News & Events

Inaugural cohort completes program

MHA cohort attends classes at University Park

Online Master of Health Administration degree program fits all lifestyles

A military veteran. A married couple that works in long-term care. A president of a dental practice. A newly wed.These folks likely would have never crossed paths if it were not for one significant, common goal of earning a Master of Health Administration degree, which they earned through the new online program with Penn State World Campus and the Department of Health Policy and Administration.


Dennis Scanlon receives Evan G. and Helen G. Pattishall Outstanding Research Achievement Award

Dennis Scanlon, professor of health policy and administration and director of the Center for Health Care Policy and Research in the Department of Health Policy and Administration received the Evan G. and Helen G. Pattishall Outstanding Research Achievement Award for 2014.

As professor and director of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research in the Department of Health Policy and Administration, Dennis Scanlon’s research focuses on the use of information and incentives to improve quality and efficiency in health care markets, with a special focus on the impact of market-based and multi-stakeholder efforts to improve outcomes. He is currently leading an evaluation of a demonstration to reduce preventable and avoidable hospital readmissions and has led evaluations of the impact of a multi-site diabetes care management program based in Federally Qualified Health Centers and of the Boeing Company’s “Hospital Safety Incentive,” which tiers employee hospital co-payments according to published hospital patient safety indicators.

This award recognizes research contributions occurring or culminating within the past several years. The award was endowed by Evan Pattishall, dean emeritus of the former College of Human Development, and his wife, Helen Pattishall, a 1985 alumna in individual and family studies. The recipient will present a special lecture in spring 2015.

See all 2014 Faculty and Staff Award recipients.

Something different to digest: HPA students challenged to eat on about $30 for one week

What’s it like to feed yourself on $29.40 a week? Just ask a group of Health Policy and Administration (HPA) students.

Food bought with about $30/week

Food student Rebecca Fry bought for about $30 in the SNAP Challenge.

Patricia Miranda’s Principles of Public Administration class, HPA 410, took part in the nationally recognized SNAP Challenge earlier this month, which charges participants to live on the U.S. daily food aid benefit — about $4 a day — for one week. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

A program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the SNAP program offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. To qualify, participants must meet certain resource and income guidelines.

Each student in Miranda’s class was given a pre-paid Visa gift card containing $29.40. They were told to use only that money to purchase food for themselves for seven days.

The assignment, which was held Nov. 3 through 9, included not only participating in the challenge, but also keeping records of food purchases and consumption; recording food entries to MyFitnessPal, an electronic health and fitness logging tool, to evaluate nutrition intake; and logging online entries to the PSU SNAP Challenge website.

“The purpose of this SNAP Challenge project is to heighten the learning experiences for HPA 410 students, draw attention to the issues of poverty and hunger, benefit the State College Food Bank, and raise awareness about ‘health in all policies,’” Miranda said. “SNAP Challenge week will give (students) a chance to experience…what life is like for millions of low-income Americans facing hunger.”

Read more about the SNAP Challenge.

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Department News from Penn State News

Penn State will see the first cohort of the online master of health administration in healthy policy and administration graduate in the fall 2014 commencement ceremony on Dec. 20.


This inaugural cohort of 21 students will see the culmination of the 13 course, 49 credit, 28 month program at the Dec. 20 commencement ceremony at University Park as each student receives a diploma, which they were able to earn while working, raising children, running businesses and practicing medicine. That’s because the MHA program fits every lifestyle.


Led by instructor Celeste Newcomb, 15 students enrolled in Embedded Trip to Costa Rica, HPA 401, visited the Central American country from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6. The course was developed roughly five years ago through grant funds from University Office of Global Programs, the College of Health and Human Development and the Department of Healthy Policy and Administration.


Phylicia Bediako, a predoctoral trainee in the Prevention and Methodology Training program, has been honored with a Student Fellowship from the Maternal and Child Health Section of the American Public Health Association for her work on disparities in sexual and reproductive health outcomes for underserved and minority populations.


What’s it like to feed yourself on $29.40 a week? In HPA 410, Principles of Public Adminstration, students took part in the nationally recognized SNAP Challenge held earlier this month, which charges participants to live on the U.S. daily food aid benefit — about $4 a day — for one week, keeping track of their purchases and sharing their experiences. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.


Master of health administration alumnus James Prowant was named chief operating officer of Mount Nittany Physician Group.


Penn State Health Policy and Administration senior Sharon Qi’s research paper has been selected as a winning undergraduate-level paper in the Francis G. Caro Student Paper Award Contest at the University of Massachusetts.


Rhonda BeLue and Lori Francis have been accepted into the Schreyer Honors College Distinguished Honors Faculty Program (DHFP) for the 2014-15 academic year.


Former health policy and administration (HPA) undergraduate adviser Susan Sanders recently was appointed program coordinator for Penn State’s master of health administration (MHA) program.


Marianne Hillemeier, professor of health policy and administration and demography, and associate director of the Population Research Institute, has been named head of the Department of Health Policy and Administration (HPA) at Penn State. She will assume the position on July 1, 2014.