Campus Life

Penn State alum named health system COO

Robin D. Wittenstein, acting president and chief executive officer of the University Hospital, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) since 2008, will become the director and chief operating officer (COO) of Penn State Hershey Health System effective Aug. 15.

As Health System COO, Wittenstein will oversee Penn State Hershey’s growing network of more than a dozen clinical and academic affiliate hospitals across central Pennsylvania, as well as the Health System’s interests in Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI), Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital, Hershey Outpatient Surgical Center, Hershey Endoscopy Center and other collaborative, health-related ventures.

“Dr. Wittenstein brings a wealth of strategic and operational health care experience to Penn State Hershey Health System,” said Harold L. Paz, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center chief executive officer, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs and dean of Penn State College of Medicine. “Her broad knowledge of academic medicine, including the vital missions of research, education and outreach, will help Penn State Hershey develop transformative partnerships with hospitals and health care providers throughout the region and enhance our ability to serve the health needs of central Pennsylvania citizens.”

Wittenstein has nearly 30 years of experience in health care administration. During her tenure at University Hospital, UMDNJ, where she began as COO in 2007, she has overseen significant improvements in financial performance, patient safety and quality. Under her leadership, University Hospital moved from eight years of significant operating losses to break-even financial performance and developed a comprehensive strategy for implementation of electronic medical records. Additionally during her tenure, the hospital achieved a number of important quality milestones, including Joint Commission Disease Specific Care Certification for its heart failure program, and Gold level of distinction for heart failure and Bronze level for stroke from the American Heart Association/America Stroke Association Get with the Guidelines program.

Over the course of her career Wittenstein has worked in large academic medical centers, community and religious hospitals, and for-profit institutions. Her responsibilities have included strategic planning, business development, financial management and overall operations. In addition to her work in hospitals, she has experience in developing ambulatory and post-acute care services and has been responsible for managing operations of a basic science and translational research institute.

Prior to joining UMDNJ, Wittenstein held a variety of roles within the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, including vice president for continuing care, vice president and chief operating officer of the NSLIJHS Research Institute, and chief operating officer, Staten Island University Hospital. Wittenstein spent five years with Tenet South Florida Health Systems, a large regional health system, after beginning her health care career at St. Francis Hospital in Miami Beach.

Wittenstein received her bachelor’s degree in Health Planning and Administration from Penn State in 1981. She holds an master's of business administration from the University of Miami and a doctorate from George Washington University. A fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Wittenstein serves on a number of boards, including the Hospital Alliance of New Jersey, New Jersey Hospital Association, Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, and Health-e-cITi NJ, a health information exchange. She currently chairs the Conflict of Interest Committee of the Biomedical Research Alliance of New York and has served as board chair of the Lymphatic Research Foundation.

Robin D. Wittenstein Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated January 09, 2015