Recent News & Events

  • Mothers getting C-sections are opting for non-addictive painkillers.

    In order to combat the opioid crisis, and the overprescription of certain medications, hospitals are making changes, and doctors emphasize the importance of patient education. A new Cleveland Clinic report says mothers undergoing C-sections are increasingly opting for non-opioid painkillers in an effort to fight off even the potential for addiction. ABC 27 interviews Dr Sarah Kawasaki on the use of Opioids.

    View the full story here

  • Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s Health Innovations Program

    Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Penn State Health and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Collaborate with Prince of Peace Food Pantry in Steelton to Serve Our Community

  • Mural project to bring color, brighten up hospital walls for teenaged patients

    Mural project to bring color, brighten up hospital walls for teenaged patients

    MAY 24, 2019 | by Yaasmeen Piper |

    Right now, if you stepped inside the adolescent floor of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI), you’d be greeted by plain, white, hospital-like walls. Not something teenagers want to look at every day.

    PPI’s Dr. Elisabeth Kunkel decided it was time to change that.

    Read more

  • AAMC CMO Leadership Academy: 2018-2019 Graduates and Cohort 3 Applications Opens June 18

    AAMC CMO Leadership Academy: 2018-2019 Graduates and Cohort 3 Applications Opens June 18

    On May 3rd, the AAMC hosted the second cohort of the CMO Leadership Academy for their final program meeting and graduation. Over the last 18 months, cohort participants actively and purposefully engaged with each other, health care experts, CMOG Steering Committee members, and me to further their executive leadership knowledge and skill development as future academic medicine CMO. It has been a privilege to coach, interact, and mentor these participants and I am happy to have them join the CMO Leadership Academy Community of Practice that also includes our 2017-2018 cohort.

    Read more

  • Advancement in Recovery (AIR) Program

  • INTERIM CEO Announcement, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute

    INTERIM CEO Announcement, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute

    Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI) is pleased to announce it has named Kimberly Feeman, MHA, as its interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective Nov. 29, 2018.  Kim will serve as leader of the organization overseeing strategic planning, day-to-day and fiscal operations, and regulatory compliance among other leadership roles.

    Read more

  • Fighting the Opioid Crisis

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

  • Taking Care of Business 3-24 PA Psychiatric Institute-DBT

    Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI) offers Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as an Intensive Outpatient Program for individuals who are needing more support than outpatient therapy alone. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy that was developed for individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or individuals who have strong traits of this diagnosis. DBT has also been utilized to treat individuals with drug and alcohol addictions, eating disorders and for pain management.

  • Shaun Mullins at Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute talks to WHP 580 about the CAPSTONE Program

    If you have a teen or young adult dealing with or suffering from Psychosis, there is a new program offered by PSI which is called CAPSTONE. Shawn Mullins, Program Manager for CAPSTONE talks about this program, what makes it unique in the area and how to take advantage of it.

  • PA Psychiatric Institute: Opioid Epidemic

    Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute is helping in the fight against the opioid epidemic by opening a new treatment facility that will offer a range of services to address the complex causes of addiction.

  • Penn State Health to establish medication-assisted opioid treatment program at PPI

    Initiative funded by $1 million grant aimed at combating opioid epidemic across the state

    Penn State Health is leading creation of a new system to ensure people in south central Pennsylvania with opioid use disorder receive the treatment they need. The new system’s “hub-and-spoke” model is aimed at revolutionizing the way the disease is managed by recognizing medication-assisted treatment as the gold standard of care and providing a way to fast-track people with the disorder into treatment.

    The “hub” will be located at Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI) in Harrisburg, and will provide a wide range of services to address physical and mental health along with case management and legal services. It will serve as a resource for the “spokes,” which include primary care practices that may not be able to treat those with severe opioid use disorder.

    Click here to read the full story »

  • A Conversation with Elisabeth Kunkel

    A Conversation with Elisabeth Kunkel

    Chief Medical Officer, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute

    Elisabeth Kunkel, 59, was named chief medical officer of Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in April.

    She also serves on the faculty of Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. She had been with Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia since 1989, serving as its vice chairwoman for clinical affairs from 2002-17.

    Kunkel earned both her bachelor’s degree in psychobiology and doctorate in medicine from McGill University in Canada. She completed her 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 is in self-described “transition” between Philadelphia and Harrisburg with her husband, George, and two children.

    Q: Your role will include developing new programs related to patient-focused care. What goes into this development?

    A: New programs require adequate staffing both from a provider point of view as well as the staff who support the care. Once you have your team, you can think about where you are best going to serve the people you’re taking care of. Many of our patients get psychiatric care with us but don’t have physical health care, so they might not get their blood pressure checked or their diabetes monitored and so forth. We’re looking at something called reverse integration, where we would bring primary and specialty care into PPI.
    Patient-centered care is doing things that are helpful to patients. Traditional medical care is delivered 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. If your patients work, that is not the most convenient time for them. We think about what they might want, either before work or after work hours for patients who want to maintain employment at the same time they’re taking care of their psychiatric and psychosocial needs.

    Q: PPI helps people with mental health and psychiatric disorders achieve stability in their lives. What are some keys to this balance everyone can apply to their lives?

    A: We teach patients and staff how to deal with crises in a way that calms people down, that doesn’t get them more agitated or stressed. Managing stress is very relevant to the business community. The other thing we talk about is trauma-informed care. If you look at people and, for example, what they post on social networks, they post what is good about their lives, and when you talk behind the scenes you find out people experience a variety of forms of trauma. Understanding what kind of traumatic events they’ve been through can help teach them coping strategies.

    To talk about work-life balance on a bigger scale we need to talk about health-disease balance. In medicine and from a business perspective, to help our employees, we need to shift to thinking about helping people maintain health, prevent disease instead of treating disease once it’s there. That kind of stability has a myriad of payoffs.

    Q: What makes you smile?

    A: In the middle of one of my busiest days I was on our children’s unit, and wound up having a conversation with a young boy. He asked for his Bible, and read me the passage “yea though I walk through the valley of the shadows….” He was struggling with some words, but we stood there in the middle of what was very busy all around us and just focused on him and what he needed to help calm himself down. Then we talked about, what does this mean? It means keeping yourself calm when it’s easy to become part of the chaos. He enjoyed it and I enjoyed it because that’s really what health care is about.

  • ‘Mom, I didn’t steal your dentures’: Coping when dementia turns to delusion

    Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute’s Mature Adult Outpatient Clinic Coordinator, Linda Shumaker, is interviewed.

    Many people think of dementia solely as a condition that causes memory loss.

    That’s one reason family caregivers may be so surprised and upset when older relatives start having major psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions or paranoia, even though they are common features of dementia.

    Another reason, said Linda Shumaker, a nurse who works with older adults with behavioral health problems, is that stigma has kept advocates and caregivers from talking openly about psychiatric problems that can increase stress and result in earlier placement in a nursing home.

    Click here to read the full story »

  • Focused on quality clinical care: Department of Psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine

    The Penn State Department of Psychiatry and the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute are vibrant, academic settings focused on quality clinical care, research and education. 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. Our research mission includes leaders in the fields of addiction, autism, ADHD, mood, and sleep. We are a growing department, and seek faculty to participate in developing premier mental health care for central Pennsylvania.


  • Dr. Kawasaki interviewed by Smart Talk on The midstate’s opioid crisis: Where are we now?

    What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, May 8, 2017:

    The opioid crisis has killed thousands in Pennsylvania over the past three years.

    On Thursday, WITF is hosting a forum at the Public Media Center: The Midstate’s Opioid Crisis: Where are We Now?

    Today, we talk about the epidemic, and dig into the challenges in getting help to those who need it.

    At the state and federal level, the crisis has been getting a lot of attention.

    But drug overdose deaths continue to rise.

    Dr. Sarah Kawasaki with the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute will offer information about treatment, what the evidence says, and how people who are ready to recover from addiction can stabilize their life.

    Matthew Toth is in recovery after years of addiction - he’ll be here to share his story.

    And Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman will talk about what his staff is seeing, and how the justice system has been handling the crisis.

    Click here to hear the live interview

  • PRESS RELEASE – April 2017

    PRESS RELEASE – April 2017

    Elisabeth J. Kunkel, MD Joins Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute.

    April 6, 2017 - Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute Harrisburg PA. is pleased to announce that after a comprehensive search process, Elisabeth J. Kunkel MD. has been named Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute. In addition to this role, Dr. Kunkel is also Professor of Psychiatry, the Joyce D. Kales University Chair in Community Psychiatry, Vice Chair of Community Behavioral Health and Director of Population Behavioral Health, Department of Psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

    Dr. Kunkel replaces Ehsan Ullah Syed, MD, interim Chief Medical Officer who served in this position for three years while the search progressed. Kunkel will be responsible to the Chief Executive Officer for the clinical management of the hospitals’ inpatient and outpatient services and will have responsibility for assessing, enhancing and developing new programs related to exceptional patient-focused care.

    Dr. Kunkel completed her 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. In 1989, she joined the faculty at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and served as its Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs from 2002-2017.

    “Dr. Kunkel will bring a wealth of clinical expertise and leadership experience and I am delighted that she has joined PPI; remarked Chief Executive Officer William Daly. Dr. Kunkel shares our vision of PPI as a community-academic partnership that will enhance the clinical care of patients in our region, allow the development of new knowledge in our field, and provide an outstanding interdisciplinary training environment for the next generation of providers.

    About the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute.
    The Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI), a collaboration of Penn State Health and PinnacleHealth, is Central Pennsylvania’s leader in helping people with mental health and psychiatric disorders achieve and maintain stability in their daily lives. Created in 2008 through a partnership with the two leading entities, PPI has a comprehensive team of specialists who provide sensitive, compassionate care for children, adolescents, adults and mature adults with personalized treatment plans to meet unique patient needs. PPI has a modern 89-bed in-patient facility, and two convenient locations offering outpatient services.

  • WGAL News Story: Child Health Day

    WGAL focuses on Child Health Day while visiting the new Child Psychiatric Unit at the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute. Interviews with CEO Bill Daly and Child Psychiatrist Dr. Salman Majeed highlight the new upcoming program.

    WGAL News Story Bill Daly

    WGAL News Story Dr. Salman Majeed

  • Dr Ehsan Syed interviewed by Smart Talk on Mental Health in Children and Adolescents

    It’s estimated that one in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 have some type of mental disorder.  Anxiety disorder is the most prevalent but behavioral disruption disorders like ADHD are also widespread. It’s also estimated that 79% of those kids do not receive any mental health care. What can be done to ensure these young people get the treatment they need and what kind of treatment is that? That’s what the discussion focuses on during Monday’s Smart Talk. Dr. Ehsan Syed, who specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry with the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, is on the program.
    click here for part 1 of the live interview
    click here for part 2 of the live interview

  • Childrens Mental Health Services

    Jill Horner speaks with Ruth Moore, Director, Business Development & Admissions, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute about the increasing demand for mental health services for children and the need to create a safe environment for young children to receive those services.

  • WHP 580 am Radio Interviews Karen Sandnes LCSW, Manager Social Services at PPI

    Experiencing a trauma at sometime in a persons’ life can change or affect the way they act years later.  Whether its an event, violence, automobile accident or exposure to abuse, a persons’  thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can be impacted later on in life and filtered through this perspective.
    Trauma-informed care is an approach to engaging people with histories of trauma that recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in their lives. Karen Sandnes, Manager of Social Services at PPI will join us to talk about childhood trauma and how it can affect people as they grow older.

    click here for the live interview

  • WHP 580 am Radio Interviews Dr. M Ahmad Hameed, Medical Director Outpatient Services at PPI

    How to obtain Partial Hospitalization Services for Adults

    The Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) at PPI is designed to help individuals cope with day to day circumstances that make an impact on their lives, improve their ability to function and improve their quality of life. This program is a step-down transition from inpatient
    care or an ideal step-up from outpatient services.  If you know someone who is experiencing emotional, social or behavioral difficulties, this is where you can find help. 

    Click here for the live interview

  • Troubled kids learn to cope and manage stress!

    An interview with Jose L. Montaner MD. Child and adolescent psychiatrist and medical director of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Third Street Clinic.

    Sometimes on his commute home from work, Dr. Jose Montaner can’t get the kids off his mind.
    “I think about them, of course. What have I missed? What more information do I need?” said Montaner, who is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and medical director of the Third Street Clinic of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Harrisburg. “I am an eternal optimist. There’s always hope; there’s always a better way, a positive side to things.”
    Click here for the full story »

  • Mental health care: How do you begin helping a loved one with severe mental illness?

    An Interview with Dr. Alan J. Gelenberg M.D., Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

    You’ve been worried about a loved one, or maybe yourself, for a little while.

    He or she is acting out of character. They’re not sleeping, or they are sleeping all the time. They’re erratic. Maybe they’re volatile at times in a way they never were before. They’re not quite making sense. They’re in their late teens or early 20s.

    The family has talked, and you’re afraid he or she could be in the early stages of severe mental illness. With help, they can be treated, and hopefully recover.

    Where do you begin to help? We asked Dr. Alan J. Gelenberg, the Chair of Psychiatry at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

    Click here to read the full story »

  • Smart Talk Radio Interview with Dr Linda Durst

    Smart Talk Radio Interview with Dr Linda Durst, together with Commissioner Hartwick, and Dauphin County Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities program administrator Dan Eisenhauer.

    Click here to listen to the Radio Interview »

  • Dr. Jose Montaner and Ruth Moore Discuss PPI’s Hispanic Clinic on WHP Talk Radio

    If you or someone you care about is suffering from a mental illness, these caring professionals can help.  PPI is a collaborative between Pinnacle Health and Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center, offering trusted experience and compassionate care…. both inpatient and outpaitient services.

    Ruth Moore and Dr. Jose Montaner will tell us more about the fine work and services offered there along with what they are doing to help those in the Hispanic community who are suffering from mental health problems.

    Click here to hear the interview »

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy Transforms Lives

    Electroconvulsive Therapy Transforms Lives

    Against a backdrop of childhood abuse, Wanda Rupp built a happy life — with the love of a husband, her two children and a satisfying career — until one day darkness came over her and brought everything to a halt.

    “I didn’t feel like doing anything. I just wanted to fall into bed and not get up,” said the Middle Paxton Twp. woman, recalling the nervous breakdown she suffered at age 48. “I was lucky my husband stuck by me. I didn’t want to see anyone. I began losing weight. I was depressed all the time.”

    Rupp went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed her depression and put her on one and eventually a series of anti-depressants, none of which worked.

    “My husband would go to work and I would be outside on the lawn, wandering. The medications put me out in an atmosphere where I was nowhere,” she said. Eventually, she ended up hospitalized because she was suicidal.

    Read more

  • Attachment Parenting

    Fox 43 News recently posted a video about Attachment Parenting. Click here to view the video »

  • Mental Health Minute - Video