28 Nov 2022


The mission, vision, and purpose of the PHS organization

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

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Pages: 10

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The paper gives a brief overview of Public Health Solutions as a nonprofit organization which strives to provide low-income and high-risk New York City Residents with health equity. The paper states the mission, vision, and purpose of the PHS organization and consequently explains some of the critical strategic issues that it faces. Moreover, the paper gives a detailed account of how the organization achieves its mission in addition to some of the contributing factors to its success. Lastly, the paper provides brief recommendations on how the organization can better itself. 

Public Health Solutions 

What Does Public Health Solutions Do 

Public Health Solutions (PHS) was first established as the Medical and Health Research Association of New York City (MHRA) by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 1957. It is the largest nonprofit organization that serves the city of New York (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . The organization serves vulnerable New York City families by helping them to achieve o ptimal health. Furthermore, it supports disadvantaged families to build pathways for reaching their potentials and additionally help communities to thrive and work towards achieving health equity for all New Yorkers. As a nonprofit organization, it has placed its attention on a variety of issues of public health that significantly affect the ability of underserved New Yorkers to live their healthiest lives. Public Health Solutions mainly focuses on issues to do with food and nutrition, health insurance, reproductive and sexual health, HIV/AIDs, maternal and child health, and tobacco control (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . To curb these issues, PHS works directly in communities to provide health services to underserved individuals and their families. Moreover, the organization continuously conducts an extensive research to evaluate the impact it has on communities, highlights public health topics, and help drive policy. Through the long-standing public-private partnerships that PHS has with various government agencies, it hence serve as a crucial link in the provision of financial support and management assistance to various community-based organizations in New York City. 

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Public Health Definition 

Public Health is the science of protecting the safety and improving the health of communities through education, policy-making, and research for diseases and injury prevention. Every person that wants to crunch numbers or formulate policies, conduct laboratory or field research or directly work with various individuals to improve their health has a place on the public health field (Bryant & Rhodes, 2018) . According to the American Public Health Association, Public Health is the promotion and protection of the health of people and the communities where they work, live, learn and play. The concept of public health was brought about by regular interactions between human beings that involved dealing with various problems of social life which consequently led to the emerged recognition of the importance of community action in promoting health and preventing and treating diseases. 

Vision, Mission, and Purpose of PHS 

Public Health Solutions mainly defines its mission as "To support vulnerable New York City families in achieving optimal health and building pathways to reach their potential" and its vision as "Healthy Families. Thriving communities. Health equity in NYC". Consequently, PHS’s purpose is to improve health outcomes in New York City through direct provision of services to the most vulnerable neighborhoods and supporting community-based health organizations that share in their mission to improve health. 

PHS is a proactive, cohesive team that is fundamentally driven by priority, which consequently anticipates and immediately responds to the need of the New York City community (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . A s an organization that focuses on the welfare of underserved NYC families, they are guided by a sturdy Board of Health. Consequently, as the organization that is the local public health authority, they are trusted and respected by the communities they serve to address the public health needs of various constituencies in NYC. Additionally, they are widely recognized within the NYC district as a source of knowledge and expertise and as a partner, collaborator, and an agent of change that fundamentally involves itself in the NYC community mainly to ensure that public health problems are efficiently resolved (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . PHS predominantly fosters positive work environments that build on people's strengths and innovation. Consequently, the organization mentors staff towards achieving individual professional developments, which enables them to succeed in attracting and retaining staff that is of high quality and is knowledgeable and passionate. The organization understands the distinct roles, contributions, and diversity of every person that is involved in their work. 

Key Strategic Issues for PHS 

Being a non-governmental organization that depends mostly on grants from the government and donations from well-wishers, it is not always more natural for them to realize their mission and vision. Public Health Solutions faces several challenges that often affect its operations. Some of them are presented below. 

Limited Funding 

Public Health Solutions mainly supports its services of providing health equity to all New Yorkers, especially those who are underserved through grants, donations from good wishers and government funding. At most times, the organization has to contend with more stringent budget constraints (CBR) . These budget constraints that arise as a result of limited funds often affect the ability of the organization to pay their employees’ salaries that are competitive, a factor that detrimentally impacts the recruitment and retention of talented individuals with the power to drive the success of PHS organization. 

The use of Volunteers 

The PHS organization often uses volunteers who perform specific functions such as community sanitation. However, the organization sometimes has difficulties of ensuring that these volunteers are not compensated or have no expectation of receiving compensation. This issue sometimes negatively affects the operations of PHS in that it is an extra burden on their constrained funding since a volunteer who receives payment for his or her services is legally considered an employee for the organization and, therefore, is entitled to the rights that attend his or her designation (CBR) . Additionally, the organization is often faced with poor performing volunteers who are not in any bit committed to advancing the mission of PHS. These volunteers mostly harm the workforce morale of PHS employees , thereby creating more problems for Public Health Solutions than they can solve. 

The Centrality of the Mission of PHS Organization 

The PHS organization primarily exists to provide optimal health to all underserved families in New York City. Most times the organization’s management is faced with the challenge of ensuring that its mission is at the heart of all its efforts, uniting and motivating all its employees and volunteers. Mostly, the organization's management forgets to communicate the central mission, goals, and values of the organization to its employees and volunteers, a factor that is significant in engaging and ensuring that all organizations workforce remains on track to advance the primary cause of Public Health Solutions. 

Accurate Management of the Payroll Tax Burden 

Since Public Health Solutions is a nonprofit organization, it is always exempted from taxes. However, at times, when the organization is withholding payroll taxes, from the wages of its employees, it has to withhold FICA taxes even though these taxes are generally exempted from the FUTA payroll for a fee for unemployment compensation. Instances where some of PHS organization volunteers receive benefits such as offerings that are intended as gifts often give the organization several difficulties as they have to verify whether the compensations constitute taxable wages. 

Compliance with State and Federal Laws 

Although Public Health Solutions often operates with limited resources, the state and federal laws governing employees that it has to comply with mostly impose costly demands to the organization, thus slowing them down in meeting their mission and goals. These state and federal laws which include the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) often require the PHS organization to offer health insurance and provide additional payment to employees who work over 40 hours a week respectively. 

How Does Public Health Solutions ensure it achieves its Goals and Mission? 

To accomplish its mission and objectives, Public Health Solutions mainly partners with many of New York City's leading public organizations. Moreover, PHS works in close collaboration with government agencies, other nonprofit organizations, hospitals, community health centers, and local businesses (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . The organization has made strides in overcoming public health disparities and thus has succeeded in improving the health and well-being of underserved New York residents. These partnerships that PHS has with other organizations have consequently ensured that their community-based organizations have the financial and management support that they need for accomplishing their objectives and missions (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . Moreover, Public Health Solutions developed a research and evaluation division, a leader in conducting independent, investigation- initiated public health research. The research that this division performs help in improving their programs and further advance the knowledge of PHS on health and health care throughout New York City and the whole of United States. This research has helped Public Health Solutions in realizing their mission of preventing HIV/AIDs and STIs, obesity and promoting reproductive and sexual health 

Consequently, Public Health Solutions is a master contractor for various government and privately funded portfolios. To continuously realize its mission and objectives, PHS maintains a long-held contract that it has with New York City DOHMH that mainly helps in managing HIV care and prevention services where they support over 200 diverse community-based public health organizations across New York (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . Furthermore, PHS developed a Contracting and Management Services Unit (CAMS) through which it administers wide ranges of public health initiatives. Moreover, the CAMS division mainly facilitates essential works that various human service organizations do for communities that are in need. The division consequently provides industry-leading contracting; fiscal management and capacity building services that enable multiple organizations that are significant to the public health of New Yorkers to access funding and administrative expertise that they need to seamlessly deliver their promises to the New York community (Public Health Solutions, 2018)

Additionally, CAMs works hand in hand with various public health organizations to manage and clarify the complexities that surround contracting. Since it is the intermediary between government and philanthropic funding agencies and the community-based agencies that are funded, they provide services that range from organizing clear and rational procurement experiences that mainly ensures that the most qualified organizations receive funding. Furthermore, they quickly execute contracts to get and keep programs that are deemed the most critical, running and additionally assists with developing budgets, expediting payments, performing technical assistance and providing meaningful data reports as needed by PHS organization (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . Consequently, to achieve their mission objectives, Public Health Solutions provide capacity building support services directly to their service provider organizations and include administrative and fiscal services such as budgetary conduits, purchasing, and payroll. Moreover, PHS organization's capacity building services further involve audit preparation and internal audits, institutional review board, program evaluation and data strategies that mainly require facilitation, analysis, advice, and coordination of their programs and goals. 

Additionally, PHS writes grants to Title X Family Planning which is the only federal funding source that is dedicated to family planning. Through this service, the PHS administers federal Title X funding to health centers mainly to support them in providing high-quality and comprehensive family planning and preventive health services for the underserved or uninsured families in New York City. Additionally it offers support services to adults and teenagers whether they are in a position to pay or not (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . These Title X health centers which are funded by PHS through the Department of Health and Human Services predominantly provide central family planning and preventive health services that include preconception and contraception counseling and services, pregnancy testing and counseling breast and cervical cancer screening. 

Consequently, PHS works in collaborations with various New York City community-based organizations throughout New York to achieve their objective mission. The PHS organizations collaborate with social services organizations, healthcare professionals, businesses, community members and advocates to strengthen their community work of improving the health and wellness of New York residents (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . Through these collaborations, PHS organization play the role of connecting private and public organizations predominantly to maximize the efforts of the organization in building healthier communities across the city of New York. Additionally, PHS partners with various corporations and foundations that have joined in their mission to improve the health of New York’s most vulnerable populations. These organizations such as the Gilead Sciences, Inc, Robin Hood, Single Stop, New York Business Systems, New York State Health, New York Community Trust and Kibel Companies, LLC provide generous funding to PHS organization to drive their programs and services (Public Health Solutions, 2018)

What Makes Public Health Solutions Successful? 

Public Health Solutions has all round been successful in accomplishing its objective mission and has become one of the largest nonprofit public health organizations in New York City. Public Health Solutions which started as New York’s agency innovation in research administration has since evolved into a major public health organization. Since its development in 1957, it has passed through several challenges but has continuously emerged victorious after conquering all the challenges it has faced throughout its journey of providing health equity to New Yorkers. The continuous success of Public Health Solutions is attributed to the following factors; 

Strategic Plan 

Predominantly, strong strategic planning in a nonprofit organization often helps them to achieve their goals. The plan mainly assists the organization to evaluate its assets in addition to any challenges it might encounter in its daily operations. Furthermore, a strategic plan helps nonprofit organizations to define their mission, goals, and objectives and additionally guides the organization as it sets out to accomplish its purpose (Reuters, 2018). From the start of its development, Public Health Solutions clearly defined its mission thus enabling them to make meaningful decisions for the organization. The strategic planning that Public Health Solutions employed in its initial development has allowed the organization to succeed in improving health outcomes and to consequently help many low-income and high-risk families to thrive by providing direct services to New York City’s most vulnerable populations. Thus, their planning enabled them to shield several of their programs form budget cuts (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . Moreover, their strategic plan further helped them to publish groundbreaking research that has moved public health policy forward. Furthermore, their strategic planning has helped them to support over 230 community-based organizations through their long-standing government partnerships. 

Addition of the HIV/AIDS Care 

In the 1990s, the former PHS (MHRA) was selected by New York City to administer Federal funds for the Ryan White Care Act. Through this opportunity, the PHS organization took it upon themselves to establish an HIV Care service program mainly to develop networks of care in health, housing and social services for individuals that were living with HIV/AIDS in New York City (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . Although The Ryan White Funding mainly was for small well-qualified community-based organizations that provided public health services to New Yorkers, it had limited administrative, accounting and reporting skills. To address this issue, PHS created a technical assistance system that provided the needed support services for proper fiscal accountability. 

Consequently, the PHS collaborated with NYC DOHMH, the HIV Health and Human Services Council and the Colombia University to institute the Community Health Advisory and Information Network study (CHAIN) to research the health status of individuals living with HIV and how they received care. The CHAIN which is operational till today has been instrumental in New York's public health community in that it has provided clear evidence on the impact that Ryan White Care Act has had on the reduction on morbidity and increased the length of life (Public Health Solutions, 2018) . Moreover, during t he 1990s Medicaid Coverage for women and children was expanded, and managed care became the primary means through which the services that were availed to low-income women and children were financed. These societal changes significantly impacted and gave rise to new public health opportunities that significantly contributed to the success of the PHS organization. 


Following some of the critical strategic issues that PHS faces, the organization should consider doing the following: 

First Recommendation 

The organizations can devise alternative ways that appeal to employees such as offering positions that present excellent training and development opportunities. Consequently, the organization should emphasize on work balance such as flexible work schedules or telecommuting options which employees will gladly accept even if the salary is low. 

By giving out positions that offer employees good training and development opportunities, Public Health Solutions organization will be able to allocate more of their limited funds to other crucial services that they offer communities in New York City, in that these employees will accept these positions for low pay because of the advantages that it offers to them. This action will prove beneficial for the organization in that they will have the opportunity of saving some of the funds they would have paid their employees in the form of salaries. By taking this path the organization will have some extra funds to allocate to some of the services that they offer communities within New York. 

Second Recommendation 

About the use of volunteers, PHS organization should implement a screening process that is designed to recruit volunteers with the ability and genuine desire to make a positive contribution to the organization. 

Public Health Solutions Organization should use a screening process while recruiting any individual who is interested in joining their organization as a volunteer to avoid recruiting people without the passion to serve disadvantaged communities in New York. This is because Individuals without the will and heart to help underserved families will only deter the organization from achieving its mission. 

Third Recommendation 

The PHS organization should frequently communicate its central mission, goals, and values and consequently link individual goals to the broader mission of the organization to enable to have an understanding of his or her role. 

Frequently communicating the goals, mission and objectives of Public Health Solutions by the organization’s management to its employees, partners and even the communities in New York City will have the effect of giving the organization opportunities to expand its operations and thus achieve its objective mission. Public Health Solutions will have the chance to expand its operations and additionally reach a large number of families in need because it will have communicated the purpose of its being to a wider range of individuals. Moreover, constantly reminding the New York City community of its purpose will instill an ideology in the minds of various individuals in NYC that the organization is adamant in helping New Yorkers achieve health equity and consequently is there to stay so long as public health issues exist. 


Bryant, H. J., & Rhodes, P. (2018, May 31). Public health. Retrieved July 2018, from Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/public-health 

CBR. (n.d.). 5 Key HR Issues Facing Nonprofit Organizations. Retrieved from CBR: https://cbri.com/5-key-hr-issues-facing-nonprofit-organizations/ 

Public Health Solutions. (2018). Our Mission and Vision. Retrieved from Public Health Solutions: http://phsneb.org/about-us/our-mission-and-vision/ 

Public Health Solutions. (2018). Our Story. Retrieved from Public Health Solutions: https://www.healthsolutions.org/about-us/our-story/ 

Reuters, T. (2018). Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations. Retrieved July 2018, from Findlaw: https://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/incorporation-and-legal-structures/strategic-planning-for-nonprofit-organizations.html 

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