First Penn State online MHA program students to graduate Dec. 20

December 19, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The first class in Penn State’s online master of health administration in health policy and administration will graduate in the University’s fall 2014 commencement ceremony Dec. 20.

The 21 students, who come from diverse careers within the health care field, wrapped up the 49-credit degree with a weeklong intensive residency on the University Park campus. They worked on capstone projects with the faculty and networked with leaders in the health care industry.

The master of health administration program is taught by faculty from the Penn State College of Health and Human Development and Penn State Harrisburg, and it is delivered online by Penn State World Campus. It has the same curriculum as the resident program offered at the University Park campus.

The students said program highlights included an earlier meet-up during a two-week residency in 2013, thought-provoking online discussions, courses about the state of the country’s health care system and even attending a Nittany Lions football game.

“I sincerely believe that the program has greatly influenced my career, ability to lead others and potential to make a difference in health care,” said Christopher Clark, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and medical director of clinical client relations for Highmark Inc. in Erie. Clark said he recently was asked how the program compared to his medical education. “It was more challenging to complete this master’s degree because I had to balance all of the curricular expectations with my family’s schedule and a very busy full-time job.”

Clark was a family physician and served in several administrative roles at Saint Vincent Health System in Erie before taking on his current role. Other students worked in administrative positions on the business side of the health care industry. Students have eight to 10 years of experience, on average, in the field to apply to the program.


Megan Brosious, the associate vice president for Geisinger Health System’s neuroscience service line, enrolled in the degree program to improve her job prospects. She believed she had advanced as far as she could with a bachelor’s degree.

“The accomplishment gives me peace of mind that if I ever decide that I want to make a change, I can and easily,” she said. “Potential employers will see my degree from this amazing institution combined with my experience, that combination is very powerful.”

Student Noreen DiPadova said she wanted additional credentials on her resume, too. She works as the director of quality and risk management for Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May, New Jersey, and she’s worked for more than 20 years in health care.

One of the highlights was one of the first classes in the program. She went into the program unsure about whether the U.S. health care system needed reforming, and that course changed her mind.

“Not only do I feel a part of Penn State, but I had the opportunity to connect with such an impressive group of people,” DiPadova said. “The program allowed for a great deal of interaction with our groups, and I would often find myself looking forward to what the others in the group had to say on topics.”

Applications for the online master of health administration are now being accepted for admission in the fall 2015 semester. For more information, visit the program’s website.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 22, 2014