Diane Brannon retires after more than 30 years at Penn State

Marjorie S. Miller
August 24, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Diane Brannon, professor of health policy and administration (HPA) in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD) retired July 1 after 31 years at Penn State.

Brannon has served as the professor-in-charge (PIC) of HPA’s doctoral and master’s programs, as well as the department’s leader twice over the past 17 years.

From 2006 to 2012 she served as the curriculum chair, and from 2000 to 2006, served as director and PIC of the MHA program. She served as HPA’s department head from 1997 to 2003 during which time the department experienced dramatic growth.

Her most rewarding experience as an educator and researcher, she said, has been collaboration with students, colleagues and practitioners. “The rich exchange of perspectives challenges all involved, and I have been fortunate to work with some delightful people,” Brannon said.

Brannon’s teaching interests include organization theory in health services research and long-term care administration. Her research interests include long-term care management, quality improvement in nursing homes, and organizational design.

Brannon said her first choice for a major future research initiative would be finding more effective ways to plan for and deliver appropriate end of life care. “Our own College of Health and Human Development has the expertise -- across a number of units -- to make real contributions in this area,” she said.

She said while it is not clear what the impact of health reform will be for employment of health care managers, students with interests in HPA should consider certain trends.

“There is a huge need for increased analytic capacities across all parts of the health care system,” Brannon said. “This ranges from data mining for population health management to systems thinking and network analysis for quality involvement and financial management to creativity and problem solving. Those who have these skills and the context that comes with an HPA undergraduate or graduate degree along with a good measure of flexibility, should be well positioned for a career in health care policy and management.”

Brannon received her doctorate in human service studies in 1981 from Cornell University; her master of science in social work from Bryn Mawr College in 1973; and her bachelor of art’s degree in sociology from Winthrop College in 1971.

“In short term, I am stepping away from academia and looking forward to discovering who I can become without this life framework,” Brannon said. “My ‘bucket list,’ however, is largely filled with things I want to learn.”

Her honors include: Achieving Women at Penn State’s Faculty Award from the Penn State University Commission for Women in 2002; Long Term Care Research Award from the Foundation of the American College of Health Care Administrators in 1994; Best Paper from the Health Care Management Division of the Academy of Management in 1991.  She was also awarded the 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Health Care Management Division.

For more information about health policy and administration at Penn State, visit hhd.psu.edu/hpa.

  • Diane Brannon
    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated October 27, 2015