Graduate students explore U.S. health care’s changing terrain during workshops

January 29, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The evolving health care landscape in the U.S. and its impact on graduate students at Penn State were focal points of interactive workshops held Jan. 25-26 in the Huck Life Sciences Building at the University Park campus. 

Titled “Health Care Literacy 101,” the workshops were jointly sponsored by the Graduate School and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA). Graduate students at all Penn State campuses were invited to either attend the workshops or watch them through a live streaming option.

Each 90-minute workshop included presentations by health care executives and University administrators; a general question-and-answer session with the presenters; and a reception where presenters answered questions from graduate students that were more specific in nature.  

“I am pleased that the Graduate School was able to partner with the Graduate and Professional Student Association to offer this workshop,” said Michael F. Verderame, senior associate dean of the Graduate School, who co-moderated the workshops with Alison M. Franklin, GPSA health insurance liaison. “Health insurance continues to be a very complex benefit, and we want to be sure that all graduate students understand how to best use this important service.”

The presenters and their topics were:

  • David J. Duncan, president and CEO of UPMC Altoona Regional Health Services and a Graduate School alumnus, "Introduction to Health Insurance and the U.S. Health Care System"
  • Karen Kline, director of student health insurance, "How Health Insurance Works: A Case Study Comparison of Health Insurance Plans"
  • Robin E. Oliver-Veronesi, senior director of University Health Services, "Services Provided by University Health Services: A Brief Overview"

“The intent of the health care literacy workshop was to, first, provide necessary background information on U.S. health care and insurance, since it is a very complicated subject and not always easily understood,” said Franklin, a soil science and biogeochemistry doctoral student. “Second, the workshop was designed to provide students an opportunity to ask questions. People almost always have health care and insurance questions but don’t always know whom to turn to. We, the GPSA, saw this workshop as a first step in providing health care-related information to graduate students and will work diligently to provide additional workshops, especially since this first one was so well-received.”

The workshops are available for viewing on the Graduate School's website

Last Updated February 02, 2016