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Penn State Health, College of Medicine recognize staff, faculty and student accomplishments

Staff, faculty and students at Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine consistently show their dedication to their work and studies by going above and beyond their duties. To recognize that dedication, Penn State Health his compiled the following list of awards and appointments from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2023.


  • Blackall named vice dean. George Blackall, PsyD, has accepted the permanent role of vice dean for faculty and academic affairs at Penn State College of Medicine. Blackall has served as the interim vice dean since February 2023. During his time as interim vice dean, Blackall led the on-campus interview process during the College of Medicine’s dean search.
  • Van Scoy appointed program director. Lauren Jody Van Scoy, professor of medicine, humanities and public health sciences at the College of Medicine, has been named director of Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s KL2 program. In this role, Van Scoy will lead efforts to ensure a supportive interdisciplinary environment for recruiting and engaging faculty scholars and oversee the translational workforce core.
  • Thormodson elected to Board of Directors. Kelly Thormodson, associate dean and director of Harrell Health Sciences Library at the College of Medicine, has been elected to the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) Board of Directors. The AAHSL supports academic health sciences libraries and directors in advancing the patient care, research, education and community service missions of academic health centers. She will serve until November 2026.


  • Stoessel is ‘chief strategy officer to know.’ Becker’s Hospital Review included Tom Stoessel, Penn State Health’s executive vice president and chief strategy and transformation officer, on its list of health system chief strategy officers to know For this list, Becker’s Hospital Review recognized leaders who have led growth initiatives, expanded access to care and guided successful strategic plans.
  • Hershey Medical Center recognized for exceptional patient safety. The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) has recognized Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for outstanding performance in patient safety. The hospital was one of 29 in the state honored by HAP through its 2023 Excellence in Patient Safety Recognition program. The program honors hospitals with low rates of three common types of healthcare associated infections. To identify honorees, HAP uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network.
  • St. Joseph provides exceptional maternity care.
    • Capital Blue Cross has designated Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care for demonstrating expertise and a commitment to quality care for vaginal and cesarean section deliveries.
    • St. Joseph Medical Center has been redesignated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital by Baby-Friendly USA, the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. The Medical Center first received the recognition in 2017. St. Joseph Medical Center is the only hospital in Berks County to be certified under the Baby-Friendly banner.
  • Holjes earned Patriot Award. Kristin Holjes, nurse manager in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, won a Patriot Award from the U.S. Department of Defense for extraordinary support of employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve. The Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an office of the Department of Defense, presents the award to honor employers for their strong support of employees serving in military forces.
  • Perimbeti received Diversity in Clinical Trials award. Stuthi Perimbeti, assistant professor of medicine at the College of Medicine, has received the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Award from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation. The award is part of a two-year program designed to support early-stage investigator physicians who have demonstrated a commitment to increasing diversity in clinical trials research within their local communities.
  • MICU awarded for excellence. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) awarded the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at Hershey Medical Center its gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence. AACN gives gold-level awards based on an effective and systemic approach to policies, procedures and processes that include engagement of staff and key stakeholders, fact-based strategies for process improvement and performance measures that meet or exceed relevant benchmarks. Nursing units that receive this three-year award meet national criteria consistent with the Magnet Recognition Program.
  • Visco named Forty Under 40. Ashley Visco, community relations director for Penn State Health, was listed among Central Penn Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 2023. The Forty Under 40 awards recognize the future leaders of central Pennsylvania under the age of 40 who are achieving success in their careers and giving back to the community in meaningful ways.
  • Penn State Health, staff chosen among Lancaster’s best. Lancaster County Magazine has named Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center and three Penn State Health employees in its Best of Lancaster Readers’ Survey:
    • Lancaster Medical Center was listed among best hospitals.
    • Angela Shuman and Trinket Abbott were listed among best nurses.
    • Francine Redman was listed among physician assistants.

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