Pool Fellowship

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The Pool Fellowship

The Pool Fellowship for Health is a professional development training opportunity for community leaders in the Lehigh Valley with the goal of increasing our local capacity to address complex social issues that impact health through cross-sector partnerships. 

In 2014, The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust supported The Rider-Pool Foundation in creating the Collective Impact Fellowship Program (now called The Pool Fellowship for Health) to make measurable improvements to complex quality-of-life challenges, such as poverty, homelessness and mental health, within neighborhoods surrounding the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) in Allentown.

In 2021, The Pool Trust and Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) leadership launched the Leonard Parker Pool Institute for Health to take a place-based, community development approach to improving the health of communities over the long term. Now that the Institute for Health is in operation, the program will continue to be the cornerstone of our effort to strengthen community partnerships and increase the local capacity for addressing complex social issues that impact health.

The program brings together leaders from a variety of sectors – including health care, education, regional planning, human and social services and county government – for 140 hours of training and coaching. Nationally recognized faculty provide training in leadership, communication and messaging, systems change, evaluation methods and community engagement strategies.

Our approach

The Pool Fellowship for Health creates a social network of trusted partners that the Institute for Health will be able to work with as we develop strategies around housing, food and nutrition, education and well-being. In addition, it creates a platform for us to engage national leaders and experts who can bring their expertise to leaders in the Lehigh Valley.

We have seen multiple examples of cross-sector leaders working together in new ways to develop creative solutions to issues. Efforts include a partnership among mental health clinicians, health care and law enforcement addressing mental health in Allentown; county drug and alcohol agencies, law enforcement and health care to address the opioid epidemic, and permanent-housing support and health care working together to address homelessness. We will continue to provide access to thought partners and mentors that can help us advance the work in the Lehigh Valley and learn from what others are doing across the country.

Meet the members of our 9th and current cohort

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Carol Andersen

Carol Andersen

Chief Executive Officer, Bloom for Women
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Yolanda Colbert

Yolanda Colbert

Director of Operations, Cohesion Network
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Thespina Godshalk, LPC

Thespina Godshalk, LPC

Program Director, Lehigh Valley Health Network School-Based Behavioral Health Program
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Christina Graham

Christina Graham

Data and Evaluation Manager, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
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Blake Henry

Blake Henry

Housing Director and Program Team Lead, Ripple Community Inc.
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Andrene Nowell

Andrene Nowell

Founder and Executive Director, Fine Feather Foundation Inc.
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Crystal Perez, MSN, RN, CSN

Crystal Perez, MSN, RN, CSN

Assistant Director of Health Services, Allentown School District
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Blake Ritchey

Blake Ritchey

Vice President of Human Resources, Community Services For Children
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Christine Rivera, BSN, RN

Christine Rivera, BSN, RN

Vice President and Executive Director, Muhlenberg College Division of Graduate and Continuing Education
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Michael Shaffer

Michael Shaffer

Vice President of Community-based Services, Pinebrook Family Answers
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David Synnamon, MPH

David Synnamon, MPH

Director, Allentown Health Bureau
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Lucinda Wright

Lucinda Wright

Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, City of Allentown

The Pool Fellowship for Health's goal is to increase local capacity to address complex social issues that impact health. 

Over the past eight years, members of The Pool Fellowship for Health have represented organizations such as Allentown Art Museum, City of Allentown, Lehigh Gap Nature Center and more.