Outsanding Community Service AwardThe Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) received the Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service at the Association of American Medical Colleges’ 2015 Annual Meeting. The award, presented on Nov. 8 in Baltimore, Md., spotlights AAMC members with a longstanding, major institutional commitment to addressing community needs. The award recognizes exceptional programs that go well beyond the traditional role of academic medicine and reach communities whose needs are not being met through the current health delivery system.

“The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is honored to have been selected by the Association of American Medical Colleges for this prestigious award,” said Madeline Bell, president and CEO.  “Our commitment to children extends well beyond the walls of our facilities throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The programs for which we are being recognized, including those at the community-based Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center, and many others like them, exist because we have a dedicated team of employees committed to improving the health and wellness of children. They are most deserving of this national recognition, and I could not be prouder of our work in the community.”

Improving care for the city's most vulnerable children

“The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is doing vitally important work to help the city’s most vulnerable children become healthy adults,” said Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and CEO of the AAMC. “The community health programs at CHOP not only promote good health in underserved neighborhoods, but also tackle the systemic inequities that contribute to health disparities, such as poverty and educational inequality. All of us at the AAMC are inspired by what CHOP is doing to help their community, and it was our privilege to recognize their work with the Spencer Foreman Community Service Award.”

As the nation’s first pediatric hospital, CHOP has been promoting a culture of health and wellness for children in the greater Philadelphia area for more than 150 years. Many of the hospital’s community-based programs take a public health approach in response to serious health challenges for Philadelphia, identified by CHOP’s community health needs assessment — challenges such as pervasive poverty, access to care, adolescent services, obesity prevention and behavioral health care.

CHOP community programs recognized

Community programs for which CHOP was recognized for the Spencer Foreman Award include the Community Pediatrics and Advocacy Program (CPAP), a longitudinal curriculum that prepares medical residents for their roles and child and family advocates and community partners; the Career Path program, which provides job and life skills coaching for young adults with chronic illnesses or disabilities as they transition from high school; the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center, which provides the best available primary care services and community programs to the children of West Philadelphia; and the Violence Prevention Initiative, which aims to interrupt the cycle of violence by partnering with schools, screening for intimate partner violence and providing services to youth involved in violent incidents.

Grants program an incubator for new solutions to community challenges

While many CHOP employees are engaged in these activities, the CHOP Cares Community Grants Program serves as an incubator for new, staff-generated solutions to community challenges. In this program, employee ideas are awarded seed funding after a comprehensive vetting process by an advisory board representative of CHOP employees and civic leaders. Additionally, the CHOP Research Institute, home to the PolicyLab at CHOP, works to achieve optimal child health and well-being by informing program and policy changes through interdisciplinary research.

A final project, the South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center, was also recognized by the Spencer Foreman Awards committee. Opening in 2016, this first-of-it-kind hospital-city partnership will include a CHOP pediatric clinic; full-service community health center run by the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health; branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia; and modern recreation center with playground and green space, run by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

The longevity of CHOP’s community programs – coupled with the involvement of its pediatric residents, researchers, nurses and staff – is testament to the hospital’s commitment to investing where there is a need for vital services that improve the lives of children. For more information about the 2015 AAMC Awards recipients, please visit https://www.aamc.org/initiatives/awards/2015-aamc-awards-recipients/.