Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine In The Community: Programs

Community engagement is fundamental to our mission here at Penn Medicine. Below is a small sampling of some of the programs where Penn Medicine staff, faculty and students work to make a difference in our community.

Abramson Cancer Center Science Meets the Community
At Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, we are continuously exploring ways to bring health programs to the community and to translate clinical trials into medicine.

Board Membership

Many members of Penn Medicine volunteer their time and expertise by sitting on boards of many different community non-profit organizations. The list below provides just a small sampling of some of these boards.

  • Aid for Friends
  • American Diabetes Association
  • Community Volunteers in Medicine
  • Gift of Life
  • La Comunidad Hispana
  • Maternity Care Coalition of Philadelphia
  • Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance
  • RJ Leonard Foundation
  • The Youth Alliance
  • Veterans Health Administration
  • Women Against Multiple Sclerosis
  • WXPN
  • Yardley United Methodist Church
Charity Events
Dance For Health

A collaboration among Penn Nursing, Sayre Health Center and Huey School, Penn Presbyterian nurses assist in a dancing event once a month at the school. Run at 5 week intervals, the program's aim is to assess and improve physical activity among school-aged children, with the goal of lowering the risk for obesity, a key factor in Type 2 diabetes. Penn Presbyterian's engagement in the project is coordinated by Penn Presbyterian's Community Outreach Council.

Jen Nelson

Food, Faith and Friends

In collaboration with Old St. Joseph's Church in Olde City, Philadelphia, staff and clinicians from Pennsylvania Hospital hold monthly health talks for the homeless that come to the church for a meal. These talks are held on the third Thursday of each month.

Matthew Menard

Getting Healthy at the Library

Hosted at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Independence Branch, health education sessions are given every 3rd Wednesday of the month by staff and clinicians of Pennsylvania Hospital. The monthly sessions focus on a timely and important health topics.

Matthew Menard

Global Health Initiatives

The goals of Penn's Center for Global Health Initiatives include:

  • Placing Penn medical students in international rotations, and hosting international medical students at Penn.
  • Facilitation of international research initiatives and sponsored programs undertaken by faculty of the School of Medicine.
  • Coordination of global activities with other schools of the University and the Office of the Provost.
  • Provision of information for faculty, students, and administration.
  • Representation of the School of Medicine in interactions with international institutions.

Global Health Website

Healthy in Philadelphia

Healthy in Philadelphia is a program created and coordinated by Penn School of Nursing to service community requests. Nurses from Penn Presbyterian assist in these varied requests serving the community with screenings and health education. Efforts are coordinated by Penn Presbyterian's Community Outreach Council.

Jen Nelson

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Nursing Community Outreach

Responding to the community's call for help, HUP nurses routinely conduct screenings and converse with community members on their health. This can happen at an array of venues. Most notable are the Odunde Summer Festival and LIFE Sounds of West Philadelphia.

Pam Mack Brooks

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Pet the Pooch Program

Created and managed by Heather Matthew, MSN, clinical practice lead in the Emergency Department, the program partners with the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals (PSPCA) to bring several dogs and cats to the hospital so that employees have a couple moments to relieve work stress. This also provides an opportunity for these animals to find their forever home.

Heather Matthew

Mercy Hospice Health Education Monthly Presentation

Mercy Hospice is a 48-bed residence (shelter) for single women and mothers with young children who are homeless, near homeless, or in recovery. The home also provides daily services to homeless women and children currently living on the street. Building on the set of classes already offered, Pennsylvania Hospital clinicians and staff host health education presentations on the third Thursday of each month.

Matthew Menard

Penn Medicine Breast Initiative

Building on the fact that mammograms remain the best, "first-line-of-defense" screening test available for the early detection of breast cancer, this initiative was started with financial assistance from Komen Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Department of Healthy' Healthy Woman Program, offering free mammogram and breast diagnostic services as well as referrals for free cervical screenings, pelvic exams and Pap test for women who do not have health insurance.

Andrea Nicholson

Penn Medicine CAREs Grant

Penn Medicine faculty, staff and students throughout the organization donate their time and expertise to provide countless hours of work to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve. To help with these efforts, the Penn Medicine CAREs Grant program (access is restricted to employees) was established to offer institutional support to these individuals and programs in the form of grants — awarded quarterly — that can be used for the purchase of supplies and other resources needed to perform this important work in the community.

Penn Medicine High School Pipeline Program

The Pipeline is a two-year, year-round program that exposes junior and senior high school students from West Philadelphia high schools to the health-care field while providing job readiness training and professional development. The students all work with mentors in departments and areas throughout the Health System. Once they graduate from high school, they become employed by Penn Medicine, working 20 hours per week receiving pay and benefits for 40 hours. Benefits include the robust tuition assistance program that enables them to go for the degree of their choosing.

Frances Graham

Penn Medicine's West Philadelphia Gastrointestinal (GI) Health Outreach and Access Program

Founded in November 2011 with seed funding from an anonymous donor, the Abramson Cancer Center established the program, which provides education about colorectal cancer screening and physical navigation through the screening process for people who live in West, South and SouthWest Philadelphia. Patient navigator, Alicia Lamanna, works with patients on a one-on-one basis and addresses barriers that might prevent them from getting a screening test. She also ensures patients understand the information by using language that is easy to comprehend.

Alicia Lamana

Perelman School of Medicine Student-Led Community Clinics

We believe that an essential aspect of training the doctors of tomorrow is preparing them to serve their communities. We take to heart the Association of American Medical Colleges position that compassion and service are essential components of being a doctor. The following list of student run or staffed health clinics demonstrate Perelman School of Medicine's commitment to community service:

Covenant House

Covenant House provides a full range of services to meet the complex needs of homeless and runaway youth. Medical students conduct history and physical examinations, and engage with the youth in non-clinical activities, such as board games and karaoke.

Timothy Becker, MS2
Medical Student Leader

Cut Hypertension

The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) provides blood pressure screenings and information about the risks of hypertension, especially among Black males, every other Saturday in a barber shop in the heart of West Philadelphia.

Camille McCallister, MS2
Medical Student Leader

Heart Health Bridge to Care

A branch of the United Community Clinic, Heart Health Bridge to Care Clinic provides long-term care to underinsured individuals in the Parkside section of Philadelphia. Medical students work with nursing, pharmacy, and social work students, as well as faculty to develop care plans for patients with heart disease.

Mike Randall, MS2
Medical Student Leader

Homeless Health Initiative

The Homeless Health Initiative provides free health services to women and children living in local emergency housing shelters. As part of a clinical team, medical student volunteers assist with history and physical exams, and medical counseling of patients. Volunteers also interact with patients and their families to gain exposure to and knowledge of the impact of homelessness on children's lives and health.

Nora Chen, MS2
Medical Student Leader

Puentes de Salud

Puentes de Salud works to ensure the wellness of the Latino immigrant population in South Philadelphia by offering medical care, education, and social services. Medical student volunteers contribute to clinical teams for patient care, and participate in the Diabetes Management Program, a longitudinal experience. There are also leadership opportunities for other non-clinical projects run by the organization.

Esther Nivasch, MS2
2014 Perelman School of Medicine Student Leader

Refugee Women's Clinic

Refugee Women's Clinic provides women's health education and culturally competent healthcare to refugee women who have resettled in Philadelphia. Medical students plan and provide patient education sessions on various women's health topics, as well as contribute to clinical care.

Michelle Munyikwa, MD-PhD
Medical Student Leader

United Community Clinic (UCC)

United Community Clinic is a free health clinic coordinated by University of Pennsylvania students that provides care to mostly African American men and women between the ages of 16-65, often uninsured or underinsured. Medical students help by taking patient histories, performing physical exams, and presenting to resident and attending physicians.

Tom Riley, MS2
Medical Student Leader

University City Hospitality Coalition (UCHC)

The University City Hospitality Coalition provides services to the homeless in West Philadelphia, including hot meals, a medical clinic, a dental clinic, a legal clinic, and referral services for shelter, housing, food, and clothing. The medical clinic is staffed by Penn Medicine students, physicians, and pharmacists. Services provided by the medical clinic include: acute and emergent care; diabetes and hypertension screenings; HIV/HCV testing; dermatology consultations; flu shots; condom distribution; and referrals to social services.

Allie Johnson, MS2
Medical Student Leader

Unity Health Clinic

The Unity Health Clinic is a free clinic that primarily serves uninsured Indonesian immigrants of Chinese descent. Medical student volunteers assist and shadow Penn faculty and residents. On clinic evenings, medical students are involved in medical scribing, taking patient histories, checking blood pressure, calculating BMI, retrieving medications, and more. Volunteers also give presentations to small groups of patients on basic topics in health and medicine.

Chris Teng, MS2
Medical Student Leader

Stroke Community Education

Stroke is the number one preventable cause of disability. Stroke has many risk factors, including high blood pressure and diabetes. These factors are an identified need on the community health needs assessment, so efforts are made to assist the community in combating these risk factors along with increasing the awareness of stroke symptoms. Karrima Owens leads these efforts for Penn Presbyterian.

Karrima Owens

Veterans Affairs Partnership

Combat to Care is Penn Medicine's veteran recruitment initiative. Our goal is to strengthen our workforce by recruiting unusually qualified leaders who have demonstrated inspiring dedication, loyalty, and strength in the service of our nation. If you are a United States veteran seeking a new mission in an organization that values service to others above all else, ask yourself, Why Not You?

Rosemarie Cray

WeCARE @ Penn Medicine Information Services

(Community Activity Rewards Everyone) Information Services for Penn Medicine has combined their employees' charitable initiatives and community activities in order to maximize impact and participation. Focusing on approximately one event every month, this department provides volunteer hours, in-kind donations and monetary sponsorship to various programs centered on improving quality of life in the Philadelphia region.

Marysusan Villa