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Gessner New President of Latrobe Area Hospital Charitable Foundation; Mazero Moves to Emeritus Status

LATROBE, PA, January 25, 2013 … When John R. Mazero, MD, retired
as medical director at Latrobe Hospital in 1996, his friend and colleague, Thomas
P. Gessner, MD, was the choice to succeed him. Once again, Dr. Gessner steps
into a position shaped by his mentor, as the new president of the Latrobe Area
Hospital Charitable Foundation. (LAHCF). Dr. Mazero moves to emeritus status
and will remain on the foundation’s board of directors.

LAHCF was formed in 1995 to shepherd excess funds from a highly
a successful capital campaign that resulted in the creation of a modern patient
services tower at Latrobe Hospital. Dr. Mazero, a highly respected internal
medicine specialist with deep roots in the community was named the
foundation’s president, with Arnold Palmer and Sandra Mellon, a longtime hospital
benefactors and board members, chair and vice-chair respectively of the
foundation’s board of directors.

Dr. Gessner, a pediatrician in the Latrobe area and long-time faculty
member of the hospital’s family medicine residency, stepped down as hospital
medical director in 2004. In recognition of his 27-plus years of service, a
healthcare scholarship administered by the foundation was established in his
honor by the hospital medical staff in 2005 and has been awarded several times over the past seven years to individuals pursuing a medical career in a variety of disciplines. Dr. Gessner joined the foundation’s board of directors in 2007.

LAHCF was created as a community-health care partnership. With the
coming together of Frick, Westmoreland, and Latrobe Hospitals in 2004 to form
Excela Health, the foundation continues to serve Latrobe Hospital and the health
needs of eastern Westmoreland County.

Dr. Gessner sees his new role as that of liaison among the foundation, the
Excela Health Board of Trustees and the community.

“In health care, there is a gap between what gets paid for and what’s
needed,” he said. “The work of the foundation benefits the hospital and the
community by making available vital programs and services to meet health care

Dr. Gessner cited several initiatives as illustrative of this point.
In the area of technology, the foundation supported Excela Health’s
conversion to digital mammography through a matching donor program from the
Richard King Mellon Foundation. LAHCF contributions totaling $500,000 were
matched dollar for a $1 million gift to the health system. “The
the investment was substantial but necessary,” stressed Dr. Gessner.

The foundation also recognizes the continuing need for state-of-the-art
resources such as the daVinci Robotic Surgical System located at Latrobe
Hospital to bolster Excela Health’s physician recruiting efforts. “Doctors who have
used the latest equipment and technology during training are looking to practice
where such tools exist. If we want to attract physicians to our community, we
must support them.”

Outside the hospital setting, LAHCF provides assistance to Laurel Area
Faith in Action. “This organization plays an important role in what happens after
a patient in need of assistance is discharged from the hospital,” he said.
“Unnecessary readmission can be reduced when a discharge plan is followed.
But when people live alone, they may not be able to execute that plan and Faith
in Action provides the volunteer support to get people to doctor’s appointments,
or see that they take their medication as prescribed, eat well, or have the help
necessary to live independently.”

Dr. Gessner is looking forward to working alongside Dr. Mazero, as the
foundation articulates its vision for the future. “The foundation must always be in
conversation with the community so that the health needs and funding priorities
are clear. We’ll be working to identify what is most important going forward so
that the community’s charitable giving continues to have direction and focus.”

Individuals wishing to support the work of the Latrobe Area Hospital
Charitable Foundation may send donations to Excela Latrobe Hospital, One
Mellon Way, Latrobe, PA 15650, to the attention of Norma Samide, foundation