Family Medicine

Residency Community Initiatives

Family Medicine residents at Penn Medicine participate in a longitudinal community medicine curriculum that utilizes didactic and service–based venues for resident training and community enhancement. The curriculum is based on a series of academic–community partnerships developed with the shared intent of improving the health of West Philadelphia while helping residents develop the necessary skills and knowledgebase to be effective health advocates in clinical and community settings.

Drew Health Collaborative

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health has worked in partnership with the Drew community since 1997, when the residency was started. Resident physicians and faculty have worked with students and teachers from the Charles Drew School on improving the health of the Drew community. Currently, residents are focusing on developing and implementing a health promotion curriculum for Drew students as part of the Freedom School after–school program. The current curriculum was developed in partnership with Drew teachers, students and community members. The curriculum focuses on:

Drew Health Collaborative
  • Body image awareness
  • Nutrition/Exercise
  • Normal growth and development
  • Tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
  • Peer pressure, violence prevention, safety, and conflict resolution
  • Hygiene
  • Periodic health maintenance

Recent programming at Drew has included:

In the Health Ambassadors' Program, residents are partnering with Drew and the academically–based Community Service programs at the University of Pennsylvania in order to develop and implement an after–school program for fourth– and fifth–grade students, educating and empowering Drew students about health issues related to asthma. The Health Ambassadors' Program is an after–school health promotion project with three aims:

  • To increase health–related knowledge and attitudes among Drew students
  • To build self–efficacy among students in the doctor–patient relationship
  • To engage primary care trainees in community–based health promotion, educational programs, and advocacy.

On a weekly basis, residents lead 90–minute didactic sessions directly after school hours to sixth–grade students at the Charles Drew School. Topics have included:

  • Tobacco cessation
  • Avoidance of lead exposures
  • Nutrition,
  • Obesity
  • Exercise
  • Asthma
  • Hygiene
  • Puberty
  • Drugs and alcohol exposures
  • Healthy relationships
  • Vocational training

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The Drew PREVENT Program is an innovative, school–based intervention addressing interpersonal and intimate youth violence for sixth– and seventh–grade students in West Philadelphia. Community partners include:

  • Charles Drew School
  • Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • Institute for Safe Families
  • Women Organized Against Rape
  • Philadelphia Department of Human Services
  • Philadelphia Mayor's Office of Community Services Fatherhood Initiative
  • Philadelphia Department of Public Health, through the Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; and the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health wants the program to teach:

  • Self–esteem
  • Peaceful conflict resolution
  • Recognition of unhealthy and unsafe situations
  • Healing from traumatic experiences
  • Engaging in safe and healthy relationships
  • Primary prevention of violence

The hope is that the work done with the Drew community in developing the PREVENT program can be used in other Philadelphia schools as part of a public health campaign addressing youth violence and developing youth–based leadership for healthy relationships.

A previous program at Drew included residents running the Second Step Program for the 7th graders at the Drew School. This is now a national program that targets violence in youth.

Residents also developed a problem–based curriculum Physicians and Teens for Health (PATH). The curriculum allowed teens to learn about health through a problem–based process — a format to help teens learn how to approach other life issues through problem solving.

The PATH after–school program involves middle school students at the Drew school spending after–school hours learning about health and developing healthy lifestyles. Teens were mentored as well as taught by Penn's family practice residents, family medicine faculty, medical students, graduate education students, nursing and social work students, as well as Penn undergraduates from the School of Arts and Sciences. Together, family medicine residents and students built and experienced fun, developmentally–appropriate, health–related activities for the students in grades five through eight. The after–school curriculum is based on the constructs of active, problem–based, service learning. The goal was to raise the “health IQ” of the Drew students and to teach medical learners non–traditional ways to approach patients, families and communities with health promotion, disease prevention.

For several summers, the residency developed and ran Summer Health Camp for 6th through 8th graders at the Drew School. During this camp, teens discussed nutrition, exercise, drugs, alcohol, conflict resolution, and enjoyment reading. A team of students from the nursing, dental, social work and medical schools at Penn had the roles of camp organizers and counselors each year. The camp ran in conjunction with Penn's Department of Family Medicine and Community Health Bridging the Gaps Program and Penn's Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

The program Teen After–School Health focuses on health education and the development of positive role–modeled to impact adolescent risk-taking behaviors.

Physicians–on–the–Move Gratis School, Camp and Sports Physicals involves teams of faculty and resident physicians, medical and nursing students performing physicals for under–privileged children of any age in Philadelphia who are in need of a physical in order to participate in school sports, summer camp or other enrichment programs. These physicals are provided free of charge and often in a group, community setting.

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Carroll Park — Neighborhood Youth Achievement Program

Neighborhood Youth Achievement ProgramCarroll Park is an urban, West Philadelphia community built around a park of the same name and stretching between Landsdowne and Girard Avenues and 52nd & 63rd Streets. It is a predominantly black community, with only 5 percent of the members being of other ethnicities. Carroll Park faces many challenges with almost a fifth of the community living below the poverty level in 1990, a median household income well below the national median income, and an unemployment rate well above the national rate. Despite the amount of poverty, Carroll Park has a rate of home ownership of almost 75 percent — more than 10 percent above the average rate in Philadelphia and more than 20 percent higher than the rate in West Philadelphia as a whole — indicating the permanence and commitment of the community's residents.

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health faculty, residents and University of Pennsylvania medical students have partnered with members and organizations in Carroll Park to develop a series of programs aimed at improving the health of West Philadelphia. Programming has included the health promotion curricula and implementation of the PREVENT curriculum.

Community Health Advancement through Neighborhood Grassroots Education (CHANGE)

Community Health Advancement through Neighborhood Grassroots Education (CHANGE) is a student group created in partnership with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in addressing healthy lifestyles by teaching health education classes to children and their families as part of a neighborhood–run afterschool program in West Philly. The program is a unique opportunity for students to directly serve families from our surrounding community while learning how to teach healthy lifestyle choices and skills.

Neighborhood Youth Achievement Program (NYAP)

Neighborhood Youth Achievement ProgramMuch of the programming has been developed in collaboration with the Neighborhood Youth Achievement Program (NYAP). NYAP is a community–based organization in Carroll Park. NYAP was established in 1980 primarily by Ms. Frances Drake, an active community leader and social worker who has a continuing passion for serving low–income youth and their families in Carroll Park via holistic, family–centered programs. The NYAP is funded by several public and private agencies, and is housed in a facility that is centrally located within the community, and overall has served close to 2,000 children and adolescents, as well as their family members. The general goal of the NYAP is to provide for healthy development of children and adolescents through direct services and self–empowerment activities. The specific objectives (focusing on youth development) are:

  • To provide educational support via after-school tutoring
  • To create opportunities for sports and cultural activities
  • To encourage self–discipline, self–motivation, and positive self–image development.

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Contact Information:

Peter Cronholm, MD, MSCE
Director, Community Programs
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
3400 Spruce Street
2 Gates Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone: 215-615-0850