Public Health Directions: Winter 2011-2012

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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?

AMy 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?

AI 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?

ADuring 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.

QAs 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?

AI 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?

APHMC 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.

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.

QWhat were the formative things that shaped your worldview and led you toward a career in health management?

AIt’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.

QIf 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?

AWell 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.

QDo 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?

AOh 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.

QShifting gears a little bit—and this is a pretty broad question—but why do you think PHMC created this COO position?

AA 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.

QDid you have any trepidation about taking a position that didn’t exist before?

ANo. 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.

QI 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.

AA 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.

QOn a personal level,
how have people welcomed you here?

AThe 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.

mcc-cti_logosThe 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.
269,000 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.

24.1% 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).

African Americans and Latinos 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.

One-third 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.

80% 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..