Health Care Literacy 101 Workshops – Jan. 2016

The focal points of these interactive workshops were the evolving health care landscape in the U.S. and its impact on graduate students at Penn State.

“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 Alison Franklin, a Ph.D. student in Soil Science and Biogeochemistry and health insurance liaison for the GPSA. “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 were held in the Huck Life Sciences Building at the University Park campus on January 25 and 26, 2016 and jointly sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the Graduate School at Penn State.

“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, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School, who co-moderated the workshops with Alison M. Franklin. “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.”

Graduate students at all Penn State campuses were invited to either attend the workshops or view them through the livestreaming 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.

The presenters and their topics were David J. Duncan, Ph.D., President and CEO, UPMC Altoona Regional Health Services, Introduction to Health Insurance and the U.S. Health Care System; Karen Kline, Director, Student Health Insurance, Penn State, How Health Insurance Works: A Case Study Comparison of Health Insurance Plans; and Robin E. Oliver-Veronesi, M.D., Senior Director, University Health Services, Penn State, Services Provided by University Health Services: A Brief Overview.

The workshops are available for viewing at

Monday, January 25:

Tuesday, January 26: