Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Pennsylvania Psychiatric Leadership Council (PPLC)

Name of Innovative Program: 
Enhancing Public Service Psychiatry in Pennsylvania
Sponsoring Organization
Pennsylvania Psychiatric Leadership Council (PPLC)
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
David Dinich
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
The dearth of public sector psychiatrists in Pennsylvania led to establishment of the PPLC seven years ago. Three competitively selected academic training programs have graduated twelve fellows nearly all now working in the state. A group of 40+ leaders from all sectors (psychiatrists and the state psychiatric organization, faculty, consumers, families, public sector and others) guides the program. Through remarkable synergy, the group has also addressed issues growing out of the training experience including: developing clear policy statements on the human impacts of state budget cuts and negotiating with state leaders to rectify; energizing all players to facilitate post graduate placement of the fellows (loan repayment and other supports); reviewing prescribing guidelines as surfaced by the fellows. PPLC is a model for successful policy mobilization concurrent with sound academic preparation of public service psychiatrists. 
Creativity and Innovation: 
With minimal staff, PPLC has engaged and been able to stimulate, the diverse group guiding the training program. It has often caught the interest of key state program leaders on complex issues driven by the public service psychiatric fellows. It provides a neutral forum for review and resolution of issues by a broad-based coalition of persons with strong commitment to good behavioral health programs.
By engaging key public and private sector leaders in the issue-based discussions, PPLC has been able to assure that its recommendations have a hearing by decision-makers at a minimum. Often the organizations participating on PPLC can further pursue action on behavioral health issues and changes. The meetings provide a balanced arena where all elements are engaged.
PPLC receives modest public funding for the three academic training programs and periodic operational and grant support. Staff works to assure its maintenance.   In spite of difficult state budgets, PPLC expects to continue to function as a convener and trainer.
The organizing principles that led to PPLC included assuring that all key elements of a solid behavioral health program are encouraged to participate; creating an environment which nurtures full and open dialogue and problem resolution; taking steps to maintain access to public sector leaders. These are replicable attributes. With PPLC, a timely need and clear leadership made a difference.
Given the cross system nature of this project, success is measured on several dimensions: first the ability each year to recruit outstanding fourth year psychiatric residents to participate in a fifth training year; the fact that 11 of 12 graduates remain working in public sector behavioral health programs in the state; the strong and diverse participation at each of the statewide PPLC meetings (at least two per year and usually three); continued  government support for the academic training program in a time of contracting budgets; the ability to achieve consensus on complex budget/program issues.  Referenced in the following journal article: Overcoming Systemic Barriers to Family Inclusion in Community Psychiatry: The PA Experience    Edie Mannion, Robert Marin, et al, American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, March  2012, 15:1, 61-80