July 2023  |  Issue No. 16

What can marriage teach us about health equity? 

By Stephanie Narayanan, Dir. of Development and External Relations, PCC

If you, like me, contributed to the more than 1.25 billion viewership hours of the Netflix series Bridgerton, you’re familiar with the coupling process for a small subset of English people in the 1800s. Glittering chandeliers and dreamy dresses meet the very real anxieties involved in attracting a match both socially advantageous and personally attractive.  

But did you know it’s also a teachable moment?  

A July 2022 episode of the Freakonomics podcast introduced economist Marc Goñi’s research on “assortive matching” and income inequality within that Bridgerton context.  In the traditional exercise, as Bridgerton portrays and Goñi describes it, the wealthiest families flocked to London seasonally to mix and mingle and marry off their eligible daughters to fellow members of the aristocracy. The marriage market helped individual families further improve their fortunes. It also helped the queen (Victoria, in Goni’s research) strengthen her political power by gatekeeping access to the process.  

PCC Convenes CoAct to Improve IDD Services in Montgomery County

PCC launched a CoAct in June to explore the roles of stigma, access barriers, and other structural factors that limit outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and to find ways to overcome them. CoAct is PCC’s proprietary process for convening subject matter experts to work through facilitated discussions to address complex public health needs.

The first in a four-session CoAct was held at Easterseals DC VA MD on June 22 with 20 participants. The group discussed the challenges individuals with IDD have in receiving quality care. The participants identified the top four challenges that need to be addressed:

  1. Rapid growth in the number of IDD individuals who are at risk is climbing, and our community is not prepared to assist them. This can be partially attributed to the inability of some family caregivers to continue to care for IDD individuals as they age.
  2. There is a lack of coordinated health services, specifically regarding mental health treatment and IDD service systems. This creates friction in the system and results in inadequate treatment for those who need it. This is compounded by a lack of health literacy materials and age-appropriate screenings for patients with IDD.
  3. Individuals are falling through the cracks. A support mechanism for individuals with IDD is needed when transitioning from the school system to adulthood. The current process suffers from too few trained direct support professionals and needs more navigation support.

PCC Extends Nomination Deadline for Mary C. Jackson Award

The nomination deadline has been extended to August 20 for the Mary C. Jackson “Good Works, Done Well” Award. The award is named in honor of the former PCC deputy director who devoted her professional life to developing programs to help underprivileged and underserved children and families in Montgomery County. The award is presented each year to the employee or volunteer who demonstrates the most compassion and care as they serve our community’s most vulnerable residents.

The 2022-2023 award will be presented on Wednesday, November 15, at the Primary Care Coalition’s 30th Anniversary culmination event, the Annual Storytelling Show. This year, the event will be held at AMP by Strathmore, located at Pike & Rose, 11810 Grand Park Avenue (4th Floor), North Bethesda, MD 20852. The presentation and Storytelling Show promise a fun and memorable evening for all who attend.

Nominations for the 2022-2023 award year must be submitted before 9 a.m. on August 20 using this online form.

July 29, 9:00-10:00 a.m., Morning Tweets and Tea, for ages 18 and older. Bring a thermos of your favorite breakfast beverage to enjoy as you learn beginner birding techniques. Hosted by Montgomery Parks at Locust Grove Nature Center within Cabin John Regional Park, 7777 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20817. Register here.

July 30, 6:30-11:00 p.m. – Tango Dance and Lessons, hosted by Tango Brillante at Glen Echo Park, Ballroom (back room), 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD 20812. Lessons are $15 per person. For more information, call 240-428-4591 or email rene_f_davila@yahoo.com.

August 1, 5:00-6:00 p.m., Living Positively with Chronic Pain, peer support group meeting for individuals who are directly affected by chronic pain. Hosted by Independence Now via Zoom.  Register here.

August 9, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Sunset Soirée: An Intimate Food Experience for a Cause Join us for an unforgettable evening in Silver Spring, MD. Indulge in a culinary journey that will tantalize your taste buds while supporting two worthy causes--CCI Health Services and Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate.


PCC Job Opportunities

Behavioral Health Care Manager (Full-Time)

Director, Workforce Capacity (Full-Time)

Grants Writer/Sr. Development Coordinator (Full-Time)

Senior Accountant (Full-Time)

Senior Program Manager, Nexus Montgomery (Full-Time)


Hillery Tsumba Named as PCC’s Chief Operating Officer

The Primary Care Coalition’s new Chief Operating Officer, Hillery Tsumba, already has a decade of experience with the organization that includes a clear focus on its internal and external impacts. She initially came to PCC as the communications and development manager and was most recently the director of organizational strategy.

“It’s been a wonderful evolution of being able to do many different things,” said Tsumba in a recent conversation about transitioning to the new position.

“My previous role was focused externally, and my new one involves human resources and financial management. I am excited about finding new ways to release the passion of our talent so that we can unleash the full potential of the Primary Care Coalition.”

Tsumba first worked under the leadership of Steve Galen and now works under current President and CEO Leslie Graham. Both are influential leaders with very different styles. Galen was a very conceptual leader focused on ideas about what might be possible, and Graham has a more process-oriented approach emphasizing how to turn ideas into reality. Hillery Tsumba is grateful to have learned much from each of them.


Primary Care Coalition
8757 Georgia Ave 10th Floor | Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
301-628-3405 | info@primarycarecoalition.org

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