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I am Penn State Health: Dr. Karen Krok

Her enthusiasm is infectious, her sense of humor wakes up the class and she’s an awesome lecturer—all high praise for Dr. Karen Krok from some of the toughest critics out there—medical students. Associate professor and program director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program at Penn State College of Medicine, Krok won the first “Exceptional Moments in Teaching” award from the College of Medicine’s Office for a Respectful Learning Environment.





This is What Inspires Me

As a child, I had surgeries on my kidneys and had to go see doctors regularly. That piqued my interest in medicine, and I chose this area of medicine because of a great mentor—a hepatologist in my fourth year of medical school.

Acceptance Speech

The feedback from students who nominated me for the award inspired me to do better. There’s nothing better than having a medical student come up to you and say, “I finally understand something because of what you taught.”

Why It Matters

The students I’m teaching may someday be my doctor or my family’s doctor, and they will have all the tools they need to be the best. 

Most Rewarding Moments

Working with liver transplant patients—the sickest of the sick in the intensive care unit, and then they get a liver and can be very productive in society again—and with the live donors who put themselves potentially in harm’s way to offer someone else a better life. 

This is What Makes Me Proud

I’m able to work with true colleagues who support me and medical students who inspire me. And who wouldn’t want to live in Hershey? There’s an amusement park, it smells like chocolate and we have a fantastic medical center right here.

My Take on the Bigger Picture

I see us continuing to grow and being a leader in health care across the commonwealth. People feel comfortable coming here—they don’t have to take big-city highways to get a high level of care.

Three Things I Couldn’t Live Without

  1. My family
  2. Sunshine
  3. Airplanes—we have a lot of family on the west coast.


If I’m put in a new situation in a crowd of people I don’t know, I feel quite shy and uncomfortable.

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