About the Healthier Together Initiative

Healthier Together, launched in 2019, is CHOP’s initiative to tackle the social determinants of health as a path to improving the health of children. Read more about the areas of focus where we’re dedicating resources to accelerate our impact in the community.

Housing

Creating healthier homes

Philadelphia is America’s poorest large city, and as a consequence, safe, healthy housing is a challenge for many families. In addition, one in four children in West Philadelphia has asthma, and substandard housing can make a child’s asthma worse.

Helping families manage their child’s asthma has been the aim of CHOP’s Community Asthma Prevention Program (CAPP) for the last 20 years. CAPP community health workers visit the homes of children with difficult-to-manage asthma and train caregivers on proper medicine use and how to reduce asthma triggers in the home. These interventions have reduced asthma-related emergency room visits by 58%.

Under Healthier Together, CHOP began a partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. (PHDC), a city agency that provides home repairs for low-income Philadelphia homeowners, that will repair homes to remove the source of asthma triggers such as mold, mildew and pests. The new initiative, CAPP+, has a goal of repairing up to 100 homes in Phase 1. Healthier Together is investigating other ways to improve the city’s housing stock, with an eye toward improving children’s health.

Initiatives:

  • Repairing homes to remove asthma triggers
  • Providing equipment to improve indoor air quality
  • Ensuring children have a safe place to sleep

Hunger

Decreasing the number of food insecure families and lessening the severity of food insecurity

Nearly one in five Philadelphians do not have enough healthy food to eat to live a healthy lifestyle over the course of a year. Of the families that come to the CHOP Emergency Department, nearly one-third reported they are food insecure. We are building a multi-pronged strategy to address hunger and food insecurity among Philadelphia children.

Initiatives:

  • Reducing food waste
  • Boosting capacity and efficiency of local food banks
  • Expanding existing nutrition education initiatives
  • Providing free and subsidized food and meals

Trauma

Reducing the impact and incidence of traumatic events

The physical and social environments of urban life — high violence and crime rates, high unemployment rates, poverty, traumatic stressful events, etc. — can contribute negatively to mental health and well-being. In 2018, there were 212 shooting victims in Healthier Together’s zip codes (19104, 19143, 19139). Many more children are injured — physically and emotionally — by other forms of violence, including bullying. Failing to recognize and prevent violence and trauma that impacts children and youth has ramifications for years to come. Our goal is to improve the emotional well-being of children and their families in West Philadelphia by addressing trauma through community treatment and prevention.

Initiatives:

  • Growing Resilience in Teens (GRIT) project, a proactive screening and intervention for buffering children against traumatic events
  • Transforming blighted and underutilized spaces
  • Supporting gun violence prevention programming from community-based organizations

Poverty

Facilitating economic mobility and inclusion for families and businesses

When families earn a living wage, there is enough money for safe housing, nutritious food, weather-appropriate clothing and other small items that help kids stay healthy and treat minor illnesses so they don’t develop into major problems. Healthier Together will pursue initiatives that grow Philadelphia businesses (especially minority- and women-owned businesses) through local purchasing at CHOP and other leading hospitals and universities. There will also be a focus on increasing household income via local hiring and maximizing access to public benefits. Ultimately, we want the economic impact of Healthier Together to be both broad and local.

Initiatives:

For families

  • Connecting families to public benefits
  • Providing financial counseling
  • Supporting local hiring efforts
  • Providing free tax prep services

For businesses

  • Increasing local procurement at CHOP and with other leading hospital systems
  • Providing technical support for diverse business certification
  • Providing catering opportunities for local restaurants