Location: Hershey, PA
Connection to Four Diamonds: I came to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine in 2001 as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of the Children’s Hospital. One of the big reasons I chose Hershey was because of Four Diamonds and the spirit and philanthropy of THON. I knew it would offer the opportunity to be a part of something special.
Years of Involvement: I’ve been involved since I came here; first, as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and now as dean of the medical school and CEO of Penn State Health.
How are/were you involved with Four Diamonds and THON?
As chair of Pediatrics, I was very involved in THON. I have enjoyed working with the Student Leadership each year to understand what support I could provide to help THON be successful. I have enjoyed working with THON and the Four Diamonds team to make certain we provide the correct information to them on the opportunity to use the resources they make available to conquer pediatric cancer. It has been particularly meaningful to see the patient services grow to the point where they are now – as good as any in the country – and to see the research grow to a point where it is making a significant contribution to conquering pediatric cancer. And now, as dean and CEO, I have the tremendous opportunity to foster its growth and to ensure that we use our resources to the greatest extent possible.
Why is the partnership between Four Diamonds and THON important?
It symbolizes a commitment to curing pediatric cancers and to caring for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Through Four Diamonds and THON, families can overcome obstacles that get in the way of their child receiving the very best care. They don’t have to worry about how they are going to pay for care. Additionally, Four Diamonds and THON also enable our researchers to develop therapies that can better treat, and ultimately, cure cancer.
What is your favorite memory?
I have two favorite memories. One is the first time I went to THON in State College and saw all those thousands of students dancing, supporting THON and demonstrating their passion about conquering childhood cancer. The other is when they list the names and show the photos of the children who recently lost their battle to cancer. Both are so powerful.
What is your dream for Four Diamonds and THON over the next 40 years?
That together, we accomplish our dream to conquer pediatric cancer.