Center for Public Health Initiatives

The University of Pennsylvania's Center for Public Health Initiatives' mission is to educate and train public health leaders and practitioners, foster multi-disciplinary collaboration, and promote excellence in public health research and community partnerships. To achieve this mission, we:

  • Enhance public health visibility and focus, and provide an institutional home for public health in the University
  • Support and foster growth of our world-class, multidisciplinary Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program
  • Provide high quality learning opportunities, seminars and institutes for students, faculty, alumni, and practitioners
  • Foster the application of evidence-based approaches and experiences in public health, emphasizing translation of science into sustainable health improvements in communities
  • Facilitate collaboration for public health related research, involving faculty in multiple existing centers, institutes, and departments across the university

Phone: 215-746-3467

Charity Events

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.

Phone: 215-898-0848

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. 

Neuroscience Graduate Group

The Penn neuroscience community began community-outreach programs several decades ago, when a faculty member and a few graduate students began visiting local schools with brains in jars and other items for students to look at and touch. Today we are active in a much broader range of community outreach and partnership activities in the Philadelphia area, including public lectures, courses, competitions, and informational presentations that are sponsored by the Mahoney Institute of Neurosciences (MINS) and organized by the Graduate-Led Initiatives and Activities (GLIA) Committee of the Neuroscience Graduate Group (NGG).

For more information, visit and

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.

Emily Verderame
Phone: 215-454-3217

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'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, Diann Boyd, 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.

Diann Boyd
Phone: 215-614-1863

Penn Presbyterian Community Outreach Council

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.


Erika Davis

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.

    Address: 31 East Armat Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144

    Contact: Chielozor Okafor

  • 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.


  • 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.

    Address: First African Presbyterian Church
    4159 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104

    Contact: David Hsu
    Website: HHBC, United Community Clinic

  • 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.

    Emergency Shelters in West Philadelphia:

    Contact: Alexa Larsen

  • 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.

    Address: 1700 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146
    Phone: 215-454-8000


  • 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.

    Address: PPMC, Medical Arts Building, Suite 102
    51 N 39th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

    Contact: Jessica Dong

  • 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.

    Address: First African Presbyterian Church
    4159 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104

    Contact: Amanda Gottshalk

  • 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.

    Address: St. Agatha-St. James Church
    3728 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

    Contact: Ankit Kayastha

  • 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.

    Address: 21st Street & Snyder Avenue, Philadelphia

    Contact: Yoonhee Ha

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.


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.

Poppy Rae Bass
Phone: 215-662-7656

Please view contacts below for programs featured in Simply Because 2019, our community benefit report that showcases Penn Medicine programs and collaborations with community partners.

* Programs with an asterisk have received a Penn Medicine CAREs Grant

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