Top health care officials to steer program's board

Michelle Pittman

Michelle Pittman, Penn State Mont Alto lecturer and HPA program coordinator, conducts class.

Credit: Michelle Bixby

MONT ALTO, Pa. —  The Mont Alto campus added a baccalaureate degree program in health care management to its program portfolio in 2015. The Health Policy and Administration (HPA) program was the culmination of two years of work by several stakeholders.

With its HPA program up and running, the next logical step was to put together an advisory board drawn from the health care industry. Francis K. Achampong, Penn State Mont Alto chancellor, had productive conversations with chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief operating officers (COOs) at Wellspan, Summit Health, Fulton County Medical Center, and Keystone Health to recruit a seven-member board. The result is a high-powered board of top officials from these health care organizations.

The HPA program is fortunate to have these leaders in the health care community on its board: Lori Clark, vice president of neuroscience, Wellspan; Michael Cogliano, vice president of operations, Wellspan; David Grant, COO, Keystone Health; Niki Hinckle, senior vice president of physician services, Summit Health; John Massimilla, COO, Chambersburg Hospital; Deborah Shughart, chief financial officer, Fulton County Medical Center; and Kim Slee, COO, Fulton County Medical Center.

“Considering how busy these executives are, I am extremely grateful for the commitment they have made to the Mont Alto HPA program," said Achampong. "The program will be greatly enriched by their expertise and insights.”

The new board met for an inaugural lunch in May to discuss the role of the board. Among other things, the board will receive a program update at an annual spring meeting, provide feedback on the program, help secure internships and shadowing opportunities, provide feedback on intern and graduate performance whenever possible, share insights for program growth, and make guest lecturing appearances once a year in HPA classes.

The HPA program faculty members are enthusiastic about having the board in place and plan to visit the board members’ healthcare facilities.

"Involvement from community executives in the health care industry is a critical component for our students, program, and campus,” said Michelle Pittman, Penn State Mont Alto lecturer and HPA program coordinator. “Each of the advisory board members have extremely busy schedules and numerous responsibilities, however, they have willingly volunteered their time to mentor and assist students as they learn and practice to become future leaders in the health care industry."

The HPA program is an ideal addition to Mont Alto’s portfolio, according to Michael A. Doncheski, chief academic officer. “Not only is the program incredibly relevant in today’s world and in our local region, but the opportunities for collaboration with other campus programs —allied health, business, information sciences and technology, psychology, and human development and family studies — will also benefit students in all of these programs,” he said.