Northeast PA AHEC Presents at Pocono Alliance Health Coalition


Stroudsburg, PA – Pocono Alliance’s mission is to improve the quality of life in Monroe County by identifying human service needs and working towards solutions. Under that direction, the Health Coalition serves as a vehicle to improve health-related needs in Monroe County. The three goals of the Health Coalition are:

1.  Increase the quality and years of healthy life.
2.  Eliminatehealthdisparities.
3.  Connect the community with information and referral resources.

With these goals in mind, the Health Coalition develops partnerships with local and state government as well as numerous non-profit and for-profit organizations to identify health needs and the barriers that prevent individuals from accessing the services they need. These barriers may include geographic location, transportation inefficiencies, economic status, insurance eligibility, language, and ability level. The Pocono Alliance Health Coalition serves as an opportunity for individuals to exchange ideas on how to overcome these barriers.

Vera Walline, Executive Director of the Northeast PA Area Health Education Center (AHEC) presented before the Health Coalition this week on the support programs her organization offers to professionals and students involved in health career programs. The AHEC has offered shadowing experiences for students to encourage them to pursue careers in their own communities. Walline stated that, “these programs have allowed students from the East Stroudsburg University Upward Bound program to experience potential careers in their backyard at the Pocono Medical Center’s Abeloff Center.” Walline’s presentation also included the AHEC’s expertise in helping communities receive designation from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are designated by HRSA as having shortages of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers and may be geographic (a county or service area), demographic (low income population) or institutional (comprehensive health center, federally qualified health center or other public facility). Medically Underserved Areas/Populations are areas or populations designated by HRSA as having: too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty and/or high elderly population.

Michael Tukeva, Executive Director of Pocono Alliance commented that, “these designations are important in identifying needs and securing potential funds to address the recognized shortages.” The Health Coalition in years past developed the foundation of the Monroe County Family Health Center (MCFHC) based on Stroudsburg’s designation as a Medically Underserved Area. The MCFHC, once opened, will serve the un-/underinsured population. Tara Holland, a Public Health graduate student at East Stroudsburg University, attended the Health Coalition meeting and shared these thoughts afterwards, “I was pleased to witness members of the community taking active efforts to improve the health of the community, especially the underserved populations. Collaboration is an integral component to success.” Next steps for the Coalition include the exploration of dental needs and available services in the community.

Pocono Alliance Health Coalition continues to explore opportunities to improve the quality of life in Monroe County. Over the next several months, speakers will provide presentations at the Health Coalition meetings to better educate members on how they can more effectively and efficiently help their community. Individuals or organizations that are interested in getting involved with the Health Coalition should contact Michael Tukeva, Pocono Alliance Executive Director or Patty Fascio, Health Coalition Chair and Regional Director of Community Care Behavioral Health. More information on Pocono Alliance is available at or 570-517-3953.

About Pocono Alliance, Inc.
Pocono Alliance’s mission is to improve the quality of life in Monroe County by identifying human service needs and working towards solutions. Pocono Alliance has four committees; Education, Health, Housing and Transportation; that serve as the table in which representatives from local agencies, education systems, government and service providers in our community identify human service needs, assist with program development and deliver services in Monroe County. Pocono Alliance encourages non-profiting planning and execution of interagency collaboration in Monroe County. Individuals in need of any health and human service need should contact PoconoInfo (570-517-3954) or; a free program of the Pocono Alliance that provide a single point of access to health and human services to empower individuals to make informed choices regarding their needs that may improve their quality of life. For more information on the Help Us Help Others Campaign, please contact Michael Tukeva, Executive Director (570-517-3955). You can also check us out on Facebook    under “Pocono Alliance” or by going to