The President of Highmark Health Plan is Devoted to Community Service

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Since childhood, Tom Doran has been dedicated to serving others — and the newly named Highmark Health Plan president shows no signs of slowing down.

"You consider what you can do for the community," said Doran, who has been with Highmark since 2017 and took on his current role in January 2023. "That's something I’ve been doing my entire life."

Doran's devotion to service became even stronger and far more personal when his now 27-year-old son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. Now, he serves on the board of directors with the Western Pennsylvania chapter of Autism Speaks, helping families and individuals become educated on the condition and dispel stigma surrounding it.

"One of the lessons someone taught me is that when you have folks with disabilities who are 'mainstreamed,' it doesn't just impact the person with disabilities, it impacts everybody. You get a better community," said Doran, a member of the Knights of Columbus who also is on the board for the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh and new to the Light of Life Rescue Mission's board. "I think, ultimately, that’s why I’m on some of these boards. I want to improve health outcomes and quality of life for everyone in the community."

That dovetails with the mission of Highmark Bright Blue Futures, which has initiatives across a wide area, from large cities with diverse populations to rural towns that are often disconnected from vital health services. The nature of and need for those services varies by the region, but they perhaps have never been more necessary, following multiple years of the pandemic, economic anxieties stemming from inflation and more ongoing crises.

"There'’s more urgency, but there’s always a need, and there’s always been a need for organizations like Highmark to do something for the community," Doran said. "We know what the issue of the year has been for the past few years, but the reality is there will be something next year. It’ll be a sad event, a weather event — we’ll all need to rally to solve it."

Certainly, Highmark Bright Blue Futures will be on the forefront in those moments. Going forward, Doran foresees the initiatives continuing to improve more lives in its focus areas of community health and improving the economic wellbeing and quality of life in those same communities. That expansion will include the Philadelphia area beginning in 2024. And beyond geography, Doran is expanding his own efforts.

He recently joined the board for Light of Life, which provides nourishing meals, as well as a place to sleep and heal, to Pittsburgh's homeless population. After an impactful tour of the organization’s North Side facility in the fall, "I was drawn to serve. They have a great mission, and I like the connection to the community."

It's another opportunity for Highmark’s leader to add to his lifelong commitment to service, too. "You set examples for your kids, your peers and coworkers — and that’s really important, because that’s the kind of world where we all want to live, where we’re all trying to help each other as best we can."

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