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My AMH Story Masthead

Ralph Meister


Mr. and Mrs. Meister

My wife Ruth and I had a wonderful time at my
retirement dinner in 1986.  We really enjoyed the
skits and other fun activities that my co-workers planned.

Meister Scrapbook

My friends from work created a lovely scrapbook
album for me when I retired.

I was hired at Abington Memorial Hospital in 1966 and worked there until 1986, serving as administrative director, Department of Psychiatry. In addition to making many friends over the years, I had the pleasure of working with excellent staff members and clinicians at the hospital.

Telehelp Check Presentation '79

Here’s a photo from November 1979 Abington News.
Margaret Burns (left), TELEHELP volunteer and
fundraiser co-chairperson, is with TELEHELP volunteer
Jeanette B. Keidan, who was presenting a check to
John R. Stozenski, then chairman of the AMH Mental
Advisory Board. Ralph Meister, administrative director
of the department, is on the right.

When I arrived, Abington Memorial Hospital was one of only two suburban hospitals offering inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services and the hospital was in the process of developing a community mental health center, a project spearheaded by William S. Carter, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the time. Community mental health was receiving much attention then, and the hospital had applied for a federal grant as part of the plan, but did not receive the grant. President Lyndon B. Johnson had included community mental health in the war on poverty, and grant funds were allocated to areas with greater financial need. Even without the grant, hospital administration felt it was important to meet the need, and committed resources to fund the center and the mental health programs which have grown and continue to serve our community today.

In 1970, the hospital started a unique service called TEL-E-HELP, a seven-day a week phone service, staffed by volunteers who were trained and supervised by Dr. Norman Jablon, a psychiatrist, and Kay Eyre, a social worker. People could call with problems they had and get information about services that were available for their problem whether at the hospital or other community facilities. Eventually, we hired someone to work the overnight shift to keep the service open 24 hours a day, as overnight volunteer staffing was difficult to find.


This article about the TEL-E-HELP service appeared in the January, 1971 issue of Abington News.