About the Healthier Together Initiative

Healthier Together logo 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 and our first year-end report

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.

For example, during the COVID-19 crisis that increased food insecurity among the already vulnerable, CHOP partnered with the Philadelphia Housing Authority and a local catering company to provide free family dinners at two PHA locations in West Philadelphia from April through June 2020. In early 2021, we are expanding CHOP’s Food Pharmacy to the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Primary Care Center in West Philadelphia.

Initiatives:

  • Food Pharmacy 2.0
  • 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

When a child grows up in a neighborhood with high rates of gun violence and unemployment, deep poverty, and other stressful events it will contribute negatively to their mental, physical, and social health, both in the short- and long-term. In 2019, there were 211 shooting victims in Healthier Together’s zip codes (19104, 19143, 19139), with a sharp increase in 2020  - 238 victims as of September 2020. Further, nearly 40% of families in West Philadelphia live below the poverty line. COVID-19 and its related economic downturn, coupled with surging gun violence in Philadelphia means that exposure to trauma is widespread and persistent. Our goal is to build partnerships and promote collaborative programming that support the emotional well-being of children and their families in West Philadelphia and to reduce the incidence and impact of traumatic events. 

Initiatives:

  • Growing Resilience in Teens (GRIT) project, a proactive screening and intervention for buffering children against traumatic events
  • Transforming blighted or underutilized spaces through a partnership with the Trust for Public Land
  • Supporting trauma informed practices and programming in West Philadelphia schools
  • Working with community partners on efforts to prevent gun violence

Poverty

Facilitating economic mobility and inclusion for families and businesses

West Philadelphia is home to vibrant multi-generational, and culturally rich communities. However, economic inclusion and mobility is not equitably shared within this region.  For example, West Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of eviction in a city that has the fourth highest rates of eviction in the nation. Additionally, nearly 40% of families live below the poverty line. When families struggle to make ends meet, they are not always able to address mental, physical, and social health needs, which can exacerbate health outcomes in childhood and beyond. COVID-19 has brought job and income loss, an eviction crisis, and increased food insecurity, which has amplified poverty’s impact on the health and well-being of West Philadelphia families.  

Initiatives:

For families

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

Healthier Together location map

Healthier Together focuses its efforts in three zip codes close to CHOP's West Philadelphia home. Symbols show the location of CHOP's Main Campus and nearby CHOP Care Network offices.