Jefferson Announces New Appointments to the Board of Trustees

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 5, 2023— Jefferson (which includes Thomas Jefferson UniversityJefferson Health, and Jefferson Health Plans) announced today six new appointments to the Board of Trustees: Lea Daniels Knight, CPA, MBA; John J. Fung, MD, PhD; Matthew S. Levitties, MA, MBA; Debra L. Ness, MS; Timothy P. O’Rourke, BS; and Melanie A. Penna, MPA.

"We are honored to welcome these dynamic leaders to our board. These individuals have a long record of accomplishments and represent a variety of industries. We look forward to working together to improve the health and wellness of the communities we serve and redefining higher education,” said Patricia D. Wellenbach, Jefferson's Board of Trustees Chair.

“Over the last year, the talent recruited to our Board has been of the highest caliber. These new trustees will help us continue to elevate and evolve the enterprise and the work we do for the diverse and varied constituencies we serve. I look forward to collaborating with them,” said Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, MBA, Jefferson’s CEO.  

Lea Daniels Knight, CPA, MBA is the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer at Integra. She is a proven leader with strategic and tactical financial expertise and a focus on commercial strategy, operations, and P&L management.

Ms. Knight has nearly two years of service with Jefferson through the Jefferson Abington and Lansdale Hospitals boards and previously served as Vice Chair of their Compliance Committee. As a member of the local Abington community, she is passionate about the hospital’s service mission and sees her engagement as a way of giving back to others. She takes great pride in the role Jefferson plays in improving health outcomes and her ability to support that mission through board service. 

John J. Fung, MD, PhD is a leader in organ transplantation, including liver, kidney, pancreas, and intestinal transplantation. Dr. Fung has spearheaded the application of new surgical transplant techniques. In addition, he is an immunologist and pioneered the clinical use of many of the immunosuppressants used today. 

Dr. Fung has a longstanding research interest in transplantation immunology, immunosuppression therapy, and liver-related immunology. He has published over 1,400 articles and book chapters, serves on the editorial board for several medical journals, and was the former editor-in-chief for Liver Transplantation. He has held leadership positions in national and international organizations and has a keen sense of healthcare issues globally. His dedication to innovation and delivering the highest level of patient care is recognized through his consistent appearance on the "America's Top Doctors" and "Best Doctors" lists. Dr. Fung has a solid affinity to Eastern PA and views it as home. This affinity, coupled with his military service, brings a sense of local mission to his career pivots and desire to contribute to community health and wellness. 

Matthew S. Levitties, MA, MBA is a Managing Director at Versa Capital, a Philadelphia-based private equity investment firm. Mr. Levitties has over 25 years of investment, research, and portfolio management experience including with Chartwell Investment Partners, Morgan Stanley & Company, and Wellington Management Company. 

Mr. Levitties has already been serving in an observer capacity on the Jefferson Board since the merger of Jefferson and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in October 2021. He has been a long-standing trustee of Einstein Healthcare Network Board of Trustees since 1996 and also serves on a number of other Jefferson and Einstein Controlled Affiliate boards, including certain Jefferson Health Plan companies. 

Debra L. Ness, MS is a preeminent public policy and organizational development leader passionate about healthcare transformation. As the President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, Ms. Ness became a nationally recognized voice for advancing significant legislative and policy changes that improved health and economic opportunities for women and families.

Her national board service is extensive and demonstrates deep experience with leadership development and change management. As a senior policy advisor, Ms. Ness focuses on healthcare quality and equity issues and the need for community engagement in creating better outcomes for underserved populations. 

Timothy P. (Tim) O'Rourke, BS is a senior executive with experience in payer and provider operations, healthcare and insurance service integration, Medicare and Medicaid programs, and population health capability development and distribution.

In his leadership roles over the past decade, Mr. O'Rourke has been responsible for multi-billion dollar P&L and led accountable, team-driven, and diverse organizations. His for- and non-profit insurance employers include Ascension Complete, Centene, Humana, and Advocate HealthCare. Mr. O’Rourke will also serve as a member of the boards of certain Jefferson Health Plan companies. 

Mr. O'Rourke's deep experience in integrating and driving joint venture strategy and success for payers and providers is augmented by his current role leading Help at Home. Here, he exhibits a passion for helping patients and team members improve community health and consider the patient's holistic needs in the context of their own home and personal care capabilities. 

Melanie A. Penna, MPA is Comcast's Senior Vice President of People and Integration for Technology, Product, and Experience. She leads Human Resources for over 10,000 employees across the United States, Europe, and Asia. She has been an integral part of the company's success in her over 28 years with Comcast, with responsibility for Merger and Acquisition Execution and Integration, HR Operations, Talent Acquisition, Compensation Administration and Employee Experience Strategy and Oversight.

Active in the community, Ms. Penna is a former member of the Board of Directors and served as Chair of the Personnel Committee of Children and Families First, a family advocacy and support agency throughout Delaware. She has served on the Boards of Directors of Saint Edmond's Academy and Catholic Charities, both in Wilmington, Delaware.  

As a future-focused enterprise, where innovation and creativity are fundamental, Jefferson is ushering in a Board of Trustees’ governance structure ready to meet this thriving enterprise's unique and evolving oversight demands.

About Jefferson

Nationally ranked, Jefferson, which is principally located in the greater Philadelphia region and southern New Jersey, is reimagining health care and higher education to create unparalleled value. Jefferson is more than 42,000 people strong, dedicated to providing the highest-quality, compassionate clinical care for patients; making our communities healthier and stronger; preparing tomorrow’s professional leaders for 21st-century careers; and creating new knowledge through basic/programmatic, clinical, and applied research. Thomas Jefferson University, home of Sidney Kimmel Medical College and Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce, dates back to 1824 and today comprises 10 colleges and three schools offering 200 undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 8,400 students. Jefferson Health, nationally ranked as one of the top health care systems in the country and the largest provider in the Philadelphia area, serves patients through millions of encounters each year at 17 hospitals and over 50 outpatient and urgent care locations throughout the region. Jefferson Health Plans is a not-for-profit managed health care organization providing a broad range of health coverage options in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for more than 35 years.