Margaret Ragni, M.D., M.P.H. (Medical Director)
Dr. Ragni is the Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh, and is Medical Director, Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania. She received her M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1975 and M.P.H. in 1993 from the Graduate School of Public Health. She completed her medical residency in 1978 and a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology in 1981 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and a fellowship in Coagulation/ Blood Banking at Central Blood Bank, Pittsburgh in 1982. She is active in clinical translational research and in teaching and mentoring fellows, residents, and students. She is funded by federal research grants from NHLBI and HRSA, and her research has focused on clinical translational studies relevant to congenital hemostasis and thrombotic disorders. She has chaired clinical trials, prospective and retrospective clinical studies, and has collaborated on numerous gene therapy and novel therapeutics trials in hemophilia, and genotype/phenotype studies in VWD. She served as Co-Chair of the NHLBI State of the Science SOS Hemophilia and VWD Subcommittee (2009); as Co-Chair of the NHLBI Inhibitor Prevention and Eradication Trial Working Group (2018); and will serve as Co-Chair of the HTRS/NASTH Research Colloquium (2020). She has authored over 260 peer-reviewed publications in the area of hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. She is the recipient of the Kenneth Brinkhous Award for Excellence in Clinical Research by the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF); the Kenneth E. Schuit Award, Dean’s Award for Master Educator (Pitt); the G. David Roodman Excellence in Mentoring Award (Pitt); the Murray Thelin Researcher of the Year Award (NHF); Women Leaders in Hematology (Am J Hematology); the Maxwell Wintrobe Endowed Lectureship in Internal Medicine (Utah); and the Leadership in Research Award (NHF). She is an Associate Editor of Blood Advances, and serves on the Medical Advisory Committee of the Foundation for Women and Girls with Blood Disorders, on the Board of Hemostasis & Thrombosis Research Society (HTRS), and is a long-standing member of the NHF Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Craig Seaman, M.D (Associate Medical Director)
Dr. Seaman is an adult hematologist and the Associate Director of the Hemophilia Center of Western PA. He specializes in disorders of hemostasis (bleeding) and thrombosis (clotting) and is active in research, studying aging and aging-related disorders in patients with hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Dr. Seaman received his medical degree from Marshall University School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship at UPMC. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
Frederico Xavier, M.D, M.S. (Associate Medical Director)
Dr. Xavier joined the Hemophilia Center of Western PA in July 2017, as Associate Clinical Director, and with a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and faculty in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Xavier completed his medical school, pediatric residency and fellowship training in Brazil. He then completed pediatric residency in NY, pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN, and then a pediatric hemostasis fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2011. After that he completed a Masters degree in Clinical Research at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 2014.
Dr. Xavier has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the field of pediatric hemostasis, and is currently awarded with a research grant to study inflammation in Hemophilia.
James Cooper, M.D.
Dr. Cooper is one of the Hemophilia Center’s pediatric hematologists and has been at the Center since July of 2009. His interested in hemophilia began after an experience as a medical volunteer during his time at medical school. Dr. Cooper received his undergraduate degree in 1999 from the University of Notre Dame and attended medical school and completed his residency at the University of Connecticut. He attended the American Society of Hematology Clinical Research Training Institute in 2008 and completed his fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology/BMT at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009. Dr. Cooper is currently on the medical advisory board of a camp in Gilead, Ohio for children with serious medical conditions and he also founded CureRock, a concert that benefits adolescent and young adult oncology. He was chosen as one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 under 40” for 2012, which honors Pittsburgh professionals for their work.
A. Kim Ritchey, M.D.
Dr. Ritchey is currently the Vice Chair for International Clinical Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and previously Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and an active physician member at the HCWP. His interest in caring for children with hemophilia started over 25 years ago when he started the Comprehensive Hemophilia Clinic at Yale/New Haven Hospital. Dr. Ritchey and his staff at Children’s Hospital provide an important connection between the hospital and the HCWP when a child or adolescent with hemophilia needs to be hospitalized.
Franklin Bontempo, M.D.
Dr. Bontempo is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Coagulation Laboratory of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine. He is affiliated with UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, UPMC Cancer Centers and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oakland. He received his M.D. from The Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Philadelphia. His medical residencies were at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Dr. Bontempo was awarded a fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Katherine Bush, LCSW (Mental Health Professional)
Katherine earned her Masters of Social Work from the University of Maryland. She has prior work experience as a case manager, outpatient therapist, residential treatment therapist, and behavior specialist. She moved to Pittsburgh from Indiana, and is happy to be home in Pennsylvania again. She enjoys spending her spare time knitting, cooking, and playing with her two sons.
Bruce Haas, MS, LCGC (Genetic Counselor)
Native to Wisconsin, Bruce completed his undergraduate degree at Marquette University. Following years of working as a technologist in genetic laboratories he completed his genetic counseling training at Sarah Lawrence College. Upon graduation he was employed by the Division of Pediatric Hematology at The New York Hospital which is where he began his service to Hemophilia Treatment Center families. After four years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center he became the Associate Director of the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program at his alma mater. In 2014, given his years of work in hematology he was recruited to co-coordinate the Thalassemia Screening Program for NCAL Kaiser Permanente. Bruce is married and has an adult step-daughter and step-son. He met his spouse when each joined the same New York City chorus.
Devera Hoblak (Administrative Assistant)
Devera is a Navy Veteran who served on the USS Cape Cod as a Hospital Corpsman. She has an Associate Degree in Business. Devera has extensive administrative experience and has worked at UPMC as the Administrative Coordinator to the CIO and at Management Science Associates as the assistant to the VP of IT and other managers and support staff in the IT Department.
Dana Ivanco, CCRC (Sr. Regulatory Coordinator
Dana joined the HCWP research team in early 2019. Her medical background started with Emergency Medicine in 1996 and after her move to Pittsburgh started in research in 2000 at the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator for the past 19 years and has done patient care, budgeting, regulatory with Phase I-IV studies. She has been on the local ACRP board for Clinical Researchers since 2007 and remains active today. She also serves as a committee member with our local IRB.
Diann Keebler (Administrative Assistant)
Diann is a Navy Veteran who attended the Naval School of Dental Assisting and Technology in San Diego, CA. She cross trained as a Navy Corpsman doing blood draws and immunizations. She has worked in every aspect of a Dental Office from front desk to assisting the dentist to ordering supplies to billing insurance and patient collections.
Walter Livingston (Clinical Nurse)
Walt is a lifetime resident of Lower Burrell, obtained his Registered Nurse licensure from Citizens School of Nursing in New Kensington, and his Masters from Waynesburg University. Walt has been in the medical field for 36 years, 17 of those as a paramedic and 19 years as a nurse with experience in fields of ER, ICU-CCU, and Oncology. Walt also taught classes in the BSN program at Waynesburg University. Outside of nursing, Walt has many hobbies, is an avid golfer, bowler and enjoys all Pittsburgh Sports. He enjoys spending time with his eight grandchildren and coaching his bowling youth groups at Wildlife Lanes in Lower Burrell.
Cheryl S. McShea, PT, DPT (Physical Therapist)
Cheri joined HCWP in 2013 as the Center’s Physical Therapist. She received her Bachelor of Science in PT from the University of Pittsburgh and her Doctorate of PT from Chatham University. She has over 20 years of clinical experience in a wide variety of settings including acute care, acute rehab, skilled care, outpatient, and home care. Additionally, she has over 12 years of interdisciplinary rehab management experience. Over the course of her career, Cheri has worked with all age groups, has educated individuals and groups on a variety of rehabilitation and wellness topics, participated and led quality initiatives, assisted in the design and implementation of electronic health records, and supported research projects.
Kara Moore, BSN, RN (Clinical Nurse)
Kara earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from The Pennsylvania State University. She has a diverse nursing background in mental health, emergency medicine, trauma, and clinical research. As an emergency room nurse, she also served as a SANE nurse (sexual assault nurse examiner). Kara is a dedicated first responder who is an active volunteer firefighter for her local fire department and is currently pursing pre-hospital certification. In her spare time, she enjoys many outdoor activities including Bass fishing, off road Jeep rides, and hunting. She also enjoys playing her guitar and writing poetry. Her favorite quote by Mahatma Gandhi is, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
Chris Osman (Factor Program Team Leader)
Kathaleen M. Schnur, LSW (Mental Health Professional)
Kathaleen joined the Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania in 2013. Kathaleen has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. She serves on a number of national professional groups and educational planning committees for both professionals and consumers. Kathaleen works closely with the local chapter of NHF to develop and plan targeted education to the community. She has co-organized new parent groups, teen groups, carrier groups, education weekends, and is the co-director of Camp Hot-to-Clot. Kathaleen was the recipient of the National Hemophilia Foundation’s Social Work Excellence Fellowship in collaboration with three of her national cohorts. When home with family, Kathaleen loves being outside with her husband and two children, looking after her backyard chickens, and going on family road trips.
Deborah Solvay (Clinical Nurse Manager)
Amy Steele, RN, MSN, CCRC (Research Nurse)
Amy joined HCWP’s research team in 2018. She received her Diploma of Nursing from St. Francis Medical Center and then started her nursing career working as a staff nurse on Medical Surgical and Orthopedic Units. She then went on to receive her Bachelor of Science and Master’s Degree in Nursing Research at the University of Pittsburgh. For the last 20 years Amy has enjoyed helping people through research in a variety of therapeutic areas including Hepatology, Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Plastic Surgery. Amy has two daughters and in her off time enjoys camping and outdoor activities with her family.
Kari Stepanik, BSN, RN (Clinical Nurse)
Kari is a Pittsburgh native, and has been with Vitalant (formerly ITxM) since 2017, and joined the Hemophilia Center in 2018. Kari attended The Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing in 2012, and obtained her BSN in 2014 from California University of Pittsburgh. Kari started her nursing career at UPMC McKeesport in 2012 working in the emergency department for nearly 5 years, as well as obtaining certifications in different specialties (NIH, TNCC, ACLS, BLS, PALS). Kari first started in Vitalant’s therapeutic apheresis department, travelling to most hospitals in the Pittsburgh area treating a variety of patients (stem cell collections, sickle cell patients, transplant rejection, neurologically compromised, and some bleeding disorder patients) before transitioning to HCWP in 2019. Kari is a proud mother of two (1 boy and 1 girl), enjoys music and playing the viola (started playing at age 8), fishing, river walking, and spending time with her family and dogs.
Steve Tackett (Factor Program Specialist)
Steve is an Ohio native, who has been certified and working in pharmacy since 2008. His pharmaceutical background started at a small institutional pharmacy in Youngstown, OH, where he was a compounding and special services technician. In 2011, he was offered a position with one of the largest pharmacy services providers in the country, which led him to move to Pittsburgh. While with the national pharmacy, he quickly progressed from technician to consultant extender, where his main focus was to provide on-site services to clients (skilled and assisted living facilities), through quality assurance inspections, special projects, and service issue resolution at the administrative level. In 2017, he started his career with the HCWP Factor Program, as well as taking on a position teaching PTCB certification prep courses in the evenings. Steve’s education began in 2004 studying at the Berklee College of Music, earning his Specialist Certificate in Music Business in 2006. In 2008, he completed his pharmacy technician training online, and passed the PTCB certification exam shortly after. When Steve is not working, he enjoys playing guitar (and other instruments), roller skating, coaching and refereeing roller derby, and of course, spending time with his wonderful wife and two stepdaughters.
Deborah Vehec (Research Nurse)
Debbie has been with Vitalant (formerly ITxM) for 5 years, joining the HCWP research staff in 2019. She earned her MSN at Waynesburg University. For over 39 years, Debbie worked at UPMC McKeesport as a staff nurse in the CCU, eventually becoming Unit Director of Stepdown, CCU and ICU before accepting a position at ITxM as the Manager of Special Programs. In this position, she worked closely with the National Marrow Donor Program in recruiting and guiding the donors as they donated marrow or stem cells anonymously to patients in need of a transplant for various blood cancers.
Jeff Wahal (Director, Operations)
Jeff Wahal joined The Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania in 2012 and serves as the Director, Operations. In this role, he pursues the Center’s strategic direction and manages the day-to-day business operations. He has over twenty years experience with various roles in the accounting, finance and business administration fields, including seventeen in the medical community. Prior to joining the Center, Jeff worked for ZOLL Medical’s LifeVest unit and was responsible for the Company’s financial reporting and planning. Previously, Jeff held the roles of Finance Manager and Controller at Precision Therapeutics and invivodata, respectively. Jeff has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from The Pennsylvanian State University and a master’s degree in business administration from The University of Pittsburgh.