Executive Director of the Professionals Program, Caron Foundation
Former PHP staf
I came to the Medical Society in 1986 to talk about different initiatives regarding alcohol interventions in primary care settings. At the time I was doing EAP work in companies around Harrisburg and Carlisle, and the idea of a professionally based program was very appealing to me. I was hired to help establish the program.
The concepts of professional peer assistance, intervention, rehabilitation, monitored recovery and advocacy were very powerful, and over time this became a well-accepted model. We asked for and received help from several states where programs had been established, and we moved forward.
This work has been so meaningful to me on both professional and personal levels. PHP gives us an opportunity to be supportive and helpful at a time when the physician needs it most, while holding him or her accountable to do the right thing in terms of recovery. I don’t know any other professional relationship that affords such a longitudinal connection. I worked with people, many times, for 10 to 15 years. PHP offered me the most rewarding work experience I could ever imagine.
On the personal side, I had already become interested in 12-step recovery, but had not been involved in Al-Anon until working with PHP. Being involved with the program helped me to find my way into Al-Anon and into a personal recovery that I had no idea I needed prior to being involved with this work. The medical director we hired after Rocky left was Penny Ziegler, MD, who enriched my life even more and mentored me in this work.
I have much gratitude to the PHP and to the Pennsylvania Medical Society for seeing the importance of professional support and advocacy for people with the illness of addiction and co-occurring disorders. Congratulations to the PHP on this anniversary celebration.