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Highmark, Carnegie Mellon to announce academic partnership

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Sunday, June 23, 2013, 7:03 p.m.

Highmark and Carnegie Mellon University will announce the details of an academic partnership on Monday morning.

Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger declined to comment on the arrangement, described in a one-line news release as designed to “leverage innovation in Allegheny Health Network.”

Highmark CEO Dr. Bill Winkenwerder and CMU officials will make a joint announcement at 10 a.m.

CMU spokesman Ken Walters also declined to elaborate.

Last fall, a CMU publication introducing Dr. Alan Russell as the university's Highmark Distinguished Career Professor said such a partnership would be forthcoming.

“Over the next several months, teams from Carnegie Mellon University, Highmark and clinical partners from the region and beyond will develop strategic science and engineering-driven programs,” it said.

Russell, executive director of the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, was the founding director of the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in 2001 and served there until he left Pitt in 2011.

A senior adviser to Highmark, Russell is director of CMU's new Disruptive Health Technology Initiative, a center described as working to improve “affordability, accessibility, quality and simplicity of health care solutions.”

Allegheny Health Network is the hospital system that insurer Highmark is developing with its purchase of West Penn Allegheny Health System.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or

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