“The needs that call Penn Medicine to action in thecommunity are profound. Twenty-five percent of Philadelphians live in poverty –that’s nearly 400,000 adults and children – and one in seven city residentshave no health insurance. Hunger and homelessness remain, still, throughout thecity. These societal problems only make health problems that much harder toaddress, but doing whatever we can to help is in our nature here.”
These words – which open the 2013edition of Penn Medicine’s Simply Because – are the guiding lightbehind Penn Medicine’s community service mission, which extends far beyond thewalls of our hospitals. Each year since 2007, Penn Medicine has highlighted thework of its faculty, staff and students in Philadelphia and its neighboringcommunities in SimplyBecause, and we’re proud to unveil this year’s installment.
The new book is centered around three key themes that are atthe core of Penn Medicine’s work in the community. Partnerships, withgroups in the city – from churches to Philadelphia city health centers tobarbershops – allow us to form unique collaborations that reach populations wemight not otherwise be able to serve. Inspiration, oftenin the form of education, is the spark we hope to light in our faculty,staff, and students who volunteer, and the patients we help. And fresh solutionsare what we’re constantly seeking when we consider ways to combat thechallenges – like language barriers that keep patients from learning how totake control of their illnesses – that keep members of our community frombecoming their best selves.
A special focus for 2013’s book is the spotlight oncommunity programs that took root through seed money from Penn Medicine CAREsFoundation grants, a new program which we detailed throughout 2012 here onthe News Blog. Simply Because takes a closer look at some of thoseprograms, led by Penn Medicine staff who’ve used these small start-up grants tofund their vision to serve in innovative new ways. The WeighingIn program, for instance, uses the simple tool of a bathroom scale to helpalert heart failure patients to the early signs that require medical care toavoid hospitalization. CAREs grants helped fund a new vaccine program for theUniversity City Hospitality Coalition Medical Clinic, which provides freemedical care at West Philadelphia’s St. Agatha-St. James Church. The new grantprogram also provided training for a group of Penn hospice volunteers to learnthe ancient art of touch therapy known as Reiki, to offer soothing care topatients in the final stages of illness. Each of these programs was bornbecause a member of the Penn Medicine community saw a need and crafted aninnovative plan to address it.
We invite you to page through SimplyBecause to learn more about these programs and how to get involved.