Dena Hofkosh
September 26, 2023

Funeral Information

September 28 2023 - 11:00 am
Rodef Shalom Temple, 4905 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh (Oakland), PA 15213

DENA HOFKOSH: Died on Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at the age of 68, peaceful and curious about this step on her journey.  Dena had a New York City childhood of roller skating, Central Park, theater, a long subway ride to Bronx Science High School and New York University. Dena's warm and loving parents, Jack and Naomi, both physical therapists, nurtured her curiosity and taught her the value of integrity and independence.  Her mother's sister, Ruth Silverstein, a high school Spanish teacher, took her to Europe at the age of 13 and launched a love of travel and languages.  She initially resisted her parents' pressure to attend medical school (NYU) but realized their wisdom and was profoundly grateful that they set her on that path.  

In 1979, Dena married classmate Jay Weiskopf and the couple moved to Pittsburgh for medical training.  Dena fell in love with Pittsburgh and put down deep roots in Squirrel Hill, which had a comfortable cement: tree ratio and bagels within walking distance from home.  

Dena completed pediatric residency and fellowship at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, her professional home for a 40-year career. She evaluated countless children with developmental challenges and sat with their families sharing difficult news as well as hope. She had a passion for medical education and, as the pediatric residency director, oversaw the professional development of over 700 pediatric residents at Children's Hospital.

Dena excelled at gathering the right group of people to help bring ideas into fruition.  One of her favorite phrases "Help me think about this" launched many collaborative educational projects including Med Ed Day at Pitt Med School, and the UPMC Physician Well-Being Symposium.  

She was President of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors and the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at Pitt Medical School. At the time of her retirement in 2021, Dena was serving as the Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Pediatrics, setting standards for educational scholarship and providing mentorship for faculty.

Dena fell in love with her children before each was born and they deepened her compassion and insight into the joys and challenges of parenting, making her a better pediatrician. Dena was never happier than when she was with her daughters.  She adored her sister, brother-in-law and their wonderful children.  The family was small but full of love.

Dena struggled for years with her sexuality, finally "coming out" as a lesbian at the age of 48 and leaving her marriage.  While she continued to regret the pain she caused people she loved, she lived the rest of her life with integrity and obvious joy.  She was visible and vocal about diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in the medical community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Persad Center, developing PRIDEHealth and planning learning experiences in LGBTQ+ health for medical students.  As an openly gay woman in a position of leadership, she was a role model for students, trainees, and faculty in the LGBTQ+ community.  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine established the Dena Hofkosh Medical School Pride Alliance Scholarship Fund in her honor. 

Dena married her best friend, Kim Patterson, a social worker, in 2017 having found the perfect yin to her yang.  They both embodied the spirit of tikkun olam-the dedication to repair the world-and together built a life of service and a welcoming home.  They shared a love of travel, watching the sunset in Rehoboth, glamping in the RV, and all the hilarious, awful, moving, joyful and mundane parts of a full life.  

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019, Dena learned to face her mortality with grace and to live fully with both grief and joy as her constant companions.  

She is survived by her wife Kim Patterson, her daughters Julia Martin (Derek) and Sarah Weiskopf (Mikynsi Steffan), her sister Sonia Hofkosh, her brother-in-law Jon Hulbert and their children, Eliza Hofkosh-Hulbert (Ledah Wilcox) and Nina Hofkosh-Hulbert.  She is also survived by many grateful colleagues and friends.

Services at Rodef Shalom Temple, 4905 Fifth Avenue (at Morewood) on Thursday, September 28, 2023 at 11 AM. No prior visitation. Interment Homewood Cemetery. 

To honor Dena's legacy, donations may be made to: 

Dena Hofkosh MD Endowed Fund for Faculty Development at UPMC Children's Hospital,

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dena Hofkosh Medical School Pride Alliance Scholarship Fund,, or a charity of your choice.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated.

If you would like to view the service virtually at Rodef Shalom Congregation, please click on the following link:


Send Condolence

I only had the pleasure of reconnecting with Dena once as adults, as for some reason we went in different directions during college but we grew up in Stuyvesant town and were the best of friends until then and what a great friend she was. I send her entire family my condolences on this unimaginable loss. Rest in peace, my old friend.

By Pamela Fuchs Kellman - October 03, 2023

I was a third-year med student interested in pediatrics when I showed up to a CHP meet-and-greet looking haggard and exhausted with my own infant in tow, trying to balance rotations and being a first-time parent. I wasn't very good at it yet. Dena came over to me, took off her program director hat and put on her parent had, and said, "Here, let me hold him for you." He slept peacefully in her arms for 45 minutes and I got to focus on what I wanted to do with my life. IT was my first real encounter with Dena but it told me everything I needed to know - here was someone who would both expect clinical excellence and academic brilliance and demand that we take care of ourselves and our family and be human beings before we were doctors. I never wanted to train anywhere else after that, and my four years of med-peds residency just reinforced how lucky I was to train with such a caring, sensitive mentor. She helped me navigate the madness of transitioning to work hour rules, mature from a headstrong intern learning how to work with my more senior colleague, and cope with the toughest emotional challenges of training. And of course, cared for every one of my peers, and every one of her patients, the same way. I can never thank her enough for her role in molding me into the doctor, and person, I am today.

By Jonathan Weinkle - September 28, 2023

I worked with Dena at the Child Development Unit of Children's Hospital in the mid-1980s. I remember her so well as an excellent, caring doctor and a lovely person. Sending my condolences to her family.

By Mary Anne Ference Mistick - September 28, 2023

Kim - May Dena's memory be a blessing and provide solace as you mourn. I am sending you strength and love to endure the grief. Alisa

By Alisa S Angelo - September 28, 2023

So sorry for your loss thinking of you at this time. What a beautiful tribute to your mom, Sarah.

By Kim Andre - September 28, 2023

Dena was a role model as both a person and a pediatrician.May her memory be for a blessing.

By Sharon Wolkin - September 28, 2023

Sending my deepest condolences to Kim and all those who loved Dena. So very sorry for your loss. May her memory be eternal and live on through every one whose life she touched.

By Shaffer Sherry - September 27, 2023

So sorry for your loss. Sending light to Dena and all her family.

By Cathy Raphael - September 27, 2023

Sending deepest sympathy to Kim and all those who loved and cherished Dena. Cindy

By Cindy Haines - September 27, 2023

Condolences to Dena's entire family - a life well lived, that has impacted so many, in wonderful ways.

By Vanda Soldati (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition / "Team Teal") - September 27, 2023

Dena was a wonderful mentor and member of the pediatric community, inspiring so many of us with her wit and wisdom, insight and support. May her memory be a blessing to all who knew her- most especially her family.

By Megan McCabe - September 27, 2023

My deepest condolences to Kim and Demand family during this difficult time.

By Arlene Longstreth - September 27, 2023

As one of Dena's former trainees, above all else I remember her love, kindness, and humanity. She looked after her residents like a watchful mother and was always there for us when we struggled. Through the literally thousands of doctors she helped train, she has touched millions of lives and will be sorely missed. <3

By Amarpreet Bains - September 27, 2023

Sending prayers for all & may her strength and work be blessing for all to remember. SK

By Dayton Children's Hospital - Cheri R - September 27, 2023

Dr. Dena and her family, I have known since they moved to Pittsburgh. Her daughters Julia and Sarah have always been her light and her kind heart for all the children she touched, made her the kind soul she was. She will be missed by many.

By Gail Amshel - September 27, 2023

May her memory be for a blessing.

By Eric Rickin - September 26, 2023

. Dena and her legacy will continue, and always be a light upon this earth. ✨️ Love and condolences to all who loved Dena and particularly her beloved wife and family. I am so grateful to have had many years of friendship, beach vacations and dinners together. You will be missed my dear friend! I carry you and your joy for life in my heart always. I will see you on the other side.❤️

By Patti Perhacs - September 26, 2023

Sending love and prayers from Texas to Dena’s family and friends during this difficult time. I am a better person and doctor having known Dena.

By Briana Sacco - September 26, 2023