Programs Sponsored 

Congratulations to Dominique LaRochelle recipient of the 2012 Emerging Professional Graduate Degree Award

On February 23, 2013, Dominique LaRochelle was presented with the Emerging Professional Graduate Degree Award during the HPA Alumni Mentoring Dinner at the Nittany Lion Inn.  This award recognizes recent graduates who achieve outstanding professional excellence in the area of Health and Human Development and demonstrate a strong commitment to community service.  The HPA-APG Awards Committee received several enthusiastic nominations submitted by her MHA student peers, professors and preceptors.  Each nomination cited multiple examples in overwhelming support of Dominique’s nomination for this prestigious award, including her role in mentoring students, research and commitment to the improvement of health care quality. 

Dominique is a 2009 MHA graduate and current holds the position of Project Manager, Quality & Patient Safety Institute of the world renowned Cleveland Clinic.  Please join the HPA- APG in congratulating Dominique on receiving the 2012 Emerging Professional Graduate Degree Award.

2010 Professionals in the Classroom Well Received by Students

On October 14th and 15th, 2010, 22 HPA alumni from seven different states came to class, no to learn but to introduce the students to the Òreal worldÓ in health care administration and policy. These 22 individuals represented almost 400 years of experience in the health care field. Alums from Virginia to New Hampshire to Minnesota led discussions in 19 different classes, and also participated in networking sessions with the students, both during the day and at an HPA club meeting Thursday evening. Many thanks to our professionals that took time away from their jobs to come all of the way to State College to return to the classroom.

Planning Underway for 2011 Professionals in the Classroom Event

Plans are already underway for the 2011 Professionals in the Classroom program, tentatively scheduled for mid to late October. The final dates will be set once the football schedule is released. Alumni interested in participating in this fun and energizing program should contact Ken Cook, Chairman of the Mentoring Committee, at Due to the success of our last few programs, slots have been filling fast, so contact him as soon as possible to let him know of your interest.

2010 HPA Alumni Award Winners

In October 2010, the following were given the HPA Alumni Award:

Emerging Professional Award Undergrad: Shannon Cosgrove

Emerging Professional Award MHA: Jeffrey Ajello

Emerging Professional Award Ph.D.: Jen Uhrig

Alumni Recognition Award: Eugene Woods

Recent HPA and Alumni Events

Reception for Pittsburgh Area Alumni

A reception for Penn State Health Policy and Administration alumni in the Pittsburgh area was held Thursday, March 3, 2011 at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh. This event was sponsored by the Health Policy and Administration Affiliate Program Group (HPA APG).

Professionals in the Classroom—October 14-15, 2010

This program invited HPA alumni representing many organizations and career paths within healthcare to speak on a variety of topics to supplement the course content of several HPA classes over the two day period.

2009 HPA Alumni Award Winners

On October 29, the 2009 HPA Alumni Award Winners were presented with Lion desk awards.  The recipients of these awards are all accomplished professionals working in the healthcare field.  Currently, Sandhya Henry is the Revenue Manager for the Henry Ford Medical Group, Department of Medicine. Prior to her current role she worked as the Corporate Compliance Specialist and prior to that, she served as the Administrative Fellow for Henry Ford Hospital.

image of HPA APG award winners

(Left to right) Steve Wagman, HPA-APG Board President; Sandhya Henry, Emerging Professional Award MHA ; Katie Starkey, Emerging Professional Award Undergraduate; Keith Benson, Emerging Professional Award Ph.D. and Dennis Shea, HPA Department Head.  Not pictured is the Alumni Recognition Award winner, Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Cullison who is serving our country overseas.

Katie Starkey is the Director of Patient Experience Initiatives for the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network.  She is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to evaluate and improve patient and family experience of care.

Keith Benson started his career as a Military Public Health Technician in the United States Air Force.  He served over seven years in the USAF and has experience in health care administration, military public health, and medical intelligence.  Since leaving the military he has worked as an instructor in health policy and administration at Penn State University and as an Assistant Professor in Health Care  Management at Winthrop University since August 1999.  
Lt Col Greg Cullison, is the Associate Director of the Air Force Medical Service Corps. A graduate of the M.H.A. program, Greg has spent most of his life working in the Air Force Medical Service Corps, and his training includes work in health plan management and serving as a health services administration instructor, as well as multiple deployments overseas. 

Congratulations to the award recipients and best of luck as they continue to pave their career paths as proud Penn State graduates.

Professionals in the Classroom—October 29-30, 2009

This program invited HPA alumni representing many organizations and career paths within healthcare to speak on a variety of topics to supplement the course content of several HPA classes over the two day period.

Alumni Tailgate - September 26, 2009

College of Health & Human Development Alumni Tailgate

This College of Health and Human Development is having an Alumni Tailgate prior to the Iowa game on Sept 26th from 4-7 pm at Porter Gardens, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.  RSVP for the tailgate at 814-865-3831 or  There is no charge for this event and you are welcome to bring your family and friends.

HPA e-Newsletter — Spring 2009

View the Spring 2009 HPA Department e-Newsletter.

Windy City Reception — March 24, 2009

The HPA department will once again be hosting an event in Chicago in conjunction with the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress on Healthcare Leadership. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 24 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and is open to all HPA alumni and friends attending the conference along with those living in the Chicagoland area.

There will be four faculty members and nearly 30 students (HPA and MHA) attending Congress and the reception. Please plan to stop by to mix and mingle with alumni, students and faculty alike. Reservations, which are appreciated but not required, can be made by contacting Sarah Woodward at or 814-863-9971. In addition to the reception, stop by the department's booth in the exhibitors hall to say hello and pick up a Penn State sticker to put on your name tag.

HPA Alumni Award Nominations — Due by April 30, 2009

We are taking nominations for 4 HPA Alumni Awards including:

For the Emerging Professionals, we are looking for individuals that are in the early stages of their careers and have show great promise from a career perspective and represent the department well. For the Alumni Recognition Award, nominees should be established professionals who have achieved in their career pursuits but also remain active within the HPA department in some manner, contributing to the growth of the students and the overall program.  Nominations can be sent to Jocelyn Vanderbrink ( or Alyson Rosenfeld (

February 7, 2009 - HPA Mentoring Dinner
This year, a record thirty-one mentors met with their student protégés to begin developing relationships and mentor action plans for the upcoming year. Several of the mentors have been participating for multiple years in the program. We are very pleased to see some of our more recent graduates (including former protégés) now becoming mentors to current students. Our keynote speaker at the dinner was Christopher Donati '86, '91g, Executive Development Associate of the Erickson Retirement Communities. Steve Wagman '82 received the inaugural 2008-2009 Mentor of the Year award.

February 7, 2009 - Jump Starting Your Career Workshop
This afternoon session, held at the Bennett-Pierce Living Center in Henderson Building, was a valuable way for students to interact with thirteen returning alumni on a variety of topics such as resumé and cover letter workshops, interviewing skills and one-on-one career discussions. Alumni represented a variety of professional interests and their career paths on how they got to their current positions. Over thirty students, both HPA and MHA, participated in the workshop. The session began with a pizza lunch to provide for social networking between alumni and students and among the returning alumni themselves. Following this workshop, all of the returning alumni and students were invited to see the new home of the HPA department at the Ford Building and to see some of the student projects and club activities that are underway.

October 26, 2008 - Team HPA - Diabetes Walk
We have registered and participated as a team for the Juvenile Diabetes walk on Sunday, October 26th in Philadelphia.

October 8-9, 2008 - Professionals in the Classroom
This program invites HPA alumni representing many organizations and career paths within healthcare to speak on a variety of topics to supplement the course content of several HPA classes over the two day period. This program was last held on October 24-25, 2007. If you are interested in participating, please reach out to Jocelyn Vanderbrink at

September 27, 2008 - Alumni Tailgate
Sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development (Mark your calendars!) Mark your calendars for this social event sponsored by the College of Health & Human Development before the Nittany Lions take on the University of Illinois.

June 20, 2008 - HPA-APG Social & Networking Event
Social and networking event for alumni and students in the Philadelphia metro area at Dave and Buster's on Columbus Boulevard (formerly Delaware Ave) in Philadelphia from 6-8 pm. Cost is $15/pp which    includes appetizers and 2 drink tickets.

April 1, 2008 - HPA Club Meeting
Presentation on the Digital Healthcare Enterprise was provided to the HPA Club members; outlining “smart” technologies for hospital construction, information and medical technologies.

March 11, 2008 - ACHE Congress Alumni Reception
Hyatt Regency Chicago More than two dozen faculty and students traveled to Chicago to join the Annual Congress of the ACHE in March. The HPA department hosted a reception for HPA alumni who happened to be in the city for the ACHE conference.

March 1, 2008 - HPA Mentoring Dinner
This year, approximately 25 mentors met with their student protégés to begin developing relationships and mentor action plans for the upcoming year. Many of the mentors have been participating for multiple years in the program.

February 29, 2008 - HPA Career Day - Panel Discussion
Eight HPA alumni addressed the HPA students in a panel discussion format, moderated by Dennis Shea, Department Head and Professor of Health Policy and Administration. The event was coordinated by Tom Harlow (HPA 1979). There were two sessions held, with an estimated 130 students participating.

February 1, 2008 - MHA “Mock Interview” Day at the Bank of America Career Services Center
A number of industry professionals participated in this annual event, giving the opportunity for the MHA students to practice their interviewing skills. Feedback on resumes and interviewing techniques was provided to the students, followed by a luncheon which provided for an opportunity to continue the dialogue in a relaxed atmosphere.

October 24-25, 2007 - Professionals in the Classroom
Ten HPA professionals participated in 9 different HPA classes covering professional careers and industry topics with over 100 HPA students. Collaboration was between the HPA-APG, ACHE and HPA Clubs, coordinated by Mike Meacham, Executive Director for the MHA Program and Associate Professor, Department of HPA.

February 3, 2007 - HPA Mentoring Dinner
Approximately 20+ mentors met with their student protégés to begin developing relationships and mentor action plans for the upcoming year. This event brings together HPA students and alumni in a 1:1 experience.

February 2, 2007 - HPA Career Day - Panel Discussion
Six industry professionals, representing hospital management; practice management; managed care; medical/pharmaceutical sales; government policy; long-term care and consulting spoke with students about career opportunities and how they managed their career decisions.

February 2, 2007 - MHA “Mock Interview” Day at the Bank of America Career Services Center
This program gave a number of MHA students the opportunity to interview with industry professionals (potential future hiring managers), with feedback provided to each student.