The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
The nation’s first pediatric hospital, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has been promoting a culture of health and wellness for children and families in the greater Philadelphia area for more than 150 years.
Many of the community-based programs at CHOP take a public health approach in response to serious challenges for Philadelphia, identified by CHOP’s community health needs assessment—challenges such as pervasive poverty, access to care, adolescent services, obesity prevention, and behavioral health care.
A number of CHOP’s community partnerships, including the Homeless Health Initiative, began with the ingenuity and dedication of CHOP’s pediatric residents. Today, such learner leadership is integrated into the mandatory Community Pediatrics and Advocacy Program (CPAP), a longitudinal curriculum that prepares residents for their roles as child and family advocates and community partners. Residents also receive community-based training through CPAP and complete individual projects to benefit the region.
To improve access to care, CHOP is locating clinics near Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents. In 2013, CHOP opened the two-story Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center in West Philadelphia, where nearly three-quarters of the patient population are Medicaid beneficiaries. Also, in a first-of-its-kind collaboration, CHOP partnered with the City of Philadelphia to build a Community Health and Literacy Center in South Philadelphia, which opens in 2016. The facility, covering an entire block, will be home to a city health clinic, CHOP primary care practice, library branch, and recreation center. Practitioners at these and the rest of CHOP’s primary care clinics integrate a fundamental public health approach.
CHOP’s community programs all focus in some way on ensuring kids grow up to be healthy adults. The CHOP Career Path program, which provides job and life skills coaching for young adults with chronic illnesses or disabilities as they transition from high school, is one such example. Another example is the Violence Prevention Initiative, which aims to interrupt the cycle of violence in many ways, including partnering with schools, screening for intimate partner violence, and providing services to youth involved in violent incidents.
While many CHOP employees are engaged in these initiatives, the CHOP Cares Community Grants program serves as an incubator for new staff-generated solutions to community challenges. In this program, employee ideas are awarded seed funding after a rigorous vetting process by an advisory board representative of CHOP employees and civic leaders.
A strong evidence base supports this and all of the community-based programs sponsored by CHOP. Much of that evidence base is the result of the work of the expansive CHOP Research Institute, which is also home to the PolicyLab at CHOP, established to achieve optimal child health and well-being by informing program and policy changes through interdisciplinary research.
The longevity of CHOP’s community programs, coupled with the involvement of its pediatric residents, researchers, nurses, and staff, is a testament to the hospital’s commitment to investing where there is a need for vital services that improve the lives of children.