Community Wellness Services at the HUB
January 9, 2018
When the Community Wellness HUB began welcoming neighborhood residents to take advantage of its health and wellness programming back in April 2017, it was the culmination of more than a year of careful community-driven planning. The planning process was led by Mantua native and Drexel Vice President of Health and Health Equity, Loretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD and her team. Known as We're Here Because We Care, the process was made up of call-to-action meetings, community focus groups and one-on-one meetings with local leaders and residents.
The initiative, the strategy and the process were developed and designed by Jemmott and her team, as they noticed community input was missing in many of the local health conversations. Each of the team members came to the table with an expertise that allowed this initiative to flourish. Andrew Issa, MPH brought a programming and community partnership lens, Marcia Penn, MEd brought her coordinating expertise, and K. Rose Samuel-Evans brought her community engagement background. It is this core team that became the think tank behind this health initiative and the Community Wellness HUB.
We're Here Because We Care concentrated on the West Philadelphia Promise Zone: Mantua, Belmont, West Powelton, Powelton Village, Saunders Park, Mill Creek, East Parkside and parts of Spruce Hill, Walnut Hill and University City. Invitations went to neighborhood residents but also to civic organizations, nonprofits serving the area, faith-based organizations, recreation centers, registered community organizations, community centers, block captains and town watch groups. Each of these meetings asked participants to identify their top health and wellness concerns and interests, and to talk about the kinds of healthcare supports they were looking for in the neighborhood. Consensus developed around seven key health issues:
- Chronic Diseases: These are the kinds of diseases that require sometimes lifelong management and support. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and cancer are chronic diseases that can be helped with diet, exercise and medications, but they can also be dififcult and confusing to understand.
- Behavioral and Mental Health: Behavioral health stigmas get in the way of people getting the help they need. Participants wanted services to support people dealing with depression, anxiety, emotional pain, intimate partner or child abuse and trauma.
- Sexual Health: Screening, treatment and counseling for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and support for sexual health issues across all ages was a top concern.
- Access to Healthy Foods: Neighborhood residents across the board are interested in workshops on nutrition and healthy food preparation, in how to get healthy food in a food desert, gardening and mobile fresh food sales.
- Environmental Health: Home environments have a substantial impact on our health, and as such there was an emphasis placed on safe and healthy homes, rodent control, dealing with trash and aging-in-place.
- Access to Care: Neighbors are especially interested in health services located in the community that are also culturally appropriate and culturally sensitive.
- Access to Safe Physical Fitness: Feeling safe in the neighborhood makes it possible to get outside to walk, run and play. Participants expressed the need for safe places to move around, programs designed for seniors and physical fitness programs tailored for all ages.
The team at the Community Wellness HUB has integrated these priorities and ideas into its program planning and invite you to join their upcoming workshops, to visit to make an appointment to talk about your health or just to drop in to say hello and share your feedback.
As Mantua Civic Association president DeWayne Drummond notes, “Having the Community Wellness HUB in Mantua is a priceless gift to our community. When we work together, poverty stricken areas can receive true equity."
Written by Jennifer Britton
Associate Director, Communications & Special Projects
Office of University & Community Partnerships