History of WHAMglobal

In the Fall of 2016, Dr. Karen Feinstein, President and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, presented a Tedx talk in front of a national and international audience to launch WHAMglobal.

Inspired by her own health activist journey that started in Boston in the seventies around the Our Bodies Ourselves movement, and building off of Women’s Marches and #METOO movement, Dr. Feinstein created WHAMglobal in partnership with the national organization Women of Impact to urge women everywhere to step up and fight for progress.

On June 26, 2017, the community gathered for the WHAMglobal Kick Off and Big Idea Challenge at the August Wilson Center. The Latino Community Center (LCC) was selected as the Challenge winner and was awarded the $10,000 prize for its Big Idea to improve the maternal and child health of Pittsburgh’s growing Latino community. The WHAMglobal staff began to meet and develop relationships within the maternal health and business community from a variety of disciplines in order to map out services and identify potential stakeholders.

JHF partnered with the Allegheny Health Network’s Center for Inclusion Health (CIH) to support CIH’s Refugee and Immigrant Women Doula Community Health Worker Demonstration in the Latino, Bhutanese, and Somali-Bantu communities. In addition to affirming the elements of a competency and evidence-based training program for doulas, the project will trial “shadow” codes for the doula services as a means of building the business case for sustainability.

On December 13, 2017 WHAMglobal, in collaboration with Magee-Womens Research Institute, held a community conversation around maternal mortality, which highlighted innovative research in the region. The conversation brought together stakeholders from many disciplines and resulted in a powerful and inspiring dialogue.

Women of Impact

Women of Impact are an extraordinary corps of some of the nation’s most high-achieving health care leaders.

Women of Impact are dedicated to realigning the health care system to meet the needs of all Americans, recognizing that the people who need care come from all walks of life. They also agreed on a nonpartisan case for change that zeroed in on critical concerns prominent in the national conversation.

Find out more by visiting their website www.WomenofImpact.net.

WHAM Key Players

Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, Founder

Dr. Feinstein is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its two operating arms, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) and Health Careers Futures (HCF). Together they perform a unique mix of grantmaking, research, teaching, coaching, and project management.Under her leadership, JHF and PRHI have become a leading voice in patient safety, healthcare quality, and related workforce issues. When Dr. Feinstein founded PRHI, it was among the nation’s first regional multi-stakeholder quality coalitions devoted simultaneously to advancing efficiency, best practices, and safety by applying industrial engineering principles. Dr. Feinstein also founded HCF to assist the region’s healthcare industry in attracting, preparing, and retaining employees, and was a leader in the formation of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), a national coalition of Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives.

Dr. Feinstein is widely regarded as a leader in healthcare quality improvement and frequently presents at national and international conferences. She was a presenter at the 2016 TEDxBeaconStreet event, an independently organized Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) event with a global audience. She has served on the faculties of Boston College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of numerous regional and national publications on quality and safety. While at Boston College, she was the editor of the Urban & Social Change Review; she is the editor of the book Moving Beyond Repair: Perfecting Health Care. In 2015, she was named Pittsburgher of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine.

Dr. Feinstein is a past President of Grantmakers In Health and Grantmakers of Western PA, and co-chair of the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative. She serves on many nonprofit, governmental, and for-profit boards, including NRHI, the United Way, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and the Allegheny Parks Foundation. She is on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Health Research Advisory Committee, Board of Visitors of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, UPMC Presbyterian/Shadyside Board of Directors, the UPMC System-wide Patient Care Committee, and IT Advisory Committee. She is a founding member of the national Women of Impact coalition.

Dr. Feinstein earned her bachelor’s degree in American History at Brown University, her master's in Social Work at Boston College, and her doctorate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Dr. Feinstein has Honorary Doctorates from Chatham and Carlow Universities.


Kate Dickerson, Women's Health Specialist


 Kate Dickerson is Women's Health Specialist for the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMGlobal) initiative, and helps to outline the next frontier of women’s health and health services. She also supports JHF’s Health Activist Network and Feinstein Fellowships for multidisciplinary students and early-career professionals. She is a passionate advocate for women’s health and rights who is actively involved in the community. Ms. Dickerson earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Rhetoric and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and recently received her M.Sc. in Healthcare Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College. Before enrolling at CMU, she served for two years as a federally-certified health insurance navigator and health center advocacy organizer for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. From 2010 to 2013, she was an outreach associate for health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C.


Hanifa Nakiryowa, Global Health Associate

Hanifa advances the goals of  Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) network by applying her internationally-recognized leadership and advocacy skills. Prior to joining JHF, Ms. Nakiryowa served as a special projects intern for the Pittsburgh Foundation. She founded the Center for Rehabilitation Survivors of Acid Violence (CERESAV), which promotes human services for acid attack survivors in Uganda and advocates to prevent future attacks in the country. Ms. Nakiryowa has also contributed to fundraising, advocacy, and awareness-building efforts for the Acid Survivors Foundation Uganda, and worked to enhance maternal and child health as a program monitoring and evaluation specialist for the UNICEF-FBO partnership program in Uganda. She earned the 2013 Rotary International Vocational Service Award, the Iris Marion Young Award for political engagement and social justice advocacy, the Sergeant James “Rip” Taylor Award for public service, and an H.J. Heinz Fellowship for leadership potential. Ms. Nakiryowa earned a bachelor of science with education from Makerere University-Uganda, a master of arts in Economics from the University of Nairobi-Kenya, and a master of international development-human security studies from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.