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Make an appointment with the Psychiatry Department at Penn State Health

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For Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute call 

Department overview

Sitting at the intersection of a number of fields, we bring scientists, clinicians, patients, families, and the public together to improve the well-being and mental health of people throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Our treatment team is comprised of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, social workers, therapists, and psychiatry and psychology trainees.

Department stats

  • Services provided through Penn State Health and the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute
  • Specialized treatment programs for mood, eating, sleep, autism spectrum, attention deficit hyperactivity, conduct, substance use and psychotic disorders
  • Specialized treatment settings include inpatient, outpatient, and partial (day) hospital programs

Specialized treatment modalities including neuromodulation services.

Contact us

500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Erika Saunders, MD, Chair of PsychiatryErika F.H. Saunders, MD

Psychiatry is a dynamic, exciting field, which is changing rapidly today. At Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, we provide innovative care for patients, educate the healthcare providers and academicians of the future, and produce and disseminate new knowledge in our research programs.

The explosion of knowledge about the brain and behavior that has characterized the past century is leading to understanding the connections that will lead to improved care: links between the genome, the cell, cellular networks, and clinical symptoms. Sitting at the intersection of a number of fields, psychiatry brings scientists, clinicians, patients, families and the public together to improve the well-being and mental health of people.

Penn State Psychiatry provides a full range of clinical services in Hershey through the Hershey Medical Center and the University Physician's Group; and in Harrisburg, through the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI), a joint venture between the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Pinnacle Health.

Penn State Psychiatry embodies our field and its future. As we pursue our missions to expand and transmit knowledge, we strive to improve lives. We welcome your interest in Penn State Psychiatry.

Erika F.H. Saunders, MD
Chair, Psychiatry

Photo of Elisabeth J. Kunkel, MDElisabeth J. Kunkel, MD

Professor of Psychiatry
Chief Medical Officer of Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute
Vice Chair of Community Behavioral Health
Director of Population Behavioral Health

Dr. Kunkel completed undergraduate and medical training at McGill University, residency at New York University Medical Center, and a psychosomatic medicine fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cornell University Medical College and the American Cancer Society. She joined the faculty at Thomas Jefferson in 1989 and served as its Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs from 2002-2017.

In her role as Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, her many accomplishments include developing a better structure for oversight of hospital-based and ambulatory services and improving patient experience and patient-centered care. In 2015, she led the JHS (Jefferson Health System) system-wide initiative on integrated behavioral health for all clinical departments and was integral in preparing for the EPIC transition at Thomas Jefferson. Through her leadership, in 2008, she launched and led a fellowship program in Psychosomatic Medicine that consistently recruited stellar candidates. She has received many honors for teaching and leadership, including the national Roberts Award for Inspirational Mentorship in Academic Psychiatry from the Association of Academic Psychiatry. Dr. Kunkel has a 20-year track record of collaborative research in cancer prevention and control and psycho-oncology, including studies on prostate cancer screening decision-making, integrative medicine in cancer patients, and other studies related to the psychiatric aspects of medical illness. This work has resulted in over 60 peer-reviewed and over 40 non-peer-reviewed publications. She has extensive experience mentoring faculty in the development of research careers.

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