Penny Ziegler, MD
I came to the Physicians' Health Program (PHP) in 1991 as the second medical director, having previously worked in two addiction treatment programs. It was an amazing experience from the start. Greg Gable and I were running around the state doing outreach, interventions, fund raising, pep talks for participants, visiting new participants while they were in treatment programs, etc. There was tremendous enthusiasm and dedication on the part of everyone on the staff, and a great esprit de corps.
Several important milestones occurred over the five years that I was with PHP. The program continued to grow, both in terms of numbers of physicians and other professionals served and in scope of services. Pennsylvania joined and became very active in the brand new Federation of State Physician Health Programs, the national organization developed to promote physician health, support state programs, and begin setting standards for monitoring professionals. We established a systematic drug testing program. We built credibility and working relationships with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, the State Board of Medicine and the Professionals Health Monitoring Program.
Overall it was an incredibly intense, meaningful and productive period for me and for PHP. When I moved to Virginia and returned to the treatment side of addiction medicine and physician health, I took all of the skills and experience I had learned in Pennsylvania. Over the years, PHP’s cast of characters has changed, but its dedication to reaching out to and advocating for professionals in distress, assisting them in recovering and returning to practice, and simultaneously protecting the citizens of Pennsylvania has remained strong and resilient. Congratulations on 30 wonderful years!