Penn Medicine is often associated with words like ‘innovation’, ‘breakthroughs’, and ‘impact’, but as UPHS CEO Kevin Mahoney said during the 8th Annual Penn Medicine CAREs Reception, “Tonight, another set of words represent Penn Medicine: compassion, caring, and community.”

Hospital leaders, grant recipients, and program partners came together in December to celebrate the health system’s commitment to outreach and to amplify the compassion of the faculty, staff, and medical students who work tirelessly to improve the health and well-being of their neighbors. As Patrick Norton, vice president of Public Affairs, noted, the CAREs grant program has grown significantly since its launch in 2012, and an incredible 135 grants were awarded to across Penn Medicine during fiscal year 2019.

One recipient was Janet McMaster, RN, outpatient practice coordinator for PPMC’s Trauma Center, who has received four CAREs grants to support her volunteer work with the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC). McMaster spends her Tuesday afternoons in the Samuel Powel School’s library and has used her grant funding to fill the shelves with new books. In recognition of her above-and-beyond efforts to build a community of healthy young readers, McMaster was honored with the inaugural CAREs Community Champion Award and an additional $5,000 grant.

Congratulations to all of PPMC’s 2019 CAREs grant winners! Your creative and compassionate efforts are an inspiration to your colleagues across the health system. Interested in starting off the new year with your own service project? To learn how you can apply for a Penn Medicine CAREs grant, visit

  • Colleen Bynum, MHA, technical coordinator for Neurology, supported the cost of attendance, T-shirts, snacks, and comfort bags for children attending Camp Erin, a bereavement camp that helps children have fun while learning coping strategies.
  • Julie Dees, MA, LPC, director of Behavioral Health Services, opened doors to treatment plans and recovery houses by removing cost barriers that prevent individuals with opioid use disorder from purchasing proper identification.
  • John Flamma, MD, chief of Emergency Medicine, used grant funding to provide prescription medications to underserved patients with chronic and acute conditions. Access to these medications reduces morbidity and return visits.
  • Michelle Jackson, BSN, RN, worked with the Sadaqah Project to purchase, bag, and deliver monthly groceries and other food items for underserved seniors and food-insecure community members. “Sadaqah” is the Arabic for charity.
  • Debra Mosley, RN, teaches dance to local children and teens through her non-profit, Feet of Faith Dance Company. Her funding covered tuition for low-income students and allowed her to provide snacks, water, and pamphlets about healthy living.
  • Mildred Neron, BSN, RN, CCRN, worked with her church ministry to provide healthy lunches to children and families during the summer. This helped to bridge the gap that can occur for food-insecure families who rely on school lunches.
  • Nicole O’Donnell, a certified recovery specialist with PPMC’s Center for Opioid Recovery and Engagement, partnered with Angels in Motion to re-engage patients discharged from substance use treatment by covering their ID and housing fees.
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