A life changed: Laura Delliquadri, PAC
“A life changed” highlights the work of a PHP participant and shares how the program has impacted their life. If you’re interested in sharing your story for a future issue of PHP Update, please email Cassandra Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Delliquadri was meant for a life in medicine. Growing up north of Pittsburgh, she volunteered as a candy striper at the local hospital.
“Classes like anatomy and other science-related courses came easy to me and I enjoyed them,” she said.
She was unaware, however, of many of the career opportunities available to her. Without the treasure trove of internet resources that high school students have today, Delliquadri’s fear served as a road block to medical school.
“I was not very good in math and I was afraid to take the MCATs as I feared I would not score well,” she said. “I also was daunted by the cost and felt that was not something I could undertake at the time.”
While she was encouraged to pursue a different career avenue, she discovered the physician assistant path. She applied and was granted one of the last available spots at Gannon University.
“I had a sound, quality education and it has served me well as a career choice over the last 27 years,” she said.
Delliquadri’s fear almost kept her from a career she loved.
“I’ve learned now from an early age fear has kept me from doing some of the things I should’ve had the courage to do,” she said. “I was the type that was good at a lot of things, but the things I was not naturally good at, I did not attempt. I’ve learned now that failure is only a perspective view. And all experiences are worthwhile regardless of the outcome.”
Delliquadri’s fear also nearly kept her from her rewarding work on the PHP Advisory Committee. When she was approached to serve, she thought she would have nothing to offer – that she was not “good enough” to accept a committee position.
“In 12-step recovery, we are taught to never say ‘no’ when our experience can be of benefit to others,” she said. “Although I initially did not want to get involved with this type of work, I am exceedingly glad that I did.”
Delliquadri’s position on the PHP Advisory Committee has given a new outlook on the work being done behind the Foundation walls.
“The work of the PHP is invaluable to the medical profession,” she said. “Of course, I didn’t feel like that at the beginning when I was first involved with them as a participant, but I have since come to appreciate them for the help they gave me and countless others.”
She believes the medical profession makes it challenging to admit when help is needed.
“It is very difficult for health care professionals to admit to themselves that they have issues for which they need help and can simply no longer rely upon themselves,” she said. “The hardest thing to do is accept help when we are trained to always be helping others.”
During her years on the committee, Delliquadri has come to appreciate the weight of the responsibility the program carries when advocating for physicians and other health care professionals.
“I know now that being a PHP participant and then moving on to become a member of the advisory committee has impacted my life in a way that I cannot possibly put into words,” she said. “I have a deeper understanding of myself and others. I have a sincere gratitude for what they have done for me and I have an acute sense of a debt that can never be fully repaid. Part of my duty to make amends for the past is to be present and of maximum service to others today. The PHP has given me a beautiful opportunity to do this.”
In 2019, she was elected chair of the PHP Advisory Committee.
“Again, the feeling of inadequacy and fear takes over,” she said. “I felt that this is not something I can do or am qualified for, although I realized what an honor it is.”
Over the years, Delliquadri has been fortunate to learn the innerworkings of the program which helped her return to a career she loves.
“Another gift of being involved in the PHP is the fact that I have a chance to give back to an organization that has given so much to me,” she said. “Anytime I needed an advocacy letter, some free advice or a kind comment, all the staff at the PHP have been available to reach out and help me not only as part of their job but because they care. Through the years I have seen a lot of changes in the PHP and I am extremely proud of the work that they do. I am truly honored and blessed to be a part of it.”
Delliquadri feels so strongly about her dedication to the PHP that she has led by example and voluntarily entered into a long-term contract because she believes the work is so important.
“It is strange for me to say, but at this point I couldn’t imagine not being in the PHP. But at times it was at the top of my resentment list. It took me time to realize that my actions, my behavior and my inability to accept help was exactly the reason I needed their help,” she said. “The group of people currently administrating the PHP are not only highly qualified individuals, but are sincere in their mission to help suffering health care professionals get back onto the right track. Sometimes that means suggesting things that none of us want to hear or that may seem too difficult to do. I can attest that although things can be difficult and overwhelming in the beginning, it is well worth it in the end. All of the things that are required of PHP participants are required for a reason and serve a greater purpose than what it seems on the surface.”
Through her work on the committee, Delliquadri has made a positive impact on the lives of countless fellow health care professionals. The PHP is grateful for her dedication and she feels gratitude to the organization that provided the opportunity.
“It would seem easy to say that I wish I never had the issues that got me involved in the PHP from the beginning,“ she said, ”but I know I would not be where I am today if it were not for the PHP and all the wonderful dedicated professionals who run it.”