George Harrell at construction site

Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Celebrating 50 Years

One Guiding Purpose:
Improving the health and well-being of our community

“If Milton S. Hershey were here, I would share with him the impact that his gift has made on the lives of our patients, our community and the world through service of our patients, education of future health care providers and transformative research. Most of all, I would want him to meet our outstanding faculty and staff who do extraordinary things each and every day in the service of our mission.”
~ Deborah Berini, President
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

 

Deborah Berini
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center President

“If Milton S. Hershey were here, I would share with him the impact that his gift has made on the lives of our patients, our community and the world through service of our patients, education of future health care providers and transformative research. Most of all, I would want him to meet our outstanding faculty and staff who do extraordinary things each and every day in the service of our mission.”

Steve Massini
Penn State Health Chief Executive Officer

“I think Mr. Hershey would be really proud of the medical center that bears his name – proud of the care it provides for this region, proud of the employment opportunities it offers, proud of how it is an economic engine in the town that he founded, and proud of how it is improving lives through education, innovation, collaboration and outreach.”

Dr. Kevin Black
Penn State College of Medicine Interim Dean

“Our College of Medicine is nationally known for the education of both primary care and highly specialized physicians, biomedical scientists and physician assistant and nursing students, all of whom are so needed across our country in both rural and urban settings. Hershey Medical Center has always played an essential role in helping us to recruit, educate and train individuals who heed this calling.”

Mona Miliner
Vice President, Operations

“Fifty years marks a significant milestone for Hershey Medical Center as the region’s only university-level academic medical center. There have been many lives changed as a result of the remarkable care provided by our staff and clinicians down through the years. I am fortunate to be a part of such a great organization.”

Michelle Del Pizzo, MBA, FACHE
Vice President, Operations

“The medical center plays such a prominent role in the community. In the nine years that I have lived and worked in this community, I am reminded on a daily basis the significance of the services we offer. This ranges from walking the halls of the medical center and interacting with patients and families, to talking to a neighbor, to my role on the Board of the Ronald McDonald House, to participating in school activities with my children. I am proud and blessed to live in this community and work at this amazing institution.”

Ron Cummins
Vice President, Operations

“Over the past seven years, it has been my honor to support the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and I am proud to be here to celebrate our organization’s 50th anniversary. I am sincerely thankful for all our faculty, staff and volunteers who through the years have selflessly dedicated their expertise, time, and so much more to make the Hershey Medical Center an extraordinary place where research and medical education intersect to produce leading health care services for the communities we serve. I am inspired by you and look forward to working together to continue to transform the Medical Center’s capabilities to meet the health care needs of our community today and tomorrow.”

Jane Mannon
Vice President, Human Resource Operations

“I am so proud to have been able to grow with this great organization that has been such an important part of my adult life. When I started in Human Resources over 30 years ago, I never imagined my career would be spent at one organization and that the learning would never stop! What keeps so many employees here is the culture of our organization, the leadership and most of all the people! I am forever grateful for the health care workers that supported me and my family here through the illness and loss of my parents. This makes me feel even more connected and proud to be a part of this really special place.”

Judy Himes
Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer

”Hershey Medical Center is a wonderful resource for the citizens of central Pennsylvania. Excellent medical care is supported by excellent nursing care, demonstrated by our Magnet designation. Together our focus on patient and family centered care is evident in our history and guiding our future.”

Joe Frank
Interim President, Penn State Health St. Joseph

"The connection to Medical Center, our region’s leading academic medical center, fortifies St. Joseph Medical Center’s ability to care for the residents in Berks County. With our close proximity, our patients have access to the highest-level care of care in the region in such specialties as cancer, neurosciences and pediatric and adult trauma. By ensuring continuity of care throughout their treatment, we ease the burden on patients and families. Hershey Medical Center’s advanced resources expand St. Joseph’s capacity to offer high-quality care that is state-of-the-art, cost-efficient and close to home."

Samuel F. Hinkle, president of Hershey Chocolate Corp., Hershey Trust Company board member and Penn State University trustee

“We find ourselves upon a path that has no end.”

Dr. George Harrell, Founding Dean Penn State College of Medicine

The College of Medicine was the first in the nation to have a Department of Humanities. We produce “doctors with handbags and hearts.”

Dr. William Pierce, Artificial Heart Pioneer

“Collaboration between surgeons and engineers, as well as the availability of an animal research facility, set us apart from many other institutions.”

Dr. Cheston “Chet” Berlin
Pediatrician and Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology

“I felt this was a new medical school with an exciting atmosphere where the exploration for ideas was encouraged and supported.”

Dr. Graham Jeffries

“A lot of programs have an environment that is a little cutthroat,” he said. “I think you need to be in an environment where the people you are working with are caring and sharing. I think we have more of that.”

Dr. Jim Marks, Professor of Dermatology

“There has been growth in many areas...what hasn’t changed is the comradery, professionalism and pursuit of excellence.”

I was accepted to Penn State University Park and went elsewhere. I was accepted to Penn State’s first class of medicine and went elsewhere. However, I was predestined to go to Penn State! I joined the College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center faculty in 1980 as an assistant professor and have been here ever since. The College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center have grown dramatically since I arrived, with two medical school campuses and the Penn State Health system. When I first came, many disciplines were thin on faculty. This has changed into robust divisions and departments with numerous faculty. What hasn’t changed is the comradery, professionalism and pursuit of excellence. I am as bullish about Penn State now as I was when I moved here 40 years ago. I am Penn State! 

Sheila Albert
Project Specialist, General Accounting Services

 “I witnessed so many huge milestones over the past 30 years, institutionally, departmentally and personally.” 

How does 30 years of employment go by so quickly? During those years, I've been part of a merger/demerger, a number of hospital name changes, acquisitions of various hospitals and clinics, and system changes. The Finance Department consisted of 12 staff members and grew to 65, and 4,000+ employees hospital-wide grew to 17,000+ employees. I’ve seen many staff, friends and family come and go along the way. I’ve been part of three major moves into various satellite buildings and personally, climbed the ladder with five title changes within the same department. I witnessed so many huge milestones over the past 30 years, institutionally, departmentally and personally. 

I have so many memorable experiences - Medical Center and department picnics, United Way events, holiday parties, new building construction, and coordinating the annual Information Systems/Finance golf outing for 20+ years. These experiences are nothing less than life-molding, rewarding and beyond serving! Of course, some of those years were, indeed, the most trying and challenging of times, but no matter what, there were and still are so many dedicated employees who continue to strive to do better each year. We certainly have the best, most hardworking workforce ever! I thank God each and every day for this journey He has taken me on and do feel truly blessed to be a part of it.

Kathy Rhoads
Administrative Associate, Quality Systems Improvement

“As a new employee directly out of high school, with career goals in the administrative field, Hershey Medical Center provided many learning opportunities. I mentored with some great trainers.”

As an employee of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for 30 years, I wanted to share a few of my memories. First, thank you to my father for encouraging me to accept a temporary position at the Elizabethtown Children’s Hospital. Accepting that position started my journey with Hershey Medical Center. As a new employee directly out of high school, with career goals in the administrative field, Hershey Medical Center provided many learning opportunities. I mentored with some great trainers. 

Learning my way around the hospital and the various expansions was always a challenge. One of my most valuable memories is when Dr. Gregory Caputo asked me to support him. I remember being nervous when he called me into this office, thinking I had done something wrong! I also remember when employees had to “pay” to park at the hospital. Employee satisfaction really improved when that changed. After time spent working in multiple departments throughout the Medical Center, I’m currently an administrative associate in Quality Systems Improvement supporting a great team! I am honored to have this opportunity to share some of my memories, and I’m glad to be a part of the PSHMC Team!

Kimberly Beard
Revenue Integrity Coding Manager

“What lies ahead for Hershey Medical Center is exciting and innovative in the health care industry.”

When I started my career in the Emergency Department in January 1984, Hershey Medical Center was just a teenager at 14 years old. The Emergency Department had 10 rooms. When Life Lion joined the team, two trauma bays were added. What a revolution in health care in central Pennsylvania! As my career grew, for I was not much more than a teen myself when I started, the hospital changed. It grew into the adult it is today with the Children’s Hospital (where my niece, weighing less than 4 pounds at birth, received care in the NICU), the Cancer Institute (where my aunt received care to overcome breast cancer) and many satellite clinics. 

I was working for the Department of Orthopaedics when they made the big move to 30 Hope Drive. That was an exciting time, with state-of-the-art clinic space and therapy services. I have been given the opportunity to mold my career and continue to be a part of the best health care system in Pennsylvania, the East Coast, the nation and the world! I am so thankful and honored to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Darlene Schaffer, RHIT
Director, Penn State Health Information Management

“Hershey Medical Center looked like this when I began my second-shift position in 1973. Staff met after work to play tennis or volleyball in the back of the hospital, and you could ride your bike around the campus without worrying about traffic.”

Richard Vickroy
Group Leader, Utility Plants

 “I am always amazed by the dedication of the staff, as a worker and as a sometime patient.”

My first memory of Hershey Medical Center is stopping across the road at the Texaco gas station. I was five years old, and my father told me to look at that large cornfield. “Next year there will be a big seven-story building going up in the middle of that field,” he said. We drove up the dirt road to the then Milton Hershey home, which is still on campus, and I could not envision how high or large it would be. 

Fast-forward to 1985. Fresh out of the Marine Corps, I started my first year at Hershey Medical Center. The campus has almost doubled in size since then, along with the number of people who work here. I am always amazed by the dedication of the staff as a worker and as a sometime patient. In addition, all three of my sons graduated from Penn State and are doing very well in their chosen professions.

Courtney Marderness, PCA
Adult Emergency Department

Courtney Marderness

“Miracles truly happen in this place daily, and I believe if it weren’t for the amazing care I received at Hershey Medical Center I wouldn’t be here today.” 

On April 21, 1991, my mom went into premature labor at Ephrata Hospital. They tried to stop her from going into labor, but nothing helped so she ended up giving birth. I was flown by Life Lion to Hershey Medical Center, where I spent weeks until my lungs were developed. Fast-forward 29 years later, and I have been a patient care associate in the Emergency Department for two years. I worked in the hospital for a total of six years. I have a beautiful family and two kids of my own. Miracles truly happen in this place daily, but I believe if it weren’t for the amazing care I received here at Hershey Medical Center, I wouldn’t be here today. 

Christopher LaCoe
Vice President, Virtual Health

Christoper LaCoe

“The growth and progress we have made in caring for patients as a medical center and health system over the past several years is remarkable and to be a part of it has been exciting.”

My Penn State journey started with a summer nursing internship in the Emergency Department prior to my senior year in nursing school. Hershey Medical Center had been in the news quite often for its heart transplant and Life Lion helicopter programs. What brought me back was the experience that summer, which was incredible. The nurses, staff and physicians I met and worked with left a lasting impression. 

Fortunately, I was selected for the critical care internship program the following year, which was a multi- month intensive training program for graduate nurses. At that time, we had about 3,500 physicians and staff. Most of the campus was undeveloped and surrounded by cornfields. The growth and progress we have made in caring for patients as a medical center and health system over the past several years is remarkable and to be a part of it has been exciting and one of the reasons that I have remained with Penn State.

Dr. Larien Bieber
Internal Medicine, Penn State Health Lime Spring Outpatient Center

Larien Beiber

“Doctors with Handbags and Hearts” described the first class enrolled at the new Hershey Medical School in 1967. Over time, the handbags we once carried on house calls were no longer used, but the importance of our hearts in healing remains more pertinent than ever.

While “Doctors with Handbags and Hearts” seemed a bit contrived to students, it captured the philosophy of Dean George Harrell as he created the new medical school. Medical schools at that time focused on the science of medicine, but tended to ignore the fact that healing involved more than choosing the right medicine or doing intricate surgery. It involved our hearts - a caring and empathetic approach to our patients. Over time, the handbags we once carried on house-calls were no longer used - I discarded mine two years ago after it gathered dust for a decade - but the importance of our hearts in healing remains more pertinent than ever.

The Dean’s emphasis on “hearts” showed in several ways. He included behavioral science and humanity courses as part of the first year. He also appointed three remarkable family practice doctors as full faculty members who served as excellent role models for students. 

Dean Harrell searched for younger doctors to become department chairs, expecting that they would be open to new ways of teaching and would stay for a long time. That proved to be true, and the first classes gave us the unique opportunity to be taught directly by chairs who normally would have little contact with students. I learned a great deal from Dr. Graham Jeffries, my attending for my internal medicine rotation.

Settling in Lancaster, Pa., has given me the opportunity to stay in touch with my alma mater in a meaningful way. I have served as preceptor for third-year students and medical residents for several decades and enjoyed teaching a class about communication skills with third-year students And now, as my medical career winds down, I find myself traveling full circle – from student at Penn State Hershey to an employee of Penn State Health. It has been a wonderful journey!

Janice Mills, RN-BC, NPD, MPsSc
Clinical Nurse Educator

Janice Mills

“I have treasured the time I have spent here, mostly as a clinical nurse educator. Being a part of the history and excitement has made me proud to work at a great institution.”

On May 30, 1974, I was a new graduate RN, starting in Women’s Health five days after graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University. My goal was to work at an academic medical center, and I found it in central Pennsylvania. The hospital was four years old, and everything felt new!

In 1980, I completed my master’s degree at Penn State and become a clinical nurse educator. My first job in this new role was to help to write the first trauma course for our nursing staff.

Here are some other standout memories:

  • Planning the orientation for the first Life Lion Team
  • Taking our Health Care Professionals Cancer Education program on the road
  • Experiencing electronic medical record training at all the practice sites and Hershey Medical Center
  • Celebrating a new Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital and their expansions
  • Serving under five College of Medicine deans and six directors of nursing

Now, during 2020, COVID-19 challenges everyone, two new hospitals are in the works and more practice sites are on the way. I have never wanted to work anywhere else!

Cindy Thomasson MPAS,PA-C, DFAAPA
Physician Assistant, Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine

Cindy Thomasson"All in all, when I think of Hershey Medical Center, it is like my second home. I am thankful for the memories and experiences it has given me."

I started my journey at Hershey Medical Center in July 1979 as a kitchen tray assembler at age 16. I was promoted to short-order cook when the cafeteria was literally a 30-foot, L-shaped counter. After work we would have volleyball games. From housekeeping to surgeons, any and all would join. At dusk, we would pull the cars up and turn on the headlights and music. In the winter we sometimes used cafeteria trays to go sledding where the South Garage is located.

I moved on to Central Transport as a patient service aide on night shift, often logging 20 miles per night. I was attending Penn State York and working at the medical center. One day I met Sandy Rosvanis, a physician assistant in Neurosurgery. I shadowed her, and the rest is history. I returned to the Medical Center as physician assistant in July of 1990 and worked in Cardiology, Orthopedics and Pediatric Orthopedics. Each day, Dr. Schwentker would write a poem from memory on the whiteboard. He especially liked poems by A.A. Milne.

I worked for 14 years in the emergency room, where I was known as the suture queen, before obtaining my master’s degree through distance learning. I spent more than three years in Pediatric Rheumatology, and for the past 10 years I have been with Orthopaedic Surgery in Sports Medicine.

I’ve seen the campus go from a crescent to a huge complex. Most of my family members have worked here at some point - my grandma, my mom, two brothers and my dad!

John Scipione, BA, BSN, RN
Staff Nurse, Employee Health

Map"Some folks may just think of football when they think of Penn State. It’s not even the first or second thing that comes to mind for me. I think of caring, commitment, how I am grateful to be a part of this community and, of course, family.”

Recently, I received a congratulatory notification of my 15th anniversary here at Hershey. Except for eight months, I have worked here every year since 1991. I came from upstate New York, following my older sister Mary Ellen May, an RN who retired after 37 years here.

I came fresh out of nursing school and have worked in numerous units starting on the 4th floor, then SICU, HVOU and now in Employee Health. I am really proud of the commitment of my co-workers. I love the atmosphere of a “community of caring” that is present. When you have worked here for a number of years, you get to know a lot of folks. Any day, I can take a walk and see friends old and new. It’s like my work neighborhood.

I now get to meet more newly hired employees. I love the younger crowd’s enthusiasm as they start their careers, each with a unique story. We are very international, too, so I decided to get a world map and mark the countries of origin for all the internationally born employees. It’s helped my geography skills, and hopefully in some small way it helps folks feel welcome.

Mostly though, this place is incredibly special to me, because I met my wife Angella here. She is a respiratory therapist and has worked here since 1992. Both of my children were born two floors up from where I am as I type this. Is there a more special moment than seeing the birth of your child, to watch them being held by their mother and then to hold them for the first time yourself? As Penn Staters, they are showing a commitment to our patients too, as both are involved in THON at University Park.

We are…

Cheryl Heverling
Executive Administrative Associate for Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer and Marketing and Communictions Directors

Cheryl Heverling"I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to change, grow and learn from many wonderful people."

Memories

I have been with the organization for almost 20 years. Although I started in the Finance Department as an accounts payable clerk, I have had the opportunity over the years to reinvent myself many times and have held positions in Information Services, Operating Room Materials and Procurement, all leading to my current position in Marketing. That’s a lot of offices in a lot of places around campus and a lot of people to work with. I was on the front lines with Supply Chain for the water incursions in the Operating Room in 2010 and also when we were prepping supplies for Ebola.

I've seen a Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital added, an east and west campus developed, and the Hershey Medical Center become the flagship hospital of what is now Penn State Health.

Did You Know...Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trivia

Dr. George Harrell, the founding dean of Penn State College of Medicine, made the library a central focal point to symbolize the physical space that connected knowledge, research, education and patient care. 

In September 1967, the birth of undergraduate medical education in central Pennsylvania began when 40 medical students arrived to begin classes in the College of Medicine at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The chairman of the selection committee called the first students the “Pioneer Class.” 

Dr. Elaine Eyster joined Penn State College of Medicine in 1970 as one of the college’s first female faculty members. Within three years, she became the college’s first female division chief, and her work revolutionized the world’s understanding of HIV infection in individuals with hemophilia.

Hershey Medical Center created the nation’s first Department of Family Medicine and the first Department of Humanities.