appointed Acting Program Director in May 2003. In June 2007, she became Program Director, a position she held until May 2009. In 2005 she became a Medical Director for Latrobe Hospital. In 2012, she was named Interim Chief Medical Officer and became permanent Chief Medical Officer in December of that year. Dr. Fox also serves as the Executive Medical Director of EHMG. Dr. Fox has championed medical research in the areas of heart disease and stroke through the American Heart Association.

Pamela E. Hepp, Esq., General Counsel

Albert J. Novak Jr., Vice President & Chief Philanthropy OfficerAlbert Novak has over 30 years of experience in development and advancement. He returned home to join Excela Health in August 2017 to serve as Vice President and Chief Development Officer. Prior to joining Excela, Novak served as Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the University of Pittsburgh, where he led all university advancement and alumni programs. He has worked as an advancement professional for both alma maters -- Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pa., where he earned his bachelor's degree, and Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned a Master's of Public Management degree.

Jeffrey A. Tiesi, FACHE, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

With 32 years of healthcare experience, Jeffresy Tiesi, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, oversees the day-to-day operations of Excela Health. Mr. Tiesi joined Excela Health in 2020 after serving as Senior Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer at White Plains Hospital, a member of the Montefiore Health System in White Plains, NY. Mr. Tiesi was also a System Vice President for the seven-hospital Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA, where he had responsibility for its Heart and Vascular Institute and Neuroscience services. Before joining Geisinger, he was Vice President at the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, PA, and held multiple administrative positions following completion of the Management Fellowship Program at Allegheny Health Services in 1989. A native of Western Pennsylvania, Mr. Tiesi earned both his Master of Health Services Administration and Bachelor of Science in Health Records Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and received the organization’s prestigious Senior Healthcare Executive Regents Award for the New York Metropolitan Region in 2016.

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