Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Primary Care with a Nod to the Past

A Return to Old-style Doctoring

Primary Care with a Nod to the Past

In Monday's newspaper is the latest in an occasional series on health care in a typical community hospital by Inquirer writer Michael Vitez. He has been embedded with Abington Memorial Hospital since last fall.

His story, with my photos, is about Dr. Joe Mambu and how he is reinventing the role of the family doctor.

As Mike writes,  Mambu worked 25 years as a family physician in an HMO practice and struggled with being an employee with little control. He wanted to restore the best of the old-fashioned family doctor - he wanted to make house calls - and still somehow make it work in the current health care environment. Now he's at the vanguard of a movement sweeping America - the patient-centered medical home. The new health bill promotes this model, and many experts call it the future of primary care.

Dr. Mambu says he has rediscovered what he loved about medicine in the first place, what he calls "that metaphysical magic that happens when two human beings come together, one with a problem and the other with a desire and knowledge to help."

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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