January 15, 2015 — In honor of its broad-based efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of its community, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was named a finalist of the prestigious 2014 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, one of the most esteemed community service honors in healthcare. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is the first children’s hospital to be named a finalist for the Prize.

The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by The Baxter International Foundation and the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Research & Educational Trust. As a finalist, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will receive $10,000 to support its community health initiatives.

“The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia takes pride in reaching out into the communities they serve, working in partnership with families and community groups to promote health and wellness among children,” said John O’Brien, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee. “The Hospital’s initiatives address the many health issues that face this very vulnerable population throughout Southeast Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, including medical and dental services for children and families in homeless shelters, a children’s intensive emotional and behavioral health program, and a healthy weight program.”

CHOP's contributions to the community it serves

three children holding hands and smiling Founded in 1855 as the first pediatric hospital in the United States, CHOP consists of a main hospital with 535 beds and the CHOP Care Network, the largest pediatric healthcare network in the country. The Care Network includes three urban primary care locations for children in CHOP’s immediate communities where a high percentage of the patient population is covered by medical assistance. The organization is a world leader in the advancement of healthcare for children by integrating excellent patient care, innovative research and quality professional education in all of its programs, and ranks No. 1 on the U.S. News & World Report 2014 Honor Roll for children’s hospitals.

“The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is steadfast in its investment in programs that benefit the community, a significant aspect of our mission,” said Steven M. Altschuler, MD, chief executive officer of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “CHOP’s efforts extend well beyond the walls of our Hospital into the communities we serve through our CHOP Care Network, which comprises more than 50 locations in Philadelphia, its suburbs and Southern New Jersey.

"Through our community partnerships and incredible commitment by our employees, we have created and sustained impactful programs that aim to prevent illness, and increase health and well-being," he added. "We can think of no better way to ensure the livelihood of children and their families than identifying and then meeting the needs of the community to ultimately ensure that future generations of children grow up to become healthy adults.”

Five innovative community service initiatives recognized

CHOP was recognized for the following innovative community service initiatives:

  • Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) Established in 1988 after concerned Hospital residents and nurses began offering free health services to children temporarily housed at a Philadelphia homeless shelter, this grassroots effort has become a highly respected program during the past two decades. It has a long-term track record of success bridging the gap between the medical system and families living in shelters. Today, nearly 350 volunteer healthcare professionals provide free, high-quality, on-site medical and dental services, health education, social work services and advocacy support to approximately 300 children and families at multiple shelters in the city. In addition, since homeless women and children are disproportionately affected by obesity and food insecurity, HHI created Operation CHOICES, an evidence-based nutrition and fitness program uniquely tailored for the shelter environment.
  • The Children’s Intensive Emotional & Behavioral Program In an effort to meet the needs of an increasing number of children with psychiatric conditions, this program provides comprehensive psychiatric partial-hospital services in a behaviorally based, trauma-informed therapeutic setting at CHOP’s Mays Landing, New Jersey location, for children ages 5 to 12. Since its inception 17 years ago, the program has served more than 700 children, and clinical outcome measures indicate a significant reduction in dysfunctional behaviors and an increase in pro-social skills among those treated through the program.
  • Youth Heart Watch Since 2003, this program has worked to identify young people with potentially serious heart problems that have not previously been recognized, and then treat these problems. The initiative is also committed to making automated external defibrillators available to all children and adolescents by serving as a resource for implementing public access defibrillation programs in schools and athletic centers, and offering CPR and defibrillator training. The program has donated more than 30 defibrillators to local schools and organized a campaign to raise funds for purchasing another 62 to provide to all Philadelphia high schools.
  • The Healthy Weight Program Since 2005, this multidisciplinary approach to weight management for children and their families has worked to address the medical complications associated with excess weight, while providing strategies for families to eat healthier and be more active. During fiscal year 2013, more than 660 new patients came to the Healthy Weight Clinic, with the clinic completing almost 3,000 total — new and follow-up — patient visits across the year. Data collected from the program shows that as patients attend at least monthly clinic visits for longer periods of time, a greater percentage of them have decreasing body mass indices.
  • Community Asthma Prevention Program Founded in 1997, this initiative works to address the burden of asthma for children living in Philadelphia by offering community-based asthma education classes, in-home asthma education with parents and caregivers of high-risk children with asthma and case management and care coordination through its asthma navigator project. The program has reached more than 3,500 low-income minority families in inner-city Philadelphia, and the navigator project has helped reduce hospitalizations, increased follow-up visits to primary care providers and improved asthma control compared to children who are not enrolled in the navigator initiative.

“The Foster G. McGaw Prize recognizes healthcare organizations that serve as role models for improving the health and well-being of the people in their communities,” said O’Brien. “This year’s winner and finalists exemplify what it takes to meet the unique needs of their communities. Through leadership and collaboration with community partners, they enhance the lives of their vulnerable populations and all those they serve.”

In addition to CHOP, other finalists include Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan and White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles.

About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 535-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents.

About the Foster G. McGaw Prize

The Foster G. McGaw Prize, celebrating nearly 30 years of honoring excellence in community service, recognizes healthcare organizations committed to community service through a range of programs that demonstrate a passion and continuous commitment to making communities healthier and more vital. The prize, first awarded in 1986, inspires hospitals, health systems and communities to assess and implement programs that improve their communities.

About the sponsors

The American Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association of healthcare provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, healthcare systems, networks and other providers of care. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for healthcare leaders and is a source of information on healthcare issues and trends.

The Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), helps organizations expand access to healthcare in the United States and around the world. The foundation, established in 1981, focuses exclusively on increasing access to healthcare particularly for the disadvantaged and underserved in communities where Baxter employees live and work. Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, cancer, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide.

Founded in 1944, the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) is a private, not-for-profit organization involved in research, education, and demonstration programs addressing health management and policy issues. An affiliate of the American Hospital Association, HRET collaborates with healthcare, government, academic, business, and community organizations across the United States to conduct research and disseminate findings that shape the future of healthcare.