During our formative years, character traits develop while we observe those traits exhibited by family members and our friends. These adopted and emulated behaviors sometimes don’t lend themselves to living a functional path in life. During my upbringing, not only were some of these dysfunctional elements ongoing, but there were accolades given for perpetuating traditions.
With this manner of living in tow, I entered into the lifelong dedication needed to live and function within the profession of dentistry. Often in my career, when presented with a difficult situation, no consoling gestures outside of colleagues and immediate peers existed. I felt misunderstood as a person. I began to self-medicate with alcohol to avoid dealing with the disease of depression.
It spiraled out of control, resulting in the loss of everything I ever valued in my life. My dental practice was part of that fallout. Under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Foundation, in particular, resides a functional derivative entitled the Physicians' Health Program. It was determined by the State Board of Dentistry that by entering into an “agreements,” and through enrollment in the PHP, I could return to the profession of dentistry. My moment of change occurred upon my initial meeting with the people who administer that program. Whilst meeting with Lou Verna, Tiffany Booher and Kendra Parry, it was immediately apparent that I was in the presence of people who cared.
Within the entire PHP staff, there is an inherent disposition evident that shows concern for those people who have encountered difficulties while immersed in their medical professions. These difficulties can and will eventually spill over into their work affecting the adherence to ethics needed for humanistic care. The PHP has restored my trust in human behavior and has escorted me back to the privilege of practicing dentistry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This program stands on its own merits through its protocol of communication and accountabilities. Congratulations are due for your first 30 years it is only a matter of time until a celebration of 60 years comes to fruition. Thank you for your time and all the consideration.