PHILADELPHIA & SUBURBAN HEALTHCARE HUMAN RESOURCES ASSOCIATION
By: Lucille Mason, Joseph Micucci, and Ronald Simpson
In December 1960 Ed Demming (Methodist Hospital), John Drenning (Children’s Hospital). Herb Gilfoy (Presbyterian Hospital) and Augi Pirrolli (Graduate Hospital) met to discuss the formation of a society for Personnel Directors involved in Philadelphia hospitals. The organizational meeting was held in December 1960 and the first membership meeting of the newly formed Philadelphia Hospitals Personnel Society (PHPS) was held on January 25, 1961 at Children’s Hospital.
The initial membership list included Demming, Drenning, Gilfoy, Paxon Laird from Graduate Hospital who replaced Pirrolli, Bob Gorham (Albert Einstein Medical Center Northern Division), Dick Bauer (Hahnemann), and Ed Taylor (Thomas Jefferson Hospital). Shortly after the first meeting Lankenau, Pennsylvania, Temple, Women’s Medical College (Medical College of Pennsylvania) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania joined the group. In 1962 five additional hospitals (Germantown, Saint Luke’s (North Philadelphia Health System), Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Misericordia) joined. These institutions served as the core of PHPS.
A number of significant traditional meetings marked the early days of the Society. Once a year the Personnel Directors would invite their Hospital Administrators for a combined meeting on personnel issues. This joint meeting provided the Directors with a “captured audience” and the ability to present information that would make their jobs easier during the year. The early Society members also held an informal summer meeting at Children’s Seashore House on the New Jersey shore.
THE SEVENTIES & EIGHTIES
Unionization gave the organization new focus on the early 1970’s. The healthcare workers’ union, District 1199C, organized close to ten hospitals in the city. Children’s Hospital was the first hospital organized, but shortly after this election other hospitals had elections and various professional, technical and service departments became represented by District 1199C.
The Suburban Philadelphia Hospital Personnel Society developed in the early 1970’s. Personnel Directors in the suburbs did not have the same union issues that became an often-discussed focus of PHPS meetings. The non-city hospitals developed their own group and Ed Dewees (Bryn Mawr Hospital) served as the first President. The Suburban group met faithfully at the Holiday Inn at King of Prussia from 1974 until 1991.
Originally, only the Personnel Directors from both the city and the suburban groups were invited to join the two societies. Over time the membership decided to welcome other members of the Human Resources community, but always kept the healthcare perspective of the original founders.
There had always been good relations between the Philadelphia and Suburban Societies and many members belonged to both organizations. The earliest joint meeting was held in May 1977 when Vince Papale, Wide Receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles addressed the group.
Members of both the Suburban and Philadelphia groups have been influential in the healthcare human resources field on a local, state and national level. The American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA), the national organization for healthcare human resource professionals, formed in May 1964 and held its first annual meeting at the Marriott Motor Hotel in Philadelphia in July 1965. Over the years many members served on committees and as officers of ASHHRA. Bill Schwab (Albert Einstein Medical Center – Northern Division) served as National president in 1970.
The Society of Human Resource Professionals of the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania was formed in 1964. Again, members of the area societies were represented in the leadership arena. Peg Bloomquist (Bryn Mawr Hospital) played an important role in the development of the state society and helped develop SCAN, a statewide compensation survey, which provides important salary information to many hospitals through the state. SCAN continues today as a valuable resource for many facilities.
The Societies, while providing valuable networking for Personnel Professionals, have always had an educational focus. Speakers at meetings, Spring conferences and joint special meetings to update its members are recorded in the history of both societies. In 1988 under the direction of Leo Gallagher (Germantown Hospital and Medical Center) the Philadelphia Society developed a Personnel Management Certificate Program which was offered to individuals new to the field of human resources.
In 1990 both Societies recognized that the issues which divided them in the 1970’s had come together again and that it was more beneficial for them to join together for the improvement of their memberships. The Philadelphia and Suburban Presidents, Joe Micucci (Haverford Community Hospital) and Eileen McAnnally (Paoli Memorial Hospital) formed a committee to merge the two groups. The merged Society became an Association and a reality in September 1991. The first President of the newly merged Association was Carol Brill (Mercy Health Plan). In November 1991 the Association decided to be renamed the Philadelphia and Suburban Hospital Human Resources Association (PASHHRA).
The first major project of PASHHRA was to host the July 1992 national convention for the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration. Thom Rossi (Riddle Memorial Hospital) chaired the Host City Committee. The convention ultimately became the largest and most financially successful ASHHRA convention ever. Carmen Harney, past president of ASHHRA commended us by stating ‘we have set the standards for all future conventions.’ This marked another high point for PASHHRA, which has provided over 30 years of service to the healthcare community.
In 1995 Philadelphia and Suburban Hospital Human Resources Association, changed its name again to Philadelphia and Suburban Healthcare Human Resources Association. The name change better fit the role of the association that had opened its membership to those human resources professionals working in healthcare rather than only hospitals.
The year, 1997, represented a bright spot in the history of PASHHRA. Three members served in leadership positions on a State and National level. On a national level, Ed Dunn (West Jersey Hospital) served as President of the American Society of Healthcare Human Resources Administration. At the same time Thom Rossi (Riddle Memorial Hospital) served nationally as Region 2 delegate of ASHHRA. Finally, Joe Micucci (Methodist Division of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital) was Vice President of the state society, the Society of Healthcare Human Resources Professionals of Pennsylvania. In addition, through the efforts of Christiane Schmidt (Phoenixville Hospital) and Marcia Telthorster (Doylestown Hospital), the Chapter received its first Excellence Award in Chapter Management from the American Society of Healthcare Human Resources Administration.
At the 1999 New Orleans Convention, ASHHRA acknowledged the fine work of the Chapter by awarding Christiane Schmidt (Phoenixville Hospital), the Outstanding Contribution Award and Marcia Telthorster (Doylestown Hospital) the Chapter President’s Award.
THE NEW CENTURY
The Chapter started out the new century experiencing membership struggles like many personal membership chapters throughout the country. The Board lead by Tony DiBartolo (CHI) worked hard at servicing the members. For his efforts Tony received the 2000 PASHHRA Chapter President’s award . Under the leadership of Anita Weiss (CHI) the Society had a successful year and recognized two of its outstanding members. Thom Rossi (Riddle Memorial Hospital) was nominated and received one of the first Paul Guy Mentorship Awards. This award was initiated by ASHHRA in 2001 and only six members throughout the nation received the award. For her outstanding contribution to the local chapter Marcia Telthorster (Doylestown Hospital) received the Outstanding Contribution Award for 2001. Both Thom and Marcia were present in Chicago to receive their awards.
During 2002 PASHHRA attempted to roll out a new electronic reference program. ASHHRA recognized Tony DiBartolo for his Outstanding Chapter Contribution and Anita Weiss as Outstanding Chapter President. Those same awards in 2003 went to Ellen Nassberg for Outstanding Chapter Contribution and Joe Micucci for Chapter President. Joe and Allen McMillin (Methodist Hospital Division, TJUH) were recognizes for the ASHHRA Communication award for the Electronic Reference and Marcia Telthorster (Doylestown Hospital) won for a program on “Info-Rich Orientation Environment.” The State Society (SHHRPP) named Marcia Telthorster (Doylestown Hospital) ‘HR Professional of the Year.’
In 2004 PASHHRA was recognized again for the Chapter President award when David Brodar (Magee Rehab) received the President’s award and Lucille Mason won for outstanding Chapter contribution. The chapter also saw Joe Micucci (Methodist Hosp Division, TJUH) winning the SHHRPP ‘HR Professional of the Year’ and Marcia Telthorster (Saint Mary’s Medical Ctr) won the ASHHRA Region 2 Board election.
As a response to a nurse who killed over 40 patients, PASHHRA became involved in the development of a regional reference form that was rolled out during 2006. PASHHRA was involved in every aspect of this project from passing the law that protects members in giving reference to the development and rollout of the form. PASHHRA members worked with the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council on this project.
The Philadelphia and Suburban Healthcare Human Resource Society celebrated 50 years of service to the Philadelphia area Healthcare Community in December 2010. The celebration drew 10 former Presidents of the society. During its history, PASHHRA boasted two national Presidents of ASHHRA William Schwabe in 1970 (Bill was also a charter member of ASHHRA) and Ed Dunn in 1997. At the time of the 50th anniversary, Joe Micucci (Jefferson’s Methodist Hospital) was serving on the ASHHRA Executive Board as Treasurer.
PASHHRA is proud to be a chapter of the American Society of Healthcare Human Resources Administration and to be affiliated with the Society of Healthcare Human Resources Professionals of Pennsylvania. We look forward to continuing to serve the membership and the Healthcare community of the Philadelphia, Suburban, and New Jersey areas.