January Dignity & Respect Champion: Scott Lammie


UPMC Executive Believes Healthfulness Depends Mostly on Your Environment

Scott Lammie becomes the first Dignity & Respect Champion of 2016

Everybody seems to know, or has heard of, Scott Lammie. When his name comes up, it brings a smile to people’s faces. That’s because of the way he lives his life. Scott is not an observer of life in Greater Pittsburgh, he’s an active participant in making our region a better place for all. Scott serves as the Chief Financial Officer of UPMC Health Plan and is Senior Vice President of UPMC’s Insurance Services Division. He has worked in the healthcare field for more than 30 years and has learned the impact a community can have on its people.

“Since working in healthcare, I have a greater appreciation for all of the factors that determine a person’s health status. Roughly 80% of health status has nothing to do with healthcare delivery per se, but rather is determined by the person’s psycho-socio and socio-economic circumstances and the environment in which the person lives, works, and plays,” Scott said.

Scott’s father died of cancer when he was seven years old. Scott and his four brothers and younger sister were raised mostly by their mother and they all learned the importance of helping one another. When his mother remarried, his step-father was very community oriented, so from a young age Scott understood how helping others could make a huge impact on improving a community.

“I have learned over my lifetime that people are the product of their environment. If a community isn’t safe, clean, and diverse; has poor educational outcomes; and offers limited employment opportunities, its people will suffer. Every citizen has the ability to help strengthen our underserved communities so that every person and family will have access to support, mentoring, and opportunity to help them lead healthy and successful lives,” Scott explained.

Scott walks his talk. He is active on many volunteer boards focusing on economic development and community service that supports the Pittsburgh community including Duquesne University, The Forbes Fund, Hill House Association, Laurel Highlands Council Boy Scouts of America, Little Sisters of the Poor, Manchester Bidwell Corporation, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Corporate Circles Board, Southwestern Pennsylvania Food Security Partnership, United Way of Allegheny County Tocqueville Society and Impact Cabinet, and Urban Innovation21.

Candi Castleberry Singleton, Founder and CEO of the Dignity & Respect Campaign nominated Scott Lammie because of the great humanitarian work he does for the Pittsburgh region. “When I think of a Dignity & Respect Champion, I see Scott. He is one of the only people I know who has the bandwidth and willingness to cross demographic, economic, racial, faith and education barriers to help individuals and organizations as a whole. I don’t know how he has the time to be a CFO, serve on multiple boards and donate his time to improving the community, but we are all beneficiaries of his efforts.” Candi said.

The Dignity & Respect Campaign is an awareness initiative designed to join individuals, community leaders, community organizations, educational institutions, businesses, and corporations under the common notion that everyone deserves dignity and respect. A Dignity & Respect Champion is someone ― nominated by a co-worker, family member, or friend ― who embraces diversity, embodies compassion, and demonstrates mutual respect. For more information and to take the Dignity & Respect Pledge, visit dignityandrespect.org or to nominate a Champion visit surveymonkey.com/s/DR_champion

ViewPoints: A New D&R Initiative

The recent successes of identity driven political campaigns, and their strategic use of divisive rhetoric has exacerbated an already overly hostile debate space in the United States. Identity politics differ from ideological versions in the ways citizens group themselves. Identity based political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific group at the expense of another. Examples of this could be the organization of the conservative bloc around pro-life legislation or liberals with same sex marriage. Emotions around these types of topics run deep and when they become primary political drivers our ability to have civil discourse suffers.   


Why Has This Happened?

In 1968, nearly 80% of Americans* watched nightly broadcast news. At that point in time, these networks were sharing information that aimed to appear as unbiased as possible*  so as not to alienate any viewers. Over time though, cable news networks that cater only to smaller slices of the opinion spectrum began to crop up, which created a phenomenon of intensified media bias. Partisan Internet news outlets have only added to this increase and have corralled citizens into separate corners of conversation.

As a result, we tend to witness groups of thinkers who typically only engage in debates with one another, and who view outside opinions as wrong or antagonistic. This is particularly true within the political system itself, a space in which the common practice of gerrymandering determines how the congressional districts are mapped out. In fact, 90% of these districts are so rigged that the winning political party has already been decided before votes are even cast. These once-vibrant settings for debate and discussion are now just cocoons that insulate the different parties from one another.


How Does D&R Plan to Change This?

It is because of this current state of debate that the Dignity & Respect Campaign has developed an alternative type of conversation space. We call this unique initiative Viewpoints – and it will differ from the current debate panels and news shows because our approach incorporates real people into the discussion, rather than figureheads. We want to showcase the similarities between our participants, in addition to their differences, so you – our readers – can see firsthand that everyone has precisely the same goal: to make a difference. Instead of viewing those with opposing opinions as enemies to be beaten or converted, we should view them as potential collaborators.

We will begin our Viewpoints series with a month-long conversation about the state of conversation. We will discuss how we can start to appreciate the diversity of thought in our nation, and hopefully discuss ways to increase respect for one another in our interactions. Once dignity and respect are incorporated into debate, we will have the ability to find merit in the opinions of others. We can begin building solutions to the many complex issues we face by combining ideas from all schools of thought.


The climate of discussion in America does not need to persist in its current partisan and harmful manner. Your neighbor is not your enemy if he or she does not agree with you, and we should not overlook the good intentions behind every opinion. Remember, we are all in this together.

*Taken from the film: Best of Enemies. Dir. Morgan Neville and Robert Gordan. Magnolia Pictures, 2015. DVD.

Do Your Part: Help Us Fight Violence

Violence is a constant presence in the news. Scroll through most Facebook and Twitter feeds, or open up any newspaper and you will see the sheer volume of violent acts that happen across both the country and the world.

Community violence, in particular, is most commonly featured on these news platforms and is defined as an intentional attempt to hurt one or more people. In fact, every day in the U.S. over 85 gun deaths occur – which is around 3 deaths per hour. Last year, over 16,000 homicides were committed, and a U.S. Department of Justice study found that over 60% of children in America have been exposed to violence.

But violence doesn’t only occur on the outside in a physical way. Violence can also affect people both emotionally and psychologically. For simple proof of this, compare the 16,000 homicides last year to the 38,000 suicides that also occurred. Violence comes in many forms and is difficult to understand.

According to the CDC’s Principles of Prevention (POP) curriculum, violence as a whole is a complicated issue and there are multiple influences at various levels. “There’s no single reason why some people behave violently while others do not.”

So what can be done about the issue?

The Dignity & Respect Campaign takes all of these statistics very seriously – and when it comes to violence and destruction, enough is enough. Violence places a huge burden on the health of our country and we want your help in working to fight it.

We believe the first step towards violence prevention is education, which is why we’ve started our “I Will Do My Part” initiative. We also want to promote resources like POP training so that you can better understand violence, as well as programs like STRYVE that address more specific kinds of violence.

But beyond these helpful materials, we encourage you to remember that violence is a large issue that can be tackled a little bit at a time. You might not be capable of foreseeing and preventing a mass shooting, but you can speak out and help to demolish violent bigotry towards other cultures. You can look for ways you can get involved locally and report back to D&R on how you helped.

Small acts matter just as much as the large ones do. How will you play your part to stop violence?

Thankful for Gratitude


The Thanksgiving holiday can mean lots of things to lots of people. To some, it means traveling home to be with family. It might mean breaking out old recipes to cook, or dredging up old stories to retell around the table. For others, it might mean joining a significant other’s family dinner – meeting new relatives and learning new traditions. For some, it might mean cooking with friends, or even scrapping the kitchen altogether and dining out.  

Whatever your holiday means this year, it is bound to revolve around the notion of thankfulness. If someone were to ask you over a plate of turkey and gravy what you are thankful for, you could probably muster up a response – and many of us do. But what does being thankful mean to you year-round?

Recent studies show that feeling sincere gratitude is actually good for us. It might be pretty obvious that gratefulness can improve one’s mental health, but it can also lead to better overall health. According to research led by Paul Mills, people who are grateful also show significant improvement in heart wellness – including reduced risk for heart disease.

Some experts say that people are not born with the ability to be grateful though – it takes practice. The key to this practice comes in three stages: recognizing what you’re grateful for, acknowledging it, and appreciating it. So aside from a carefully crafted Turkey Day response, how can you practice these steps the other 364 days of the year?

Here are a few helpful ideas to get you started:

Keep a gratitude journal. Even if you only write down one or two things a day, this habit can greatly reduce any stress levels you may have. It can also help to reverse any bad days you might have, and keep things in perspective for you.

Distract yourself. If you find yourself focusing your attention on something negative that upsets you, find something around you that pleases you. Whether it’s a painting on the wall, the perfect blend of cream and sugar in your coffee at the moment, or a song playing through the speakers, force your mind to concentrate on it.   

Pass it on. Try to give at least one compliment a day. Answer the phone with genuine enthusiasm. Smile when you greet family or coworkers in the morning. By exhibiting an outward appearance of gratitude, it will help you remind yourself to feel grateful.

Keeping gratitude and thankfulness present in your life will not only improve your physical and emotional health, but it can strengthen your relationships. But gratitude doesn’t always come naturally so start making it a habit now. Instead of naming one thing you’re thankful for this holiday, list three. Then list three more the next day. See how far you can get, and see how living a life of gratitude and appreciation can be transformative.

Ways to Communicate with Respect


Communication is an extremely important aspect of our everyday lives that is so easy to overlook. Whether you are in conversation with coworkers, with friends and acquaintances, or with your family members, practicing strong and honest communication is a key player in fostering good relationships.

Lately, it seems there are a slew of issues in the news that create divides between peers and loved ones. Politics and topical issues have a tendency of polarizing people who discuss them – and even sparking animosity and irritation.

At the Dignity & Respect Campaign, we know how important certain issues might be to you. We believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings, but we also believe in acceptance – which means respecting others’ opinions and feelings, even if they differ from yours. This concept corresponds directly with the Fourth pillar of our 7 Pillars: Finding Common Ground. This model for behavior focuses on the ability to work through differences and gain agreement, while maintaining dignity and respect. To help you better understand this concept, and maybe even work through some ways to foster it, we’ve created a list of helpful tips for you:

Practice active listening. When you are in conversation with someone, regardless of whether the topic is a heated one or not, it’s a good habit to practice active listening. This means to be intentional about listening and make sure you are giving your full attention to the speaker. Also be sure to listen without interruption, and provide feedback to the speaker. Let him/her know what you heard so you can clear up any misunderstandings right away before you contribute to the conversation.

Be self aware. Understand how your culture and background shape you. Understand the differences between you and the person you are communicating with. For the most part, misunderstandings between people of different cultures, generations, or backgrounds occur not because of what was said, but because of how one party said it. The best way to stop these mishaps from happening is to not assume sameness, and not assume that the other party immediately understands what you mean. Take the time to get on the same page.

Disagree. Conversations are not a game that you play. The point in a discussion is not to win – there is no right or wrong when it comes to opinions. It is very important to remember this, and especially important to remember that it is not your job to make someone agree with you. This is a key component in respect. It is okay to disagree. The purpose of conversing is to learn from someone else – not to sway them to believe what you believe. Hopefully, they can also learn from you.

These helpful tips can go a long way in creating healthy and respectful conversations. The more we effectively communicate with one another – even on sensitive issues – the more we can acknowledge our differences and promote acceptance of those differences.

Take Five for Dignity & Respect Month: Share a Video!

 Dignity & Respect Tip 20 is: SHARE YOUR POINT OF VIEW!This Dignity & Respect Month we are asking you to create a D&R video and encourage your colleagues, contacts, Facebook friends, and twitter followers to share their stories.    Two winning video(s) will be selected for D&R Month October 2012, one for the most number of Facebook “likes” and  one for most YouTube “views” for the month.  Each winner will receive a $1,000 D&R Visa gift card!

All you have to do is Take Five! 
1.  Complete the following statement on your video:
“Dignity and respect means…”
“Dignity and respect is important because…”
“My favorite Dignity & Respect Tip is … because…”

Be creative and include your friends and colleagues in your video!  Make sure your videos are no more than 2 minutes long and do not include explicit language or expressions.
2.  Your video should end with the following statement:

“I’ve taken the D&R Pledge to treat everyone deserves dignity and respect. Have you?” Learn more at www.dignityandrespect.org/DRmonth or  www.facebook.com/dignityandrespectcampaign.
3.  Post your D&R video on Facebook or YouTube.  (By posting your video to the D&R facebook page and/or DRCampaign YouTube channel you grant permission for the D&R Campaign to use your D&R video on the D&R website and D&R facebook page. The Dignity & Respect Campaign reserved the right to remove any video that are inconsistent with the mission of the Campaign.)

4.  Encourage your friends to “like” your facebook posting or view your D&R video on YouTube video.

5.  Winning videos will be featured on the Dignity & Respect Campaign website and Facebook page for up to one year! 

So get inspired and share your message of Dignity & Respect with us! 

Have You Taken the Pledge?

 October is Dignity & Respect Month.  All month long, we want all our fans and followers to help us spread a message of Dignity & Respect.  Help us reach our goal of reaching 50,000 Facebook Fans by sharing our Dignity & Respect pledge with your friends, coworkers, and family. 
Do you believe that all people deserve Dignity & Respect?  Do you believe that Dignity & Respect is the first step towards inclusion?  If so, signing our pledge is so easy:
1.        Just by becoming a Fan of our Facebook Page, your voice becomes part of a chorus of supporters of Dignity & Respect.  Share our page with you Facebook Fans and get the word out!
2.       Send a message with our Animal App and you can cheer up you friends while spreading awareness of Dignity & Respect. 
3.       Sign the pledge directly on our website!  Why not get your coworkers to sign the pledge around the lunch table?  Just log in and add your name to our supporters!
4.       Send us a direct message to @DRCampaign via Twitter.  Just tell us you will treat everyone with Dignity & Respect and let your voice be heard!  5.    Just text RESPECT to 313131
So what are you waiting for?  Become a supporter of Dignity & Respect today.  It is just that easy! 

Take Five! — Five Things You Can Do to Celebrate Dignity & Respect Month

 October is Dignity & Respect Month!  All October long, we will be making a special effort to encourage everyone around us to practice the 30 Dignity & Respect Tips and spread our message of Dignity & Respect nationwide.  If you believe that all people deserve Dignity & Respect, help us spread the word!    Each week in October we will be hosting online events:
1.       Share the Pledge.  Get your friends, family and coworkers to sign our Dignity & Respect pledge!  Help us get to 50,000 Facebook Fans this October by sharing our page and using our Dignity & Respect animal app to spread messages of Dignity & Respect.
2.      Shoot a Video. Do you have a message of Dignity & Respect to share? We want to hear it. We will ask you to answer a question about Dignity & Respect. Create a video and you could win a special D&R prize! 3.       Promote Our Proclamation. Would you like your town, county, or school district to declare October Dignity & Respect Month? We will give you the tools to let your community know that you believe in Dignity & Respect for all people.
4.       Nominate a Champion.  Do you know someone who represents the principles of Dignity & Respect.  Send us a photo and explain why your hero is a Dignity & Respect Champion. 
5.       Take Our Survey.  We want to know more about you and how issues of Dignity & Respect influence your life.  Share your experience with us!
It is going to be an exciting month!  We hope you celebrate with us all month long!

July is National HIV Awareness Month

Did you know that July is National HIV Awareness Month?  HIV is not just a disease the affects a certain demographic or people just in the developing world.  It impacts all of us.  Let us spend this month assisting efforts for a cure while continuing to treat all people with Dignity & Respect. 
July 2012 has been designated as National HIV Awareness Month. The goal of National HIV Awareness Month is to re-ignite our national discourse on the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic in order to create broad-scale public awareness of HIV/AIDS, end HIV stigma and discrimination and engage new stakeholders in the fight against the disease, with the ultimate goal of ending the epidemic.
Since the explosion of the global pandemic, many Americans have come to view HIV/AIDS as a problem solely affecting the developing world. National HIV Awareness Month will serve as a platform to re-engage civil society, the private sector, federal agencies and community organizations, who together have the potential to reach the broad swath of Americans who remain untouched by current HIV education effort.
In July 2012 the International AIDS Conference will take place in the United States for the first time in more than 20 years. July 2012 also marks the second anniversary of the release of the United States’ first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy by President Obama.
National HIV Awareness Month is intended to issue a challenge to civil society and the private sector to create and invest in new and innovative awareness, testing, and public engagement initiatives that address the domestic HIV/AIDS crisis and foster a compassionate response over the course of July 2012. 
What will you do this month to help support greater respect for patients?  Read more here:  http://www.nationalhivawarenessmonth.org/

April Dignity & Respect Champion: Dr. Magi Berger


Congratulations to Dr. Magi Berger, April’s Dignity & Respect Champion! Every morning at Clairton Elementary, students listen to five of their peers state over the loud speaker how they are going to practice dignity and respect that day. After just one year as principal, Dr. Magi Berger has instilled the values of inclusion into the school, and they are reflected all day, every day.

“From bully behavior, to poverty, to abuse and neglect, and many other trials that life is full of for our students, it becomes even more important to role-model dignity and respect. We as educators are positioned to influence so many lives. Each time we take such opportunity we are that much more likely to be the special person in their lives that they remember long after schooling. We may be that voice in their minds pushing them toward greatness or helping them make it to college, trade school, or beyond,” said Dr. Berger.

As a resident of the North Hills, Dr. Berger came to Clairton Elementary after working at Pittsburgh Public Schools. Since becoming principal, Dr. Berger, staff, and faculty have adopted “Dignity & Respect for Everyone and Everything” as the school’s theme, and promote it on report cards and newsletters. Through contests and ceremonies the students are rewarded for good behavior and grades with cupcake parties and t-shirts.

Recognizing the significance of simple acts of kindness, Dr. Berger offers a helping hand whenever she sees the opportunity. She believes that these actions begin with an individual and extends to others as a pay-it-forward deed.  

Dr. Berger feels that if everyone showed value and recognition toward each other, we can bring communities together, resulting in a more vibrant and positive home for everyone.

Do you know an individual who makes a positive impact and promotes an environment of inclusion? If so, nominate the person in your life you feel has made a difference for the Dignity & Respect Champion Award!