Public Health Directions: Summer/Fall 2013

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Both physically and culturally, PHMC is changing the way public health can positively impact people's live.

Fall is a time of change and metamorphosis, which is a great metaphor for what's happening here at PHMC. During this past spring and summer, we've undertaken a major change as we prepare to move our offices to 1500 Market Street. Our new space offers unparalleled opportunities for renewal, collaboration and innovation, for PHMC and our growing network of affiliates.

Speaking of growth, PHMC is expanding in a number of critical ways as we open several new health center sites, launch an innovative model of MCC-CTI satellites in three high schools and integrate our newest affiliates, Turning Points for Children (TPFC) and Clarifi. The partnership with TPFC expands our reach in child and family social services, providing high-quality outcomes in child welfare services and parenting education. The Clarifi affiliation expands our knowledge and impact in financial planning and underscores the link between public health and financial stability. We'll see additional affiliation growth and announcements in the near future as well. This summer also marked the launch of our new health network brand and our "Beyond Care" promise, our commitment to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care to meet the needs of our consumers. PHMC, in collaboration with our partners, also expanded our early childhood portfolio by managing Head Start slots and improving facilities for childcare community providers.

While expansion is exciting and important, it must be coupled with an uncompromising dedication to quality and process. To ensure we continue to adhere to the highest standards, PHMC has reemphasized quality and tapped Nina Boffa as Managing Director to implement Total Quality Management across PHMC.

This commitment to excellence was recently recognized by The Joint Commission, which granted PHMC's Specialized Health Services Network Ambulatory Care accreditation and certification as a Primary Care Medical Home. This quality "seal of approval" is a tremendous accomplishment and testament to the high-quality care our centers provide. Recently, our ChildLink–Philadelphia County program was also recognized by the Federal Office of Special Education Program for strong performance across key indicators.

Both physically and culturally, PHMC is changing the way public health can positively impact people's lives in more ways than ever before. As we begin the next phase of our incredible journey, I invite you to join us as we continue to fulfill our mission of improving the health of our community.

Yours in public health,


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

Philadelphia faces a workforce crisis in public health, as demand far outweighs the supply of workers with post-secondary education. In addition, the city's high school dropout rate is nearing 50 percent, with the result that many adults lack the skills necessary for employment. To address this need, PHMC affiliate Metropolitan Career Center (MCC), a workforce development program, and Computer Technology Institute (CTI), its nonprofit career school, have announced the opening of three satellite sites that will provide allied health and information technology courses in high schools in South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia and Eastern North Philadelphia. The initiative is supported in part by Independence Blue Cross.

Opened in August 2013, the sites are part of a new model that brings post-secondary education directly to diverse, low-income neighborhoods. The programs target recent high school graduates and community members and offer associate's degrees in high-growth fields, including health information technology, medical office assisting, pharmacy technology, computer technology and healthcare management.

MCC-CTI's mission aligns with PHMC's, helping to improve health and strengthen the public health workforce in the region. MCC and CTI educate and train hard-to-reach youth and adults who have limited access to resources, connect them to employers and enable them to meet the changing needs of the workplace. Ninety percent of MCC's clients live below the poverty line, and 98 percent are minorities. MCC and CTI encourage sustainable careers and economic independence by creating a supportive learning environment in which students receive personalized attention. MCC's track record includes a 95 percent graduation rate and a 92 percent job placement rate that far exceeds funder expectations for job training requirements.

PHMC is excited to welcome Clarifi, a nonprofit community resource dedicated to lifelong financial literacy, to our affiliate family! Clarifi delivers services that help people make smarter decisions about money throughout their lives through one-on-one counseling and education programs. Clarifi provides financial capability strategies in partnership with local nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, schools and government agencies throughout the region. Clarifi is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Service for Families and Children Inc. Our partnership underscores the importance of financial independence and public health. Together, we look forward to providing programs and services that address financial challenges in our region, helping families lead more productive lives.

In April, PHMC announced that it will move our headquarters from our current location at 260 South Broad Street to the iconic Centre Square building at 1500 Market Street in Spring 2014. The space, which spans five floors and over 125,000 square feet, will encourage collaboration and innovation, with open work spaces, new technology and state-of-the-art design.

The decision to move the office arose at the same time that PHMC created a new strategic plan to prepare the organization for growth and sustainability in the evolving nonprofit sector. Merging this strategy with employee needs, CEO Richard Cohen and leadership used organizational best practices to envision a space aligned with PHMC's values and those inherent in public health, such as access, collaboration and integrated systems. The move to Centre Square signals a cultural change as much as a physical one. "With the new space, we have taken cutting-edge ideas that work in the business world and applied them to the nonprofit environment. The design reflects the way people work today and encourages a culture of collaboration, creativity and efficiency," says Cohen. "The new environment will transform the way we work in a way that no other nonprofit in the region has done before. I'm very excited about the possibilities and what this means for the future of PHMC."

Results of a recent PHMC survey revealed that employees need to spend much of their time working collaboratively, but they lose valuable work time because they cannot readily access meeting space or necessary technologies.

Designed to promote key work behaviors centered around communication, PHMC's offices will have an open floor plan that facilitates easy access to cworkers and new technology for increased mobility and information sharing.

Twenty-five percent of the space will be dedicated to shared work spaces and amenities, including lounge areas and impromptu meeting space.The PHMC Town Square, located on the lower mezzanine of the new offices, will be a multifunction space where staff can connect, both professionally and personally, through a café, fitness center, conference rooms and employee support services.

PHMC partnered with architectural design firm Bradberry & Kheradi, globaloffice solutions leader Steelcase, and furniture provider Corporate Interiors to create a truly dynamic work environment that integrates design with culture change.

In March, a pilot office space was built in PHMC's current location to give employees the opportunity to experience the new environment firsthand. Leadership and staff across all departments have been encouraged to visit the pilot space and provide feedback on efficiencies, furniture and general workflow adjustments. PHMC University has offered training to prepare staff for the changes in technologies and policies, and an ongoing internal communications campaign keeps employees up-to-date, engaged and informed.

Honors, Awards and Achievements

On September 20, Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) honored Richard J. Cohen, PhD, FACHE, PHMC’s president and chief executive officer, at the MANNA Nourish Awards Luncheon. The annual event recognizes champions in the health care and nutrition fields.

In October, PHMC employee Eudora Burton was named a Local Hero by WHYY’s NewsWorks. Burton is a social services specialist for Opening Doors, a PHMC program initially funded by the Pew Foundation and currently supported by the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Opening Doors provides supports to PHMC affiliate National Nursing Centers Consortium’s Nurse-Family Partnership, the Philadelphia branch of a national nonprofit organization that provides first-time, low-income mothers with a public health nurse home visiting program. Burton helps mothers increase their knowledge and skills to secure safe, affordable housing for their families.

On July 1, Amy Miller, formerly the school director of Metropolitan Career Center’s (MCC) Community Technology Institute (CTI), was promoted to executive director of MCC. Miller has worked at MCC/CTI for the last 10 years. She received her bachelor’s degree from LaSalle University and her master’s degree in education from Holy Family University.

Health Promotion Council’s (HPC) Executive Director and PHMC Managing Director of Health Promotion Vanessa Briggs, HPC Deputy Executive Director Tinesha Banks and PHMC Research and Evaluation Group Senior Research Associate Caroline West were among the six authors of an article published in the August issue of the Journal of Asthma. “Asthma Prevalence in Philadelphia: Description of Two Community-Based Methodologies to Assess Asthma Prevalence in an Inner-City Population” examined “the local prevalence of asthma in Philadelphia communities and schools of low-income, disadvantaged children utilizing a grassroots approach that would access traditionally hard-to-reach families,” according to the publication.

On October 22, Yahoo News featured Community Health Data Base (CHDB) data on children and obesity, yielding national attention in an article about how greater parental stress is linked to children’s obesity, fast food consumption and reduced physical activity. CHDB has served the information needs of hundreds of organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) by providing up-to-date and reliable community-level health and social service data. CHDB’s central component, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, is one of the largest local health surveys in the country. To read the Yahoo News article in full, click here.

PHMC’s Neil Goldfarb is one of the authors of “Measuring Migraine-Related Quality of Care Across 10 Health Plans” in the August issue of The American Journal of Managed Care. The article features results from a study on migraine care conducted by Goldfarb and his colleagues during Goldfarb’s former position with Jefferson School of Population Health. Goldfarb now serves as executive director of PHMC’s Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health, which launched in January 2012.


The Barra Foundation Community Fund awarded Interim House a grant of $2,000 in August toward general operating costs. Interim House provides a continuum of comprehensive services to women addicted to drugs and alcohol. This is the third consecutive year that Interim House received funding from the foundation.

The E3 Center West received a $13,000 capacity expansion grant from Philadelphia Youth Network. The West Philadelphia-based E3 Center, operated by The Bridge, an affiliate of PHMC, gives teens who have dropped out of school or are involved with the juvenile justice system new opportunities for education and employment training.

In October, The Philadelphia Foundation awarded $36,000 for the coming fiscal year to PHMC affiliate Joseph J. Peters Institute (JJPI), a nonprofit mental health agency providing outpatient assessment and treatment services in the area of sexual abuse. The grant recognizes JJPI as a “high-performing nonprofit organization at the Mission Impact life-cycle stage.” The grant is awarded from the Edward M. Story Memorial Fund in memory of his father, Samuel Story, and his mother, Mary Grosvenor; the Henry Griffith and Anna Griffith Keasbey Fund; the William M. and Helen M. Detwiler Memorial Fund; and the William J. McCahan 3rd Fund in memory of Thomas C. McCahan and Florence M. McCahan.

New Developments

As the role of data in health and human services, policy and business continues to grow, PHMC is pleased to announce the new PHMC Center for Data Innovation. Scheduled for a February 2013 rollout, the center will feature refined data collection technologies and tools to improve accessibility and timeliness of critical data to help organizations make better decisions and plan more effective programs.