2015 PHS Annual Report: About PHS and Strategic Goals

About Physician Health Services, Inc.

Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS), is a nonprofit corporation that was founded by the Massachusetts Medical Society to address issues of physician health. PHS is a confidential resource for physicians and medical students who may benefit from help addressing stress, burnout, work-life balance issues, and a variety of physical and behavioral health concerns that sometimes arise in today’s hectic health care environment. These include substance use difficulties, cognitive issues, psychiatric problems, the stress of medicolegal situations, and interpersonal challenges at work or at home. PHS provides resources to those who seek our services, and is designed to provide assessments and also monitor those in need for the recovery of substance use disorders, behavioral health concerns, occupational problems, or mental or physical illness. Steven A. Adelman, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist with subspecialty expertise in addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine became the director of PHS in March 2013. With the help of physician associate directors located throughout Massachusetts, Dr. Adelman assists physicians, medical students, hospitals, colleagues, and family members of physicians who may be at risk.

Organizational Structure

  • The PHS Board of Directors governs the organization to carry out its mission and oversees the PHS director/chief operating officer and the financial management of the organization.
  • In addition, PHS benefits from the expertise of a Clinical Advisory Committee, which provides guidance to the PHS director on specific clinical matters. Committee members are nominated by the PHS director and approved for one-year terms by the PHS Board of Directors. This peer-review committee meets five times each year to review de-identified case presentations.
  • The PHS Leadership Council is an advisory group that provides input regarding the organization’s nonclinical matters. Appointed by the director, its members represent PHS’s major funding organizations, health care administrators, and physicians who can offer knowledge on the impact physician health matters have on health care delivery.
  • Also, in order to address the need for scientific-based data on physicians with health concerns, PHS formed the PHS Research Committee in 2001. PHS is represented on the Federation of State Physician Health Programs Research Committee to stay abreast of national research project opportunities.
  • Finally, PHS established its Medical Student Advisory Committee in 2004 to provide a forum for medical schools to effectively exchange information on issues of student health. Comprised of representatives from the four medical schools in Massachusetts, the committee has become a springboard for assisting medical students who have been or may be at risk for having health-related problems. It is the goal of PHS to enhance the health practices of future physicians through early outreach and education during medical school.


Confidentiality is a cornerstone of Physician Health Services. PHS recognizes the importance of respecting the privacy of those who come forward to seek help and is committed to devoting its resources to protecting this privacy. It is critical to PHS for physicians to feel confident that the information they share will remain confidential and be protected to the full extent of the law.

How PHS Works

Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS), is a confidential resource for physicians, residents, medical students, group practices, and hospitals with medical student or physician health concerns, including behavioral or mental health issues, substance use disorders, and/or physical illness.

  • PHS provides a safe environment for physicians to talk to their peers about the stress and demands of modern medical practice.
  • Our assessments are designed to identify the health concerns impacting the affected individual’s life and provide recommendations and resources to assist that person.
  • Anyone is welcome and encouraged to contact PHS on his or her own behalf. PHS receives referrals from colleagues, family members, friends, hospitals, medical schools, and the Board of Registration in Medicine.
  • When someone contacts PHS, the director and associate directors assess the situation and guide the individual through the appropriate channels.
  • An appointment is made with the PHS director within days of the first phone call and a meeting with a PHS associate director is offered as a next step.
  • The process is confidential and participation is voluntary. PHS will strongly urge a physician who is ill to get help, and although PHS does not provide direct treatment, we will suggest specific resource and treatment options.
  • PHS hosts a number of support group meetings for physicians and medical students in recovery, as well as for those who seek peer support.

Reasons to Contact PHS

PHS provides assistance for a wide variety of personal and professional situations. Any one of the following issues may represent a reason to refer someone to PHS or to contact us:

  • Difficulty balancing work and family
  • Difficulty managing stress, burnout, or financial pressure
  • Difficulties managing a practice or coping with a competitive work environment
  • Distressed or disruptive behavior
  • Difficulty managing administrative burdens
  • Challenges with retirement planning or a career change
  • Anxiety, depression, and mood disorders
  • Acute and/or post-traumatic stress
  • Malpractice stress
  • Stress following an unexpected outcome or medical error
  • Medically induced trauma
  • Alcohol and substance use concerns
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Concerns about loss of memory and age-related challenges
  • Attention issues
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Medical problems
  • Professional boundary issues
  • Domestic violence

When PHS determines that a physician or medical student has a substance use disorder, is at risk for impairment, is experiencing a significant occupational health problem, or has a behavioral health concern that warrants monitoring, the physician or medical student is encouraged to enter into a PHS monitoring contract or an Occupational Health Monitoring Agreement.

  • The monitoring contract specifies a course of treatment and documents compliance with the treatment plan.
  • The standard contract requires individual therapy, group support meetings, regular meetings with a designated PHS associate director, random urine drug tests (if indicated), and regular interaction with a monitor and chief of service in the workplace who agree to help document compliance.
  • An Occupational Health Monitoring Agreement requires professional coaching, regular meetings with a PHS associate director, and regular interaction with a monitor and chief of service in the workplace who agree to help document compliance.
  • PHS services are confidential, and most are provided at no cost. Services include expert consultation and assessment designed to encourage medical students and physicians to obtain help for substance use, behavioral or mental health concerns, occupational problems or physical illness. PHS and its practitioners are not direct treatment providers. However, PHS does provide the following services:
    • Referral to treatment and counseling
    • Monitoring and documentation
    • Support groups for physicians, medical students, and their families
    • Networking opportunities with colleagues experiencing similar issues
    • Educational programs and presentations at medical institutions
    • Guidance to hospitals, health care organizations, and medical schools regarding how to handle matters of physician and student health
    • Grand rounds, lectures, and speeches at committee and specialty society meetings



"We had a great talk...on...preventing physician burnout.... Dr. Adelman also listed an interesting website called “” where physicians have written about things they’ve done to keep burnout at a distance.... Very valuable stuff." 
-- Robin Schoenthaler, MD, MGH Department of Radiation Oncology at Emerson Hospital, Director of Medical Education, Emerson Hospital 

“I’ve seen the remarkable work that you and your team do at PHS. …it is evident that many physicians have saved their careers due to the assistance PHS has provided.” 
-- A professor of medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine

“Your PHS presentation was perfect…. It is nice to know where we can reach out for assistance when we have concerns.”
-- CMO, Major Boston-area Teaching Hospital

“Thank you for all your help, it’s nice to know you are there” 
-- A physician's psychotherapist

"Some years ago, a colleague committed suicide. I wish I had thought of Physician Health Services in the months leading up to his suicide. We need to be reminded of the good work that PHS does. The need for PHS is expanding. Not only are there issues of alcoholism, substance abuse, and mental illness, but also increasingly stressful work environments, behavior problems, and dementia. Bear in mind that in other states, the function of the PHS is carried out by the board of registration in medicine and is paid for by tax dollars. The independent status of our PHS can only be maintained by charitable donation."
-- Eric Reines, MD, Chair, Committee on Geriatric Medicine

Client Testimonials

"Your kindness, compassion, understanding, expertise, and dedication to helping me — and others — with depression and/or substance abuse, deserves recognition and celebration for the life sustaining work you do each and every day. I cannot predict the future of my recovery, but know that the course of my illness was favorably impacted by your intervention and assistance. I appreciate the opportunity to be with my beloved family, to continue to work as a physician, to putter with my crafting and artwork, and to simply be present for life’s moments — small, grand, ordinary, tragic, and joyous. I thank you with all my heart for helping me live, despite depression (and a desire, at times, to die). I wish you health, happiness, and continued inspirations to help individuals, families, and society by working on the treatments for depression and substance abuse. With enormous gratitude and appreciation."
-- Dr. L

"PHS provides an invaluable service for physicians with health issues to get them back on their feet, while continuing their much needed service to the community for safe quality medical care. They bridge the gap between regulatory agencies and the physician. Don’t ever stop this much needed program."
-- Dr. T

"The MMS/PHS Program has helped me out for a long time. I started in PHS’s program of documented recovery in 1990, and attended the meetings at the Medical Society for many years. They helped advocate for my medical license reinstatement, after one year of revocation, and with other federal program reinstatements, I have continued in an alumni capacity for many years, and helped with license application in other states.I have elected to continue in an alumni capacity with voluntary monitoring to this day. It’s been almost 25 years now. Forever Grateful,"
-- Dr. W. 

"After a severe bout of depression, I can confidently say that the help provided by members of the PHS team was essential to my recovery as a high-level practicing physician. The regular meetings with other physicians and the advice given by your understanding staff gave me the confidence to resume what are demanding jobs."
-- Dr. M

“Thank you all for your support during this very difficult downsizing period.” 
- A Recent PHS Client 

A Personal Story of Recovery 
For additional stories of success, visit here.

“Why did I drink?”

To this day, five years into sobriety, I still can’t answer the question.

I had everything. I grew up in a solid, loving family, had all the material things I needed and most everything I wanted. I was given a superb education, went to medical school, got my dream job as an ER doctor, married an extraordinary woman and had two extraordinary children. I enjoyed professional success and the respect of my colleagues and friends.

But I drank. I drank to excess. I was unhappy. I ignored and damaged myself, my family, and my friends. I didn’t care if I lived or died. I knew that I drank too much, I even knew I was an alcoholic, but I was too proud, too perfect, too ashamed to admit it to anyone but myself (I hid it quite well) so I was powerless to do anything about it.

Maybe I drank because my dream job became a nightmare. Maybe because I didn’t want to grow up and be an adult with adult responsibilities. Or maybe because I just loved to drink. Maybe some other reason.

Ultimately, the drink began to destroy me and I found my way to PHS.

Full disclosure: Others found my way to PHS. I was not exactly enthusiastic about the whole PHS idea. I was more motivated by fear of losing my job and career than by the desire for help. My drinking had come to light the day when I ended up as a patient in an emergency room. I had been feeling physically awful and my wife insisted I get checked out. I decided to have a couple of drinks to fortify me for the visit, and the ER doctor asked me why there was alcohol in my blood in the middle of the afternoon. That was when my wife learned I was an alcoholic.

A physician in Massachusetts who suspects another physician to be a habitual (problematic) user of alcohol is required to report that physician to Board of Registration in Medicine. Under certain circumstances, an alternative is for the “problem physician” to be evaluated by PHS , and to follow through with PHS’s recommendations.

Concerned that the ER doctor might report me to the medical board and I that I might lose my license to practice medicine, I presented to PHS.

After disclosing my alcoholism to my bosses at work, and after having been offered assurances that my job would be waiting for me when I returned after the 28 days of treatment that had been recommended, I went off to rehab.

In Hollywood, this is where the movie ends. The guy quits drinking and lives happily ever after.  For me, this is where the story begins. At rehab, I was spun-dry, learned something about myself, and then launched back into the world.

I realized for the first time that I was not the person I wanted to be. I was self-absorbed, arrogant, pompous, self-righteous, negative, judgmental, angry, depressed, and anxious. I nursed grudges and resentments. I was right and everyone else — including those closest to me — was wrong. I carried my righteous indignation like a badge of honor.

I decided that I want to be the person that my dog thinks I am. I will never be that person, but my goal is to make progress in that direction. I attend PHS support meetings and AA meetings. I have met many people who are like me — people who struggle with their addiction and with themselves. There is a lot of wisdom in those rooms and, for the first time, I am occasionally able to take the cotton out of my ears and stuff it in my mouth. I am learning that others can teach me, that I do not have all the answers, and that the answers I do have are not always right. I am still self-absorbed and self-righteous, still defiant, angry, and judgmental, but unlike in the past, I am occasionally aware that I am being so, and occasionally able to take a step back and check myself. Anxiety and depression are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. Most of the time, I am happy.

Many have praised me for the hard work, but I have not experienced the journey as a difficult one. There have been difficult moments, of course, but the rewards — improved relationships with my family and friends, sense of well-being, and having a supportive and loving recovery community have far outweighed any difficulties I have had.

My wife, my children, and my friends have done the most difficult work. They suffered because of my actions, but they stayed with me and helped me. I am profoundly grateful for their love and support.

Without them I would not be writing these words today.

Meet Physician Health Services

The Board of Directors

To guide the development and strategic direction of Physician Health Services, members of the PHS Board of Directors are nominated by the board and elected by the PHS sole voting member, the MMS Board of Trustees, based on a demonstrated record of involvement with physician health matters and a comprehensive understanding of and commitment to the PHS mission. Often PHS board members serve on a PHS committee prior to being nominated to the board. Board members are selected based on a diversity of corporate and governance experience; medical specialty; expertise with physician health matters such as substance use, mental disorders, physical illness, and behavioral health problems; and familiarity with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine statutes and regulations.

2014 PHS Annual Report - KhantzianEdward J. Khantzian, MD
President and Chair


PHS - BroderickCorinne Broderick, MS

PHS - BushBooker Bush, MD

PHS - KraftMary Kraft, MD

PHS - LeavittAaron M. Leavitt, MD

PHS - LodgeDale Lodge

Thomas D. Sequist, MDThomas D. Sequist, MD

PHS - SullivanMary Anna Sullivan, MD

PHS - TosiStephen Tosi, MD

PHS - AdelmanSteven A. Adelman, MD
Chief Operating Officer and Director

PHS - FarrellMichael Farrell

PHS - GrossbaumDebra A. Grossbaum, Esq.

The Associate Directors

Functioning as independent contractors, PHS associate directors provide outreach, intervention, treatment referrals, monitoring, and assessment for each physician, resident, and medical student referred to PHS. The success of PHS is based on the program’s confidentiality protections and the personal collegial support provided by its associate directors, who guide physicians through treatment and recovery.

PHS - ChinmanGary Chinman, MD, Boston Central Region
Gary Chinman, MD, has been an associate director of PHS since 2010. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He graduated from Dartmouth Medical School and completed his psychiatry residency training at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, after which he completed clinical fellowships at Harvard University Student Health Services and Harvard Community Health Plan. He has been affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital for over 20 years, teaches in the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program and is on the faculty at the Levinson Institute. Dr. Chinman is an assistant professor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and maintains an active private practice in general adult psychiatry.

PHS - GavryckWayne A. Gavryck, MD, Springfield/Western Massachusetts Region
Wayne A. Gavryck, MD, has been an associate director for PHS since its inception. He graduated from Cornell University Medical College and completed his postgraduate training at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He currently practices internal medicine in Turners Falls. Dr. Gavryck is also a certified medical review officer, and he serves PHS in this capacity.

PHS - Ruthann Rizzi Associate DirectorRuthann Rizzi, MD, Worcester Region
Ruthann Rizzi, MD, has been an associate director for PHS since 2009 and has served on the PHS Medical Student Advisory Committee since its establishment in 2004. Dr. Rizzi graduated from the State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse. She completed a transitional internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York, and trained in psychiatry at Tufts/New England Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Rizzi is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Student Counseling Service at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is a staff psychiatrist at the UMass Memorial Medical Center and maintains a private practice in general adult psychiatry.

Kimberly J. Roberts-SchultheisKimberly J. Roberts-Schultheis, MD, Metro Boston and Northern Region
Kimberly J. Roberts-Schultheis, MD, is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine. She trained in psychiatry at Boston University Medical Center and completed her addiction psychiatry fellowship at Boston University Medical Center/Boston VA Health Systems where she was an American Psychiatric Association SAMHSA Substance Abuse Fellow during her fellowship year. Dr. Roberts-Schultheis is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. She is currently the director of addiction services at Lynn Community Health Center where she provides leadership through a multidisciplinary team approach with integrated primary care and behavioral health. 


PHS - StarerJacquelyn J. Starer, MD, FACOG, FASAM, Metro Boston & Southeastern Region  
Jacquelyn J. Starer, MD, joined PHS as an associate director in 2014 and has served on the PHS Clinical Advisory Committee since 2008. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School and completed her postgraduate training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Dr. Starer is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and American Board of Addiction Medicine. She is a fellow of American Society of Addiction Medicine and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and she is also president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. She is an associate attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, as well as a consultant for the hospital’s Addiction Recovery Program. Dr. Starer is also on staff at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and holds many committee memberships and leadership positions at various organizations, including serving as Vice-Chair of the MMS Maternal and Perinatal Welfare Committee and member of the MMS Public Health Committee.

PHS - EatonJudith Eaton, MD, Associate Director Emerita  
Judith Eaton, MD, has been an associate director for PHS since its inception. She graduated from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and completed her pediatric residency at Rhode Island Hospital and her psychiatry residency at Brown University and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She retired from her private practice of psychiatry in Worcester in January 2008. She was in practice for 27 years. She is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

The Staff

Our staff expertly handles the diverse array of tasks required to keep the program developing and operating on a day-to-day basis while offering the best possible service and assistance to physicians. Physician Health Services is proud to introduce a professional, experienced, and dedicated staff.

2014 PHS Annual Report - AdelmanSteve Adelman, MD
Director of Physician Health Services
Dr. Adelman is a board-certified psychiatrist with extensive clinical and administrative experience in addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine. Dr. Adelman is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and completed his internship, residency, and chief residency at McLean Hospital. For three years he was a faculty fellow in addiction medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

From 2000–2013, Dr. Adelman was the director of behavioral health and addiction medicine at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (HVMA), where he managed a staff of 130 mental health professionals and created multidisciplinary programs in pain management and opioid dependence treatment. He is also a founding trustee of HVMA.

He is currently a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was the director of outpatient psychiatry and the primary psychiatrist on the Physicians’ Health Committee. He has authored or co-authored numerous addiction-related publications, and has served as an addiction consultant to the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, healthcare organizations, law firms, and sports franchises.

Linda R. BresnahanLinda R. Bresnahan
Director of Program Operations   
Linda R. Bresnahan is responsible for the daily operations of PHS. She establishes and manages all administrative, educational, and operational activities. She coordinates PHS’s governance meetings and committee activities, and she oversees information technology and the procedures necessary to support physician case management. Ms. Bresnahan received her bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in management information systems from Boston College and her master of science in health care management from Lesley College. She has worked in physician health for more than 24 years. Ms. Bresnahan also contributes nationally to the work of physician health, serving as the executive director of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs.

PHS - Grossbaum staffDebra A. Grossbaum
General Counsel  
Ms. Grossbaum oversees all legal aspects of PHS, including issues of confidentiality, interpretation of relevant regulations and statutes, and PHS contracts. She reviews all participant contracts, negotiates vendor agreements, and works closely with the Board of Registration in Medicine. She also represents PHS with respect to corporate legal matters since PHS is a 501(c)(3) subsidiary corporation of the Massachusetts Medical Society. Ms. Grossbaum chairs the Bylaws Committee of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs, and she is a member of the American Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and the American Society of Medical Association Counsel. Ms. Grossbaum is a graduate of Brown University and the Boston University School of Law.

PHS - VautourJessica L. Vautour
Outreach and Education Manager  
Ms. Vautour is responsible for the supervision of administrative staff and oversees training for all administrative activities. She is responsible for the management and implementation all PHS outreach and educational programs. She also provides conference planning and other assistance for the FSPHP.  Ms. Vautour received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Bentley College and her master’s degree in management from Cambridge College. She recently achieved a Certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University. She has an extensive background in health care management and has been with the Massachusetts Medical Society for more than 24 years. Additionally, Ms. Vautour has been a member of the Massachusetts Association of Medical Staff Services (MAMSS) for more than 15 years. She currently serves on the MAMSS Board of Directors as part of the organization’s leadership.

PHS - BrennanDeborah J. Brennan
Project Assistant and Transcriptionist  
Ms. Brennan handles all of the transcription for PHS. She coordinates and assists with projects and special events and provides administrative support and assistance to PHS and the national organization, FSPHP, including membership services and conference planning. Ms. Brennan has an extensive background in health care as an administrative assistant, having served the Massachusetts Medical Society and PHS for more than 24 years. 

PHS - HowardMary M. Howard
Monitoring Services Assistant  
Ms. Howard coordinates all monitoring service activities and quality management, which consists of primary support for the random drug testing program, reviewing lab results, and tracking and maintaining reports of positive results and prescribed medications. She also coordinates the quarterly report process for monitors of PHS participants under contract and for the Board of Registration in Medicine. Ms. Howard received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Brown University. She has a background data administration as well as health care and research. 

PHS - CanaleDeborah M. Canale
Client Services Assistant  
Ms. Canale monitors and maintains all client activity data, including the intake data process, new contracts, monitor changes, and case transactions. She provides administrative assistance for all documentation related to clients, including coordinating requests for information from third parties, such as compliance documentation and consent forms. Ms. Canale received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Helena HansdottirHelena Osk Hansdottir
PHS Assistant 
Ms. Hansdottir provides administrative support and assistance to PHS, preparing correspondence and coordinating special mailings and events. She also provides support regarding expense reports, payment requests, and travel coordination. In addition, Ms. Hansdottir oversees funding and facilitates the PHS donation process. Ms. Hansdottir received her bachelor’s degree in nature science and social science from Hamrahlid College, Iceland, and bachelor’s in biology and bioinformatics from the University of Wales. 

The Clinical Advisory Committee

This distinguished committee of volunteer experts on physician health provides assistance on specific case matters such as evaluation, referral for treatment, and monitoring of physicians based on anonymous case presentations. The members of the Clinical Advisory Committee represent a broad range of specialties. They serve as peer-review consultants to PHS for one-year terms and are nominated by the PHS director and approved by the PHS Board of Directors. Our dedicated committee members volunteer their time to assist PHS.

Clinical Advisory Committee 2015

Back Row: Wayne Gavryck, MD, Bernard Levy, MD, Michael Hamrock, MD, Glenn Pransky, MD, Steve Adelman, MD, Mark Albanese, MD, Debbie Grossbaum, Gary Chinman, MD  Front Row: Mark Green, MD, Peter Grinspoon, MD, Edward Khantzian, MD, John Renner, MD, Karsten Kueppenbender, MD, Ruthann Rizzi, MD, Jackie Starer, MD

The Leadership Council 

The Leadership Council, formerly known as the PHS Advisory Committee, consists of representatives from our major funding organizations to provide additional perspectives and assistance to PHS on the following matters:

  • Recognizing needs within the medical community
  • Guidance on program development
  • Interfacing PHS with risk management programs
  • Acting as a liaison to educational institutions
  • Identification of new opportunities for PHS involvement
  • Enhancing community participation

Leadership Council Member Organizations:

  • Baystate Health, Inc.
  • Berkshire Health Systems
  • BIDMC Harvard Medical School Faculty Physicians (HMFP)
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Boston University School of Medicine
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Brigham and Women's Physicians Organization (BWPO)
  • Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Cape Cod Healthcare
  • Charles River District Medical Society
  • Connecticut Medical Insurance Company (CMIC)
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Emerson Hospital
  • Good Samaritan Medical Center and Medical Staff
  • Harrington Healthcare System
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (Atrius Health)
  • Heywood Hospital 
  • Lahey Health 
  • Lawrence General Hospital
  • Massachusetts Medical Society
  • MetroWest Medical Center
  • Morton Hospital and Medical Staff
  • Nashoba Valley Medical Center
  • New England Sinai Hospital and Medical Staff
  • Newton Wellesley Hospital
  • Norwood Hospital and Medical Staff
  • North Shore Medical Center
  • Physicians Insurance Agency of Massachusetts (PIAM)
  • Reliant Medical Group
  • Saint Anne’s Hospital & Medical Staff
  • St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Medical Staff
  • St. Vincent Hospital
  • Steward Health Care System
  • Sturdy Memorial Hospital
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Tufts Medical Center
  • Tufts University School of Medicine
  • UMass Memorial Health Care, Inc.
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School

The Medical Student Advisory Committee

The PHS Medical Student Advisory Committee’s purpose is to provide a forum for the exchange of information among medical schools on issues of student health, wellness, and professionalism in order to develop effective strategies to educate and assist medical students who have or are at risk of having problems with substance use, behavioral health, or mental or physical illness.

The Medical Student Advisory Committee, a standing committee appointed by the PHS Board of Directors in 2004, established an independent mission statement, goals, and objectives, and developed its own medical student monitoring contracts for both substance use and behavioral health monitoring. PHS continues to explore funding alternatives to help support the growing need for medical student outreach, support, and monitoring.

PHS recently examined medical student referrals and found that from the inception of PHS in 1978 to 2007, PHS assisted 40 medical students, averaging 1.5 per year. Since 2007, we have assisted 78 additional medical students, averaging 10 students per year. This significant increase in support to students is largely attributed to the effective outreach of the following committee members within their schools.

Medical Student Advisory Committee

Back Row: John Polk, MD, Peter Massicott, MD, Steve Adelman, MD, Regina Mitchell, MD, Linda Bresnahan. Middle Row:  Barbara Lewis, MD, Amy Kuhlik, MD. Front Row: Debbie Grossbaum, Jessica Vautour

"The Medical Student Advisory Committee of PHS has been helpful by creating a forum in which the representatives of the four regional medical schools work collaboratively to share experiences and challenges facing medical students. Through guided discussion, led by an expert in the field, this forum has allowed us to better understand the nature and the range of the problems with potential solutions. In addition, it has served as a tremendous resource for assessment, development of interventional plans, and prescribing follow-up for students with the most challenging problems."
— John Polk, MD

Medical School Representatives

  • Boston University School of Medicine
    Angela Jackson, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine
  • Boston University School of Medicine
    John Polk, MD, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
  • Harvard Medical School
    Regina Mitchell, MD, Director, Office of Advising Resources
  • Harvard University Health Services
    Peter J. Massicott, MD, Director, Medical Area Health Service
  • Harvard University Health Services
    Katherine Lapierre, MD, Chief, Student Mental Health Services
  • Tufts University School of Medicine
    Amy Kuhlik, MD, Dean for Student Affairs
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
    James Broadhurst, MD, Director, AIMS Program
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
    Ruthann Rizzi, MD, Director, Student Counseling Service, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
    Michael Kneeland, MD, Interim Associate Dean for Student Affairs 

The Research Committee

The PHS Research Committee was established in 2001 as part of a strategic effort to increase the scientific knowledge base in the field of physician health. Over the years, the committee has conducted several studies assessing different aspects of the PHS program. The most relevant studies in physician health in which PHS has been involved include the following:

  • Monitoring Physician Drug Problems: Attitudes of Participants (2004)
  • Outcomes of a Monitoring Program for Physicians with Mental and Behavioral Health Problems (2006)
  • Five-Year Outcomes in a Cohort Study of Physicians Treated for Substance Use Disorders (2008)
  • Participant and Monitor Satisfaction with a Physician Health Monitoring Program (2009)
  • How Are Addicted Physicians Treated? A National Survey of Physician Health Programs (2009)
  • Setting the Standard for Recovery: Physician Health Programs (2009)

For copies of these studies, please contact PHS. PHS also participates on the Federation of State Physician Health Programs Research Committee to stay abreast of national research project opportunities.

PHS Research Committee

(Left to Right) Fred Arnstein PhD, Linda Bresnahan, Judith Eaton MD, Mary Howard, Steve Adelman MD, Luis Sanchez MD

The committee includes past PHS Director Dr. Luis Sanchez, past PHS Associate Director Dr. Phillip Candilis and Drs., Gary Chinman, Judith Eaton, and Ruthann Rizzi. Linda Bresnahan and Mary Howard serve as staff liaisons to the committee. Currently the committee is finalizing a paper summarizing the findings of the Physician Health Support Group Survey conducted last year. In upcoming years, the research efforts of PHS will be examined to determine to a sustainable model.

Strategic Goals

Under the direction of Dr. Steven Adelman, the Physician Health Services organizational goals have been updated with the PHS Board of Director’s (Board’s) approval at its June 19, 2014, board meeting.

PHS priorities are reviewed and updated with the invaluable insight of the distinguished and experienced health care professionals dedicated to improving the health and lives of the physicians and medical students PHS serves. Following are the organization’s current priorities.

PHS FY ’16 Organizational Goals

Organizational Management:

1. Provide oversight for PHS and develop plans to ensure both short and long-term organizational viability.
2. Work with the PHS Board to establish the strategic priorities and carry out the strategic initiatives of PHS.
3. Ensure a highly principled, mission-driven work environment.


1. Meet or exceed the FY’16 budget plan; inform and provide review of financial status with Board.
2. Define PHS organizational goals; review and obtain approval by Board.
3. Provide regular updates on PHS activities at Board meetings.
4. Develop annual report to MMS BOT, as stated in PHS bylaws.
5. Promote a working environment that is rooted in our core values of Integrity, Respect, Quality, Commitment and Teamwork.

Optimization of Client Operations:

1. Continue to develop and implement best practices in providing responsive consultative services to medical leaders and self-referred physicians.
2. Continue to develop and implement best practices in assessing physicians and medical students in acute distress, and in providing effective monitoring and oversight for clients with substance use disorders, other mental disorders, and occupational health challenges.  
3. Continue enhancing client experience by streamlining the intake, assessment, recommendation and contract work-flows. 


1. Revise processes and procedures as needed to reflect best practices.
2. Evaluate options for streamlining workflows and implement optimal solutions to reduce time from intake to contract.

Financial Stabilization:

1. Maintain and grow funding to meet growing demand and to expand service lines.


1. Discuss planned giving strategy with the PHS board and, if approved, begin to develop this outreach.
2. By Q2 of FY’16, reach out to all FY’15 contributors to request an FY’16 contribution.
3. Identify at least 10-20 potential new funders and commence the process of “donor engagement” to secure additional funding for PHS.  Work with malpractice carriers and self-insured systems to increase per physician annual contributions.

Expanding the PHS Brand & Offerings: 

1. Continue increasing visibility and awareness of the value of PHS to key audiences – in-person, in print, and online.
2. Continue to reposition PHS as a proactive organization that promotes physician health.
3. Build and maintain positive relationship with key constituents.
4. Pursue strategic initiatives that support the PHS mission to assist physicians with health concerns and therefore provide protections to patients.


1. Create, and commence working with, a Board task force to discuss and develop plans to configure PHS to more comprehensively address the occupational health challenges of practicing physicians without substance use and other mental disorders, while continuing to optimize PHS’ ability to deliver assessment and monitoring services to the traditional client base. 
2. Develop and implement a plan to increase PHS promotional activities to key constituents through a variety of interactions, including but not limited to, grand rounds, presence at district medical society meetings, meetings with medical group practice managers and hospital personnel, and presentations at conferences; capitalize on opportunities to promote PHS via speaking engagements.
3. Continue to enhance PHS’ relationship with the BRM and participate in and present at policy-level meetings of the BRM. 

National Efforts

Federation LogoThe Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) is a national organization with the purpose of facilitating the exchange of information and developing common goals and standards for physician health throughout the country. PHS continues to be an active member of the FSPHP, with essential contributions including:

  • Linda Bresnahan, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the FSPHP, also serves on the Program Planning Committee and the Publications Committee.
  • Debra Grossbaum, who serves as chair of the Bylaws Committee, is also a member of the Taskforce for the Promotion of Accountability, Consistency, and Excellence.

Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS), has continued into its fourth year of a partnership with the FSPHP, providing administrative services to the FSPHP, including membership services, conference planning, and other outreach services and programs. The reimbursement provided by FSPHP has the potential to diversify revenue for PHS as well. This partnership provides PHS with an opportunity to remain abreast of and be involved with state physician health program initiatives from a national level, to further develop relationships with peers in the profession and field.

As referrals to physician health programs increase, the programs are challenged to provide increased services. At the FSPHP conferences, speakers respond to this need by sharing strategies for development and growth in the areas of behavioral health, substance use disorders, fundraising, providing efficacious services, and making improvements in random drug testing and treatment.

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