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