The award from the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) recognizes community achievement by a Penn State student majoring in health policy and administration who has demonstrated service and commitment to a community or an underserved population, preferably, but not exclusively, in a rural area of Pennsylvania. The award was established in memory of Jennifer S. Cwynar, a 2008 graduate of HPA and a 2008 undergraduate intern at PORH.
Evans was nominated by Aileen Galley, Master of Health Administration (MHA) programs manager and student adviser; and Murray Fetzer, human resources director at Penn Highlands Tyrone, a critical access hospital in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, who served as Evans’ mentor and supervisor at the hospital.
Evans was recognized for her tireless efforts and outstanding leadership skills; her readiness to take on new tasks, ask insightful questions, and assist in streamlining human resources. Evans advocated for rural populations and public health by assisting every department in the hospital function more efficiently and developing protocols to streamline department functions. Noted Fetzer, “The amount of work Katelyn put into these efforts improved the quality of care for our patients.”
Fetzer continued, “As an experienced human resources director, I can evaluate professional and desirable employee behaviors, Katelyn exemplifies these traits. She is very enthusiastic, empathetic, eager, dependable, and detailed-oriented. Katelyn is also very humble.”
During the second year of her MHA program, Evans was a graduate assistant at PORH and, in addition to projects at Penn Highlands Tyrone, provided data and analytical support to PORH, and compiled an extensive matrix of rural hospital community health needs assessments. She also served as a Silk in the Penn State Marching Blue Band, played the piano for her local church, and helped community charities raise funds.
“We are very pleased to present this award to Katelyn Evans and to honor the legacy of Jennifer Cwynar, who was an exceptional student and intern with our office,” said Lisa Davis, director of PORH and outreach associate professor of HPA. “This is one way in which we can encourage excellence in those who will become leaders in advocating for the health of vulnerable populations.”
PORH formed in 1991 as a joint partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Penn State. The office is one of 50 state offices of rural health in the nation and is charged with being a source of coordination, technical assistance, networking and partnership development.
PORH provides expertise in the areas of rural health, population health, quality improvement, oral health, and agricultural health and safety. PORH is administratively located in the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State University Park.
To learn more about the Jennifer S. Cwynar Community Achievement Award or the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, visit porh.psu.edu.