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Partnering in Pennsylvania: Our PA Member Shares His Experience

This blog post comes to us from our Pennsylvania member, Judd Mellinger-Blouch. Judd joined the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC) in 2014 and hit the ground running with his 3RNet membership. Judd exemplifies everything we look to our members for: he does a great job of coordinating job seekers with the facilities he works with, he is knowledgeable about programs in his state (making him a great trusted resource for Pennsylvania!), and most importantly he understands the importance of partnerships. Read on to learn more about Judd and his work in partnering with a key organization in his state, the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP).

The job of recruiting healthcare providers is hard enough. Imagine how difficult our task would be if we didn’t have partnerships and collaborations with like-minded, like-missioned organizations.

The Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers has benefited greatly from our collaboration with the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians. It works because both PACHC and PAFP have a broad definition of our mission. We’re here to serve the primary care needs of all Pennsylvanians.

Working together is not something new for PAFP and PACHC. It goes back at least several years to a joint effort on patient centered medical homes.

So it was natural that when PACHC wanted to start the Pennsylvania Primary Care Career Center, we would turn to PAFP as a key partner.  Molly Talley is PAFP’s director of resident and student initiatives and has been a great resource.

“There’s great power in coalitions,” Molly says. “As a primary care community, our members and all of our patients are supported through these efforts.”

Molly and PAFP have been particularly helpful in structuring, planning and promoting the Primary Care Career Fairs that PACHC hosts annually. Molly also knows all the family medicine residency directors in Pennsylvania, and has introduced us to many of them.

But the partnership is not just Molly helping PACHC with our projects. This is a two-way street. Recently, PAFP, working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, embarked on a new initiative to strengthen the family physician pipeline and retain residency graduates. A grant from the Department of Health will fund nine residency positions for their three years of training.

The Pennsylvania Primary Care Career Center is helping by serving on a stakeholder advisory group and by presenting at career development events that are part of the program.

There are myriad ideas on how to address primary care access issues, and it can get overwhelming. But having good partners can make the task more achievable, or at least afford the partners an understanding and sympathetic ear.