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Meet Julia Hospice & Palliative Care

Our Story

The idea for a new healthcare provider in Erie County, Pennsylvania that would bring improved care services for those in the community living with serious illness originated because of the relatively outdated and limited services that currently exist. 

Care for these residents has not appreciably changed for almost 40 years, so the need for updated and "state of the art" services is imperative.  For example, there is no residential/inpatient hospice facility ("Hospice House") in Erie, but similar facilities exist in Meadville, Warren, Jamestown, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.  Because of the transition to more value-based healthcare in the US, hospice providers have a unique opportunity to provide better care services to people earlier then traditional end-of-life care.  With the emergence of palliative medicine as the vanguard of value-based care, particularly for serious illness, combining hospice and palliative care services that are both focused on improving quality of life, and delivered by a specially trained team of care professionals seemed only natural. In fact, half of the community-based palliative care programs (home palliative care, palliative care clinics) in the US are provided by hospice agencies*.

 

JHPC became a registered non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania in April, 2020 with 501c(3) status.  While waiting for this status, a detailed 3-year strategic business plan was drafted, a Board of Directors was formed, education material was crafted, and a capital campaign was developed.  Land was purchased as the site for Julia House, and preliminary plans were developed for construction of Julia House.

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have had to slow our fundraising and education efforts in compliance with disease mitigation protocols. Despite these challenges, we are doing our best to execute our business strategy, and achieve our projected timeline. 

We are hoping to have two thirds of our capital campaign completed by the end of 2023, and hope to break ground on Julia House by the beginning of 2022.  Under the best case scenario, we are planning on opening Julia Hospice and Palliative Care with all its services available at Julia House by the end of 2022, or the beginning of 2023. 

* Centers to Advance Palliative Care, 2019

 

Our Leadership Team

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Julia Strzalka

Executive Director

Julia Strzalka earned her Bachelor of Music from The Catholic University of America. She earned her Master Degree from Syracuse University and taught grade school music. After raising her children, Julia earned her School Administration Certificate from Edinboro University. She returned to education as the school principal of Seton Catholic School & St. Luke School. Julia has sat on many non-profit boards and has served the community in several volunteer projects.

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Christopher Strzalka, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Christopher Strzalka earned a Bachelor of Science from Canisius College. He earned his Doctor of Medicine Degree from S.U.N.Y Upstate. Dr. Strzalka practiced as a cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon at Hamot Medical Center.  He then went on to complete a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Upon returning, Dr. Strzalka became the Director of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care for Saint Vincent Health Center.  During this time, he was also the medical director for Regional Hospice.

Board of Directors

Board of Advisors

  • Rev. Bill Coleman

  • Dorothy Cooney

  • Gregory Gutting, CPA, CPCU

  • Rev. Dr. Gary Harbaugh

  • Anne Senft, CFRE

  • Scott Calhoun

  • Dr. Michael Cooney

  • V. James Fiorenzo

  • Janet Getson

  • Kathy Orlando

  • Mary Schaaf

  • Jonathan Strzalka

  • Jeanine Tome, RN

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