United Concordia Dental creates program fund

August 24, 2009

Penn State Harrisburg’s commitment to fuel the region’s vast health care industry with highly trained administrators has received a financial boost from United Concordia Dental.

The company has pledged $25,000 to create the United Concordia Dental Program Fund for Health Administration, which will support the master’s degree program in the college’s School of Public Affairs. With headquarters in Harrisburg, United Concordia Dental is one of the largest dental insurers in the nation.

“We are pleased to continue our support of Penn State Harrisburg and its Master of Health Administration program," said Chip Merkel, president and chief operating officer at United Concordia Dental. “The availability of advanced degree opportunities, such as this one, is crucial in our industry’s efforts to meet changing marketplace demands.”

James T. Ziegenfuss, professor of management and health care systems and coordinator of the Master of Health Administration (MHA) program, said that “in the midst of the current health care reform debate, this program support is a most welcome contribution to our efforts to bolster the professional community with administrators who can adapt to the changing environment and design future health care systems.”

“While the plans for change in the health care industry may come fast, the impact will play out over some years with an incremental and long lasting effect,” he said. “United Concordia Dental’s generosity will greatly assist us in our continuing efforts to provide organizations with health care professionals who can adapt and are ready for change.”

The MHA program was introduced at Penn State Harrisburg in January of 1997 in response both student and industry calls for a graduate program exclusively focused on health administration. To date, 150 students have graduated from the program. Prior to the program’s introduction, health administration was an available academic track within the established Master of Public Administration program. That track graduated 225 students.

Last Updated August 25, 2009