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Sharing Examples of Caring this Season

Service to community takes many unique forms among Penn Medicine staff.

Medical students and a trained physician share their time and talents to care for the homeless in a comprehensive medical clinic operating out of a local Church. An information technology specialist and cancer survivor wakes up every morning to make cards to go in care packages for those fighting cancer before she starts her work day. A husband and wife join forces to create a sports and mentoring program for area youth. A patient access manager gives back to an association that helped her family and other Cambodian refugee families adapt to life in Philadelphia. 

These are just a few stories of work members of our community perform beyond the walls of our hospitals, clinics and classrooms year round. In honor of the season of giving, Penn Medicine debuts four new short videos of Penn Medicine CAREs-funded initiatives making a difference all year long.

Started in January 2012, The Penn Medicine CAREs program provides grant support to faculty, students, and staff who volunteer their time and talents to improve the health of the community. Grant recipients support existing community service programs and non-profit organizations across Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, and often use their grants to start new and innovative efforts to address community health and educational needs. 

Caring for the people throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey is Penn Medicine’s primary mission. Every day, physicians, nurses, medical students, researchers, and other staff volunteer their knowledge, skills, and time to benefit residents in the communities the health system serves. CAREs has been the catalyst for much of this work since the initiative was established in 2012, providing grants to over 272 unique service initiatives throughout the region. These projects funded food pantries, community gardens, mobile health clinics, pet therapy, health workshops, afterschool youth programming, and many other programs serving many of our friends and neighbors. Just this year alone, CAREs funded 62 projects, and shows no sign of losing momentum!

Details on some of the recipients can be read here. We will also feature some CAREs-funded initiatives in our annual Simply Because project due out in a few months. In the meantime, some programs are featured in this year’s book and past books.

Hearts United Against Cancer

Hearts United Against Cancer, a non-profit in Southern New Jersey, delivers comfort in the form of care packages to women, men, and children who are fighting cancer. Here, Sharon Civa, an information technology officer, chronicles her experience receiving a bundle and what it meant to her in her cancer battle.

University City Hospitality Coalition

Incorporated in 1987, University City Hospitality Coalition (UCHC) provides hot meals five nights a week and sandwiches on Saturday for poor and homeless individuals in West Philadelphia. On Wednesdays, a medical clinic staffed by a doctor and medical students from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania delivers critically needed care, including blood pressure screenings, vaccinations, and general examinations, that may otherwise be unavailable to this population. Perelman School of Medicine student shares his story and involvement with the clinic. Visit for more information.

SAMs Community

Sports and mentoring student community, or SAMs Community, enhances the social, emotional, physical and personal development of youth and give them a sense of stewardship through service learning. The organization hosts events on the 38-acre New Covenant Church campus in Mt. Airy. Tutoring, life-skills workshops, fitness clinics, and community service activities. “Our vision is to help students have the ability to pursue their passions and help them find their light,” said Samantha Grannum, an administrative coordinator for Penn Medicine’s Clinical Care Associates.

Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, Inc.

The Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia strives to improve the social, economic, health and educational well-being of Philadelphia’s Cambodian refugees and their families. We visited their headquarters in South Philadelphia and learned about the role the organization played in helping Hien Thach, a patient access manager at Pennsylvania Hospital, when her family came to Philadelphia in 1991.

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