Alumni panel to highlight health policy and administration career opportunities

Stone campus building with fall foliage in foreground

An all-Penn State alumni panel of professionals from the health policy and administration industry will share their experiences with students during a panel discussion on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

Credit: Penn State

HAZLETON, Pa. — Students interested in learning about internships and careers in health policy can hear from a variety of industry professionals during a panel discussion hosted by the Penn State Health Policy and Administration Consortium from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, via Zoom. It is free and open to students across Penn State’s campuses. Students should register by noon on Nov. 15 by visiting this link.

The discussion, titled “Shaping Health Policy in the U.S.: Hear How Penn State Graduates are Influencing Health Policy and How You Can Do the Same,” features a panel of Penn State alumni with various backgrounds and a wealth of experience in health policy who will provide a look into their careers, with a focus on policymaking at the federal level. Each will share their own unique experience while offering encouragement and advice to students who may be considering health policy and administration.

The discussion will be moderated by Bill Finerfrock, who served as president of bipartisan government relations firm Capitol Associates in Alexandria, Virginia, until his recent retirement. Finerfrock specializes in health care financing, health systems reform, health workforce and rural health. He graduated from Penn State in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

It is organized by the Penn State Health Policy and Administration (HPA) Consortium, a group of health policy and administration programs from Penn State Abington, Penn State Beaver, Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State Hazleton, Penn State Lehigh Valley, Penn State Mont Alto, Penn State Schuylkill, and Penn State Shenango. The consortium shares a single HPA schedule, multiple faculty members, and works closely with the HPA program in the College of Health and Human Development at the University Park campus.

Panelists include:

Brett Baker, partner at the Nickels Group 

Baker began his health policy journey with the American College of Physicians, then spent over a decade on Capitol Hill negotiating some of the most significant Medicare bills that passed Congress during that time. He played a key role in shaping the prescription pricing policy debate and COVID-19 relief laws enacted during the first year of the pandemic.

Baker worked for both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, two of the most significant committees of Congress when it comes to health policy. He is currently a partner at the Nickels Group in Washington, D.C.

He graduated from Penn State in 2002 with a degree in health policy and administration.

Sarah Hohman, senior associate at Capitol Associates

Since 2021, Hohman has worked for Capitol Associates, a bipartisan government relations firm specializing in health policy located in Alexandria, Virginia. She primarily works on rural health issues in her role as the director of government affairs for the National Association of Rural Health Clinics, where she manages the regulatory and legislative priorities of more than 5,200 clinics across the U.S.

She is a 2021 Penn State graduate with a degree in health policy and administration.

Teresa Kalowsky, medical affairs analyst with VaxCare 

VaxCare, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, is a technology company with the mission of improving immunization processes and finances within ambulatory care and public health across many U.S. states. It has one of largest immunization networks in the U.S.

She is a 2019 graduate of Penn State with a degree in health policy and administration.

Susan Stoner Zook, founder of Mason Street Consulting 

As founder of Mason Street Consulting, Zook has nearly two decades of experience developing and advancing health policy initiatives on Capitol Hill.

She began her Capitol Hill career working for a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Prior to founding Mason Street Consulting in Alexandria, Virginia, she held several high-level positions in the federal government, including health care policy adviser to Senate Finance Committee Ranking member Mike Crapo (R-ID).

She has represented hospitals, large multinational healthcare systems, health insurers, large health trade associations, and small innovative startup health care companies.

Zook was named a 2020 Top Lobbyist by The Hill and serves as a board member for the Women’s Congressional Staff Association and Center for Healthcare Values.

She graduated from Penn State in 2002 with a degree in speech communications.