Press Releases

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Pittsburgh Northside partnership selected to participate in Nationwide 'BUILD Health Challenge'

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Nov. 1, 2017) — A Pittsburgh partnership has been selected to participate in the BUILD Health Challenge, a national program that leverages multi-sector community partnerships in order to improve public health. Over the next two years, local organizations including Project Destiny, the Allegheny County Health Department, Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), the Buhl Foundation, and Highmark will work together to implement innovative solutions to the health challenges faced by residents of Pittsburgh's Northside community.

A $250,000 award from BUILD, combined with matching funds from both Highmark and the Buhl Foundation, will be used to create the "Center for Lifting Up everyBody" (CLUB) — a health and wellness model aimed at reaching the Northside's most vulnerable residents.

"We are very excited to be a part of a collective effort to deliver innovative and positive change to the overall health of the Northside. Highmark is deeply committed to the success of this program for the benefit of the community," said Dan Onorato, Executive Vice President, Highmark Health.

Project Destiny, a Northside-based nonprofit that works with local youth and their families, is the principal awardee of the grant funds. As a trusted organization in the Northside, it will hire and manage the CLUB staff and will oversee the day-to-day operation of the CLUB.

"Project Destiny is pleased to be a part of this collaboration to continue the work we have been doing on the Northside for more than a decade. Our families and children deserve to live and play in healthy communities. This grant support is a commitment to building a system where no one is left out," said Rev. Brenda J. Gregg, Executive Director, Project Destiny.

The CLUB is rooted in a movement among thousands of Northside residents, known as "One Northside" (1NS), which began in 2013 in an effort to build a healthier community. Fueled by the Buhl Foundation, the voice of the community, and resident-driven strategy teams, a plan was constructed to address various social determinants of health for improved community and individual wellbeing.

The CLUB will support this already developing concept and accelerate its fruition by connecting Northside residents to resources that improve health and wellness. Continually informed by resident input and health outcomes data, the CLUB's advisory committee will target critical issues such as food security, literacy, employment, and maternal/family care.

"This is a significant step forward for the One Northside initiative. The Buhl Foundation is grateful for this partnership as we develop a comprehensive approach to supporting thriving, healthy communities," said Diana Bucco, President, The Buhl Foundation.

Starting in 2018, the CLUB staff will begin reaching out to residents in their homes, getting to know their needs and customizing access to resources and support based on what is most pressing for the individual or family.

Allegheny General Hospital, through its Center for Inclusion Health, will serve as the CLUB's direct health provider and will work to ensure access for all residents to high-quality primary care.

"We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such an exceptional and dedicated group of organizations to better understand barriers to health and wellness in our community, and to ultimately take meaningful steps that will help improve quality of life for our most vulnerable neighbors," said Jeffrey K. Cohen, MD, President, AGH.

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) will play an active role on the advisory committee, and will provide useful data and public health indicators to examine how the Northside compares to state and national data.

"Achieving health equity in Allegheny County is a critical goal of our 'Plan for a Healthier Allegheny.' An important element is ensuring health access and addressing the social determinants of health. The BUILD grant represents an opportunity to do both. We are very excited to work with the One Northside coalition and all the partners to improve the health and wellbeing of Northside residents," said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director, Allegheny County Health Department.

To learn more about the BUILD Health Challenge, visit


The Buhl Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-operating, private foundation — organized under the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service — that exists to distribute, in perpetuity, the remainder of Mr. Henry Buhl Jr.'s estate. Those funds were set aside to help people — especially in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County — upon Mr. Buhl's death in 1927. The Foundation also administers Funds established by Henry C. Frick and Emilie McCreery. It is the mission of the Buhl Foundation to create community legacies by leveraging its resources to encourage people and organizations to dream, to innovate and to take action.


The mission of the Allegheny County Health Department is to protect, promote, and preserve the health and well-being of all Allegheny County residents, particularly the most vulnerable. Formed in 1957, ACHD strives daily to assure quality public health services by promoting individual and community wellness, preventing injury, illness and premature death or disability, and protecting the population from harmful effects of chemical, biological, and physical hazards within the environment. Today, we serve more than 1.2 million county residents in southwestern Pennsylvania.


Project Destiny is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the Pittsburgh community. Since 2004, Project Destiny has provided a safe place where youth and families can find needed resources, become involved in support groups, cultural and educational programming, and enjoy a variety of fun activities. The mission of Project Destiny is to REIGN — Reach out into the community, Educate, Inspire others, Grow leaders, and Nurture our children, youth, and their families in the Pittsburgh Northside area. For more information, visit


Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) is a 576-bed academic medical center serving Pittsburgh and the surrounding five-state area. More than 1,000 physicians and 3,500 employees deliver advanced care in virtually every medical and surgical specialty. Allegheny General Hospital is the flagship medical center within Allegheny Health Network, the integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater western Pennsylvania region. AGH is a national leader in cancer, cardiovascular, neuroscience, and orthopaedic and rehabilitation care, and is a Level 1 Trauma Center, the highest designation available, and the first in the hospital in the region to receive this designation. AGH is also a western Pennsylvania campus for the Philadelphia-based Drexel University College of Medicine; third- and fourth-year medical students receive clinical training at the hospital.


Highmark Inc. and its health insurance subsidiaries and affiliates collectively are among the ten largest health insurers in the United States and comprise the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated organization. Highmark Inc. and affiliates operate health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 5 million members and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard® program. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related businesses. Highmark Inc. 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:
Candace Herrington
Allegheny Health Network

For more information, contact:
Kristy Cramlet
Highmark Health