Alex Brennsteiner, a 2012 graduate of the health management systems program, has translated the influence of the Spiritan charism on his education at Duquesne into his current work in the health care field. As Clinical Program Manager for Highmark Health Home and Community Services, he has been inspired by the Spiritan aphorism, "More by deed than word."
Brennsteiner says his cross-cultural mission experience while at Duquesne taught him the importance of solidarity and community, and while volunteering in Pittsburgh's Hill District neighborhood as a student, he drew on Spiritan studies and remembered that the Congregation's founder, Claude Poullart des Places, didn't start to build his ministry until he "crossed the street." This idea of unifying and empathizing with others by working in close, physical proximity trickles down into his job, where he says he is often reminded to "stop and put the person on the receiving end into focus," just as he did as a student volunteer. Selflessness was taught by his parents, who made sure "how you treat other people" was a topic of frequent discussion at home.
Spiritan teachings reinforced this lesson at Duquesne and Brennsteiner was constantly impressed by the presence of Spiritans on campus who always put others' needs first. Brennsteiner tries to incorporate this approach into his work. "Our team works every day to keep the patient at the center of everything that we do. The transition from hospital to home historically left patients at risk to fall through the cracks, and our model is seeking to meet people where they are and where they have need-in their homes and communities. It's really very Spiritan," he says.
Luci-Jo DiMaggio, S'98, GS'99, GA'05, Duquesne's director of mission animation said, "Alex speaks passionately about how his education at Duquesne and how its Spiritan roots influence the way he lives his life. He truly understands the importance of being fully present to the other, being open to the Spirit working in our lives, and being aware always of those on the margins. He beautifully weaves these into the way he approaches both his personal and his professional life as a health system administrator, and is an amazing example of how our alumni live out our Catholic, Spiritan values every day."