Mark J. Young International Health Policy Scholarship

The purpose of this scholarship shall be to provide recognition and financial assistance to full time faculty, fellows, residents, or medical students at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine to undertake health policy study programs outside the United States.

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A studio portrait of Dr. Mark J. Young, in a lab coat and tie, with the words 1951-2004 and "In Memoriam" underneath him.Mark Young grew up in Illinois, graduated from the University of Illinois in 1973 and the University of Michigan Medical School in 1978. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan and was a Kaiser Family Foundation Fellow in general medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. His early career included clinical and academic positions at the University of Michigan, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Henry Ford Health Systems. In 1995, Mark was recruited by the Lehigh Valley Hospital Health Network (LVHHN) to hold the Leonard Parker Pool Endowed Chair in Community Health and Health Studies and to be the senior vice president for education and research. He was passionately involved in bettering the region’s health and created a model where all citizens, regardless of age, gender or social status, could attain optimal health and well-being.

Mark’s leadership skills were rapidly recognized by Penn State, and in 1997, he was recruited to become the first chair of the newly formed Department of Health Evaluation Sciences. Mark spent the next six years simultaneously leading two large Academic Health Care departments – one at LVH HN in Allentown and one at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (HMC), Hershey. The Department of Health Evaluation Sciences (HES) evolved from the former Center of Biostatistics and Epidemiology which had been created by the Penn State College of Medicine in 1988. When HES was elevated to departmental status and Mark took over the reins as the first HES chair in 1997, the department consisted of six tenure track faculty members, whose expertise was largely in biostatistics, and 40 staff members. Under Mark’s leadership, the number of tenure track faculty grew rapidly in number and fields of interest. When Mark stepped down as HES chair, in 2003, there were 16 tenure track members with expertise in biostatistics, epidemiology, and health services research and approximately 60 staff members in the department. Total research dollars in HES nearly tripled during Mark’s six-year tenure – rising from $1.7 million to $5.0 million.

Mark was a tireless educator and a life-long learner.  At LVHHN, he was the Associate Dean for Education, and he coordinated resident activities between Penn State and LVH. He was also instrumental in establishing a medical student program between the University of Indiana Medical School and the Moi University in Kenya. He hosted many Kenyan medical students who studied at Lehigh Valley Hospital. In part, as a result of his own clinical experiences in Kenya, Mark routinely donated clinical time at an AIDS clinic in Allentown.

One of Mark’s most notable achievements was the creation of a totally new masters’ program at the Penn State College of Medicine to train physicians to become successful clinical investigators. Mark was the architect of this program which went from his creative concept in mid-1997 to enrolling it’s first class of physician students in July 1999. The program has routinely graduated four to six physician scientists each year since 2001 and has become an integral part of several new Penn State initiatives designed to expand Penn State’s clinical research enterprise.

Mark’s efforts to make the world a better place were felt in many ways outside of his medical centers endeavors. He strove to improve education and promote the arts in Allentown by serving on the Allentown Health Bureau’s Strategic Planning Committee, on the Lehigh Valley Business Education Partnership, on the Mayfair Festival of the Arts, and on the Institute for Healthy Communities. He also served on the Allentown School District’s Community Council, co-chairing the Empowerment Team and the high school Reform Committee. Mark was a citizen of the world who fully understood how important it is to smile and enjoy each moment. He had a remarkable ability to see the big pictures and yet understand the hopes and needs of all of the folks who work on only one small part of any canvas, and to listen to each and to be their spokesperson.   He was a caring physician, gifted teacher, who, as in everything that he did, was giving his all in a tennis match when he passed away April 24, 2004 at age 52.

In general one award per year of up to $3000 will be made. Applications are sought in the spring of the year and the awardee is announced in April. It is expected that the program activity will occur within six months of receipt of the award and that the awardee will make his / her presentation at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center within six months of completion of the funded program.

This scholarship is overseen by a four person committee composed of the Director of the College of Medicine Global Health Center, the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and the Director of the Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine. The committee sets the timing for the request for applications, reviews the applications and selects the awardee(s). The committee reserves the right to make no award if no suitable application is received. In rare circumstances, the committee may decide to make two awards in the same year if funds are available.

  • This award is used to support primarily junior faculty, fellows, medical students or residents, and located at the Hershey Medical Center.
  • The scholarship supports study programs that take place outside the United States. With the possible exception of programs at the WHO in New York City, applications for programs in the United States will not be funded.
  • Fundamental to the purpose of the scholarship is the concept of learning through an organized educational program. Accordingly, participation in clinical activities during this time must be minimal.
  • Proposals must clearly describe the course of study and in what way it is anticipated to have a positive effect upon the applicant’s career.
  • It is expected that these study programs will be affiliated with academic institutions and that the programs will be for 2 to 6 weeks. Independent study programs are discouraged.
  • Two broad categories that the scholarship is expected to be used for include:
    • Attendance at international conferences, short courses or workshops focused on international health care and/or international health policy.
    • Participation in innovative, ongoing international health care and/or health policy projects.
  • The recipient will be required to make a presentation at the Hershey Medical Center within three months of his / her return. The purpose of the presentation will be to share the experience with the HMC community.