Recognized nationally as an authority in public health management, Richard J. Cohen has served Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) for four decades. As CEO and President, Richard leads one of the largest and most innovative public health organizations in the nation.
Developing the concept of “affiliation” in the nonprofit world in the 1980s, Richard set the course for PHMC’s evolution into an innovative, forward-thinking, cutting-edge nonprofit. Through his work, Richard has identified unique ways of serving as a key convener and bridging the nonprofit sector with government, foundations and for-profit entities.
Known as a social entrepreneur throughout his career, Richard is a visionary leader who has helped innovate the field of public health and not-for-profit management. His vision for public health is broad, utilizing a philosophy of partnership across all business lines, from primary health care, behavioral health and social services, to education, financial literacy and housing. Under his leadership, PHMC provides a continuum of integrated public health services that sets the foundation to ensuring individuals, families and communities have the care they need.
Richard’s ability to think beyond traditional public health and the world of nonprofits has resulted in an impressive body of work that includes establishing the Pennsylvania and Delaware Public Health Institutes, initiating a multitude of public/private partnerships, and contributing to more than 30 publications and conference presentations locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Richard’s work gets to the heart of public health dilemmas, with targeted focus on developing leadership, establishing public/private partnerships, identifying growth opportunities, understanding health care utilization patterns, and other critical topics.
Through this affiliation process, Turning Points for Children became a subsidiary of PHMC in 2013, enhancing its system of care and program offerings, allowing Turning Points to grow and function more efficiently. Thanks to this relationship, Turning Points has had access to a larger, comprehensive continuum of services to connect children and their caregivers in the areas of primary care, behavioral health, financial services, parenting programs, workforce readiness and early childhood education.
Richard believes that improved community health starts from within. He leads a culture that fosters innovation, collaboration, creativity and communication for employees to work together more effectively and develop healthy behaviors. He initiated the concept of design-driven culture that exists at many of our locations – something typically not found in public health settings. It maximizes workspace and our environments to foster more collaboration, engagement and productivity to move the work forward in the most encouraging way. It is with this internal healthy heartbeat that PHMC is able to touch the lives of more than 350,000 people in the region each year, including many in our most vulnerable communities. It is with this mindset that our clients, too, are able to walk into our sites with dignity and are received with respect.
One of Richard’s core principles centers around relationships and engaging in lively discussion with people from all walks of life and with varying points of view. This type of interaction allows people to learn and mutually grow through discussion and conversation. Diverse groups lead to robust conversations, with new ways of thinking and alternative perspectives. It is through this vision that Richard leads an approach that reaches beyond traditional public health, forming unique partnerships and pushing the boundaries on how nonprofits work through varying business models and innovative design.
Richard is a true leader and trailblazer and has built a comprehensive and integrated public health practice on a solid foundation of decades of quality programming, committed providers and well-established partnerships. This is a foundation that can withstand and respond to one of public health’s most fiercest attacks we have ever experienced.
In the midst of the pandemic, Richard sent a message to the entire PHMC workforce, including all of our Turning Points staff. It was a message about resilience. He spoke about the resilience within our family of programs and subsidiaries; the resilience across our support team; the resilience he recognizes in all of our employees. He commended such resiliency to be the driving force that would carry the organization through the COVID-19 crisis. And he is right.
It is with great admiration that we recognize Richard for his resiliency, his strength, his commitment and his steadfast dedication to the mission, the purpose and the well-being of the staff and the community – ensuring that we can, in fact, carry through these unprecedented times together.
Turning Points is proud to honor Richard J. Cohen with the 2020 Trailblazer award.
Stay tuned for more stories about our other honorees in the coming weeks.
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