Keynote Speakers

Photo of Caitlin CocilovaCaitlin Cocilova

Caitlin Cocilova is an attorney and organizer in Washington, DC. She currently works at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, an organization that envisions a just and inclusive community for all residents of the District of Columbia, where housing is a human right and where every individual and family has equal access to the resources they need to thrive.

At the Legal Clinic, Caitlin works closely with community members and organizers to analyze and deconstruct how local land use and city planning decisions impact housing and homelessness. These efforts involve testifying at hearings, coordinating strategy sessions, conducting community outreach, supporting ongoing tenant and housing struggles, and ultimately building collective power to prevent the displacement of more residents. Caitlin represents families and individuals who are unlawfully denied access to or terminated from shelter, in addition to assisting clients with housing voucher and discrimination cases.

Prior to joining the Legal Clinic, Caitlin held a Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Fellowship at the workers' and immigrants' rights organization Friends of Farmworkers (now Justice at Work). Based in Pittsburgh, Caitlin established and managed FOF's Western Pennsylvania office, providing free employment and immigration assistance in English and Spanish to low-wage workers throughout Western Pennsylvania. While in law school, Caitlin represented youth in delinquency proceedings and school suspension hearings in the District of Columbia; conducted trial preparation alongside public defenders in Rochester, New York; and prepared legal briefs and research on unlawful detention and municipal law at the ACLU-PA in Pittsburgh.

Originally from a suburb of Rochester, New York, Caitlin is the daughter of a second grade teacher and a middle school guidance counselor. She received a degree in political science, a certificate in leadership, and completed the pre-medicine requirements at the University of Pittsburgh. Caitlin has a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she published A Time for Change? The Uncertain Future of the D.C. Federal City Shelter in the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy, and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.

Photo of Abigail HornAbigail Horn

Abigail Horn is Deputy Director for the Office of Community Services (OCS) in the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS). OCS is the County's public office responsible for providing Allegheny County residents with a coordinated, community-focused system of high quality and cost-effective services, programs and opportunities that enable low-income and vulnerable individuals and families to become more self-sufficient. It is committed to providing human services that empower people, strengthen families, and work to build a healthy, connected community. Through more than 100 community-based agencies and direct services, OCS offers supports, rooted in solid data and best practices, that help prevent crises, stabilize households and create opportunities to thrive.

Prior to her appointment as Deputy Director, Horn was a Senior Advisor for DHS. She led the county's Bureau of Homeless Services and a "research to practice" unit in the Office of Data, Analysis, Research and Evaluation. She brought data-informed decision-making to drive policy change and performance improvements within the region's homeless system and other program areas serving vulnerable populations.

Her previous work experience includes grant making for The Pew Charitable Trusts, running an economic development research center for Cleveland State University, and supporting democratic reforms in Latin America for the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Horn is on the Board of Trustees of the Education Law Center of PA and Neighborhood Allies. She graduated from Yale University, has a Master's Degree in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Chile.

Image of Deborah LinhartDeborah W. Linhart

Deborah (Debbi) Linhart is currently the CEO of Bethlehem Haven, Pittsburgh's oldest women's shelter providing over 13,500 consecutive nights of emergency housing. In addition it provides facility-based and community-based permanent supportive housing, meals, housing location, employment support, and other supportive services. Bethlehem Haven became part of the Pittsburgh Mercy Family of Care in 2016. In June of last year Bethlehem Haven opened a 29 bed Medical Respite program in partnership with Pittsburgh Mercy, AHN, UPMC and UPMC Health Plan. This innovative Medical Respite Program, only the second one in Pennsylvania, works with homeless, or near homeless persons who are too ill or frail to recover from physical illness or injury on the street, but are not ill enough to be in a hospital. Bethlehem Haven is now embarking on the planning of a deeply subsidized affordable housing project for the formally homeless or disabled. Today Bethlehem Haven is working to convert property in the 1400 block of Fifth Avenue to Affordable Housing for our area's most vulnerable population living at 30% of poverty level. Expected completion date is 2021.

Debbi has previously work as Vice President, Women's Health Initiatives in the Allegheny Health Network; President of Linhart Management Group, a management consulting firm focused on the non-profit sector; President and CEO of Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation; Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Strategic Development; Chief Administrative Officer (and other roles) at Forbes Health System.

In 2006, Deborah received the Outstanding Champion Award, at the Prematurity Summit, March of Dimes. In 2014, Deborah was the recipient of Women of Achievement Award. In 2015, Deborah was the winner of the Pittsburgh Business Times Healthcare Heroes Award for 2015. Linhart earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with a minor in psychology, and a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree at Duke University in Durham, N.C., where she later served as lecturer at the Health Administration Graduate Program. She was also a clinical assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health.

Linhart currently serves on the United Way Women's Leadership Council and 2-1-1 Management Council. She was a previous board member of the Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh, chairperson of the Pittsburgh March of Dimes and a Pennsylvania March of Dimes board member. Additionally, Linhart is a past member of the FISA Foundation Board of Directors and the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (CLO) Board of Directors.

Photo of John Lovelace

John G. Lovelace

John Lovelace holds several positions within the UPMC Insurance Services Division, through which he oversees the government health program lines of business with UPMC. This includes the managed Medicaid programs, managed long-term services and supports, Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicare and Medicare Special Needs Programs, individual medically underwritten coverage and the operations of federally facilitated marketplace operations. He has been associated with UPMC insurance services for more than twenty years.

John serves on a variety of local, regional and national boards, including the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, which he serves as Board Chair; Medicaid Health Plans of America; and the National Managed Long-Term Services and Supports Health Plan Association.

He speaks nationally on key issues affecting publicly financed health care programs, with emphasis on people with disabilities and social determinants of health. More locally, his advocacy efforts are focused on disabilities, services for women and children and behavioral health.

Mr. Lovelace holds graduate degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as in Information Services from the University of Pittsburgh.

Photo of Dr. WithersJames S. Withers, MD, FACP

James S. Withers, MD, FACP is founder and medical director of Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net®, an award-winning, innovative medical and social service outreach program to people who are experiencing chronic homelessness.

Dr. Withers was raised in rural Pennsylvania, where he made house calls with his late father, Dr. Donald Withers, a family physician and delivered meals alongside his mother, June, a retired registered nurse. Dr. Withers earned his undergraduate degree at Haverford College and his medical degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1984. His interest in service-oriented medicine grew through medical mission trips with his family to Central America and India.

After completing his medicine and chief residencies at The Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, he joined the hospital's full-time teaching faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine. His areas of special interest include integrated health care for people experiencing homelessness, street medicine, domestic violence, and wilderness medicine.

In 1992, with help from a Pittsburgh Mercy Care for the Poor Fund grant, Dr. Withers founded Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net®, the first full-time, comprehensive medical outreach service of its kind for people who are unsheltered and experiencing homelessness. As part of Pittsburgh Mercy, a member of Trinity Health, serving in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, the program delivers integrated health care, case management, housing follow up, and other vital health and human services to individuals living on the streets of Pittsburgh. In the past 25 years, Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net has reached thousands of individuals. In 2017, we served more than 1,600 persons experiencing or at risk of homelessness and, in collaboration with the Allegheny Link and others, helped 579 of them to obtain safe housing.
Dr. Withers and Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net have been recognized internationally with numerous awards and honors for their work. Dr. Withers was named one of the 2015 Top 10 CNN Heroes. As an innovative model of care, our program is being replicated or studied in cities throughout the world.

In 2005, Dr. Withers and Operation Safety Net established the International Street Medicine Symposium to foster international collaboration and share best practices in the care of people experiencing homelessness. In 2008, with help from Pittsburgh Mercy, Dr. Withers created the Street Medicine Institute to help other communities establish street medicine programs, improve existing practice, and create student learning opportunities in street medicine. We currently have partners in cities on six continents.

Dr. Withers enjoys numerous medical teaching appointments, volunteer activities, and board memberships. He resides in Forest Hills and is the father of four adult children: Christopher, Jonathan, Gregory, and Jeneni. He is most proud of his family and the many students who have gone on to careers in service-oriented medicine.

For more information about Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net or to make a donation in support of its work in our community, visit