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Weekly Updates: Week of July 27

Town halls on race relations lead to recommendations for Penn State Health and College of Medicine

As the national conversation about race has shifted, Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine have seized the opportunity to examine themselves.

In recent weeks, the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion presented a series of frank town hall meetings with employees about race relations across the system and College. More than 3,000 people participated in 11 sessions covering a variety of issues from addressing bias directed at students to dealing with diversity and discrimination among employees and patients.

From the recommendations that coalesced from these sessions, leadership is developing plans to make Penn State Health and the College of Medicine more diverse, more equitable and more welcoming to all its patients, students, employees and stakeholders.

Read the complete story.

Weekly farm stand reopens at St. Joseph Downtown Campus

The Blue Mountain Academy Farm Stand has reopened at the St. Joseph Downtown Campus. The new hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays.

The year-round stand, which temporarily closed because of COVID-19, is located outside on the corner of Walnut and Reed Streets instead of in its traditional indoor location on the first floor.

The farm stand will move back indoors this winter, said Lisa Weaver, healthy community program associate at Penn State Berks and St. Joseph.

“We require all customers to wear masks and ask that they don’t touch the produce,” Weaver said. “The vendor will bag it for them.”

Visitors to the farm stand will receive $4 in Berks Farm Bucks, a nutrition incentive program intended to help make healthy food affordable.

Create your complimentary HIMSS membership

Penn State Health employees can receive a free, individual membership in the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) through its organizational affiliate program.

The HIMSS website provides articles, webinars, e-books and reports on health innovation, public policy, workforce development and research, as well as best practices in health information and technology.

Membership allows participants to engage with local HIMSS chapter members about issues that affect their communities, access targeted education programs and contribute ideas about shaping the future of health care. Members can join the local HIMSS chapter of their choice.

Read the full story.

Caught in the act – microscopy reveals key detail in retrovirus replication

A protein critical for retrovirus replication may select viral genetic material for packaging within the nuclei of host cells, rather than in the cytoplasm, as was previously believed. Dr. Leslie Parent, vice dean for research and graduate studies and professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology at the College of Medicine, led the research, which could have implications for the development of therapeutics that target this protein.

Retroviruses are a type of virus that use cells as a machine to make more virus particles that are spread from cell to cell. Parent’s lab studies the avian retrovirus Rous sarcoma virus, which replicates similarly to a human retrovirus, HIV, and causes tumors in domestic fowl.

Their research focuses on the role of a special protein called Gag that acts as an escort for genetic material in viral replication. According to Parent, their latest discovery puts scientists one step closer to developing therapeutics that can stop this complex from forming.

Read more about the work.

Employees honored for work milestones

Congratulations to the following Penn State Health employees who are celebrating a milestone work anniversary between July 21 and July 27. They put our values ­into action every day:

40 Years of Service

  • Ronald Yascavage, Main Kitchen, Hershey

35 Years of Service

  • Danielle Shreiner, Urology, Hershey

30 Years of Service

  • Marjorie Lebo, Colorectal Surgery, Hershey

20 Years of Service

  • Danielle Geesey, General Diagnostics, Hershey

15 Years of Service

  • Dodie Aughenbaugh, Penn State Health Financial Support, Hershey
  • Daryl Detwiler, Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute, Hershey
  • Angela Dragan, Medical/Surgical 2 North, St. Joseph
  • Theodore Gall, House Managers, Hershey
  • Lona Hall, Housekeeping, Hershey
  • Melissa Keene, Penn State Health Revenue Cycle, Hershey
  • Angus Khan, Penn State Health Information Services Application Services, Hershey
  • Christine Kreider, Anesthesiology, Hershey
  • Beth Olesh, Medicine Suite, Hershey
  • Holly Rice, Radiation Oncology, Hershey
  • Brian Schulz, Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy, State College
  • Patricia Seeley, Outpatient Pharmacy, Hershey
  • Sara Smithies-Race, Medical/Surgical Float Personnel, Hershey
  • Julie Werner, Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute, Hershey

10 Years of Service

  • Heather Boyle, Patient Logistics, Hershey

Employees are recognized for their time at Penn State Health. Recognition begins on the 10th anniversary and is given in five-year increments. For questions about work anniversary dates, contact the HR Solution Center at or 717-531-8440.

Tauscher named March DAISY Award winner at Hershey Medical Center

Sherry Tauscher, a registered nurse in the Neuroscience Critical Care Unit at Hershey Medical Center, was selected as the March DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award winner. Due to COVID-19, the presentation of Sherry’s DAISY Award was delayed until July.

Sherry was nominated by the husband of one of her patients. “It was very obvious that Sherry chose the right profession,” the husband writes. “She not only performed the duties she is required to do, but also went out of her way to make my wife feel as safe and comfortable as she possibly could.” …  She also went out of her way to try to give comfort and hope to me as I pushed through my own worries and fears. If anyone deserves to be recognized for her professionalism and caring manner, it is definitely Sherry.”

Read about the DAISY award.

Hershey Medical Center security officers earn international certificates

Ten security officers from Hershey Medical Center earned basic, advanced and supervisor certifications from the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety.

The association serves professionals involved in managing and directing security and safety programs in health care facilities. Its accredited certifications are internationally recognized.

Earning Supervisor certifications:

  • Supervisor David Malin
  • Officer Austin Schrader
  • Corporal Kerry Wright

Earning Advanced certifications:

  • Officer Joseph Conn
  • Officer Wayne Bledsoe

Earning Basic Certifications:

  • Officer LuCinda Kuehn
  • Office Patrick Kling
  • Corporal Erik Itzen
  • Officer Dylan Coolick
  • Officer Nicholas Smales

Wellness Wednesday – Learn to Surf the Waves of Stress

Mindfulness practice can help cope with daily stressors.  To learn more, watch the BeWell Lunch and Learn program.

For additional wellness resources visit the PRO Wellness BeWell Employee Wellness website.

Printing Services consolidates operations to Derry Road location

Penn State Health Printing Services will combine operations at its 307 E. Derry Road, Hershey, location on Wednesday, Aug. 5. Its office on the College of Medicine ground floor in room CG604 will close after that date.

As part of this consolidation, Hershey Medical Center’s Department of Shipping and Receiving will handle all deliveries of orders for printed products. When placing orders, be sure to include your building name, room number and mail code to ensure efficient delivery of your product.

During the transition, deliveries may be slightly delayed, which should be taken into consideration when ordering. “Rush” orders must be picked up at the E. Derry Road location beginning Aug. 5.

When using interoffice mail to communicate with Printing Services, include the new mail code on the address:

Penn State Health Printing Services
307 E. Derry Road, HS81
Hershey, PA 17033

Printing Services’ online ordering system, the Digital Storefront, is available 24/7. For questions, call 717-534-1758 or email

Yost receives Patriot Award

Nevin Yost, operations manager for the Department of Medicine at Hershey Medical Center, was recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program, a U.S. Department of Defense initiative, with the Patriot Award.

The award recognizes supervisors and managers nominated by a guardsman or reservist employee for support provided directly to the nominator. Shanni Petrino, an administrative secretary in Penn State Health Medical Group Hospitalist Medicine, nominated Yost. She is serving overseas.

Penn State Health PRIDE Celebration Aug. 19

Penn State Health’s PRIDE 2020 Celebration will be Wednesday, Aug. 19. This year’s virtual celebration will feature the following guest speakers and topics:

Register for each session by clicking on the topic. Zoom links will be provided to registrants. The event is sponsored by the LGBTQ and Allies Affinity Network Resource Group and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Supplemental food boxes available for employees in need

Starting in August, supplemental food boxes will be available to any employees in need up to three times per year.

Food distribution will be at the Crystal A Fitness Center, 175 Crystal A Drive, Hershey, on the first and third Thursday each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Employees should follow safety and social distancing guidelines, wear masks and bring their employee ID badges for registration. Participants are limited to three pick-ups per year.

During these sessions, members of the Community Relations team will assist staff with getting connected to their local food pantry for ongoing food insecurity needs. Employees who need access to food or connected to food resources outside of those times should contact the Community Relations Department at

Penn State Health St. Joseph employees should refer to this list of free community resources in the Berks region, as well as Helping Harvest for local pantry food resources and support. Penn State Health St. Joseph staff can also contact Laura Welliver and/or Barb Moyer for more information.

Information Services retire paper account request form Aug. 1

Information Services launched an electronic account request form on June 17 that eliminated the need to print, sign, scan and email the paper account request form. Since the launch of the new form more than 1,300 requests have been submitted electronically, which equates to 85% of all account requests.

Effective Saturday, Aug. 1, only electronic account request forms will be accepted, and the paper account request form will be permanently decommissioned. For more information, visit the Account Management Infonet site.

Community relations accepts grant applications until Oct. 1

Penn State Health and College of Medicine employees and students can apply for Community Relations grants for projects to improve their hometowns. The grants, sponsored by the Penn State Health Community Relations Department, are for up to $5,000.

For additional information, application guidelines and the electronic application, visit the Community Relations Infonet page.

If you're having trouble accessing this content, or would like it in another format, please email the Penn State College of Medicine web department.