Communications Staff

Penn Medicine’s Department of Communications manages communications for the Perelman School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Health System. We work with the news media and publish a variety of internal and external publications, aiming to promote the reputation of the institution and its physicians, scientists, and staff, as well as creating awareness of the educational, research, and patient care activities in progress throughout Penn Medicine.

Our Media Relations and Publications divisions are committed to serving all of the communications needs of Penn Medicine — including the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC), Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) and other entities — as well as the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM).

We are dedicated to quickly responding to the information needs of the news media, and encourage members of the press to call our office with questions about the Health System or School of Medicine or requests for interviews with experts. Visit our staff beat list to find information on contacts for specific subjects.

Patients seeking doctors or appointments should visit or call 1-800-789-7366 (PENN).

Holly Auer

Director of Communications

Phone: (215) 349-5659

Holly came to Penn Medicine in 2007 following six years as a newspaper health care reporter. She previously worked for The Buffalo News, The Post & Courier in Charleston, S.C. and the Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C., and freelanced for magazines including Glamour, Self and Prevention. She is the recipient of numerous national and statewide awards for her writing and editing as both a journalist and a public relations professional. She is a graduate of Syracuse University, where she majored in magazine journalism, and she earned a master’s degree in bioethics at Penn in 2009. She handled media relations for Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center beginning in 2008, and continues to oversee communications related to Penn Medicine’s research using personalized cellular therapy to treat blood cancers.


  • Medical Education
  • Cancer, including:
    • Radiation Oncology
    • Hematology-Oncology
    • Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery
  • GI Surgery
  • Infectious diseases
  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Translational Medicine and Human Genetics
  • Global Medicine

Stephen Graff

Assistant Director, Strategic Communications

Phone: (215) 349-5653

Steve came to Penn Medicine with five years’ experience in health and science communications and media relations. He has worked in journalism, at government agencies, such as the National Cancer Institute and U.S. Department of Energy, in the private sector as an environmental scientist, and most recently in public relations at an academic medical center covering oncology and basic science departments. His experiences include spearheading social media activities for organizations, blogging, internal communications, conferences and media strategy and outreach. Steve graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a BS in Biology and the University of Colorado, Boulder with an MA in Journalism.


  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Sports Medicine
  • Transplant Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Women’s Cancers
  • Trauma Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
  • Dermatology
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

Katie Delach

Senior Medical Communications Officer

Phone: (215) 349-5964

Katie joined Penn Medicine in 2011 with more than five years of experience working in media relations, communications and public relations. In previous positions, she was responsible for content development, media and public relations strategy and outreach on behalf of clients in healthcare, technology and education. Her experience includes developing traditional, social media and grassroots campaigns, and conducting press outreach for product launches, thought leadership campaigns, and conferences. Katie received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University in 2004, and a Master of Science in Public Relations from Boston University in 2007.


  • Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Institute on Aging
  • Ophthalmology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care
  • Gastroenterology
  • Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • Health Care Quality and Patient Safety

Lee-Ann Donegan

Senior Medical Communications Officer

Phone: (215) 349-5660

Lee-Ann comes to Penn Medicine after more than 10 years experience in media relations, publications writing and production and internal communications, primarily in hospitals and health care settings.  She has also led media relations efforts for clients in the retail, education and entertainment sectors.  Lee-Ann previously worked for Penn Medicine as Senior Communications Officer at Pennsylvania Hospital from 2007 to 2011.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Villanova University, and received her MBA in marketing from Rutgers University, Camden in 2008.  


  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Center for Weight and Eating Disorders
  • General Internal Medicine
  • Medical Ethics and Health Policy
  • Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Anna Duerr

Senior Medical Communications Officer

Phone: (215) 349-8369

Anna comes to Penn Medicine with 10 years of experience in media relations, executive communications and writing. She most recently led communications efforts for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and prior to that she worked in corporate communications and network publicity for Discovery Communications. Her range of experience includes national and local media outreach, spokesperson training, internal communications, executive profile building and speechwriting. Anna holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.


  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Pennsylvania Hospital, including:
    • Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Neonatology
    • Penn Medicine Rittenhouse/Good Shepherd Penn Partners
    • Hall-Mercer Behavioral Health
    • Abramson Cancer Center at PAH
  • Veteran’s Issues

Olivia Fermano

Senior Medical Communications Officer

Pennsylvania Hospital
303 S. 8th Street, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 829-6799
Fax: (215) 829-5265

Olivia is the on-site Senior Medical Communications Officer for Pennsylvania Hospital. She has over 20 years experience in health care public relations. Before specializing in media relations, she worked in hospital and health system marketing communications. She is experienced in newsletter editing/writing, internal communications – including speech writing and crisis/issues communications – blog and feature writing. She also has experience in print and broadcast advertising, media buying, fundraising and special events and community relations. Olivia earned a BA in Communications from Rowan University.


  • Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology

Karen Kreeger

Senior Science Communications Manager

Phone: (215) 349-5658

Karen is responsible for disseminating information about the discoveries from the basic science departments within the School of Medicine, which includes cancer biology, cell & developmental biology, biological aspects of infectious diseases, neurosciences, pathology and laboratory medicine, and pharmacology, among other duties. Karen previously held this position in the late 1990s.

Karen has held positions in both public affairs and science and medical writing. She was senior editor at The Scientist, as well as maintained a freelance communications business for several years, writing for such clients as Nature, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and the Wistar Institute.

Karen holds an MS in Scientific and Technical Communication from Oregon State University (1992) and an MS in Marine Studies from the University of Delaware (1985). She is also an author of a book on non-traditional careers in science.


  • Urology
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Home Care, Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Radiology
  • Family Medicine and Community Health
  • Rheumatology
  • Diversity Issues
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Clinical Care Associates and Penn Medicine Affiliates (Cherry Hill, Radnor, Valley Forge)
  • Penn Medicine in the Community

Greg Richter

Medical Communications Officer

Phone: (215) 614-1937

Greg's internal and external communications experience includes media relations, editing and writing for digital and print publications, crisis communications, social media campaigns, special events, spokesperson training and community relations. Greg earned bachelor's and master's degrees in public relations from Rowan University. Before his roles at Penn Medicine, Greg served as a public relations writer in Rowan's Office of Media and Public Relations for Rowan's College of Engineering.

Rob Press

Digital Communications Editor

Phone: (215) 349-5657

As Digital Communications Editor for the Penn Medicine Department of Communications, Rob handles the posting of press releases and overall maintenance of the Penn Medicine News site. He also has a hand in Penn Medicine's social media outreach, and assists with photography and light technical support within the office. Prior to arriving at Penn Medicine, Rob was a journalist and medical reporter in the South Jersey area. He is a graduate of Rowan University, with a bachelor's degree in Journalism.

Ylonda Russell

Office Manager

Phone: (215) 662-2560

Ylonda has been providing administrative support for the Department of Communications since October 2000. She coordinates the day-to-day operations of the department, handles budget development, invoice processing, front office reception and outgoing/incoming mail. She also assists in web research; maintenance of appropriate inventory; composes, reviews and edits documents; organizes and maintains files and databases; and general clerical support.

Ylonda has been with the Health System for more than 10 years and was previously with the Department of Dermatology.

Sally Sapega

Director, Internal Publications

Phone: (215) 662-4488

Sally Sapega serves as editor of both HUPdate, the biweekly employee publication of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and System News, the internal publication for UPHS.  In this role, she is responsible for seeking out story ideas, writing articles, taking photographs for stories, and coordinating both the design and the distribution for both publications.  As director of Internal Publications, she also oversees the production of employee publications for both Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Prior to joining Communications, Sally worked in Penn Medicine’s Department of Marketing and Strategic Support, where she was responsible for producing a variety of marketing tools  to promote hospital services to consumer audiences. In addition, she planned special events, such as seminars and health fairs.

Sally holds a BA in Communications from Simmons College and graduated from Rowan University with a master’s in Public Relations.

John Shea, PhD

Director, Faculty Publications

Phone: (215) 662-4802

John Shea is director of faculty and alumni publications at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and editor of Penn Medicine, the magazine of the Medical Center. He was founding editor of Penn Health Magazine, the publication for the University of Pennsylvania Health System (1995-98). He also writes official memos, speeches, and other items for the CEO and Dean.

Before coming to UPHS, he was manager of The Compass, the biweekly tabloid for University employees (1990-95). He was also an editor at The Pennsylvania Gazette, the University's alumni magazine, for five years. While earning his PhD degree in English from Penn, he served for several years as a teaching fellow and instructor. His undergraduate degree is from Columbia University.

Department of Communications
3535 Market Street, Mezzanine Suite 60
Philadelphia, PA 19104
P: (215) 662-2560 • F: (215) 349-8312