Central Penn College’s Palmieri joins PA health focus group

Tom Palmieri, director of Counseling Services, recently became a focus group member for the 2020 Pennsylvania State Health Assessment (SHA). The SHA specifically reports on: (1) health status of Pennsylvania’s population, (2) factors that contribute to health issues and (3) resources that can be mobilized to address population health improvement.

On May 1, Palmieri participated in a mental health services focus group with other mental health professionals across Pennsylvania, including clinicians and professionals from secondary education schools, outpatient facilities, hospitals and psychoeducation nonprofit organizations.

Palmieri was the only clinician representing the mental health perspective in a higher education setting, but also shared his previous experiences as a drug and alcohol counselor and in-home family therapist. “It was such an honor to be given a voice in speaking with colleagues knowing that what we put forth would directly impact policy and procedure implementation,” said the CPC employee.

“The research is abundantly clear that the 18–22 age range is the most common timeframe for the onset of significant mental health symptoms, so representing institutions of higher education is profoundly important.”

He was then invited to participate in the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). There are three collaborations working together to improve health status in the commonwealth, the SHA, SHIP and the Healthy Pennsylvania Partnership (HPP). The SHA identifies the heath indicators and the health status of the population. The SHIP is a five-year plan to implement strategies that seek to improve health status by directing efforts to address the factors that impact health. The HPP meets semi-annually to discuss opportunities to implement programs and activities that impact the SHA and SHIP.

Palmieri will begin representing Central Penn in the SHIP on May 27. “I owe a great thanks to Dr. Krista Wolfe, who, when she became aware of the opportunity to participate in the mental health focus group, encouraged me to consider it,” said Palmieri. “This has been such a wonderful professional learning experience for me and a way to advocate for my profession and the clients I serve.”

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