November 6, 2008
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Major Regional Public Health Institute Launches New Brand

Stakeholder Research Leads PHMC to Transition

PHILADELPHIA - In a period of unprecedented growth for the nonprofit business, 36-year-old Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), formerly The Philadelphia Health Management Corporation announces a full re-branding of its organization. After formally changing the name in July and gradually introducing the new name and logo on its website and newsletter, PHMC affects a full-scale launch this month.

PHMC began the rebranding process nearly a year ago, in response to stakeholder research that indicated its public perception may not have been keeping pace with its expansion. The research revealed that large groups of key decision-makers had limited knowledge of PHMC, restricted to the elements with which they had direct relationships. "Given the broad reach of PHMC - nearly 1,400 employees, 250 programs, 9 affiliates, 70 sites and 40,000 people served each year - a considerable range of the agency's scope, impact and value could be going undetected by any given partner, collaborator or funder," says Richard J. Cohen, PHMC President and CEO.

Even as stakeholders underestimated the breadth of PHMC, they enumerated many positive perceptions. The research showed that PHMC is known as a trusted partner and as a professional, collaborative, innovative and responsive nonprofit possessing strong leadership and broad vision.

"Looking beyond the results of the research," says Dina Baker, vice president of communications, "we also recognized that we are in a market that burgeons with health care entities. Another goal of our rebranding is to provide clear differentiation for PHMC in our role as a major public health institute." According to the National Network of Public Health Institutes, of which PHMC is one of the largest members, a public health institute is defined by its role in convening multi-sector collaborations, strategically supporting health systems improvements, leveraging resources, redrawing the boundaries of public health through its alliances, and helping to reframe and define the focus on public health among system partners (source: One reason for PHMC's leadership in this arena is its science-based approach, as the organization encompasses a large and highly respected health research and evaluation component that provides the data to help PHMC develop its programs based on clearly defined needs and demonstrated solutions.

What's in a name

Once PHMC leadership decided to rebrand in response to its marketplace, the first step was evaluating the existing name and - if needed - determining a new one. "A name helps to define an organization," says Cohen. "And our name clearly plays a role in establishing our legitimacy and economic value, for attracting donors, people and organizations." In the end, PHMC did decide to move away from the name that had served it well throughout its 36 years, but not to stray far.

"By simply changing ‘Philadelphia' to ‘Public' our new name places clearer emphasis on our core non-profit mission of public health and all that it encompasses," notes Cohen. In addition, even as PHMC remains strongly rooted in its long and critical service to the City of Philadelphia, it also has rapidly expanded geographically. Much of this has been spurred through its 9 affiliate organizations-subsidiary nonprofits to which PHMC provides value added services including accounting, human resources, information systems, communications and marketing-so that they can better focus on serving constituents, developing programs and raising funds. "Our stature, size, results and management processes give us opportunities to positively affect public health outside the state, and through the state and in some cases even across the country," says Cohen.

PHMC chose to retain "Management Corporation" in its name because its unique business model and strong management capabilities are critical aspects of its identity, ability to grow and attraction to funders. "The PHMC model has helped steer us to a strong record of financial management. We have an annual budget of about $165 million, managing more than 250 programs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware with an overhead rate of fewer than 7% -- a rarity in nonprofit management, where average overhead is around 15%," says chief financial officer Marino Puliti. "Thus our management practices translate to savings of up to $13 million per year, which we can reinvest in services

Much more than a name

As important as our name may be, neither it - nor the fresh logo and brand colors - is the end-game," says Cohen. "The brand is the emotional connection between the stakeholder and the organization, and our duty is to live our brand and make it meaningful to our stakeholders so we can all be more effective in the work we do every day."

PHMC conducts brand training sessions for employees regularly, helping internal stakeholders to bet he first to grasp the totality of PHMC and its brand promise. "They become the most important aspect of the renewed face of PHMC to external audiences," stresses Cohen, "with formal communications - such as newsletters, and website communications - simply as tools to support the work of our nearly 1400 employees, whom I consider our greatest ambassadors of the brand."

To celebrate its rebranding, including its strong history and the continued and expanding value of its mission, PHMC will host evolution: phmc's brand celebration on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 6 pm at The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. For information on tickets and sponsorships, please go to


About PHMC
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, business and other community-based organizations. It fulfills its mission to improve the health of the community by providing outreach, health promotion, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services. PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972.