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Special message from CEO Steve Brown
Steve Brown, FACHE, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health

In January, Mount Nittany Health released its Annual Report to the community as we do each year, highlighting our accomplishments, growth over the last year, our utilization statistics, balance sheet and most importantly to all of us, our community benefit.

Core to our mission is keeping people well regardless of their ability to pay, and to that end, Mount Nittany Medical Center provided $4.7 million in free care to people who qualified. In addition, we provided about $2 million in education services, donations to Centre Volunteers in Medicine, as well as sponsorship of many other vital not-for-profit health and wellness organizations that fit within our mission to keep people healthy. I believe that, as we aim to be the region’s most trusted health leader, we need to support those organizations that fulfill a community need leading to overall health and wellness.

To ensure that we can continue to lead in this important area, we have modernized and expanded a number of our facilities, finalized our community-based strategic plan, and grown to become a true health system. In addition, as has been our history, we have been prudent with our financial resources to the extent that both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings again have affirmed our bond rating in the A category and our outlook as Stable, while a number of other companies in many industry sectors have been downgraded. You can be confident that we are making the right financial decisions now to positively impact access to healthcare in the future. To that end, you are seeing what may be perceived as a boom in growth over the past three years, a result of our solid financial planning in the past and our solid vision for the future. This also requires us to continue our history of being constantly mindful of our resources while ensuring that our community is best served.

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Wake up to the fact that good sleep is vital to your health!
Written by John Solic, MD, sleep medicine specialist, Mount Nittany Physician Group
John Solic, MD, sleep medicine specialist, Mount Nittany Physician Group

How well are you sleeping? Are you interrupting your spouse’s slumber with your snoring? How do you feel when you wake up? Refreshed and ready to go, or do you have a headache? Maybe you get drowsy during the day. And did you fall asleep during that meeting because it was boring or because you didn’t sleep much the night before?

All of these questions and observations are important to judge how well you are sleeping. March 3-11 is Sleep Awareness Week. What better time to take stock of your sleeping habits?

One very common sleep problem is sleep apnea—not breathing during sleep. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) means that you may stop breathing for short periods of time  even when you are trying to breathe, there may be little or no airflow into the lungs. And these apneas can cause a person to wake up from a sound sleep. It’s actually a dangerous condition and should be treated.

There are several reasons why OSA is a dangerous condition. First of all, lack of sleep can cause a person to fall asleep while driving, which can result in car accidents. Also, periods of stopped breathing can, with time, cause high blood pressure or hypertension, heart disease, stroke and even early death

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Biking in all kinds of weather

When it comes to jumping on your bike when the temperatures fall, “It’s a mindset,” says Cynthia Huntsman Flanagan, a clinical research nurse at The Pennsylvania State University, who rides her bicycle to work every day of the year—almost!

It’s also a matter of gear. Dressing in layers is key. “I wear wind pants over other pants, and several pair of socks and lobster claw gloves with a liner,” says Flanagan, who checks her phone app every morning to find out which way the wind is blowing and other meteorological facts before heading to the Penn State University campus and to work at 6:30 am—a 45 minute ride.

Some people might think getting on a bike at 5:45 am in the dark on a freezing cold morning is punishment. Not Flanagan. “This is my time. It is the one sure way of getting an hour or more of exercise a day and the benefits far outweigh the downside. I love the seasons. I love the cold fresh air.”

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Mount Nittany Health’s first chief operating officer named
Debbie Linnes, chief operating officer, Mount Nittany Health

Steve Brown, FACHE, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health, is pleased to name Debra Linnes as chief operating officer for the health system. Linnes will provide operational leadership for Mount Nittany Medical Center and Mount Nittany Physician Group.

“Our mission at Mount Nittany Health is to make people healthier. As simple as it sounds, it’s a responsibility that we take very seriously. To do that, we must put our mission into every day action. With Debbie’s extensive operations background, I believe that she will be a strong asset to the leadership team as we focus on our strategic priorities and our tradition of excellence in care,” said Steve Brown, FACHE, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health.

Linnes joins the health system with an extensive background in healthcare executive leadership serving as chief operating officer and CEO for hospitals and health systems, including Catholic Healthcare West, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Catholic Health Initiatives, and most recently as President and CEO at Southeast Health in Missouri. Linnes brings strong experience in system clinical integration, physician practice governance, regional market expansion, service line development, and excellence in clinical quality and customer service. Linnes has led healthcare organizations to be in the Top 100 category for health systems in the country.

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Mount Nittany Health’s chief strategy officer named
Tom Charles, MHA, MBA, senior vice president, system development and chief strategy officer, Mount Nittany Health

Steve Brown, FACHE, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health, is pleased to name Tom Charles, MHA, MBA, as senior vice president, system development and chief strategy officer for the health system. Charles will provide strategic leadership and planning to support the mission and vision of Mount Nittany Health.

“Our vision at Mount Nittany Health is to become the most trusted healthcare resource in the region. To do that, we must earn trust from the people we serve by providing quality and value. Tom’s talents and experience will serve the health system well, and he will be a welcome addition to the leadership team as we continue to focus on delivering excellence to the communities that we serve,” said Brown.

Charles joins the health system with extensive experience in healthcare planning and business development. Since 1997, Charles held a number of leadership positions in operations, business development and most recently, in strategic planning for Geisinger Health System. As vice president of strategic planning for Geisinger, Charles supported system-wide strategic development and implementation across the system’s 31-county service area, including clinical program development and expansion of community-based services. Prior to his positions with Geisinger, Charles held executive operations and planning positions at Passavant Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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Mount Nittany Health presents The Weight of the Nation at the State Theatre in April

Like many physicians, Stephen Donelan, MD, nephrology, Mount Nittany Physician Group, has passions. After viewing the critically-acclaimed HBO documentary on obesity, The Weight of the Nation, he became passionate about finding a way to share the films with the people of Centre County.

This April, Dr. Donelan will realize this goal. Mount Nittany Health is presenting The Weight of the Nation at The State Theatre Tuesdays in April as a free community education series, complete with audience-led panel discussions.

The Weight of the Nation is a good place to begin a discussion to improve our home, workplace and community,” said Donelan, adding that the issues explained in the documentary are exactly what every doctor hopes to discuss with patients, including how carrying extra weight can impact heart health, increase the risk of diabetes, and contribute to a host of other health concerns.

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Bob Perks Fund gives $8,800 to The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center
Standing from left to right: Mike Sullivan, Bob Perks Fund board member; Kim Neely, director of The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center; Amy Gravine, Bob Perks Fund board member; Steve Brown, FACHE, CEO, Mount Nittany Health; Doreen Perks, Bob Perks Fund president; David Hellyer, Bob Perks Fund board member; and Aileen Galley, ACSW, LSW, administrative director of the cancer program at Mount Nittany Medical Center

“To be a comfort to people with cancer,” was the motivation for the $8,800 gift given recently to The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center. The donation from the Bob Perks Fund, a State College based non-profit that provides support for basic necessities for people with cancer, will help to purchase hospitality carts to be delivered to families who have a loved one in the hospital with end stage cancer. The carts will facilitate the serving of specially prepared snacks to families so that they can spend as much time as they need at the bedside. Another purchase made from the funds was for special “wraps” for people with cancer to wear for their radiation therapy treatments at the Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion. The garments are designed to accommodate the special needs and equipment involved in the cancer treatments, and provide some comfort and ease for the patient.

The Bob Perks Fund has been established to assist individuals or families with personal illness that has been diagnosed as cancer. The goal is to provide basic necessities that patients cannot afford temporarily due to their illness. Individuals may apply at



Helping seniors stay independent by avoiding falls
Written by Jeanne Mathis-Halpin, RN
Jeanne Mathis-Halpin, RN

Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with patients’ loved ones about helping seniors maintain their independence at home.

One particular area of concern I’ve addressed is how to prevent falls at home – and it’s with good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths and hospital trauma admissions for people 65 and over.

Fortunately, most falls can be prevented with proper education and the right environment. At Mount Nittany Medical Center, I am part of a multidisciplinary team dedicated to preventing patient falls. Together we have implemented a comprehensive fall prevention program that involves patient assessment, monitoring and, of course, education.

Just as we educate our patients about the different environmental factors that could lead to falls in patient rooms (i.e., furniture being on wheels, beds being at different heights than at home, phones being on walls instead of stands, etc.), it is important to evaluate the home environment as well.

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Mark Shaw, DO, FACEP, joins Mount Nittany Health’s Center for Wound Care
Mark Shaw, DO, FACEP, director, Center for Wound Care

Mount Nittany Health is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Shaw, DO, FACEP, as director of Center for Wound Care.

Dr. Shaw graduated from Albright College in Reading, Pa. with a bachelor of science, and went on to become a Doctor of Osteopathy from the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines, Ia. He is board certified in emergency medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Previously the medical director of Clearfield Hospital’s emergency department, Dr. Shaw also worked on a part-time basis as a physician advisor for United Health Systems Executive Health Resources and as a clinical instructor for both Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and Lock Haven University.

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Free diabetes prevention and awareness series

Announcing the return of our popular two-part series held by Fit For Play Physical Therapy & Fitness Center, Mount Nittany Health, and Harrison's Wine Grill & Catering:

  • Part 1: Tuesday, March 12, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Free diabetes screening (non-fasting A1c will be drawn) and snacks; drop in any time between 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm to be screened
  • Part 2: Tuesday, March 19, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm - Refreshments, results and interpretation of your A1C screening; nutrition and fitness seminars; healthy cooking demo and tasting by Chef Harrison

Fit For Play Physical Therapy & Fitness Center
2160 Sandy Drive, Suite A
State College, PA

This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration requested but not required.
For more information, please call 814.861.8122.



Celebrate Spring with a new look!

Make every day special by treating yourself to a new look and be seen at your best with friends, family, and co-workers. Dr. Emily Peterson performs many cosmetic enhancements while licensed aesthetician Camille Brown enhances your look through advanced skincare treatments, waxing and makeup artistry.

Free Gift with Purchase
Book your non-surgical treatment with Dr. Emily Peterson or aesthetic service with Camille Brown and get a cosmetic bag filled with samples and a 15 percent off coupon to use on your next visit.

Use the discount on any non-surgical treatment, including Botox® and other injectibles, aesthetic services with Camille Brown, or any of our high-quality skincare or cosmetic products.

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Education, transportation, healthy lifestyles among the top healthcare concerns at the summit

The major issue areas for the first-ever Centre Region Partners for Health Summit, held at the Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium at Mount Nittany Medical Center included, in no particular order: mental health, substance abuse, obesity/diabetes, healthy aging, oral health, and access to care, including transportation. More than 90 community and human service leaders from the region convened on Feb. 25 for the culmination of an important new collaboration between Mount Nittany Health and Centre County Partnership for Community Health (CCPCH).

Education became a prevailing concern affecting all of these areas of need in the community. Summit participants indicated that knowing about services and solutions that may already be available today is very important.

In addition to education, there was a perceived need for increased understanding and priority given to healthy lifestyles, nutrition, and the value of specific types of preventive care such as oral care, beginning healthy education at the youngest possible ages, coordinating care throughout the community, and ways to shift toward an increasingly health-conscious culture.

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Give My Regards to Broadway: 65th Annual Mount Nittany Medical Center Charity Ball

The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center held its 65th Annual Charity Ball on Saturday, February 2 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel and raised $125,000 for the planned Penn State Hershey/Mount Nittany Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program.

State College-based Penn State Hershey Family Medicine physicians, Michael Flanagan and Kristen Grine, along with their committee, transformed the Penn Stater into a Give my Regards to Broadway themed New York City streetscape—complete with flower vendor and bicycle rickshaw—for the over 470 guests. The event featured a silent auction, gift box raffle, and a contest to guess which Broadway show introduced the costumes displayed by ten mannequins found throughout the venue. Penn State Musical Theatre students performed several Broadway show tunes, and the Philadelphia-area band, Paris, entertained guests after dinner.   

Event sponsorships were once again at an all-time high. Top sponsors were the University Park Regional Campus of Penn State College of Medicine, construction management firm Alexander Building Construction, and architectural design firm FreemanWhite.

Proceeds from this year’s Charity Ball support the development of a Penn State College of Medicine/Mount Nittany Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program at Mount Nittany Medical Center, which will ultimately result in improved access to primary care physicians in Central Pennsylvania.

The 2014 Mount Nittany Medical Center Charity Ball is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, 2014 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

Pictured in the corresponding photo, from left to right: Drs. Dov and Amy Bader; Billie Willits, PhD; Casey and Jessica Weathers; Jenn and Tom Covaleski, MD; Ryan Ridenour, DO, and Kathy Ridenour; Melinda Brought; Mary Pollock; Andrew Hardyk and Angela Hardyk, MD; Brett Witmer and Kristen Grine, DO, Co-Chair; Michael Flanagan, MD, Co-Chair, and Cyndi Flanagan; Emily Peterson, MD, and Benjamin Steward, PA-C; Scott Andrews, MD and Rebecca Davidson; Kimberly and Allen Neely; Kathy and John Adams, MD; Sharon Rex; Betzi Dreibelbis, and Lauren Lubus



Table of contents
Upcoming Events

March 10, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Ostomy Support Group of the Central Counties

March 12, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Free Diabetes Prevention and Awareness Series

March 13, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Fertility Issues and Loss Support Group

March 14, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Diabetes Support Group

See All Events ›
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