Healthier Together and Partners Participated in Root Cause Coalition Annual Summit, Discussed Partnership and Program Best Practices From Year One

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At a recent health summit, the Healthier Together Initiative at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) joined the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, the Uplift Center for Grieving Children, and CHOP’s Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) to share lessons from the first year of our innovative grief and trauma programs for West and Southwest Philadelphia students, staff, and caregivers.

Healthier Together logo Speaking at the Root Cause Coalition’s 6th Annual National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health, which brought together advocates and organizations to showcase successes and innovations in achieving health equity, the partners discussed the early impact of the innovative and comprehensive approach to trauma-informed wellness programming in a school-based setting.

“Our team’s success in reducing health inequities demonstrates the importance of greater collaboration, increased accessibility, and strong community partnerships,” said Alonzo South, Senior Director of Community Engagement at CHOP. “At the summit, we collectively shared best practices for offering trauma-informed training and peer support groups for grief and loss in a virtual, school-based setting.”

“In West and Southwest Philadelphia there were 9 shootings per week between 2018 and 2020, and 42% percent of households with children live below the poverty line,” added South. “Research has proven that COVID-19 had a greater impact on lower-income communities and communities of color, including higher rates of hospitalizations, death, and financial hardship, making the efforts of this partnership even more vital.”

The Netter Center for Community Partnerships develops and helps implement democratic, mutually transformative, place-based partnerships between Penn and West Philadelphia that advance research, teaching, learning, practice, and service and improve the quality of life on campus and in the community, particularly through university-assisted community schools.

The Uplift Center for Grieving Children offers grief groups for youth who have experienced significant deaths, as well as ambiguous loss groups for youth who have experienced significant deaths and non-death losses, such as divorce of parents or caregivers or isolation from friends, family, school, and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about Healthier Together’s work on trauma here.

Contact: Joey McCool Ryan, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, (267) 258-6735 or

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