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Saint Francis University receives $8,000 in grants from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

LORETTO, Pa. (March 22, 2016) — Saint Francis University was recently awarded a total of $8,000 from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in support of its Dorothy Day Outreach Center and two upcoming health-related conferences.

"We are grateful to Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield for its continued support of our community outreach efforts. We look forward to working together to provide services that enhance the well-being of the local community," said University President Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., Ph.D.

The Dorothy Day Outreach Center is a volunteer-based agency that strives to apply Franciscan values by following in the footsteps of its namesake, Dorothy Day. The Center offers a variety of assistance to the economically disadvantaged, including emergency financial aid, food, and clothing, as well as direct student assistance through many volunteer programs that integrate community service, faith formation, academic excellence, and youth development. Primarily, the services provided by the Dorothy Day Outreach Center target impoverished families, particularly the working poor. It works with more than 25 community agencies to serve more than 1,500 families per year, coordinating and providing emergency financial assistance, clothing pantry, food pantry, and other efforts geared to helping the community.

Highmark awarded $5,000 in support of The Dorothy Day Outreach Center to help carry out its mission.

"As the region's leading health insurer, we at Highmark consider it our responsibility to reinvest in our communities to help ensure that individuals — from all walks of life — remain as strong and healthy as possible," said Mary Anne Papale, director of community affairs for Highmark Blue Shield. "By supporting Saint Francis University's Dorothy Day Outreach Center, we are able to provide basic needs assistance in this predominantly rural, underserved community that will have significant and lasting results."

Highmark also awarded Saint Francis a $1,500 sponsorship for the "Autism: Putting the Pieces Together Conference" held at the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health & Wellness. The conference is an ongoing series of educational sessions dedicated to current trends in research and innovative treatments and programming, as well as dialogue with subject matter experts regarding therapies for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This year's event will focus on a child's "Transition Across the Years."

An additional $1,500 sponsorship was also awarded by Highmark for Saint Francis' "Conference for Rural Health Providers." Held annually, the conference is an opportunity for health care professionals to engage in educational sessions and dialogue with subject matter experts regarding current updates, obstacles, and challenges to health care in rural practice settings. It can be beneficial to primary care physicians, clinical educators and clinicians, academic professionals, and administrative personnel working in the health care field.

"Highmark wants to work together to help build stronger, healthier communities, and an important aspect of achieving that goal involves education. The health care conferences offered by Saint Francis University will allow people to gain the knowledge they need to work toward improving health care for all," said Papale.

About Saint Francis University

The oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the United States, Saint Francis University offers higher education in an environment guided by Catholic values and teachings, and inspired by the example its patron, St. Francis of Assisi. University programs and activities foster such Franciscan values as a humble and generous attitude toward learning, respect for diversity and the uniqueness of individual persons, understanding of ethical issues, and reverence for all life.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves approximately 3.2 million members through the company's health care benefits business and employs more than 4,700 people in western and northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
David Misner
Highmark Health