Saunders named interim chair of psychiatry

December 10, 2014

Erika Saunders has been named the interim department chairwoman of psychiatry at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, effective Dec. 25. Alan Gelenberg, the current chairman, retires Dec. 31.

Saunders currently serves as executive vice chairwoman of the department of psychiatry, director of the mood disorders program and is an associate professor of psychiatry. She also is an adjunct research investigator with the department of psychiatry and depression center at the University of Michigan.

Saunders came to Penn State Hershey in 2008 as an assistant professor of psychiatry.

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead the Department of Psychiatry as the interim chair at Penn State College of Medicine and the Medical Center,” Saunders said. “These are dynamic times in health care and the changing landscape offers us an opportunity to bring our expertise to improve patient care, education and research. The dedicated faculty and staff of psychiatry make our programs outstanding. I am honored to work with the department, Dr. Hillemeier and our leaders toward our future.”

Gelenberg has been the Shively/Tan Professor and Chair of Psychiatry since November 2010. He joined Penn State Hershey in 2009 as interim chair.

“I have enjoyed my five years in Hershey and will miss the wonderful, talented, dedicated people here,” Gelenberg said. “The Department of Psychiatry is a gem, and under Dr. Saunders’ guidance and leadership will only get stronger. Penn State Hershey is fortunate to have Dr. Hillemeier at its helm. I am confident he will guide this medical center into a new phase of growth and excellence.”

Gelenberg came to Penn State Hershey from University of Wisconsin where he was clinical professor of psychiatry. He was also president and CEO of Healthcare Technology Systems.

He currently is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and is founding author of Biological Therapies in Psychiatry Newsletter. Gelenberg has published more than 280 scientific articles, editorials and book chapters.

“I look forward to keeping you informed as we proceed with a national search for Dr. Gelenberg's replacement,” said Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, CEO, senior vice president for health affairs and dean, in the announcement of Saunders’ role. “In the meantime, I hope you will join me in thanking Dr. Saunders for her willingness to lead the psychiatry department in the interim.”

  • Dr. Erika Saunders

    Erika Saunders, interim department chairwoman of psychiatry

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 10, 2014