Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center announced several key leadership updates following the departure of Dr. Sarah Iriana, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center senior vice president and chief medical officer, on March 31:
- Senior Vice President of the Hershey Medical Center Academic Practice Dr. Robert Harbaugh has been appointed the additional role of interim Hershey Medical Center chief medical officer.
- Vice President of Performance Excellence Maria Hamilton has been appointed the additional role of interim Hershey Medical Center chief quality officer.
“Dr. Harbaugh and Maria possess extensive knowledge about the Penn State Health system, its workforce and the health care needs of our patients,” said Deborah Addo, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Penn State Health and interim president of Hershey Medical Center. “Under their trusted leadership, Hershey Medical Center will continue to focus on our commitment to provide compassionate, equitable care. We are grateful to both Dr. Harbaugh and Maria for their willingness to serve and support our organization while we recruit to fill these roles on a permanent basis.”
About Hershey Medical Center:
Hershey Medical Center opened in 1970 and has since become one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. It all started in 1963 when Samuel L. Hinkle, president and chairman of the Hershey Chocolate Corporation, called Penn State president Dr. Eric E. Walker to discuss establishing a medical school and teaching hospital in Hershey. The M. S. Hershey Foundation gave a $50 million gift to The Pennsylvania State University for the project. With this grant and $21.3 million from the U.S. Public Health Service, the University built Penn State College of Medicine and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Hershey Medical Center has a long history of developing new artificial heart technology, dating back to the 1970s when researchers led by Dr. William Pierce created the Penn State heart-assist pump, used as a bridge to cardiac transplantation.
In partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey Medical Center faculty and staff continue to create innovative medical advances through research and clinical trials. Projects range from the development of artificial organs and advanced diagnostics to groundbreaking cancer treatments and understanding the fundamental causes of disease.
In 2014, the Penn State Board of Trustees formed Penn State Health, a multi-facility health system that today serves 29 counties in central Pennsylvania and employs 17,500 people.
About Dr. Robert Harbaugh: In his expanded role as interim chief medical officer, Harbaugh will provide executive-level leadership for Hershey Medical Center’s physician teams, driving growth, collaboration and efficiency in clinical services.
Harbaugh is the first Penn State College of Medicine graduate to return as a department chair, following his 2003 appointment as professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. He also served as director of Penn State Institute of the Neurosciences and is a professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State. Prior to joining the Department of Neurosurgery at the College of Medicine, he served as director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke Program, Neurosurgical Laboratory and neurological surgery residency program.
His awards and achievements include being named a University Distinguished Professor of the College of Medicine, Penn State Alumni Fellow and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Harbaugh has also served on the board of directors of Hershey Medical Center, as well as the Lebanon Valley College and St. Joan of Arc School boards.
After earning his medical degree from Penn State College of Medicine, he completed his general surgery internship and neurological surgery residency at Dartmouth-affiliated hospitals.
About Maria Hamilton: In her expanded role, Hamilton will focus on quality, safety and high reliability.
Hamilton joined Hershey Medical Center in 2007. She most recently served as senior director of quality systems improvement, where she had oversight for quality, patient safety, regulatory/accreditation and clinical documentation improvement. Prior to working at Hershey Medical Center, she held leadership roles at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital, where she served as director of business consulting, and at B. Braun Medical, a global medical device manufacturing company, where she served as the corporate manager of industrial engineering across all U.S. manufacturing sites.
Hamilton earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa. She also has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pa.