Page 1


Department of Health Policy and Administration NEWs  page 12

Health and Human Development News



an d


| Winter 2013-14

you& your health

College of Health and Human Development Dean

Ann C. Crouter

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Outreach Dennis Shea

Interim Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Kathryn Drager

Greetings from the College of Health and Human Development At its heart, our college is focused on improving the quality of human health and the quality of life for people of all ages and backgrounds, as well as training the next generation of leaders in this important area. You can find our faculty members in their laboratories where they might be studying exercise physiology or developmental neuroscience, out in the community where they might be examining quality of life for cancer survivors or conducting an intervention to prevent diabetes, or in the classroom where they share their knowledge every day with future speech pathologists, physicians, experts on children and youth, physical therapists, community health leaders, outdoor educators, hoteliers, dietitians, and hospital administrators. The stories in this magazine will give you a flavor for the wide variety of research going on in the college. We’ve created eight versions with sections specifically tailored to each of our academic units to give readers an opportunity to learn more about what is going on in the part of the college that they remember best. All of the versions of the magazine are available on the web, so if you are curious about what the graduates of other majors are reading, please go to: A magazine is no substitute for what you can learn by returning to campus. Please schedule a visit to Penn State—and to our college—for 2014. You would be welcome to tour our facilities, sit in on a class or two, and soak up the energetic, rejuvenating spirit that Penn State’s incredible students bring with them to everything they do. I look forward to welcoming you back!

Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education



Douglas Ford

Director of Development Kathleen Rider

Assistant Dean for Alumni Relations and Special Projects Abigail Diehl

Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Kristi Stoehr

Director of Communications and Creative Services Scott Sheaffer

Senior Designer


Dennis Maney

Science Writer/Editor Sara LaJeunesse

Communications Specialist Jennifer Hicks

Alumni Mentoring Program Coordinator and Staff Assistant for Alumni and College Relations


V. Diane Collins

Warmly, Articles may be reprinted with permission; for more information please contact the Office of Alumni and College Relations at 814-865-3831 or

Ann C. Crouter Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean College of Health and Human Development

For general correspondence, please write to the Office of Alumni and College Relations, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802-6501; e-mail; or visit This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. (HHD14032) U.Ed. HHD 14-032


Special Section: News From Your Department  page 12

you & your fitness nutrition health care relationships


YOU & YOUR Fitness

Exercise for Life

Sayers John Miller, III, assistant professor of kinesiology and former athletic trainer for the San Francisco 49ers, gives tips on how to prevent exercise-related injuries and maintain fitness throughout life. Got knee pain? Plantar fasciitis? IT-band syndrome? Achilles tendinitis? Chances are, if you’re suffering from one of these overuse injuries, you have weak hips, glutes, or abdominals—or all three. According to Miller (featured in the images), weaknesses in these major muscle groups can lead to knees that collapse inward during exercise, a habit that can wreak havoc on the body. “Once you’ve damaged cartilage or torn ligaments, they’re never quite the same,” says Miller. “One of the things we commonly

see is knee, ankle, and lower back pain, and one of the common causes of these types of pain is the inability to control the lower extremities.” To avoid injuries that can squash our hopes of maintaining fitness into old age, Miller says we should regularly dedicate time to strengthening the muscles—hips, gluteals, and abdominals—that control our lower extremities.

Double-Leg Squats

Squats Variations

Keep the knee over the foot and the beltline parallel to the ground (image A) while squatting. A band (image A) can help prevent the knees from collapsing inward (image B).

As you develop strength, begin to do single-leg squats (image C). Another variation is to place an exercise ball against a wall and hold a static squat position (image D).


2 | Health and Human Development




Clamshell Leg Lifts

Clamshell Leg Lifts With Band

Lie on your side with knees at right angles. Lift the top knee up, then lower it. This exercise strengthens the glutes and the external rotators of the hip.

When you become stronger, a band can provide additional resistance.

Leg Presses

Leg Presses With Band

Extend one leg at a time while lifting the gluteals and lowering them. This exercise strengthens the gluteal, hamstring, and abdominal muscles.

Doing a leg press with a band around the knees forces you to pull the knees out at the same time you are moving up and down, which emphasizes external rotation of the lower extremity, rather than internal rotation.

Plank Rotations To strengthen the abdominals, position your body parallel to the floor with upper body resting on elbow and forearms and lower body resting on toes. Hold.

To do a side plank, rest on one hand while raising the opposite hand in the air. Balance on sides of feet.

Winter 2013-14 | 3


YOU & YOUR Fitness and Nutrition

I’m Pregnant.

Is it Safe to Exercise? Research consistently shows that exercising while pregnant delivers tremendous health benefits, yet many women avoid exercising because they worry about falling. In a recent study, Danielle Symons Downs, associate professor of kinesiology and obstetrics and gynecology, and Jinger Gottschall, assistant professor of kinesiology, examined whether and how pregnant women’s gaits change as they transition between level and hill surfaces, such as when walking or running outside.

“Most people alter their gait to avoid tripping when walking on uneven ground, but we found that pregnant women adopt an exaggerated gait strategy compared to non-pregnant adults,” says Gottschall. The team concludes that although pregnant women do exaggerate their gaits, walking or jogging outside are generally safe activities. However, if pregnant women do not feel comfortable walking outside, a treadmill or a track are good alternatives.

Visit a Park for Your Health Want to become more physically fit? Head to your local park, says Andrew Mowen, associate professor of recreation, park, and tourism management. “Studies show that people exercise more when they have access to parks,” he says. “They also are less stressed and have fewer anxiety disorders when they visit parks.”

4 | Health and Human Development

“Work Out” Your Hot Flashes Menopausal women who exercise may experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours following physical activity, according to Steriani Elavsky, associate professor of kinesiology, and colleagues. “Some people think that performing physical activity could increase hot flashes because it increases body temperature,” says Elavsky. “But our research shows that this is not true. On average, the women in our study experienced fewer hot flash symptoms after exercising.”

Binge-Eating Disorders Roughly four million Americans regularly binge eat to the point of feeling sick. Repeated bingeing on fatty food may change patterns of neural signaling in the brain in a manner similar to that which occurs during drug use, according to research on rats conducted by Professor of Nutritional Neuroscience Rebecca Corwin. “These changes in the brain could perpetuate the bingeing behavior and may explain why binge-eating disorder is so difficult to treat,” she says. “What’s particularly interesting is that only rats with restricted access to a fatty treat a few times a week will binge on the treat. Rats that get to eat a little of the treat every day don’t binge and don’t show the same changes.”

Symptoms of Binge-Eating Disorder Provided by the Mayo Clinic

• Eating unusually large amounts of food • Eating even when you’re full or not hungry • Eating rapidly during binge episodes • Eating until you’re uncomfortably full • Frequently eating alone • Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control • Feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty, or upset about your eating • Losing and gaining weight repeatedly, also called yo-yo dieting If you or a loved one has any symptoms of binge-eating disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible.

For Healthy Weight Loss, Ditch the Diet The Atkins Diet, the Paleolithic Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet. Some of us have tried every fad diet out there in an attempt to lose weight and keep it off. Yet, according to Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, people might have better success if they think NOT in terms of dieting, but rather on eating healthful foods over their lifetime. “That means eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, skim-milk dairy products, lean meats, and a small amount of liquid vegetable oil,” says Kris-Etherton. “It also means avoiding high-calorie snacks. Certainly they can be incorporated in small amounts in a healthy diet, but if you focus on eating the healthier foods, you might naturally eat fewer sweets and treats.” Kris-Etherton says if you feel you really need the structure of a diet, check out the research-based DASH Diet, which emphasizes eating healthful foods in three meals and two snacks a day. Kris-Etherton recently served on a panel of scientists that ranked the diet at the top of the list in a U.S. News & World Report diet ranking.

Take a dip Can’t get your kids to eat their vegetables? Try offering the veggies with a side of dip. Research by Jennifer Savage Williams, associate director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research, showed that more kids like vegetables when they are paired with a yummy dip compared to vegetables without a dip. “Just because children refuse to taste a vegetable doesn’t mean they don’t like it,” Savage says. “It’s foreign—the key is to try to get them to taste it in a positive light.”

Winter 2013-14 | 5


YOU & YOUR Nutrition

Nutrition Concerns in your

20s, 40s, & 60s As we age, our calorie needs and nutrient requirements change. Lynn Parker Klees, instructor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, shares tips on how to eat healthfully in your 20s, 40s, and 60s.

6 | Health and Human Development


You may be working long hours, making new friends and dating, and possibly getting married and having children. Life is unpredictable, yet grabbing meals on the go often means taking in more calories and fewer nutrients. • When eating in restaurants, take half of the portion home. • Aim to have fruits and vegetables constitute half of your plate at lunch and dinner. • Substitute fruit for dessert most of the time. • When you need a quick meal, pick up healthy convenience foods like rotisserie chicken, instant brown rice, and frozen vegetables. • Reduce sugar-sweetened beverages and substitute water or no-calorie beverages. • Moderate alcohol consumption—one serving per day for women and two servings per day for men.


Life is hectic and you may not notice your metabolism starting to slow down. Watch out for increased belly fat as a result of dropping estrogen levels for women and long hours sitting for both men and women. • Find ways to add movement during the day. Get up early to go to the gym, take off during your lunch break to walk or bicycle, or jog or walk around the soccer field during your kids’ games. • Add strength training to slow the inevitable loss of muscle mass with aging. • Calorie needs drop as we get older. Cut 100 calories a day from your pre-40 diet. For every decade after 40, we need about 1 percent fewer calories, or the equivalent of a cookie. • Limit extra fats and sugars to about 100-150 calories per day.


You may be looking forward to increasing your physical activity in retirement or you may be slowing down due to injuries or chronic health problems. Despite your fitness level, your calorie needs have decreased while your nutrient needs have stayed the same or increased. • If you live alone, try to halve recipes or freeze in small portions for later use to avoid eating spoiled leftovers. • As we age, our thirst mechanism decreases but our fluid needs are maintained. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. • People in their 60s need more protein to maintain their muscles. Choose lean meats, fish, beans, nuts, and tofu, and eat them throughout the day. • Beware of losing too much weight. People who are underweight and undernourished don’t fare as well when faced with illness and injury.


Percentage of Americans who are overweight.


Percentage of Americans who are projected to be obese, not just overweight, by 2030.

Source: Gordon Jensen, professor and head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences

Winter 2013-14 | 7


YOU & YOUR Health care

The Affordable Care Act: A Primer One in seven Americans does not have health insurance. When they do, the average family’s health insurance costs more than $15,000 per year. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which was signed into law in 2010, promises to increase and improve health insurance coverage and reduce the cost of health care. How will this benefit you? According to Pamela Farley Short, professor of health policy and administration, it depends on who you are. Below, Short summarizes the primary provisions of Phase I and II of the Affordable Care Act, as it has evolved with Supreme Court decisions, stateby-state decisions about participation, and the Obama administration’s interpretation and implementation of the law.

Phase I (now in effect ) Insurer Limitations Preventive Care Prescription Drugs Young People Small Businesses Lifetime Limits Pre-Existing Conditions High-Risk Patients

8 | Health and Human Development

Insurers are limited in how they spend premium dollars; if too little goes into health care for their customers, they must give some of it back through rebates. No additional costs for preventive care, like screenings and vaccinations, for anyone with health insurance. People on Medicare who use a lot of prescription drugs pay less for them. Young people can stay on their parents’ policies up to age 26. Some small businesses get tax breaks to help them buy insurance for their employees. No more lifetime limits on health insurance. Insurance companies can’t turn kids down because of pre-existing conditions, like asthma and diabetes. High-risk pools supported by the government were set up to cover the sickest of the uninsured, even before the big expansions in health insurance scheduled for 2014.

Phase II (effective as of January 1, 2014) Medicaid

States have the option of expanding Medicaid to cover all low-income people, with the federal government picking up the entire cost for three years and then slowly shifting 10 percent to the states by 2020. Because of the Supreme Court ruling, states also have the option of leaving Medicaid unchanged and poor people uninsured.

Low-income Families

Tax credits are available to offset health insurance costs of anyone without Medicaid or access to affordable employment-based health insurance if their family income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line (between $23,000 and $94,000 for a family of four). Lower-income families in this range get more help than higher-income families.

Marketplace Exchange

People with no option to get health insurance through work can buy it through an online marketplace, organized by their state or by the federal government on behalf of their state.

No Rejections

Insurers cannot turn people down or charge them more if they are sick.

Insurance Requirement Large Businesses

Everyone is required to have insurance. Those who don’t must pay a special tax that is relatively small in 2014 but increases in subsequent years. Starting in 2015, larger businesses will pay special taxes if they don’t insure their full-time workers.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation was an important source of information in compiling these lists.

Winter 2013-14 | 9


YOU & YOUR Relationships

How to connect with kids at any age Greg Fosco, assistant professor of human development and family studies and the Karl R. and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professor for the Study of Families, explains two of the most important ways parents can connect with their kids. Focus on positive behavior—Rather than focus on corrective feedback and nagging, parents can praise their kids’ good behavior, notice their successes, and make a point of helping them understand when they are meeting expectations or behaving appropriately. Strive for a ratio of three praises for every one corrective statement. Be a good listener—Children’s disclosures provide a range of opportunities for parents, such as problem-solving difficult peer interactions or learning about challenges their children are having with classwork. Parents are wise to take advantage of any opportunity to learn with whom their children are spending time and what happens while they are unsupervised. The most skillful parents are non-reactive listeners who ask questions like, “What happened next?” or “How did you respond?” or “Was that scary?” which can help kids open up.

10 |


“Should I allow my teenager to drink alcohol at home?”


“Many parents believe if they provide alcohol early it takes the mystery away and their kids are less likely to drink outside the home, but research shows that when the first drink is provided within the home, kids are more likely to drink more heavily and frequently,” says Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health.

39.8 million

Caring For Older Family Members 39.8 million. That’s the number of Americans over age 15 who provided unpaid care to someone over age 65 during a three-month period in 2012, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies Steven Zarit gives some tips on how to manage the stress of caring for aging family members: • Get the information you need. Information about your relative’s condition and the options you have for providing care will help a lot. • Connect with other caregivers in a support group or on-line chat, share ideas about what works, and give support to one another. • Ask for help when you need it. • Get regular breaks from caregiving. My research has shown that adult day service programs have therapeutic benefits for their clients, while also reducing stress and improving well-being of caregivers. • If you feel upset and don’t know what to do, a social worker or psychologist with training in caregiving can be very helpful.

Winter 2013-14 | 11


Department of Health Policy and Administration

Bringing People Together The online Master of Health Administration program brings together students from around the world to learn the skills needed to become leaders in the health care sector. Here, we chronicle the journeys of four students, from the moment they first became interested in health care to the present day as they pursue their degrees in health administration. Facing oppression and violence against women, Sharifa Wahab and her family fled Taliban Afghanistan in 1994, taking nothing with them but a change of clothes. After eventually settling in the United States, Sharifa now is in the process of applying to dental school. Minh Tran was 11 years old when her mother plucked her from her home in war-torn Vietnam and left her to live with an aunt in Westminster, California. Back in Vietnam, Minh had witnessed tremendous suffering among people who lacked health care. Today, she is using her doctor of pharmacy degree to help others. Meredith Mills had been working for many years as a marketing and e-commerce manager in an S&P 500 clothing retailer when she began to feel unfulfilled by her career. When her grandmother died, her grandfather asked her when she was going to join the family business—a retirement community. Meredith and her husband Daniel quit their jobs and began new careers caring for older adults.

12 | Health and Human Development

These four people have had unique experiences in their lives, all of which have led them to one place: the online Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) program offered through the Penn State World Campus. The students—new to the program last fall—joined a cohort of 27 individuals from around the United States and world. Together, they are learning the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to enter leadership positions in the increasingly complex health care sector. “The beauty of the online M.H.A. program is that it provides students who are living all over the world the same educational opportunity as students who attend the residential program, but without having to relocate to University Park,” said Christopher Calkins, director of the M.H.A. program. “With the online program, students get the benefit of working together with people who may have vastly different perspectives because of past experiences and even where they live. For example, currently enrolled students live in Texas, Nevada, Florida, and even Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.”

Students in the Penn State online M.H.A. program live all over the world.

> Kabul, Afghanistan

> Saigon, Vietnam

Sharifa Wahab grew up in Kabul during a period of stability for the country. After graduating from high school, she followed in her father’s footsteps and attended dental school. She then opened her own dental clinic and began to see patients.

At the age of 11, Minh Tran and her sister left their home in Vietnam to live with their aunt in California. Life in the United States, her mother believed, would be safer and provide greater educational opportunities than would Vietnam, whose people were plagued by poverty and persecution following the Vietnam War.

One night her father returned home from work and told everyone to pack just one set of clothes and get in the car. He locked the house and drove the family to Pakistan. “When the Taliban came into power, it was dangerous to be an educated woman,” said Sharifa. “Men would come in the middle of the night and abuse women. Women were prohibited from going to school or work.” After living for a while in Pakistan, the family moved to Germany. There, Sharifa got married through an arranged marriage. With her new husband she moved to the United States. “My husband was a very abusive man; he never wanted me to fulfill my dream of becoming a dentist,” she said. “In 2001, he left me and my three young children alone. I worked all day and took classes at night.”

Over the next six years or so, Minh’s mother returned to the United States to visit her daughters about two to three times each year. “It was definitely hard for me,” said Minh. “I cried every time she left. Looking back at the whole situation, I experienced a tremendous amount of hardship; however, there is not a doubt in my mind that moving to America was a positive change in my life. It allowed me to grow and take on responsibilities without parent figures at a young age. If it was not for this, I would not have become the person I am today: persistent, caring, and mature. More importantly, it allowed me to achieve my passion of becoming a health care provider.”

Sharifa eventually passed the National Board Dental Examination through the American Dental Association and is now applying to dental schools. “I want to give a better life to my kids and prove to them if a single mom with no family and support can achieve her goals then they can too.” Now a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, Sharifa joined the online M.H.A program because she wanted to learn the business side of health care so that after she finishes dentistry school—for the second time—she can open her own dental clinic. “The degree in M.H.A. will open the doors of many opportunities within my area of knowledge,” she said. “After receiving my M.H.A degree I surely will accomplish my goal of completing dental school.”

> Nevene Razeq Dubai, United Arab Emirates Winter 2013-14 | 13


Department of Health Policy and Administration After completing a doctor of pharmacy degree at Washington State University, Minh began a pharmaceutical internship at Yakima Neighborhood Health Services in Yakima, Washington. “I returned to school to get an M.H.A degree because I want to enhance my knowledge and skills in the business of health to make a difference in the lives of my patients,” she said. Minh said, specifically, her career goals are to gain exposure in management in the field of pharmacy, to develop leadership skills, and to make a difference in the lives of others as a health care provider. “I believe this degree will help me achieve these goals by further facilitating my career development in our dynamic health care system,” she said.

> Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Online program...on campus? The online M.H.A. program includes a two-week visit to the University Park campus, during which students get to meet each other and faculty members in person and participate in hands-on learning activities.

Meredith and Daniel Mills had been working in corporate job roles in Philadelphia for five years—he with a Fortune 200 insurance company and she with an S&P 500 clothing retailer—when they began to feel unfulfilled by what they were doing with their lives. “We both come from families that are very giving and empathetic, and we wanted to feel we were giving back through our day-to-day work,” said Daniel. They had just begun interviewing for new positions when Meredith’s grandmother passed away. She and Meredith’s grandfather— one-time governor of Pennsylvania—had owned and worked in businesses in the health care industry for the past 50 years. “At my grandmother’s funeral, my grandfather asked me when I would join the family business,” said Meredith. “He often jokes about this with the grandchildren, because he really wants to see the business passed to the next generation. Usually we smile and laugh things off, but this time the question spoke to me. I knew that this time, the question could really create a new path for me.”

Online M.H.A. students listen to a lecture during their two-week visit to the University Park campus in July.

14 | Health and Human Development

> Waleed Al Habeeb Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The couple talked about the possibility and eventually decided to take the plunge together. They rented their house in Philadelphia, moved back to central Pennsylvania and joined the business, Country Meadows, which includes 10 campuses focused on retirement, personal care, memory care, and skilled care services. Daniel is the executive director and Meredith is the marketing director at the company’s flagship campus in Hershey. “We quickly learned that although we understood how to make business decisions, the medical complications and acuity of care that we were facing with our residents were difficult to comprehend at times,” said Daniel. “We wanted to make the best assessments and decisions, and we wanted to be able to guide families through the maze of long-term care options. Though we learned a lot during our first year in long-term care, we wanted to extend our knowledge base and truly be leaders and contributors in our company.” According to Meredith, it did not occur to her and Daniel to attend graduate school because of their hectic work schedules and long distance from a major educational institution. “The World Campus format changed that for us,” she said. “We chose Penn State because of its great reputation in medicine and teaching and because very few other institutions offer an M.H.A. degree, let alone one online.” Meredith added that even just a few months into the program, she and Daniel already feel that what they are learning through the readings, presentations, and discussions is immediately relevant to their day-to-day work. “We enjoy getting the perspectives of classmates from other areas of the industry and being able to look at issues and challenges from so many angles with their input,” she said. “We are confident that through this program, we will gain credibility in our industry, networking opportunities with our classmates

> Cynthia Starke Munich, Germany and professors, and most importantly, the ability to do the absolute best job to support the seniors that we have the honor of working with, so that we can ensure that they have information about and access to the best care possible.”

> University Park, Pennsylvania Now in its second year, the online M.H.A. program is already growing in popularity. “We have seen an increase in applications and interest from people working across the health care spectrum, and we expect that this trend will continue,” said Calkins. Meanwhile, the current cohort is plugging away at its assignments, all the while becoming closer and closer to one another even though they live hundreds of miles apart. That’s because the students work together in virtual teams to develop presentations, review cases in health care management, and discuss major trends and issues facing health care organizations. Through the use of technology tools, like Yammer, the students are able to connect with each other and participate in multiple conversation threads at the same time. “I definitely feel like I have gotten to know my classmates through the group assignments and the tools given to us,” said Meredith. Calkins noted that an important part of the online M.H.A. program is the two-week visit to the University Park campus, during which students get to meet each other and faculty members and participate in hands-on learning activities.

> Jon Kaminski and Russ Gaiser San Antonio, Texas, USA

By designing assignments that bring students together and by providing them with professors who are experts in the field, the online M.H.A. program prepares students for the complexities they will face in managing organizations that plan, finance, and deliver health care. The curriculum emphasizes strategic thinking, financial management, communication, and a broad understanding of the U.S. health care system. “The U.S. health care system is changing rapidly and our students will be positioned to lead health care organizations through the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and into the future,” said Calkins. n

Winter 2013-14 | 15


Department of Health Policy and Administration

From Hospice to Hospital A Naval officer earns a Ph.D. degree in health policy and administration with a goal of improving care for patients.

“I accompanied hospice nurses on home visits and was able to see firsthand the impact that hospice programs can have on terminally ill patients and their families,” said Towers, a commissioned officer in the United States Navy (Medical Service Corps) who graduated in May 2013 with a Ph.D. degree in health policy and administration. “It opened my eyes to the wonderful things that hospice can accomplish.” As a graduate student at Penn State, Towers conducted research on hospice care for which he won the Student Research Paper of the Year Award from the American Academy of Medical Administrators for his paper “Optimizing Value for Medicare Expenditures at the End of Life.” Towers received the award at the academy’s 2012 annual conference held from November 13 to 16 in San Antonio, Texas. The paper is an argument for more extensive use of hospice services in place of aggressive, curative treatment for terminally ill patients, which is often the default choice at the end of life. To make the argument, Towers examined several potential access barriers to hospice and offered strategies that the Medicare program might consider to overcome these barriers and increase hospice utilization among its enrollees.

were to explore some of the barriers to hospice utilization that I mention in the paper, it may be able to achieve a more economical outcome for many of its enrollees.” While Towers continued to be interested in the topic of hospice care, he moved into another line of research for his dissertation. According to him, hospitals in the United States submit to accreditation inspections every three years or so, but because hospital personnel tend to fixate on re-accreditation as the ultimate goal of these inspections, few pay attention to the potential side effects of the inspection process, particularly at the level of the patient or hospital employee.    Towers created a conceptual framework for why certain side effects might occur. Specifically, he proposed that patient outcomes, such as inpatient death and preventable readmission, may actually improve as hospitals become re-accredited, but that any improvements likely fade away fairly quickly.  Additionally, he proposed that hospital personnel may be more likely to reassess their perceptions of their hospitals during accreditation cycles but that, like patient outcomes, any changes are likely to fade as hospital operations return to normal following the inspection.  As part of the conceptual framework, Towers also examined monthly risk-adjusted mortality rates in 58 New Jersey hospitals over a ten-year period. The study specifically compared risk-adjusted mortality rates in close temporal proximity to accreditation inspections to rates at other times and found that rates do actually improve temporarily. Finally, Towers investigated individual perceptions of organizational legitimacy in 23 United States Navy hospitals over a three-year period. This study compared observations of perceived legitimacy during accreditation cycles to observations obtained at other times. Towers observed that accreditation inspections did in fact trigger reassessment of legitimacy, but such reassessments did not last beyond a few weeks after the inspection.

“End-of-life care represents a disproportionate share of total Medicare expenditures, with approximately thirty percent going to support the approximately five percent of enrollees who die each year,” said Towers. “In some cases, physicians and family members choose to pursue aggressive curative treatment in an attempt to prolong life even when death is inevitable. For the patient, this often means dying in a hospital bed in pain and discomfort when he or she may prefer to die more peacefully at home or elsewhere. In an era of booming health care costs and tightening budgets, it is critical that the Medicare program obtain optimal value for every dollar spent on end-of-life care.

Towers said he chose to attend graduate school at Penn State because the Department of Health Policy and Administration was well regarded in the greater community and had a strong track record for educating military officers. “I was not disappointed,” he said. “The faculty is fantastic and I really had a great experience there.” 

“I personally believe that hospice would be a better alternative for many patients, even if it weren’t the more economical choice,” said Towers. “That said, it is a lower cost alternative— and, likely, the more desirable choice—for a good portion of Medicare enrollees.  This is the main premise of the paper— that our system continues to funnel patients toward a more costly and less desirable end state.  If the Medicare program

Last fall, he learned that he would be reporting for duty as a researcher at the Center for Naval Analyses—a Navy-sponsored think tank with a subsection dedicated to health services research in Alexandria, Virginia—upon completion of his studies. After that, he hopes to assume a faculty teaching position in the U.S. Army-Baylor Master of Health Administration program. ■

16 | Health and Human Development

Credit: Onward State

When Tyler Towers ’13g was a master’s student at the University of Memphis, the Salt Lake City native spent much of his free time working as an intern at a local home health and hospice agency.

Graduate Student Wins AcademyHealth Presidential Scholarship

Credit: Onward State

Namrata Uberoi, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Health Policy and Administration, is one of six individuals nationwide to win a Presidential Scholarship for the AcademyHealth Institute on Advocacy and Public Policy.

Meet Peter Khoury

Student Trustee and M.H.A. Student By Courtney Lennartz ’13 HPA How did you become the student trustee for the Board of Trustees? “The selection process for becoming the student trustee was quite lengthy and took about nine months. There was a preliminary screening process by the screening committee that included student leaders. From there was a round of interviews with those student leaders. After that, there were multiple interviews with members of the Governor’s staff.”

What made you want to become the student trustee? “Since my arrival at Penn State in 2008, I have been entrenched in service at Penn State and the State College community through a variety of organizations. I wanted to continue with my service to Penn State and be a strong advocate for students at the highest level of governance at Penn State.”

What are some goals and/or initiatives that you have for your term? “Some goals that I have laid out are the creation of a financial literacy program at Penn State. This has come to fruition, after I led an administrative task force to investigate the issue, with the hiring of a full-time financial literacy expert who is working to develop these programs for students. I am now embarking on an initiative to remove fees for students who do not utilize the services those fees contribute to. For example, I was in Kentucky last summer for my residency, yet I had to pay a student activity fee and a facilities fee. I also have been strongly supporting both the Senate and the Student Government’s work on attaining a codified student trustee position.” 

Any advice for students who may want to pursue a position on the board in the future?

“AcademyHealth is the premier organization for academics conducting health services research and health care professionals in policy and management,” said Dennis Shea, associate dean for undergraduate programs and outreach. “Their support enables programs like ours to provide outstanding learning opportunities for the next generation of those who will improve health care. The recognition also shows the high quality training in health services research provided by the faculty in health policy and administration at Penn State, and the hard work that Namrata and her advisers have put into her thesis research.” The Presidential Scholarship allows recipients to participate in the 2013 National Health Policy Conference (NHPC), where they will interact with AcademyHealth leaders and staff members, learn effective strategies for communicating with policymakers on Capitol Hill, and participate in a “Hill Day” to advance AcademyHealth’s advocacy priorities.   “The 2013 Presidential Scholarship will aid in my goal of further developing my expertise in health policy,” said Uberoi. “It also will provide me with the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with established researchers, policy experts, and advocates who possess insider perspectives on health policy, which is especially important given health reform. It was nice to know that the selection committee felt that I had potential to contribute to the field of health services research and policy.”

“Becoming a trustee is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for someone who does not have an expert understanding of the deep inner workings of our University. Trustees have a duty to care for and be loyal to the University.”

Winter 2013-14 | 17

Implementing Health Care Reform at the Local Level Health care is a contentious topic, with much of the debate centered on the value of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)— also known as Obamacare. While it may seem that there will be no resolution to this argument, local communities already agree on how to improve health care in the United States, and they are taking steps to implement these changes. Professor Dennis P. Scanlon and his colleagues have contributed papers to a special issue of the American Journal of Managed Care in which they discuss several of these community-level health care reform efforts. The reform efforts are part of a project, called Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q), a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-sponsored initiative to improve health care quality in 16 communities across the country ranging from Humboldt County in California to the State of Maine to south central Pennsylvania. “This local experimentation has been beneficial for informing changes needed in the health care system,” said Scanlon. The special journal issue demonstrates the progress of the 16 AF4Q communities during the project’s first five years. For example, one paper examines how communities can increase transparency with regard to health care by creating physician and hospital “report cards.” Another examines how communities can engage consumers in their own health and health care, including using websites to provide information to consumers and patients. A third describes lessons learned about how to reduce health care disparities regarding race, ethnicity, language, and other dimensions at the local level. ■

18 | Health and Human Development

Prioritizing Health Care Programs For the Local Community The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), signed into law on March 23, 2010, contains specific requirements for hospital facilities that wish to receive or maintain tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Under 501(r), hospital facilities must conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) at least once every three years. In response to this requirement, Mount Nittany Medical Center, located in State College, Pa., engaged a community-based process to develop its CHNA using the expertise and support of Grace Gorenflo of Gorenflo Consulting, Inc.

HPA Student Introduced to Health Care Reform Through Internship

In turn, Gorenflo gave Rhonda BeLue, associate professor of health policy and administration, the opportunity to assist her with the CHNA. BeLue and five students from the population health track of the health policy and administration major collected, analyzed, and synthesized data from a wide variety of sources in order to characterize the population and priority health needs of Centre County and the surrounding region. The team’s ultimate goal was to understand the demographic composition of the central Pennsylvania region, leading causes of death, leading causes of illness, health risk factors, and perceptions about health and quality of life.

By Devin Fiorante ’13 HPA

Sara Young, a senior in HPA, worked with the Penn State team to develop Mount Nittany Medical Center’s CHNA. She was responsible for conducting basic data analysis of demographics and health statuses of residents living in Centre County and for gathering an asset inventory for all individuals that Mount Nittany Medical Center is responsible for serving.

“It is vital for a needs assessment to be conducted as the first stage in any program planning and development process in order to demonstrate the need and relevance for the program,” said Reni Elewonibi, a Ph.D. student in health policy and administration and demography. “The information collected in the CHNA will inform and drive decisions about any potential program design and development and can help make the case for these programs to potential funders.”

Results of the study revealed six major community health needs and gaps: 1. Access (transportation and provider availability)

2. 1.

2. Healthy aging


3. Mental health 4. Obesity/diabetes 5. Oral health 6. Substance abuse

“My internship provided an extensive look into new challenges involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” she said. “Health care organizations across the country are beginning to develop strategies to manage these new requirements. With the guidance of seasoned professionals at Mount Nittany Medical Center, I was able to learn the ins and outs of working for a large not-for-profit health care organization and am equipped with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and values to begin a career in health management or health policy.”



“This experience was particularly helpful for the students who learned about survey design for community-based needs assessments,” said BeLue. “They also learned about the health and demographics of Centre County. Most importantly, they learned about the process of a community health needs assessment, which is critically important since the PPACA will require regular CHNAs for many health care facilities in the future.”


“I think there tends to be a disconnect between what researchers view as problems and what community members may view as issues,” said Beatrice Abiero, a Ph.D. student in health policy and administration and demography. “I learned from this experience that in order to understand and address community issues, researchers need to be actively involved in getting community members to voice their concerns.” ■

Winter 2013-14 | 19


Department of Health Policy and Administration

Survival of Safety-Net Hospitals at Risk Safety-net hospitals provide a disproportionate share of charity and under-reimbursed care to uninsured and low-income populations, often tailoring their services to meet the special needs of these populations. According to Jonathan Clark, assistant professor of health policy and administration, many public safety-net hospitals are likely to face increasing financial and competitive pressures stemming, in part, from the Affordable Care Act. “The issue for these hospitals going forward is that the Affordable Care Act promises to change how care for low-income and uninsured populations is funded, potentially reshaping the competitive landscape,” he said. “Our research suggests that adapting to these changes may be a struggle for some public safety-net hospitals.” Clark and his colleagues analyzed the financial performance and governance of 150 safety-net hospitals between 2003 and 2007. “We found, counter-intuitively, that public hospitals directly controlled by governments, especially those in highly competitive markets, were more profitable than other safety-net hospitals,” Clark said. The team’s data suggested that the successful public hospitals overlooked important governance and management practices and were financially healthy primarily because they were able to obtain substantial subsidies from state and local governments, such as property tax transfers or supplemental Medicaid payments, including disproportionate share (DSH) payments. The results were published in a recent issue of the journal Health Affairs.

Better Coordination

Necessary to Reduce Hospital Readmission Rates Studies show that one in five Medicare beneficiaries returns to the hospital within 30 days of discharge at an annual cost of $18 billion to the program, and many of these readmissions are thought to be preventable with better care. Jessica Mittler, assistant professor of health policy and administration, and colleagues examined the results of the first two years of the State Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations (STAAR) initiative, which aims to reduce hospital readmissions in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington by 20 to 30 percent. Specifically, they analyzed 52 interviews with national program leaders, state STAAR directors, improvement advisers, hospital participants, post-acute care providers, members of professional associations, and health care policy leaders. “We learned that efforts to reduce hospital readmissions on a large scale will need to focus explicitly on promoting real collaboration across care settings,” said Mittler. “This means that policies need to consider the economic incentives for coordinating care and how to help cultivate productive human relationships to improve quality across settings.” The results were published in a recent edition of the journal Population Health Management. Other HPA authors on the paper include Ph.D. students Jennifer O’Hora and Jillian Harvey and Professor Dennis Scanlon. ● If you are interested in supporting research in the Department of Health Policy and Administration, contact Kathleen Rider at or 814-865-1064.

20 | Health and Human Development

Outsourced Radiologists Perform Better Reading For Fewer Hospitals Nowadays, if you go to the emergency room with a broken arm, the chance that your X-ray will be read by someone located elsewhere in the world is pretty high. That’s because more than half of all hospitals now use teleradiology services in which hospitals send their X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other images to outsourcing companies who then forward the images to individual radiologists to read. According to Jonathan Clark, assistant professor of health policy and administration, over time, these individual radiologists gain a tremendous amount of experience by reading images from hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of customers. But is the experience gained by reading images for so many hospitals the same as the experience gained by repeatedly reading images for just a few hospitals? To determine whether learning and performance improvement are customer specific, the researchers examined the experience and productivity of 97 radiologists reading more than 2.7 million images from 1,431 hospitals. The results of the study appeared in a recent issue of the journal Organization Science. The team found that the radiologist’s prior experience with a particular hospital has a greater effect on performance than his or her overall experience reading the same type of image for a variety of hospitals. The researchers also found that the customer-specific knowledge gained by individual radiologists is aided by the variety of customers with whom a radiologist has experience. “On the surface, this finding seems contradictory,” Clark said. “How can it be that both specialization and variety are important? Our models can only take us so far toward answering this question, but we think the implication is that there are limits to both customer specialization and customer variety, and that the optimum is to have a nice mix of both specialized experience and variety in customers.” n


Department of Health Policy and Administration

Couple Establishes Scholarship to Help Students

“Darryl turned me on to the role of a health care administrator, and when I arrived at Penn State the HPA program seemed like the perfect fit,” said Darren. “I’ve always been interested in health care policy and the business of health care, and the opportunity to explore that as a career path as an undergrad was pretty unique to my experience at Penn State.”

Photo Courtesy of Darren and Ellen Lehrich

As a boy, Darren Lehrich ’93 spent time at Allentown Hospital—now Lehigh Valley Health System—with his father, a physician. While there, Darren also spent time with his father’s friend, Darryl Lipman, who happened to be the CEO of the hospital.

While at Penn State, Darren met his future wife, Ellen ’93, who also was majoring in HPA. “Ellen was also drawn to HPA because she saw a business career in a helping field—health care,” said Darren. “She’s been successful evolving her skill set in areas such as marketing and the Internet, while still remaining in health care.” After graduating, Darren worked for about three years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York as a management trainee and then went on to get a master of business administration degree at Purdue University. He currently works for Deutsche Bank in New York, leading its U.S. Health Care Providers equity research team. “I’ve been a ‘sell-side’ equity analyst for fifteen years, eight of which have been with Deutsche Bank,” he said. “My team performs investment research for Deutsche Bank, and our clients are mainly institutional investors who seek investment ideas in the health care services sector. My area of specialty includes all of the major investor-owned service providers, such as hospitals, dialysis operators, clinical labs, senior facility operators, national physician management groups, imaging and surgery centers, and post-acute care providers. It’s a diverse group of nearly 30 companies, and requires that I am on top of legislative and regulatory developments, Medicare reimbursement policy, the nuances of all the business models within each sub-sector, and all the financials so that we can value these companies properly. It’s a fast-paced role that is intellectually stimulating and intense, but has been loads of fun.” Ellen’s first job after graduating was also at Sloan-Kettering. Since then, she has worked at Mount Sinai Hospital and for several dot-coms, including MedScape and Pfizer/Pharmacia. She now works as a strategist for a small health care consulting firm called Evolution Road that specializes in providing digital marketing expertise to pharmaceutical clients. Darren and Ellen—who reside in Summit, NJ, with their 6-, 10-, and 11-year-old sons—have been involved with the HPA program for quite some time. Their first initiative was to help

22 | Health and Human Development

HPA develop more resources and contacts for professional development, which has yielded successes in terms of more oncampus recruiting and better job and internship opportunities. “The HPA internship requirement is such a valuable and practical experience for undergrads,” said Darren. “We hope other alums can help HPA build more bridges into their corporations.” The couple decided to establish the Ellen and Darren Lehrich Trustee Scholarship because of the impact the program had on their careers and the University had on their lives. “The scholarship is a natural way to give back to Penn State, while having a very personal and direct impact on an individual,” said Darren. “And, we like the idea of helping HPA develop future leaders for the health care industry because management talent within health care will be in demand for a very long time. I’m particularly grateful to my employer’s charitable arm, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, which has provided partial matching for all of our Penn State philanthropy.” Brianna Davis, a senior majoring in HPA and minoring in labor employment, is the first recipient of the Ellen and Darren Lehrich Trustee Scholarship. “The scholarship will help relieve some of the financial burden of college and make it easier to achieve my goals,” she said. “My future career goals are to attend graduate school after gaining some field experience for a few years, and eventually to become an administrator in a hospital.” ■

Alumni News Todd Schonherz ’91 HPA was promoted to chief operating officer at the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. In his new role, Schonherz oversees the daily operations and helps drive the strategic initiatives of the largest independent oncology/ hematology practice in the United States.  Elizabeth Duffy ’98 HPA has written a book series for children, titled “I Am Beautiful Because...” Each of the books—there are four so far—focuses on a characteristic or situation that a child may believe is negative and shows him or her how it can be positive. “My goal is to show children that they are beautiful, not just because of outward appearances, but because of what lies within each of them,” said Duffy.  Dominique LaRochelle ’09 M.H.A., project manager for the Quality and Patient Safety Institute at Cleveland Clinic, has been selected to receive a Northeast Ohio Top 25 Under 35 Movers & Shakers Award from the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club.

Affiliate Program Group (APG) Update

The HPA Mentoring program has become the largest in the College of Health and Human Development. During 2013, the APG’s Mentoring Committee launched the first master’s-level mentoring program within the college. In addition, the Mentoring Committee sponsors several other programs throughout the year. Our highly successful “Professionals in the Classroom” program brings nearly two dozen alumni back to campus to visit with students and supplement the curriculum in the undergraduate and MHA classrooms. These alumni also participate in an evening meeting with the student HPA organizations, providing “speed networking” opportunities during which students explore different careers. In the spring semester, during the Mentoring Program kick-off weekend, the committee also sponsors a “Jump Start Your Career” networking session, in which mentors provide another networking opportunity. To become a mentor in either the undergraduate or MHA program, visit The kick-off dinner for the undergraduate program will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014, and the MHA kick-off brunch will occur on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

Dennis Shea Named Associate Dean Dennis Shea, professor and head of the Department of Health Policy and Administration, has been named associate dean for undergraduate programs and outreach in the College of Health and Human Development. “Dennis brings considerable administrative experience to his new role,” said Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean. “He has not only been an effective academic unit head but has made critical contributions in guiding HPA’s efforts to create and launch the college’s first online degree program.” Professor Diane Brannon is serving as the interim department head while a national search is conducted for a permanent department head.

HPA alumni from all facets of health care. These discussions include questions regarding career progression, helpful HPA courses, current issues within the health care industry, and advice for students and recent graduates. The discussion is then posted to the HPA APG LinkedIn page (“Penn State HPA Alumni”) and members of the page are invited to ask the alumnus/alumna questions. The goal of the “Alumni Spotlight” series is to connect members to other HPA alumni, as well as to generate discussions about various topics within health care. Check out the interviews at During the first half of 2013, the Social/Networking Committee of the HPA APG hosted networking events across Pennsylvania. In March, an evening reception was hosted in Pittsburgh and more than 20 alumni attended the event. In April, the APG joined with other Penn State alumni for “Penn State Night at the Phillies.” On November 23, prior to the Penn State vs. Nebraska football game, the APG hosted an alumni tailgate. The committee is planning other events for 2013 and 2014, so please look for details on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

Please be sure to keep your contact information The HPA Awards Committee is responsible for gathering updated with the Penn State Alumni Association at nominees and assembling nomination packets for the four alumni Conawards sponsored by the College of Health and Human Develnect with the HPA APG at, on opment’s Alumni Society. To nominate deserving HPA alumni, Facebook at “Penn State University Health Policy and please email Stephanie Donolli ’07, Awards Committee chair, at Administration” and “Penn State MHAs”, and on LinkedIn You can also visit at “Penn State HPA Alumni” and “Penn State University POLICY ANDabout the HPA APG, contact for more information on the alumni awards and their criteria. HEALTH MHA”. For more information the president, Christopher Gada ’92, at ADMINISTRATION In 2013, the Communications Committee of the HPA APG or AFFILIATE PROGRAM GROUP implemented the “Alumni Spotlight,” a series of discussions with




Winter 2013-14 | 23

Older adults learn to Skype with help from Penn State students The moment she laid eyes on her beautiful great-granddaughter Sallee Wilkins knew she was in love…with Skype. “My great-granddaughter lives in Italy, and I only get to see her maybe once a year,” said Wilkins, “but with Skype I can watch her grow up.” Wilkins is one of 26 residents of The Village at Penn State, a State College retirement community, to receive a Skype lesson from volunteers Amanda Gresh, undergraduate student in health policy and administration, and Courtney Polenick, graduate student in human development and family studies, since January 2013. The student volunteers decided to teach older adults at The

24 | Health and Human Development

Village to use Skype after learning of their interest in such help from Amy Lorek, research and outreach associate with the Center for Healthy Aging. The center conducts and supports research, outreach, and educational activities focused on promoting health and well-being from early adulthood into later-life. “It’s important to stay connected, whether it is with family or by participating in the community,” said Lorek. “Students and older adults have much to teach each other. Student volunteer opportunities help facilitate conversations between generations and strengthen our connection and sense of community. We can be a happier, healthier community with that exchange. This project helps to connect students to community members while also connecting community members with their families.”

< Penn State students Amanda Gresh (left) and Courtney Polenick (right) help Annetta Pierce (middle), a resident at The Village at Penn State, learn to Skype. Lorek introduced Gresh and Polenick to Kellie Vogt, a resident of The Village and self-described “techy,” who helped the students to train other interested residents. “I’ve always had a knack for solving tech-related problems,” said Vogt. “When dining with fellow residents, I often hear comments like, ‘I can’t get my email,’ or ‘My daughter replaced my old printer with a new one, but I don’t know how it works.’ I leave the meal thinking, ‘I could fix that.’” Vogt’s own children and grandchildren live out of state, so she has experienced firsthand the joy of visiting with them via Skype. “Since my oldest son, his wife, and his three children moved to Wyoming last year, I’ve toured their new home and visited with them on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays, all via Skype,” she said. “The face-to-face conversation that Skype enables  is superior to a phone call, text message, or email.”

Nancy Gamble, a resident at The Village at Penn State, talks about how her lessons in Skype enabled her to talk with family members while they were on vacation in Mexico.

Room Service Since January, the team has been meeting with residents of The Village in their homes to give them one-on-one tutorials in Skype. In March, Gresh and Polenick met with Annetta Pierce and Mary Gundel ’46 PH ED, ’53 M.Ed., the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth residents to receive the training. The students were greeted at the door of the apartment by the women’s toy poodle and were quickly welcomed inside. Pierce, a former Harrisburg School District guidance counselor, was particularly interested in using Skype to talk with her nephew and his family in Camden, Maine. “We visit him in Maine from time to time, but it would be so nice to see him more frequently,” she said. The Penn State students quickly got to work showing Pierce how to operate Skype. They then helped her practice dialing out and receiving calls. When they were finished with the lesson, they left the women with a handout containing step-by-step instructions and an invitation to contact them if they had questions.

and we couldn’t go, so we Skyped with them. They could pick up their laptops and show us around the apartment where they were staying and around the pool and beach. One daughter I talk to almost every week by Skype.” “I thought I couldn’t learn how to do it,” said Wilkins, “but slowly I am learning, and if I can learn anybody can.” But of all those involved, the students have, perhaps, benefitted the most. “Skype opens up the opportunity for people to have more face-to-face communication with their families,” said Polenick, who is studying adult development and aging with a focus on family relationships. “By participating in this volunteer work I hope to understand the potential for Skype to assist in maintaining and enhancing family relationships.” Gresh, too, is interested in working with older adults in her future career. Her goal is to become a nursing home administrator. “I’ve always felt at home working with older adults,” she said. “I really appreciate the wisdom they have to share.”

The residents who have participated with Gresh, Polenick, and Vogt in the Skype program each have their own story to tell about how they have benefitted.

Both students, as well as Vogt, plan to continue to help other residents of The Village learn to use Skype.

“I have used it to reconnect with a couple of my high school friends,” said Nancy Gamble ’52 H EC, ’55g CD FR. “Also, at Christmas time, our kids were going to Mexico

“The program is such a wonderful way for older adults to stay connected with their families,” said Gresh. “It feels really good to be able to help them do this.” n

Winter 2013-14 | 25

Biobehavioral Health Building Dedication Food, music, and cheerful chatter filled the halls and meeting spaces of the Biobehavioral Health Building on September 12, when faculty and staff members, alumni, and friends gathered to dedicate the new building. The event began with remarks from Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development; Rodney A. Erickson, president; and Paul H. Silvis â&#x20AC;&#x2122;06g BUS, vice chair of the Board of Trustees. Following the presentations, guests were given a chance to tour the building, peruse posters describing faculty and student research, and listen to live music by the band Pure Cane Sugar. Photos taken by Paul Hazi Photography

Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center Dedication Philanthropist Edna Bennett Pierce ’53 H EC has supported prevention research at Penn State for nearly two decades. The college recently honored her transformational support by naming the Prevention Research Center in her honor. A dinner was held on September 13, 2013, to commemorate the dedication of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Bennett Pierce’s longstanding support of the center began in 1994 when she and her late husband, C. Eugene Bennett ’52 SCI, endowed the Edna Peterson Bennett Faculty Chair in Prevention Research, held by Mark T. Greenberg, founding director of the center. Edna continued her support by establishing the Bennett Endowment for Children and Adolescents and the C. Eugene Bennett Chair in Prevention Research. The Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center serves as a catalyst for the development and implementation of collaborative projects among Penn State faculty and Pennsylvania community members. The Prevention Research Center’s purpose is to promote healthy social and emotional development and to prevent problems Ann C. Crouter, dean, Ednafailure Bennett and Mark Greenberg, founding of social and academic in Pierce, children and youth.

director of the Prevention Research Center.

A. Duer “Bud” Pierce and Edna Bennett Pierce

Celebration of Scholarship Recipients On September 15, the College of Health and Human Development celebrated its student scholarship recipients and the generous donors who are responsible for making these scholarships available. Around 125 students participated in the event, which included a breakfast and a presentation by Suzanne Martin ’74 CRS. “My mom struggled financially to enable me to finish school,” said Martin, who created the Joanne Durrwachter Finke Memorial Trustee Scholarship. “When I graduated, I promised myself I would pay her back. I never got the chance because soon after I graduated, she died of a rare auto-immune disease. Shortly after her death, I started giving to Penn State as a way to honor her memory.” Students at the celebration had the opportunity to talk with donors and share their gratitude for the financial assistance that has made it possible for them to pursue their dreams. “Meeting Ricardo Ortiz, who is a current recipient of my scholarship, was exciting,” said Martin. “With his Penn State education, Ricardo will be wellequipped to make a difference in the lives of others.”

SHM students, donors, and faculty members

Adam Fenton, Janet Atwood, and Mary Grace Hill

Dean Crouter addresses the group

Suzanne Martin

Development Council Update

Mary E. Good (left) and Elizabeth J. Susman (right)

Scholarship recipient Jasmyn Franklin

Dear Friends, The people supporting For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students are inspired to give for a variety of reasons—a professor whose mentoring steered them toward a successful career; the financial aid that enabled them to receive a Penn State education; the opportunity to help the college attract the best and brightest junior faculty; or the chance to support research to improve the lives of children, youth, and families. While individual motivation for giving may vary, the overarching reason our alumni and friends support this campaign is simple—they believe in Penn State.

Stan Mayers talks with scholarship recipient Nicholas Santone

The top priority of the campaign has been to increase scholarship support, making a Penn State education a possibility for all students, regardless of economic background. As the campaign comes to a close this spring, we hope that if you have not had the opportunity to participate, you will join us. A commitment to the For the Future campaign is a commitment to ensuring generations to come will have the opportunity to experience the Penn State we all know and love. For the Glory, Mary E. Good ’85 I F S Elizabeth J. Susman ’71 I F S, ’73g, ’76g HD FS Campaign Committee Co-Chairs

For more information on how you can lend your support to the campaign, contact Kathleen Rider at or 814-865-1064.

Christina Ellis, Alyssa Hischak, Nicole Phillips, and Valerie Katulka Photos taken by Jennifer N. Sloss, Blink of an Eye Photography

Health and Human Development New Faculty Sy-Miin Chow

Carter Hunt

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Assistant Professor of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management

Sy-Miin Chow’s research focuses on study methodology, with particular emphasis on investigating the development and adaptation of modeling and analysis tools that are suited to evaluating linear and nonlinear dynamical systems models, including longitudinal structural equation models and state-space modeling techniques. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, she was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2007 to 2012. She earned a Ph.D. degree in quantitative psychology at the University of Virginia.

In his research, Carter Hunt investigates tourism-supported biodiversity conservation, sustainable community development, impacts of tourism on both destination communities and on travelers, and environmental anthropology. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky and master’s and Ph.D. degrees at Texas A&M University. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University.

Christopher Engeland Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Christopher Engeland’s research focuses on how factors such as stress, age, gender, and hormones affect immunity, inflammation, and health. He also examines the feasibility of biomarkers for predicting health outcomes. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Engeland was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 2008. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Carleton University in Ontario and a Ph.D. degree at the University of Western Ontario.

Naleef Fareed Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration

Naleef Fareed’s research focuses on health care topics related to organizational theory, information technology, and patient safety. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management at Hartwick College, a master of business administration degree in health care management at Union Graduate College, and a Ph.D. degree in health services organization and research at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Helen Kamens Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

In her research, Helen Kamens seeks to identify genetic mechanisms that contribute to complex behaviors with a special emphasis on alcohol and tobacco use. She was an assistant research professor at the University of Colorado from 2012 to 2013. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biobehavioral health at Penn State and a Ph.D. degree in behavioral neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University.

Ji Min Lee Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Ji Min Lee’s research goal is to examine and expand the foundational research on speech production and clinical application of that research to speakers with speech disorders. In particular, she examines the relationship between articulatory acoustics and kinematics, the development of various speech subsystems and their control in children with and without motor speech disorders, and identification of comprehensive production variables that predict speech intelligibility in young children with speech disorders. She received a Ph.D. degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010.

Alison Gernand

Seoki Lee

Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences

Associate Professor of Hospitality Management

Alison Gernand’s research focuses on micronutrient deficiencies, pregnancy, fetal and placental growth, and child growth. She received a master of public health degree at the University of Texas at Houston’s School of Public Health in 2003 and a Ph.D. degree at the John’s Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2011.

30 | Health and Human Development

Seoki Lee’s research focuses on corporate social responsibility, internationalization, and financial distress and equity valuation. Before coming to Penn State, he served on the faculty at Temple University. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degree at Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. degree at Penn State.

Larry Martinez

Gregory Shearer

Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management

Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences

Larry Martinez’s research examines employee diversity and employee retention and turnover. Specifically, he investigates stigmatization, prejudice, and discrimination across the spectrum of employment experiences, particularly from the target’s perspective. He also researches the role of non-stigmatized allies in reducing discrimination. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees at Rice University.

Kristina Neely

In his research, Gregory Shearer seeks to understand disease-related functional changes in lipid mediators—bioactive metabolites of dietary fatty acids that act on tissues to alter many disease-related functions, including the stiffness of blood vessels and the body’s response to stress. He uses lipid mediators to identify markers of disease and better ways to prevent or manage disease. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in human physiology and nephrology, respectively, at the University of California, Davis.

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

Kristina Neely’s research focuses on understanding how the central nervous system organizes the preparation, execution, and inhibition of skilled, purposeful actions. She is especially interested in how the brain mediates precision grasping by the hand. Neely earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree at Indiana University, and a Ph.D. degree at the University of Western Ontario. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Florida.

Peter Newman Professor and Head of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management

Peter Newman’s research focuses on the human dimensions of natural resource management and social carrying capacity decision making in the context of protected areas management. In particular, he studies visitor management in protected areas, soundscape/acoustic management in parks, transportation management and planning, and efficacy and communication of “leave no trace” principles. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Rochester, a master’s degree in forest resource management at the State University of New York, and a Ph.D. degree in natural resources at the University of Vermont.

Jennie Noll Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Jennie Noll’s research examines the bio-psychosocial consequences of childhood sexual abuse, pathways to teen pregnancy and high-risk sexual behaviors for abused and neglected youth, the long-term adverse health outcomes for victims of sexual abuse, and the propensity for abused and neglected teens to engage in high-risk internet and social media behaviors. She received a Ph.D. degree in developmental psychology and statistical methodology from the University of Southern California. She then spent eight years at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., before going to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she spent ten years as a professor of pediatrics.

Chad Shenk Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Chad Shenk focuses on longitudinal pathways from child maltreatment to the onset of psychological disorders in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. He also conducts experimental and observational research to identify the mechanisms of various psychological disorders in the child maltreatment population across multiple levels of analysis. From 2010 to 2013, Shenk was an assistant professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Penn State and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Matam Vijay-Kumar Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences

In his research, Matam Vijay-Kumar examines host metabolic adaptations to inflammation, innate immunity-gut microbiotal interactions in metabolic diseases, and iron homeostasis in inflammation. Before joining the faculty at Penn State, he was an assistant professor of biology at Georgia State University. He earned a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India, in 2002.

Photos by Paul Hazi (12) and Chuck Fong, Studio2 Photography (2)

Winter 2013-14 | 31

Benedick Brothers Pay it Forward

Jeff (left) and Jim (right) Benedick created the Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Development and the College of Engineering with the goal of helping students to realize their academic dreams, just as others helped them. The Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Development and the Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Engineering will provide recognition and financial assistance to outstanding undergraduate students in those colleges. “I wanted to give other young people an opportunity to move forward with their lives,” said Jeff ’72 CRS. “But I also wanted to honor my family and everyone who raised me and gave me the encouragement and guidance to move on with my life and have it be wonderful.” Jeff credits his education at Penn State with preparing him to establish a successful and rewarding career in interior design. For 25 years, he ran Saddleback Homes, an interior design company specializing in model homes for builders. Today, he enjoys creating interior designs for high-end private residences internationally. “Being from York, Pa., back in the late 1960s, I thought that was all there was,” said Jeff. “I was somewhat isolated. At Penn State, being exposed on the university campus to different cultures and different ways of living was eye opening for me. Now I’ve been all over the world, which is way beyond what I ever expected in my life and career.” “My brother and I did not come from an affluent family, but we managed a most important achievement:

32 | Health and Human Development

to get a degree from Penn State,” added Jim ’66 ENG. “I have been very fortunate in my education, career, and life, and now it is our desire to assist others to achieve their aspirations and dreams.” Jim, the chief operating officer for ProFun Management Group—which specializes in the management and operation of theme parks, entertainment centers, visitor centers, World Expos, and other leisure-time projects—added, “The opportunity to attend Penn State exposed me to individuals and cultures that empowered me to think way beyond my presumed limits. During my time there I grew tremendously and my excellent education helped propel me into a world that I had never imagined.” Jim’s first job out of college was with the Apollo Moon Program. “I like to say ‘I helped to put a man on the moon!’” he said. His second job was as an industrial engineer at Disneyland. “Since those wonderful experiences, I have had the opportunity to travel the world, consulting with and operating numerous entertainment facilities. I could never have done all of these things without my first major step—getting a great education from Penn State.” Learn more about planned gifts and other ways to support Penn State at do?orgId=5701.

2:1 1






1.65 billion






University’s history, and more than 500,000 alumni and friends have already joined in. Have you? For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students ends on June 30, 2014, so please give now. We’re counting down, and every gift counts.

12% 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014


It’s the most ambitious fundraising effort in the

6.30.14 Numbers ad_test.indd 1

8/1/13 11:56 AM

Nonprofit Org. US Postage


The College of Health and Human Development The Pennsylvania State University 201 Henderson Building University Park, PA 16802-6501

Pittsburgh, PA Permit No. 35

Tell us how Penn State Lives in Your World.

Health and Human Development magazine - Health Policy and Administration Edition  

2013-14 winter issue of the College of Health and Human Development's magazine (Department of Health Policy and Administration Edition)