Why I Give: Zufall Provider Returns to Roots to Serve Community’s Most Needy

Joining Zufall Health after 26 years in private practice was a natural transition for community service-minded Katharine Palla, DO. From a young age, the Morris County native happily dedicated many volunteer hours to local housing and food assistance efforts with her family.

Before she came to Zufall, the internal medicine physician had become increasingly frustrated by the profit-driven focus of health care delivery, often to the detriment of patients. But it wasn’t until the back-to-back losses of her brother and father in 2021 that Palla finally decided to redirect her professional journey toward mission-focused work.

“These tragic events made me pause and think about what I was doing with my professional skills and gifts,” Palla recalls. “It was time to focus my efforts in an area that matters most to my family and me.”

Already familiar with the health center, Palla connected with Chief Medical Officer Rina Ramirez, MD, to discuss employment opportunities. She came on board in January 2023.

Now a year into her role, Palla embraces the strong team dynamic and finds joy in making a difference in people’s lives every day, noting, “I just find so much fulfillment in the collaborative and patient-centered approach to primary care we have at Zufall. Plus, by caring for our patients, I am simultaneously supporting the community I’ve lived in my whole life. It just makes sense.”

In December, Palla joined the Board of Trustees of the Zufall Health Foundation. She looks forward to expanding her support of the health center beyond the exam room and into the philanthropic and strategic realm.

Katharine Palla, DO, earned her doctor of osteopathy degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, completed her residency at Morristown Medical Center, and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.