NHCW Profile: Meet Petrus Oliphant, Old Town Recovery Center

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Petrus Oliphant always knew that he wanted to work in healthcare. It was the matter of specialty that escaped him. He says that eventually he was “lucky enough to be around the right people at the right times” to be nudged toward pharmacy. Once he was on that path, Petrus found further fortuitous influences.

“I worked with a pharmacist who exemplified the impact you can make in a pharmacy. He showed me that pharmacy is and can be so much more than dispensing medication.”

Petrus had often walked through the streets of Portland’s Old Town, where he saw firsthand the effects of untreated mental illness. He decided to combine his new understanding of pharmacy’s potential to improve patient access to quality care with his acute awareness of the struggles that individuals living with mental illness experience by volunteering at CCC’s Old Town Clinic. Now, Petrus works at CCC’s Old Town Recovery Center as a pharmacist to extend OTC’s pharmacy services to patients who are managing mental illness.

With his focus on psychiatric medicine, Petrus spends much of his day meeting individually with patients, helping them understand their medications, educating them about any changes, and offering supports that increase the likelihood of patients staying on their medication plan. His position has made him a natural advocate for CCC’s continuing efforts to integrate primary care with mental health care.

Petrus understands that many of the patients he sees often don’t have access to the breadth of resources that others do, often marginalized or poorly served by the mainstream healthcare system. At the Old Town Recovery Center, Petrus sees a chance to impact those who need – and deserve – high-quality care.

“I really enjoy involving patients in their own care. This is what I want to be doing. This is where I want to be.”

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Petrus's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.