Penn State Health Policy Student Receives Community Achievement, Alumni Awards

UNIVERSITY PARK. Pa. — Hannah Ross, a student in the integrated undergraduate/Master of Health Administration program in the Department of Health Policy and Administration (HPA), has recently received two different Penn State awards in recognition of her leadership, scholarship and service to the community.

Hannah Ross, a student in the integrated undergraduate/Master of Health Administration program in the Department of Health Policy and Administration, has received the 2019 Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award and the 2019 Edith Pitt Chace Award. IMAGE: Master of Health Administration program at Penn State

2019 Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award

Ross is 2019 recipient of the Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award, which was presented on April 8 during the Annual Stanley P. Mayers Endowed Lecture and Health Policy Administration student awards ceremony. Lisa Davis, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) and outreach associate professor of health policy and administration, presented the award.

The Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award recognizes community achievement by an HPA senior undergraduate student who has demonstrated service and commitment to a community or an underserved population, preferably, but not exclusively, in a rural area of Pennsylvania.

Ross was nominated for the award by Diane Spokus, associate director of professional development in HPA. In her nomination, Spokus noted that Ross’ contributions to the HPA undergraduate program have been invaluable.

Spokus noted that she has seen Ross develop leadership, facilitation and management skills through her participation in many educational and professional development activities. She noted these skills were evident when Ross served as the 2018 Jennifer S. Cwyner Undergraduate Intern at Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH).

While anintern with the PORH, Ross assisted in advocacy and research efforts to guide rural Pennsylvanians and health care providers in improving physical and mental health issues. She also prepared pilot site information about sexual assault exam training in rural hospitals for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Telehealth Center, a project designed to improve sexual assault exams in rural areas.

“We are very pleased to present this award to Hannah Ross and to honor the legacy of Jennifer Cwynar, who was an exceptional student and intern with our office,” Davis said.  “This is one way in which we can encourage excellence in those who will become leaders in advocating for the health of vulnerable populations.”

“In my time as an intern with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, I was honored to continue the work of Jennifer Cwynar by looking for ways to assist disadvantaged groups in rural Pennsylvania, such as children, human trafficking survivors and those without transportation to healthcare services,” Ross said. “I was therefore doubly honored to be selected for the Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award, and to know that I could help carry on Jennifer’s dedication to helping those in need.”

The Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award was established in memory of Cwynar, a 2008 graduate of HPA and a 2008 undergraduate intern at PORH. The award is given in recognition of Cwynar’s commitment to community service, advocacy for underserved and rural populations, and focus on public health. The award is issued to a senior undergraduate HPA student who has advanced those commitments, and is intended to encourage and foster personal and professional development.

2019 Edith Pitt Chace Award

Ross is also recipient of the 2019 Edith Pitt Chace Award, presented by the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society. She was recognized on April 5 at the College of Health and Human Development’s Alumni Society Board awards dinner.

The Edith Pitt Chace Award, named in memory of the director of the Penn State home economics program from 1918 to 1937, recognizes an outstanding student leader and scholar in the College of Health and Human Development.

“So many people within HPA, the College of Health and Human Development, and Penn State encouraged me to grow as a leader and provided me with chances to learn what leadership truly means,” Ross said. “I learned that Edith Pitt Chace led not just for the sake of leading, but with the intention of serving others. I’m honored to be a recipient of the Edith Pitt Chase Award; her example of gracious leadership and empowerment is one I hope to emulate in my own leadership style.”

Ross is a participant in the HPA Peer Mentoring Program, where she provides guidance to mentees transitioning into the HPA major at the University Park campus, and was a teaching assistant for the course, HPA 101, Introduction to Health Services Organization.

She also serves as a resident assistant (RA), providing guidance, support, policy enforcement and campus resource information for 50 students in a residence hall. As an RA, she responds to multiple emotional and psychological crisis scenarios.

Ross has served as the president of the American College of Healthcare Administrators Club. As a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she has been active with the Schreyer Ambassador Team, representing the Schreyer Honors College on student panels and by giving tours to prospective students and their families.