Public Health Directions: Winter 2011-2012

As of Fall 2011, Public Health Management Corporation goes green with online-only publication of our newsletter and our annual report.

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Board News

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.

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

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.”

PHMC's Goals:
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.
  • Infrastructure
    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.