News about Health Sciences

Penn College Appoints Director of Physician Assistant Program

Lynn Eckrote

Lynn Eckrote has been named director of the Physician Assistant Program at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Eckrote, who had served as a clinical director before being named interim director of the program, began her employment at Penn College in 2014.

“The same high level of enthusiasm, collaboration, dedication and professionalism Lynn brought to our clinical directorship will translate well in her new role as program director,” said Edward A. Henninger, dean of the college’s School of Health Sciences. “We fully expect that Lynn will make a positive and lasting impact on the program’s mission of producing high-quality health professionals who contribute effective, evidence-based and compassionate care.”

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College’s Dental Hygiene Clinic Open to Students, Public

The dental hygiene clinic, a learning laboratory for students enrolled in Penn College’s dental hygiene majors, is open to students and the general public. Services include cleanings, examinations, X-rays, fluoride treatments and sealants. Examination results and X-rays can be sent to the patient’s regular dentist. The dental hygiene clinic is in Room W222 of the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center.  Appointments can be made by calling ext. 4500.

Emma J. Sutterlin Named ‘Student of the Month’

Emma J. Sutterlin

Emma J. Sutterlin, an applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration major from State College, has been chosen as the December/January “Student of the Month” at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

A Resident Assistant in on-campus housing and a “Link” in Penn College’s Connections orientation program, Sutterlin is a 2013 graduate of State College Area High School. She anticipates receiving her bachelor’s degree from the college in May 2018 and is scheduled to complete her associate degree in occupational therapy assistant this August.

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Student Receives Scholarship from State Professional Association

A Pennsylvania College of Technology student was named one of two recipients of the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association’s Reba M. Sebelist Scholarship.

The scholarship was awarded to Jeanette M. Yatsko, of Monroe Township, Luzerne County, who is pursuing an associate degree in occupational therapy assistant and a bachelor’s degree in applied health studies at Penn College.

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TV Segment Shares College’s Responsiveness to Workforce Needs

"Stay Tuned" to WVIA-TV

Penn College’s success in answering the skilled demands of industry will be featured in the next episode of WVIA-TV’s “Stay Tuned,” premiering at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. The recurring series continues the public television station’s goal to highlight those making a difference in meeting critical community needs. “Television viewers often are bombarded with ‘What’s wrong with the world?’ news stories. WVIA’s ‘Stay Tuned’ reminds us that great people do great things every day in our region,” said Elaine J. Lambert, special assistant to the president for creative development and public relations. “It is an honor for Penn College to be featured in this episode.” Interviewed in the 10-minute segment are Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development; Kirk M. Cantor, professor of plastics technology; Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager, Thermoforming Center of Excellence; Alison A. Diehl, director, National Sustainable Structures Center; Ryan L. Newman, a former technician with the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center (who has since accepted employment in Louisiana); and students Madison T. Powell, of Linden (plastics), Eric M. Danz, of Hershey, and Kyle D. Bomboy, of Unityville (both physician assistant).

Treatment, Triage and Tenderness

Dr. Guy A. Giordano (left) says that Hassan was the sickest patient at the Ebola Treatment Unit to survive. Giordano is a family physician in Williamsport and a part-time instructor in the college's Physician Assistant Program.

From the Winter 2015 One College Avenue: In Sierra Leone, a part-time member of the physician assistant faculty lent his skill to help in an Ebola Treatment Unit. “Those patients were suffering terribly, and they bore their suffering with quiet patience,” recalls Dr. Guy A. Giordano. Read “Treatment, Triage and Tenderness.”

Medical Imaging Club’s Toy Collection Brightens Holidays

Medical Imaging Club collects Toys for Tots.

As part of its community service, Penn College’s Medical Imaging Club collected for Toys for Tots for the second straight year.  According to Karen L. Plankenhorn, interim clinical director for radiography, the group put boxes across campus – the Hager Lifelong Education Center, Madigan Library, Bush Campus Center and the Medical Imaging classroom – in hopes of bringing a brighter Christmas to local children.
Photo by Karen L. Plankenhorn

Disciplines Dovetail in Pursuit of Universal Design

Linda M. Barnes, associate professor of occupational therapy assistant, provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities inherent in accommodating an aging population of baby boomers.

Rob A. Wozniak, associate professor of architectural technology, adds his insight to students' brainstorming.

Students from diverse majors tackle a common objective in the supportive presence of OTA director Barbara J. Natell. Barnes, Wozniak and Natell are all Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists, trained in home modification.

Jeanne M. Kerschner, clinical director of occupational therapy assistant, encourages a collaborative solution.

With a tissue-paper overlay, a student group explains how it altered a home design to incorporate accommodations so they're in place if/when needed.

Two groups of Penn College students – architectural technology majors and those enrolled in occupational therapy assistant – were called together Thursday for a uniquely collaborative discussion about the accessibility of home design. The two-and-a-half-hour seminar not only allowed them to consider ways to accommodate various disabilities in the renovation of existing homes, but to examine how homes could be designed better in the first place. Residential design is not bound by the Americans With Disabilities Act, but is becoming a more prevalent concern due to an aging population and the attendant health/mobility concerns. The students discussed the foresight of features such as zero-step entry; dimensional doors, hallways and counters that anticipate wheelchair use; and other accommodations that would be comparably expensive if added as an afterthought but, if designed properly from the outset, can invisibly add value and accessibility at the time of sale. The seminar was preceded last month by a practical exercise in which architecture students were outfitted by OTA majors with crutches, wheelchairs and blindfolds to get a small taste of what various disabilities are like.

Read the 2014-15 Annual Report Edition of One College Avenue

Winter 2015/Annual Report cover

The Winter 2015/Annual Report issue of One College Avenue, Penn College’s official magazine, is on its way to mailboxes. You can also read it online or pick up a copy in building lobbies across campus. In this issue: The president looks forward with confidence to 2020; industrial and human factors design students complete a product redesign for an industry giant; a part-time physician assistant faculty member recalls his volunteer time in an Ebola clinic. Plus many highlights from 2014-15. Visit to share stories and leave your comments.

Instructor Throws Voice, Letting ‘Patient’ Have Say in Treatment

From the control room, Jessica L. Bower, simulation laboratory coordinator for nursing education, observes students and plays the role of patient.

The system provides views from three cameras mounted in the simulation lab.

Students pose for a remote photo opportunity after they finish their scenario.

A second group of students takes its turn.

Wednesday marked a “first” in Penn College’s Nursing Program, as students – and instructors – tried out the newly installed Laredal SimView system in conjunction with the program’s human simulation manikin, SimMan 3G. As part of a simulation day, associate-degree nursing students in the Foundations of Nursing course worked through three scenarios, each involving a same-day surgery patient (preoperative, postop and discharge teaching). During the postoperative simulation, faculty used SimView, which captures audio and video of the students caring for the patient. Using the system, an instructor can view and hear the simulation from a remote location, change the “patient’s” physical status, and communicate as the patient through speakers in the manikin. “We found that the system encouraged the students to engage with the patient in a more realistic way, because the voice comes from the patient instead of someone in the room,” said Laurie A. Minium, assistant professor of nursing, who provided the photos. “We had positive feedback from students and instructors.”

Fictitious Patient Teaches Real-Life Lesson on Teamwork

Jessica L. Bower, simulation laboratory coordinator in nursing, gathers students onstage in the Academic Center Auditorium for a debriefing.

Students representing various majors talk through a patient’s case with Tushanna M. Habalar, instructor of nursing (in gray sweater).

Michelle A. Walczak, associate professor of nursing, asks students to consider the patient’s emotions as first responders arrive.

Nursing students listen to the outlook of peers in other health disciplines.

The School of Health Sciences held the first of two Interdisciplinary Professional Experiences of the year for Penn College students on Nov. 20, involving more than 100 students from four academic programs in a case study that helped them think through a patient’s health care experience through the eyes of other professionals – as well as the patient. The students gathered in small groups – with at least one representative from each of the involved programs on every team – to discuss the fictional case of “Mrs. Smith,” a busy working mom whose vehicle crashes when she experiences an apparent stroke. Students talked through the role of each medical provider who will encounter the patient and what information each professional needs from the others. “The main focus is communication,” said Jessica L. Bower, simulation laboratory coordinator in nursing, who helped to facilitate the event. In the spring, the School of Health Sciences will hold a hands-on IPE event, using actors to simulate patients with emergency health concerns.

Radiography Students Hold Their Own in ‘Technibowl’ Competition

Penn College radiography students compete at Hershey

Radiography students recently attended a “Technibowl” competition at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, competing with similar schools in the immediate area (Geisinger Medical Center, Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences, College of Misericordia, Penn State and the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences). Two-student teams from all schools participated in three rounds of 30 board certification-style questions, with points earned for each correct answer. Penn State claimed the top three places. While students from each school were at different points in their education – Penn College students won’t graduate for nearly a year after some of their competitors – Jessica L. Reed, of South Williamsport, and Aaron R. Curry, of Hamburg, finished just out of third place. Georgia T. Grey, clinical supervisor, and Karen L. Plankenhorn, interim clinical director, chaperoned the group.
Photo by Karen L. Plankenhorn

Students Observe National Radiologic Technology Week

Students enrolled in the radiography major at Penn College gather for a photo to celebrate National Radiographic Technology Week, which celebrates the profession and the discovery¬ – on Nov. 8, 1895 – of the X-ray by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. The students made educational posters for display in area hospitals, where they complete clinical rotations.

Students studying radiography at Pennsylvania College of Technology, along with the radiography program faculty and staff and the college’s Medical Imaging Club, are celebrating National Radiologic Technology Week Nov. 8-14.

Students developed educational posters for display during the week at hospitals where they perform clinical rotations.

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Susquehanna Health Aids Hands-On Learning at Flu-Shot Clinics

Penn College nursing student Abby C. Busch, of Troy, provides a flu shot to Susquehanna Health employee Tanja Speck during an employee flu shot clinic at Williamsport Hospital.

During October, approximately 30 students from four nursing classes at Pennsylvania College of Technology lent their time to help administer flu shots for Susquehanna Health employees and volunteers at the health system’s facilities.

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Exercise Science Students to Host Public Powerlifting Competition

Students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Exercise Science Club will host a powerlifting competition Nov. 14 at CrossFit Montoursville.

With categories for men and women, judged “pound for pound” (how much weight a person lifts per pound of body weight) the competition is open to anyone.

“It is open to the public, and because it is pound-for-pound, it is anyone’s game,” said Herndon resident Rayann J. Levan, Exercise Science Club president and a student in applied health studies: exercise science concentration at the college.

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