Committees & Interest Groups


Committees enable us to support the mission of our organization which is to support and promote medical education, research, clinical care, and scholarship through charitable activities and to serve the needs of the community of which we are a part.


The bylaws committee is responsible for the annual review and maintenance of our bylaws including any amendments needed and for insuring proper protocol for this process is followed.
Coordinator: Marilou Espiritu-Cockroft

Caring Corner

The Caring Corner committee is responsible for sending notes and cards to AFF members.
Coordinators: Paula Leuenberger & Margie Hopper

Community Outreach

Blood Drives are held every February and July at the Hershey Medical Center and are done in collaboration with the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank.
Coordinators: Suzy Carnecchia & Kat Tucker

Center Stage

Center Stage is a performing arts program funded by the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. Its mission is to offer a regular menu of performing and visual art to patients, families, caregivers, and visitors during their time at the Medical Center.
Coordinator:To Be Name

Lion’s Share Drive

The Lion’s Share committee is responsible for collecting donations for the local food banks.  Collections are held between October and May each year and are coordinated through Hospital and College of Medicine departments.
Coordinator: Vera Kolstrom

Hospital Programs

This committee is responsible for keeping the membership informed of Hospital and College of Medicine events. The group is responsible for developing and presenting new concepts and programs to the Board of Directors in keeping with the mission of the AFF.
Coordinator: Lisa Braccini-Barletta

Holiday Tea

Members gather during the holiday season and bring donations of toys and other  items to support local charities supporting children and families in need.
Coordinator: Ericka Schmidt


The membership committee coordinates mailings for membership renewal, welcome packets, and new member recruitment.
Coordinator: Jaque Repke


This committee compiles the information submitted by the Board of Directors and members to inform the membership of events, activities, and other pertinent information.
Coordinator: Barb Kauffman

Palliative Care Initiative

AFF has supported Palliative Care at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and in the local community for over twenty years. AFF members who volunteer to serve on the palliative care committee donate their time and energy in a number of ways. Interested AFF members must complete an accredited training program for Palliative Care  in addition to the volunteer training at the hospital in order to visit  patients of this service who are hospitalized.
Coordinator: Behjat Noori

Peace Tree

The Peace Tree project, a special fundraising event held in the fall, was established in 1988 and has become a symbol of joy and giving and a tradition to honor and remember the life of a loved one or friend as well as to recognize special people in our lives. The Peace Tree is lit through the New Year.
AFF members gather together at the Medical Center with faculty, staff, students, patients, family members, and  guests from the community, for a special evening program acknowledging the sponsored names and showcasing local talent. Tax-deductible contributions to The Peace Tree are returned as gifts to the Medical Center supporting and promoting medical education, research, clinical care, and scholarship by The Association of Faculty and Friends.
Coordinators: Lisa Braccini-Barletta, Michelle Carraher, Katie Liszka


This committee coordinates correspondence and seeks potential sponsors for the spring fundraiser.  This includes collecting advertisement artwork for the Membership Directory and the Spring Fundraiser.
Co-chair: Amber Branchi & Cydney Sponaugle

Spring Gala

This annual fundraiser will be held at the Hotel Hershey. This committee, in collaboration with the Board of Directors of AFF, will plan and organize the event including the menu, entertainment, decorations, and will assist the sponsorship committee.
Co-chair: Amber Branchi & Cydney Sponaugle


The website committee will be responsible for the content of the AFF website and will make all the necessary updates as needed throughout the year.
Coordinator: Barb Kauffman

Interest Groups

These groups serve the mission of providing a community of friendship to our members. Dates, times and locations of meetings and events are published monthly in the AFF newsletter, HouseCall, when made available.

Book Group

The Book Group meets monthly on the second Thursday of the month, from 12:30p.m.-2:30 p.m., at a member’s home or restaurant to discuss a book. The title of the book is announced monthly in HouseCall.
Coordinator: Jill Muscat

Bridge Bunch

This group was formed to support members who desire to learn and play bridge. Members meet two days each month, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Monday of the month and on the third Wednesday of the month at a member’s home or at a local restaurant.
Coordinators: Sue Demers and Jaque Repke

Cocktails & Conversation

This group is for members who like to get together monthly to enjoy happy hour at a member’s home or area restaurant.
Coordinators: Patti Deutsch and Kathy Carter

Gourmet Group

The gourmet group consists of a limited number of couples who participate in a monthly planned dinner which is held at a different home each month.
Coordinator: Lisa Reinhart

Nittany Knitters

The Nittany Knitters group meets on the first Thursday of each month, from September through May, excluding December. The locations vary from month to month, but notice of each meeting will be posted in HouseCall. Knitters of all levels may join the group at any time. Projects include fidget squares, lap blankets for adult and pediatric chemo patients, and chemo caps for pediatric and adult patients.
Coordinator: Betty Rigberg