A Message from the Dean

Welcome to the Winter 2014 issue of the Penn State College of Medicine Alumni Update.  This issue features stories about alumni who have broken new ground in their professions, as well as a glimpse into the daily life of one of our current medical students.  From a pioneering chemist and nurse educator, to an Olympic team doctor and distinguished sports medicine specialist, to an aspiring young physician – you will meet them here

Those of you who plan to follow the Winter Olympics may be particularly interested in the feature story on Mark E. Lavallee, M.D. '94, who serves as a physician for the United States weightlifting team. Also in this issue, second-year medical student Kevin Moser blogs about a day in the life of a medical student; I am sure many of you will be intrigued to learn how much has changed since your own days as a student.

Although the majority of our alumni are medical doctors, the very first degree awarded by Penn State College of Medicine was a graduate degree.  Lois W. Forney, M.S. '69, went on to have a remarkable career as a chemist, nurse educator, and philanthropist. The range of her contributions and accomplishments is reflected in the honors that bear her name, including the Lois W. Forney Award for Excellence in Nursing and the Lois Forney Society, into which our graduate alumni are inducted when they reach their 30th Reunion year.

Over the coming year, we are poised to add even greater diversity to the ranks of our alumni.  This May, the first cohort of medical students to complete their clinical training at our Regional Medical Campus at University Park will graduate, and shortly thereafter, we will welcome the first students into our Physician Assistant master's degree program. This is the latest addition to our campus, joining other new academic programs that include our Master of Public Health program, which awarded Penn State's first MPH degrees last May, and an array of advanced practice nursing programs offered at Penn State Hershey through Penn State College of Nursing.

This year also promises to bring many changes in our other mission areas. Our researchers continually make exciting discoveries that offer new understanding and new hope in our efforts to conquer disease and improve health. We will no doubt continue to be recognized for our innovative approaches to community engagement, with the new Hershey Community Garden slated to open on our campus this spring. Amidst the rapid transformations that our healthcare system is undergoing, we will maintain and redouble our commitment to offering patients and families care that is second to none in quality, value, and innovation. I hope that many of you will plan to return to campus for Alumni Weekend to see first-hand the impressive growth of our campus and the impact that Penn State Hershey has on our community, our patients, and our students. None of this would be possible without the support and continued engagement of alumni like you.