Q&A with John Kirby, director of community health and wellness at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services
September 22, 2015
The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University operates as a patient-centered, integrated and trauma-informed model of care. Integrative health care creates a seamless engagement for patients, most of whom represent a vulnerable population and are residents of public housing and caregivers in the full range of physical, psychological, social, preventive and therapeutic factors known to be effective and necessary for the achievement of optimal health throughout the lifespan. The center is a nationally-recognized model of nurse-managed, community-based care for the education of health professions students and for faculty practice.
A new wing, which added 17,000 square feet of space to the practice, opened to patients on June 29, 2015. The new addition accommodates the expansion of primary care services, and includes space for nursing, nutrition sciences, couple and family therapy, creative arts therapies and a new fitness center.
John Kirby is the director of community health and wellness at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, responsible for overseeing the fitness center, providing exercise coaching and fitness classes and working to inform, learn from and collaborate with the community in order to create a culture of health.
Describe the new fitness center. What are some new features?
Our new 1,500+ square foot fitness center has moved from the original building to the second floor of the new building addition. The new space has windows spanning two sides of the gym, allowing members to get great natural sunlight and a beautiful view of the city while getting fit. We have 11 pieces of cardiovascular training equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, an arm ergometer and a recumbent stepper. We also have plenty of resistance training equipment, from free weight to cable machines, for gaining strength and getting lean.
Has the new wing allowed you to add any additional patient services? What seems to be most appreciated by patients?
Yes, with the new space we are now able to expand our class offerings. With dedicated studios for music therapy, art therapy and dance movement, we can hold group fitness classes like boot camp, dance classes, BLT (butt, legs and thighs), toning and more in the yoga/fitness studio. We can also hold more yoga and mindfulness classes for people of various ages and abilities. Our new space has more storage room, so we can get the equipment necessary to make our classes even more fun and challenging. We can now hold classes simultaneously that would have needed to happen in succession before. Patients seem to appreciate our new dedicated spaces and the possibilities that come with it.
What is the patient response to the new fitness center?
Patients are loving the new space! Many of them have been excited to see the new facility since the moment they heard it was being built. They say the extra room makes the space feel more airy and fresh, and they have also expressed that sunlight and views the sprawling windows provide allow them to enjoy their workouts just a little bit more.
How is the new wing improving the experience for staff and patients, alike?
Both patients and staff seem happier with the space. While they appreciated what we had before, our new space allows for more possibilities. Because the fitness center is larger, physical therapy has more room for patient treatment to proceed, while fitness center members are also enjoying their workouts. Our new office and breakout consult room will allow patients and staff more privacy when discussing their health history and goals with our fitness and physical therapy providers.
Photo credit: Halkin/Mason Photography