Our Staff

The Foundation's dedicated staff has decades of experience in serving the communities of the Highmark Foundation.

Yvonne Cook, President, Highmark Foundation

Yvonne CookYvonne Cook has served as the Highmark Foundation's president since 2003. In this position, Ms. Cook is responsible for the management and direction of the Foundation. She also oversees the development, implementation, administration and evaluation of innovative and effective community and health initiative activities, as well as the exploration and evaluation of marketplace needs.

Prior to joining the Highmark Foundation, Ms. Cook served as the executive assistant to the Allegheny County Chief Executive, James Roddey. In this position, she advised the county's chief executive on health and human service matters and provided oversight to the county's Minority/Women/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Department. Her professional experience also includes working as a program officer with The Pittsburgh Foundation and 18 years with Bank of New York Mellon.

For more than 30 years, Ms. Cook has volunteered her time and expertise by serving on many boards and committees. Currently, she serves on the board of Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture and served as its treasurer for more than 10 years. In 2011, she was honored with the leadership award in the area of Business & Industry by the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh. In 2010, she served as co-chair of the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women, The Sickle Cell Society Dinner and the Cave Canem Poetry Forum.

Ms. Cook holds a bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's degree in public management from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University. She speaks often on topics of leadership, philanthropy and health disparities. Cook has also received numerous awards for her leadership, commitment and passion to the community.

Dr. Christina Wilds, Senior Program Officer, Highmark Foundation

Christina WildsChristina L. Wilds, DrPH, MPH, M.Ed, CHES, is a senior program officer at the Highmark Foundation. In her current role, Dr. Wilds is responsible for grantmaking to nonprofit organizations and hospitals.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Wilds served as program evaluator in Highmark Inc.'s division of community affairs, where she was responsible for all phases of program evaluation. In addition, she served as the corporation's director of the former Health Education Center, a Highmark nonprofit affiliate. Before joining Highmark, she worked for a world-class medical center where she served in various fundraising positions.

Dr. Wilds serves on various boards including Ebenezer Development Corporation, Ivy Charitable Endowment of Pittsburgh, Inc. and Lemington Community Services. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Alpha Omega Chapter where she serves as President. She holds memberships in various professional organizations including the American Public Health Association, Pennsylvania Public Health Association and the Society for Public Health Education. She is also a certified health education specialist and a very active member of Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Dr. Wilds, a native of Western Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh after obtaining her doctorate in public health, a master's degree in public health, and both bachelor's and master's degrees in education. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Rosemary Browne, Program Officer, Highmark Foundation

Rosemary BrowneRosemary Browne serves as program officer of the Highmark Foundation. In this position, she is responsible for expanding the Foundation’s presence in the Central Region as well as identifying programs and projects of promise that will strengthen the Foundation’s funding portfolio. She works to bring critical health issues, analyses and recommendations to the Highmark Foundation board of directors.

Ms. Browne has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector working to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in Pennsylvania. The breadth of her experience in the nonprofit sector crosses a number of disciplines and affinity groups. She has a deep passion for and commitment to making connections in the community to address the challenges of access to health services among underserved populations and minority communities, affordable housing, and social and racial justice issues affecting women and girls.

Prior to joining Highmark, she served as director of programs and community investment for The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC), a community foundation serving Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon and Perry counties. Ms. Browne formerly served as director of grants management for the Dauphin County board of commissioners and director of financial development with the local chapter of the American Red Cross. She also held positions within state and local government and the business sectors, including city clerk of the City of Harrisburg and vice president of administration for Vartan Enterprises.

She has served on many nonprofit boards and advisory committees throughout her career as a volunteer. She is currently on the board of directors of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg and Samara Center for Individual and Family Growth. She also serves as co-chair of the community engagement advisory boards of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and the Community Engagement Research Core (CERC) of the Penn State College of Medicine.

Ms. Browne holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and urban planning from St. Francis College in Loretto, PA. She plans to pursue advanced studies in public health and is a certified community health educator through Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute.

Tracey Pollard, Executive Assistant, Highmark Foundation

Tracey PollardTracey Pollard has worked for the Highmark Foundation since 2003 as an executive assistant to Yvonne Cook. Prior to joining the Highmark Foundation, Ms. Pollard worked in various positions at Highmark, Inc. since 1984. Ms. Pollard provides administrative oversight for the Highmark Foundation. She is a 1982 graduate of Bradford Business School. Prior to joining Highmark, Ms. Pollard worked for the Allegheny County Adult Probation Office.

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Publications

Review a complete list of published research from the Highmark Foundation.

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