RJC_headshot_Directions.gifIn the world of public health, what does it take to be prepared? That is a question we ask—and find new and innovative ways to answer—every day at PHMC.

Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is emergency preparedness, the subject of our cover story in this issue of DIRECTIONS. In the year of H1N1, this may seem to define public health planning for many people. As you will read, PHMC takes seriously its role in emergency preparedness, helping to coordinate not only the regional response to the H1N1 virus but also our readiness for future emergencies. Our leadership in this most current of issues harkens back to PHMC’s earliest work, partnering with the City of Philadelphia to create its emergency response system in the1970s.

But preparation in public health goes well beyond dealing with potential catastrophes. It’s also about ushering in a trained, professional, effective public health workforce of the future. I invite you to read about our strong commitment to growing our profession, including educational workshops, work-based front-line training and master degree partnerships. The aspirations of our extraordinary employees who take advantage of these programs provide the best evidence that the health of our communities depends upon healthy professional development opportunities for those who do this critical work.

Even our regular features, profiles of the Community Health Data Base (CHDB) and Targeted Solutions—illustrate PHMC’s focus on preparation. By adding a cell phone sample to our household health survey, CHDB dials into the health issues of the emerging population of cell phone only users. And the consulting approach of Targeted Solutions allows its client organization to engage in program design that plans for future growth even as it addresses immediate needs.

Finally, the Q&A with Vanessa Briggs reveals how one of our current leaders recently broadened the perspective that she brings to her work as executive director of our affiliate Health Promotion Council, giving her a new view of the future of health and wellness.

So I go back to my initial question: what does it take to be prepared? At Public Health Management Corporation, it takes our dedication to emergency preparedness, our investment in the public health workforce and future leadership, and a cutting edge approach to our programmatic, research and consulting work. We are always looking strategically ahead, supported in those efforts by all of you—our partners, supporters and employees. Together, we are what it takes to be prepared.

Yours in public health,



Richard J. Cohen, PhD, FACHE
President and CEO of PHMC