Published on in Global Health Update
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is one of the premier children's hospitals in the world, home to leading medical educators, clinicians and researchers who are developing innovative treatments and interventions that improve children's health.
Caring for the most vulnerable
Informed by the most recent regional community health needs assessment (CHNA), the Healthier Together initiative developed a long-term plan to reduce health disparities and improve child health in targeted Philadelphia communities (i.e., ZIP codes 19104, 19139 and 19143) with the highest need.
Similarly, the Global Health Center has partnerships in several low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) where there is fragmented access to pediatric care, strained healthcare systems, a scarcity of pediatric-trained local health providers, and evidence gaps that need to be addressed by pediatric research. In response to the needs expressed by and in partnership with highly valued colleagues in each LMIC setting, the Global Health Center draws on CHOP and partner expertise to achieve the mutual goal of health equity worldwide. The Healthier Together initiative and the Global Health Center extend CHOP's mission beyond the walls of the hospital and have a shared commitment to caring for and empowering underserved communities.
"CHOP is at the forefront of providing preventive care in Philadelphia by addressing the social determinants of health. CHOP’s efforts help keep children out of the hospital and in the communities where they live, go to school and play," says Amanda Evans, MPH, Program Manager, Healthier Together.
Similar core principles guide the Healthier Together initiative and the Global Health Center, and all their efforts:
- are community informed – the community and other local stakeholders are engaged in identifying their areas of need, developing solutions to address those needs, and implementing the solutions together;
- are collaborative, and there is a bidirectional exchange of skills and knowledge between CHOP and its partners;
- reflect a long-term commitment to the community (i.e., focused geography);
- build capacity, strengthen existing infrastructure and help grow the local economy;
- focus on developing, discovering, implementing and monitoring evidence-based programs that reduce health disparities and improve child health.
In Philadelphia, the Healthier Together initiative addresses areas of need by creating healthier housing, reducing food insecurity, decreasing the incidence and impact of trauma, and facilitating economic mobility and inclusion for families and businesses. Halfway around the world, in Botswana, the CHOP Global Health Center and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn, as the Botswana-UPenn Partnership) have been working with the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness and the University of Botswana (UB) for nearly 20 years. In the last 10 years, the Global Health Center and UPenn have been key partners collaborating with UB to plan, open, nurture and grow Botswana's first medical school – the UB Faculty of Medicine. Together they have developed a robust record of accomplishment in medical education, clinical care, research and advocacy.
Providing care in the Dominican Republic
Closer to home, in the Dominican Republic (DR), the Global Health Center has partnered with Centro de Salud Divina Providencia (CSDP) for over a decade. Together, they provide high-quality pediatric care to children in the rural community of Consuelo through the Niños Primeros en Salud (NPS) clinic – NPS is also a site for innovative education, research and advocacy. NPS serves children age 5 and younger from the lowest socioeconomic neighborhoods in Consuelo. While Botswana and the DR are the Global Health Center's primary partner sites, Global Health Center faculty have active collaborations in 16 other countries.
Research, advocacy and training opportunities
In addition to helping transform partner communities, the Global Health Center is also shaping the lives of future U.S. pediatric leaders by offering research and training opportunities. The Global Health Center facilitates monthlong international rotations for pediatric residents, and research and clinical experiences for fellows. Similarly, the Healthier Together initiative is developing volunteer and educational community-based opportunities in which CHOP staff can assist while enhancing their advocacy skills to promote child health.
Andrew Steenhoff, MBBCh, DCH, Medical Director of the Global Health Center, says the Healthier Together initiative and Global Health Center are "guided by an ethos that embraces openness, partnership and learning from a diversity of cultures and experiences both here in Philadelphia and abroad. Our hope is that this ethos informs and enriches our work, and its impact toward a world where all children live a healthy life."