One in three people in Philadelphia live in poverty. And for those who reside in the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods, resources critical to health and wellness – such as grocery stores, reliable health information and physicians’ offices – are in scarce.
Jefferson’s Center for Urban Health has worked for 15 years with these communities to improve the overall health of underserved Philadelphia residents.
Through the Center’s ARCHES Project, health professionals and students bring medical services, health education and resources directly to those Philadelphians who need it most. ARCHES stands for:
- Access and Advocacy
- Research, Evaluation and Outcomes Measurement
- Community Partnerships and Outreach
- Health Education, Screening and Prevention Programs
- Education of Health Professions Students and Providers
- Service Delivery Systems Innovation
“We marshal the resources of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Thomas Jefferson University and our highly regarded Department of Family and Community Medicine to get at the root of the neighborhood economic, social and physical environments that are underlying determinants of health and disease,” says James Plumb, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Urban Health. “Working with local residents, we develop programs to reflect each community’s needs, voice and culture.”
ARCHES partners with community-based organizations, schools, homeless shelters, senior centers, faith-based communities and more in North, Southwest and South Philadelphia.
Through those partnerships, ARCHES has provided medical care for the homeless and formerly homeless; breast health education for sheltered women; diabetes self-management education to residents of North Philadelphia; community collaborations addressing obesity; education on healthy eating and safe places to be active for Philadelphia youth; a refugee health center; and hypertension, stroke and prostate cancer education.
This year, ARCHES was among ten programs from across the U.S. to be named a Program of Excellence by the Hospital Charitable Service Awards that were created by Jackson Healthcare to support evidence-based best practices in community benefit and charitable services.
The ten programs, chosen from nearly 200 nominees, were commended for exceptional work in setting new standards for giving back to their communities in sustainable ways.
At the Hospital Charitable Services Conference in Atlanta, ARCHES and other winners were presented with a $10,000 investment to support their efforts.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts,” says Ricki Brawer, PhD, MPH, associate director of the Center for Urban Health. “We hope to continue making a difference for another 15 years or more.”