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Thirty-nine years ago, J. Douglas MacBride
joined a small group of public health advocates to form the initial organization that laid the groundwork for what was launched in 1972 as Philadelphia Health Management Corporation. In 2010, as board secretary and chairman of the strategic planning committee for PHMC (now Public Health Management Corporation), he guided a group of PHMC stakeholders who renewed the organization’s goals and objectives from the existing strategic plan that dated back to 2005. “I’ve been involved in a number of strategic plans for PHMC and we felt that it was an appropriate time to revisit and update the plan,” says MacBride. Also serving on the committee were 2010-2011 board members Denise Christian
, Theodore A. Christopher
, Paul A. Dandridge
, George E. Downs
, Robert Gage
, Charles Greene
, the Honorable Renée Cardwell Hughes
, Ana Pujols-McKee
, Kenneth Veit
and Sharon M. Gallagher
In a process overseen by Anne Saporito, senior manager of training and organizational development and Jo Surpin, a consultant from Strategic Health Alliance, more than 100 PHMC and affiliate staff members from across the organization joined together in May 2010 for a series of roundtable discussions. “Relooking at the organizational plan gave us an opportunity to conduct a good analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of our organization,” says PHMC President and CEO Richard J. Cohen. “It was a very inclusive process and I’m pleased with the outcome.”
Relooking at the organizational plan gave us an opportunity to do a good analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of our organization.”
The process deliberately involved young leadership. “PHMC takes succession planning very seriously,” says Saporito. “An organization is only as good as its staff, so it’s important to look five and 10 years down the road and integrate viewpoints from all stakeholders.” Key young leaders joined senior staff to review the organization’s existing mission and vision and use them as starting points to identify goals. “One of the things of great value at PHMC is that you have a lot of people with a great deal of history that balance the future leaders of the organization,” says Surpin. “It’s very important for us to get everybody’s input.”
Katherine Harvey, director of case management and program standards for PHMC’s Forensic Services, has been working at PHMC close to 10 years. She is one of the young leaders who participated in the strategic planning process. Initially Harvey worked as an evaluator in the clinical evaluation unit within the Forensic Intensive Recovery (FIR) program, which assesses criminal offenders for chemical dependency, refers them to community-based providers for residential, intensive outpatient and regular outpatient treatment services and provides case management services for FIR program participants. Formerly a substance abuse counselor with a background in social work, Harvey quickly embraced the work of the organization. “I appreciated the diversity of the programming at PHMC and I knew I wanted to stay,” she says.
Harvey moved on to senior evaluator and then to evaluation supervisor before taking her current position. During her time at PHMC, she also completed her master degree in social work at Widener University, encouraged by supportive mentors in senior management. She appreciated the opportunity to directly contribute to the strategic planning sessions. “I was ecstatic about being involved in the process,” says Harvey. “It gave me a voice. It gave me a chance to give input on an intimate level.” She used what she learned during the strategic planning process to share organizational information with her staff. “As a leader, I ask myself what I can do in my day-to-day tasks to empower and train my supervisors,” she says. “The plan encourages us to constantly communicate key organizational developments with staff.”
As the process unfolded, the group identified and developed six key goals for the organization: public health issues, service to community, quality of service, infrastructure, financial viability and growth and organizational vitality. “It’s unusual to have a corporation like PHMC that has direct service, advocacy and many other various components. Re-strategizing allows you to maximize those synergies,” says Surpin. “It’s important to pause and see whether what you’re doing makes sense.”
The new strategic plan, which was approved by the board in December 2010 to cover the three-year period from January 2011 through December 2013, lists 27 objectives under six overarching goals. “If you look back over our plans in the last 25 years, the new one hasn’t diverged much,” says MacBride. “We have some basic values that have always been in place, but we were able to clarify our position and set our direction with very clear goals.”
Says Harvey, “The new strategic plan makes me feel proud to work at PHMC. I really feel invested.”
Excerpted from the 2011-2013 Strategic Plan
- Public Health Issues
Lead in the identification of and response to existing and emerging public health issues.
- Service to Community
Initiate, expand and maintain programs and services that are best aligned with the needs of the people and communities we serve, always inclusive of the underserved and those hardest to reach.
- Quality of Service
Identify and implement metrics to assess the quality, safety and effectiveness of programs and services provided, to ensure accountability.
Create and maintain the organizational and operational infrastructure needed to support programs, services and growth.
- Financial Viability and Growth
Promote financial viability and growth through existing and new programs, services and affiliations.
- Organizational Viability
Support and recognize staff contributions with career pathways across the enterprise. Ensure future leadership and governance through succession planning. Ensure and promote a positive public image and reputation for the organization.
As an innovator in public health management, PHMC always sets its sights ahead to help us more effectively manage the here-and-now while anticipating what is coming.
This is how we—and those we serve—can be ready to tackle every challenge and opportunity.
So it may seem as though Public Health Directions always should focus on the future; but then, how would you learn about all that our forward thinking has helped us to accomplishment in the months gone by? Even if we cannot do so all the time, in this issue we do indeed look ahead.
As the cover story about our new strategic plan suggests, readying for PHMC’s future is not enough. As vanguards, we must help ensure the viability of public health as a whole, and this is one reason we involved our young, emerging leadership in the process. The PHMC we are creating for five, 10 or 20 years down the road is their PHMC, and the future vehicles of public health that we help to build are the ones that they must have the strategic experience to steer.
This interest in workforce development goes beyond the public health profession. As we’ve long held at PHMC, strength in workforce and strength in the public’s health go hand in hand. This philosophy has led us to our most recent affiliation, with Metropolitan Career Center, which we profile in this issue.
Another of our affiliates, Public Health Fund (formerly Philadelphia Health Care Trust), helps secure the future of public health innovation by providing funding to innovative programs. This foundation also has looked to its own future, developing a strategic plan with the assistance of PHMC’s Targeted Solutions; I urge you to read about the valuable process that has helped the foundation to clarify its direction.
Our four decades have shown us, over and over, that there is always something new to explore in public health. One of the great resources through which PHMC has pioneered that exploration is our Community Health Data Base (CHDB), through which we have fielded the Southeastern Pennsylvania Community Health Survey over the past 28 years. This issue’s CHDB article focuses on one of the new question areas from our 2010 survey: substance abuse recovery and the attitudes about recovery and treatment.
You’ll also read Q&As with two key PHMC leaders: Chief Operating Officer Wayne Pendleton, who reveals his 10-year vision for the organization, and Board Chairperson the Honorable Renée Cardwell Hughes, who tells us that the board’s priorities are about laying the foundation for PHMC’s second 40 years.
With that in mind, we ask you to save the date for our 40th anniversary celebration. Read about what we have in store, both honoring those who have built us to what we are today and—with our special guest who is just earning her MPH and trailblazing in public health globally—very much looking ahead.
At this holiday season I wish a future of health and happiness to you, our employees, partners and supporters, and to all those we collectively serve.
Yours in public health,
Richard J. Cohen, PhD, FACHE
President and CEO of PHMC
PHMC welcomes to its board of directors Joseph M. DiMino, director of health and medical director of the Montgomery County Health Department; Autumn A. Graves, president of Girard College; and Michele Volpe, executive director of Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
We appreciate these members who have assumed new roles on the board in the 2011-2012 term: The Honorable Renée Cardwell Hughes, Chairperson; Denise Christian, MD, Vice Chairperson; Michael K. Pearson, Treasurer; Stephen P. Fera, Secretary; Robert W. Gage, Sharon M. Gallagher and Patrick J. Eiding, executive board members.
PHMC sincerely thanks for their years of service departing board members Paul A. Dandridge, former chairperson, and Ana Pujols-McKee, former vice chairperson.
Honors, Awards and Achievements
Numerous media outlets sought the expertise of PHMC affiliate Joseph J. Peters Institute (JJPI) in response to the Penn State sexual abuse allegations. On November 10, Fox29 featured Michael J. Stinson, director of Prevention Services at JJPI, on a segment titled “How to Talk to Your Children About Abuse.” On November 11, Philadelphia Daily News featured “Molesters and How to Stop Them: Learning the lessons of Penn State scandal,” an interview with Thomas F. Haworth, director of child and adolescent services at JJPI. Haworth and Theodore Glackman, executive director of JJPI, were featured in the November 11 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer in its story, “Penn State case spotlights molestation nationally.” Glackman and Haworth also appeared on the November “Radio Times” on WHYY. Host Marty Moss-Coane interviewed them for the show “What we can learn about child sexual abuse from the Penn State case.” These experts continued to provide insights in response to further media requests. JJPI is a nonprofit mental health agency providing outpatient assessment and treatment services in the area of sexual abuse. JJPI’s mission is to reduce the causes and overall results of sexually abusive behaviors through research, training, prevention, and treatment. JJPI evaluates and treats survivors of sexual abuse as well as offenders.
On October 13, PHMC affiliate Interim House celebrated 40 years of empowering women in recovery from substance abuse. In a celebration that included Lisa Nutter, First Lady of the City of Philadelphia, as a presenter, Interim House recognized its clients and partners. Interim House awarded Kristin Gavin, founder of the local nonprofit Gearing Up, with its first ever Community Partner Award. Gearing Up uses bike riding as means to empower women during periods of difficult transition. Interim House also presented alumna Toni Montier with its 2011 Distinguished Alumna Award.
On December 1, World AIDS Day, the University of Pennsylvania Center for AIDS Research Community Advisory Board recognized PHMC senior researcher Lisa Bond at its seventh annual Red Ribbon Event. The event commemorated and highlighted the work and achievements of researchers and everyday heroes in the fight to combat the impact of HIV/AIDS. Bond was joined at the event by fellow PHMC employee Tiffany Bacon, project specialist for Sisters Informing Healing Living Empowering (SIHLE), a program that uses peer-led group sessions to reduce HIV sexual risk behaviors among sexually active African-American girls ages 14 to 18. Bacon served as mistress of ceremonies at the Red Ribbon Event.
On August 31, North Penn Community Health Foundation awarded a $95,000 grant to PHMC’s Specialized Health Services to fund the Housing First Pilot Project. The project provides financial assistance and housing stabilization services to homeless and near-homeless families and individuals who are residents of county-funded emergency or transitional housing facilities in Montgomery County. The grant took effect October 2011.
During National Health Center Week, August 7-13, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced $28.8 million in grants to 67 community health center programs across the nation, including one that will develop a new health center in north central Philadelphia through a partnership between Public Health Management and Congreso de Latinos Unidos (Congreso). Through this new venture, PHMC and Congreso will work together to address health care access barriers faced by low-income residents of the area surrounding the new health center, opening this month at 216 West Somerset Street in the 19133 zip code of Philadelphia.
Wayne Pendleton may be in executive management, but don't let the title fool you—he's always doing social work.
“I just happen to be doing it not sitting across a table from a client or a family,” Pendleton says, “but doing it on behalf of empowering and supporting and emboldening an organization. So I’m just providing it, in essence, on a larger, macro level.”
Pendleton’s roots as a social worker run deep. He learned a nascent form of the craft as the third child in a family of nine, mastering the intricacies of conflict resolution almost as second nature. Eventually he channeled those early lessons into a master of social work degree from Temple University and a successful career as a licensed social worker in the Philadelphia area.
Pendleton moved into healthcare management with stints at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, at a PACE program sponsored by Penn Nursing and at South Jersey Healthcare.
As announced in our summer issue, in July 2011 PHMC hired Pendleton to serve as its new Chief Operating Officer.
Pendleton also is PHMC’s first Chief Operating Officer, a position developed by CEO Richard J. Cohen to help support growth and manage organizational culture.
A warm man with a composed air that belies his coiled frame (he played football at University of Pittsburgh), Pendleton comes from what he describes as a “long line of helping professionals”: ministers, nurses, teachers. And now Pendleton, some combination of the three.
Pendleton says he looks forward to the challenge of bringing PHMC to “premier status nationally.” Public Health Directions sat down with Pendleton, one month into his new role, to get his perspective on the position and the experiences he brings with him.
What were the formative things that shaped your worldview and led you toward a career in health management?
It’s been somewhat of a long road. I’ll start by saying as the third oldest in a family of nine I probably started my social work career by being in that position in my family. Lots of people around me. And when you grow up in a large family you gain skills in observation, influence and negotiation....I think that growing up in that size of a family and being in that position in the family got me interested in people.
If you could talk about the interplay between having this social work background and now being in an executive position: How do you think the former informs the latter? And do you think that distinguishes you from other people who pursue a career at an executive level?
Well I think it certainly can. I think being a social worker—being a social worker type—can be a help or hindrance when moving into a senior management position. I believe your success as a manager has everything to do with your success as an evaluator of people and talent and a motivator of that talent. Getting people to do what needs to be done on behalf of a mission or objective or whatever. I think that social work teaches evaluative skills and the ability to relate to people, to motivate, to counsel, to coach, to mentor.
Do you ever find yourself as an executive referencing the time you spent studying and working in the field, in order to better relate to people?
Oh yeah. I always do. I always lead off with what I just led off with, that I’m the third of nine and I’m a trained social worker. But then fairly quickly I move to wherever the discussion is, bringing the social work background back to what I’m doing now so that people understand they’re not relating to a professional social worker; they’re relating to a healthcare senior manager who happens to have a social work background.
Shifting gears a little bit—and this is a pretty broad question—but why do you think PHMC created this COO position?
A couple of reasons. I think [CEO] Richard [Cohen] clearly understands that PHMC has grown dramatically in the past five years. There’s been tremendous growth and diversification within this organization and there’s a strong desire, coming from Richard and the board, and staff as well, to continue to grow. It was time for Richard—and he made this decision himself—to create, recruit and hire for a position, and a person, that can support that growth and support the infrastructure that is needed to make that growth successful. [I want] to make sure that the organizational culture is aligned with the mission and the growth imperative. Just to tighten the bolts a little bit.
Did you have any trepidation about taking a position that didn’t exist before?
No. Not at all. I’ve assumed a couple of new roles in my career and quite frankly from a conceptual point of view this position is a slam dunk in terms of the need for it and I think the criticality of it for this organization to be as successful as it needs to be on its growth path.
I think it’s fair to ask you this question since you’re COO: Where do you see PHMC in 10 years? And you can take that question any way you want it to go.
A month in, you’re going to ask me that question? [laughter] PHMC is well on its way and is well recognized as a public health institute, but I see PHMC as the leading public health institute in the country in 10 years—the absolute gold standard.
On a personal level,
how have people welcomed you here?
The people have been great. In an established organization with staff, many of whom have been here for a long time, and in the context of an evolving reorganization where there is some degree of uncertainty, someone coming in at my level in a new position could have been feared and perceived other than I’ve been perceived and welcomed.... Yeah, I made the right decision.
Philadelphia Health Care Trust (now Public Health Fund) has fostered health care delivery, research and education in the greater Delaware Valley region since 1996. When it joined PHMC as an affiliate on July 1, 2010, its newly-formed, six-person board decided that one of its priorities was to develop a new organizational strategic plan for the foundation.
"When absorbing an organization, you can’t run rudderless. It’s important to establish a mission statement and a vision,” says Michael K. Pearson, treasurer for Public Health Fund’s board of directors. “Plus, Targeted Solutions™ has experience in the health-related areas.” Targeted Solutions has been helping organizations establish solid strategic plans for the last 18 years. A strategic plan helps an organization set priorities, realistic goals and objectives consistent with its mission while helping to establish realistic timelines consistent with the organization’s capacity.
Working with Targeted Solutions got us to clarify what we were all after.”
Targeted Solutions consultants used the framework of the foundation’s mission and vision as the basis for interviews with board members and other stakeholders. “It’s very important to have an entity like Targeted Solutions interview key individuals in our region from different walks of life. It let us know how we can best impact health through innovative funding,” says Pearson. Additionally, through a SWOT analysis that assessed the foundation’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats, Targeted Solutions helped to pinpoint future steps the organization can take to ensure sustainability within the region. “It’s important to have succinct language that accurately describes where the organization is headed,” says Pearson. “Targeted Solutions took our feedback and codified it into distinct bits of data.” In the course of six months, Targeted Solutions completed the strategic plan, identified a grant-making framework and refined the vision and mission of the organization. Says Pearson, “By using Targeted Solutions, we’ve achieved a strategic plan as economically responsibly as possible without compromising the quality of the work.”
The Honorable Renée Cardwell Hughes has served on the PHMC board of directors for the past four years and was elected board chair in June 2011.
She also serves on the board of PHMC affiliate Joseph J. Peters Institute
(JJPI), and was board president for the last two years. In May 2011, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross named Hughes to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Previously a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge for 16 years, Hughes conducted both civil and criminal proceedings but developed a reputation for deftly handling a number of high-profile murder cases. Public Health Directions
asked Hughes about her passion for serving the Philadelphia community and what she has gleaned from the experience.
Who inspires you to give back to the community?
My parents definitely inspire me to give back. As the oldest of five children, my parents always took the position that I was responsible for my younger brothers and sister. It was important to my parents that we were all independent and self-reliant. I am also of the age where the civil rights movement was very important to me. From that period, I learned that “of those to whom much is given, much is required.” I have had the opportunity to attend some great universities and work at some of the most amazing places. I feel I have a responsibility to share those experiences and to give back.
Who and what convinced you to join PHMC’s board?
I became a judge in December of 1995 and within the first ninety days it became apparent that some people [coming through the court system] required drug and alcohol treatment and job skills. That was when I was introduced to PHMC and its work with the courts with drug and alcohol treatment. Later, I joined the board of JJPI, which also provided services to people who required mental health services. I was on the board of JJPI at the time when PHMC sought to affiliate with it, so I learned more about the corporate structure and how PHMC benefits smaller nonprofits. Then I met Richard Cohen, a force of nature with a passion for public health and a belief that PHMC can improve the health of families in the region. When he asked me to join PHMC’s board, I accepted.
I do not believe that ‘no’ is an appropriate answer to problems. PHMC is committed to finding solutions to some of the most intractable problems in our community.”
What, in your opinion, are some of the biggest challenges facing nonprofits?
During these challenging times, nonprofits have an obligation to be as efficient and effective as possible. For donors to give, nonprofits need to examine the use of every dollar; that is what really drives the economy. That is what PHMC is good at—showing it is viable. It is a challenge to convince people that out of all the nonprofits to support and to partner with, they should choose PHMC, but PHMC is good at showing people that they can maximize their dollar with us. It’s American to give, but Americans will only give their dollars to those organizations that are effective. PHMC is absolutely mindful of that fact.
As a former judge and currently the CEO of Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross, what qualities do you believe you bring to PHMC?
I am driven and determined to improve quality of life in this region, specifically the health of all citizens regardless of income. I really believe Philadelphia is a phenomenal place to live. I do not believe that “no” is an appropriate answer to problems. PHMC is committed to finding solutions to some of the most intractable problems in our community. That belief was directly relevant to my work as a judge and continues to be relevant to my work at the Red Cross. I have dedicated my life to liberty, justice and opportunities available to everyone. PHMC has that same kind of passion and commitment. PHMC does not ask who you are, what you do or why you do it. It serves. It seeks to provide greater services. PHMC also serves as a thought leader. Not enough people understand that PHMC does not just provide services, but we use our creativity and financial strength to aid other organizations. PHMC leverages resources to make the community stronger.
What are some of your current initiatives with the PHMC board?
PHMC is a huge nonprofit corporation that specializes in people. The big initiative right now is restructuring the organization and the leadership opportunity within the organization. We want to ensure there exists an opportunity for people in PHMC to enhance their leadership skills. We’re laying the foundation to ensure that PHMC will be here another 40 years. We also recognize the challenges that the region faces in terms of job development. In the arsenal of services we provide, we focus on workforce development and leadership opportunities that will secure the future of PHMC.
Three things Hughes says every board member needs to successfully serve an organization:
1. Commitment. Be committed to learning the business of the organization and attending board meetings. Additionally, you have to be committed to the work of the organization and committed to using your influence and resources in the community to benefit the organization.
2. Critical thinking. A board member who always says “yes” to everything is not a good board member. You have a responsibility to ensure that the board is making a good decision and moving the organization forward.
3. Passion. You must have passion for the work. You have to bring enthusiasm and excitement to the board. The board members serve as emissaries to the community. You have to understand that and be passionate about the work that it does.
The Metropolitan Career Center (MCC) began as most great nonprofits do, with a simple observation and a simple idea.
In the early 1970s, community leaders in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood were concerned about the large number of young high school graduates who were out of work because they lacked the resources needed in an increasingly competitive job market. A diploma wasn’t enough anymore to earn the stability and benefits of a white-collar job.
Or as current MCC Executive Director Linda Hahn puts it, “Some young people in the neighborhood didn’t seem to have access to the tools and resources to get higher education.”
Enter the idea.
Members of the United Methodist Church of Germantown—seeing need at their doorstep—began to generate momentum for a local college prep academy, and in 1974 they opened what was then Metropolitan Collegiate Center as a grassroots solution to shifts in the educational landscape.
More than 40 years later, MCC has grown into a comprehensive work readiness agency serving the entire Philadelphia region. Today, MCC’s service profile includes a one-month readiness and placement program, intensive vocational training and an accredited post secondary vocational school called Computer Technology Institute (CTI).
With that past growth in mind and future goals for expansion in sight, MCC took the next step in its evolution this summer by joining the PHMC family of affiliates.
“We need to grow the tent even larger,” Hahn says. “We need more people to know that we’re here [and] we need to establish relationships with other organizations.”
Rachel Kirzner, director of social services with PHMC’s Specialized Health Services and one of the PHMC employees shepherding MCC into the affiliate network, also sees potential for relationship building in MCC’s transition.
“One of our biggest areas of focus is to find connections within PHMC that can benefit from MCC training and services,” says Kirzner.
The transition team predicts a strong future bond between MCC and the Maximizing Participation Project (MPP), PHMC’s chief welfare-to-work program. The connection is clear: MPP’s clients need work and MCC’s advanced occupational training already serves just such a population.
“MCC is a complementary piece to what MPP already does,” Kirzner says.
Hahn, executive director at MCC for the last two-and-a-half years, also sees MCC as a vital addition to the PHMC network. “If PHMC has to do with the eradication of poverty, then that’s our middle name,” Hahn says. “And I think they believe as we do that every piece of the picture is important.”
Hahn points with pride to MCC’s past successes in workforce development and emphasizes the importance of job training in creating economic opportunity. “We can’t build a city, we can’t bring business [and] we can’t improve quality of life in Philadelphia until all Philadelphians are trained to work.”
To her, all of that theory references one clear fact: “Work is a basic part of being a human being.” And in her eyes, no one knows that better than the folks at MCC. “We are experts and specialists in this field,” Hahn says.
In order to leverage that expertise, PHMC will create separate brands for MCC and CTI, the center’s highly respected vocational school, to ensure each maximizes recognition within its niche.
Last year, CTI enrolled 245 students. Financial aid was made available to qualified students. Over the decade of its existence, the school has established itself as one of the only successful, post secondary, nonprofit schools in the region.
“[CTI] is an accredited school, it’s a very strong school…it really lends itself to its own brand identity,” says Anne Saporito, PHMC’s senior training manager and the staff member overseeing the affiliate’s integration.
Hahn agrees. “[CTI] is a real gem… it’s not easy to get a school accredited and approved.”
CTI’s director, Amy Miller, says the school’s success draws from its communal atmosphere. “We’re so family-oriented here… [The students] know this is a safe place for them to come.” Miller estimates that at least 90% of CTI graduates stay in touch after they leave school.
Hahn says that familial vibe permeates the entire organization, and shows up most prominently in the relationships built between her staff and their clients.
“When somebody here gets a job, bells ring, people dance in the halls,” Hahn says. “Some of our students became the first in generations of their families to get a good job with career growth potential—that actually has benefits!”
For Hahn and her staff the stakes are high, and understanding this makes them better advocates. “It’s very dramatic, and our people know that. That’s why they’re here.”
Through name change and mission change, it seems some part of that grassroots operation in Germantown never left MCC. In attitude and outlook, the center maintains its individualized tenor along with a steadfast belief that those lacking resources simply need someone willing to help.
As Hahn puts it, “We’re not profit driven, we’re people driven.”
For the first time in its 28-year history, the 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Household Health Survey, managed by Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base
(CHDB), asked questions about recovery and attitudes about recovery and treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug and alcohol addiction are linked to short- and long-term health risks, including cancer, risky sexual behavior and mental health problems.* In 2009, 8.9% of Americans aged 12 years or older had a drug or alcohol abuse problem, translating to about 22.5 million people.** CHDB researchers examined new data on substance use recovery among adults 18 years of age and older in the region.
adults living in SEPA are in recovery from alcohol or substance abuse Demographics and Socioeconomic Characteristics of Recovery in SEPA
Nine percent of adults living in SEPA indicate that they are in recovery, meaning that they at one point had an active substance abuse problem that currently is not active. This represents about 269,000 adults. Men are more likely to be in recovery than are women (12.7% compared with 5.8%, respectively). People ages 50 to 59 are more likely to be in recovery than older (60+) or younger individuals (18–49). About 9% of individuals ages 18 to 49 are in recovery compared with 11.2% of people ages 50 to 59, 7.4% of people ages 60 to 74 and 4% of people age 75 and older.
of adults without a high school education are in recovery, compared with 3.8% of adults with a college degree
Recovery varies among levels of education, income and race. About 24.1% of adults without a high school education are in recovery, as well as 11.7% of high school graduates and 3.8 % of adults with a college degree or post-college education. Additionally, adults below 200% of the poverty line are more likely to be in recovery compared with adults living above 200% of the poverty line (15.9% compared with 6.6%). African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be in recovery than white or Asian adults (13.2% and 12.8% compared with 7.7% and 4.1%, respectively).
are more likely to be in recovery than white or Asian adults
Philadelphia has the highest percentage of adults in recovery in SEPA. More than one in 10 Philadelphia adults (11.4%) is in recovery, representing about 130,000 people. The percentage of adults in recovery is fairly stable across the suburban counties; 8.2% of adults in both Chester and Delaware Counties are in recovery, as well as 7.5% of Bucks County adults and 6.7% of adults in Montgomery County.
Recovery and Health
Adults with drug or alcohol problems may be at risk for other health problems. The 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey data show that adults in recovery may face some of these same health risks. Nearly one-third of adults in recovery (30.9%) are in fair or poor health, representing about 83,000 adults in SEPA who may have additional healthcare needs. Among adults in recovery, one-third (33.1%) have a physical, mental or emotional disability or condition lasting six months or more. In addition, 38% of people who are in recovery also report having a diagnosed mental health condition. Over half (51.8%) of adults who are in recovery are current smokers.
of adults in recovery have a physical, mental or emotional disability or condition
Recovery and Treatment
Since alcohol and drug addiction may negatively influence mental and physical health status, treatment and recovery are critical. While 23.5 million adults in the US needed treatment for an alcohol or drug problem in 2009, only 2.6 million people received treatment.** In SEPA, about 16% of adults know a household or family member in recovery for an alcohol or drug problem. Additionally, 30% know someone outside of their immediate family in recovery for alcohol or other drugs.
of adults living in SEPA believe that people with severe alcohol or other drug problems can fully recover
According to the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month Community, support and quality of support remain essential components of successful recovery. Over 80% of adults living in SEPA believe that people with severe alcohol or other drug problems can fully recover. While 86.4% of people living in SEPA believe that communities should support professional treatment, only about half (47.4%) say that addiction treatment in their community is very good. People living in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties are more likely to believe that addiction treatment is very good in their communities (50%) compared with 45% in Philadelphia and Delaware counties.
For more information on recovery in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact Rose Malinowski Weingartner at email@example.com.
The Public Health Bracket
Look for opportunities to vote on other options in coming issues of Public Health Directions and in PHMC’s social media.
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