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Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services


At the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University, we treat the whole person. The center has been recognized as a national model of innovative care, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s LEAP project (Learning from Effective Ambulatory Practices), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the American Academy of Nursing. We’re delighted to receive such accolades, but we measure our success by the solid partnership we share with our community and the thousands of lives we’ve helped change for the better.

11th Street uses a transdisciplinary approach to deliver primary care, behavioral health, dental services, and health and wellness programs to more than 6,000 patients annually. Adults and children have a single point of access for care that addresses both the physiological and psycho-social aspects of the person and family.

The mission of the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services is to provide quality, comprehensive health services to the clients it serves, with special attention to vulnerable people and residents of public housing units in the 11th Street Corridor. In addition to its direct services mission, 11th Street provides an exemplary model of nurse-managed, community-based care for the education of health professions students and for faculty practice.

"The Center takes the nervousness out of asking questions you might not otherwise feel comfortable asking, because it's easy to open up and talk to the nurses and midwives here. It's just a magical place."

—Tanesha Palmer, Centering Patient (Prenatal)

Patient Demographics

The Center’s target population is the residents of the four public housing developments in the 11th Street corridor where residents have a median family income of $15,000. Although due to word of mouth, patients come from all over the city of Philadelphia. Residents of these housing developments have a high burden of illness from above average rates of diabetes and adverse childhood.

In 2019 the center provided over 26,298 patient visits.

  • 84% African American
  • 5% Latino
  • 65% Female
  • 23%  of patients are below age 18
  • 36% between ages 25-44 years old
  • 15% uninsured
  • 8% Medicare
  • 60% Medicaid
  • 17% Private

Guiding Principles

  • We put the patient first and follow a model of care that uses our resources wisely to provide for the needs of our patients, our staff and our community.
  • We work in partnership with the community and the university to improve the health status of the community.
  • We provide services based on community defined needs.
  • We provide access to high quality health care for all regardless of their ability to pay.
  • We collaborate and communicate with the utmost integrity to support an environment of trust and respect among our patients/clients, staff and community.
  • We are dedicated, enthusiastic, highly skilled staff committed to providing care and service. We value diversity, respect the dignity of all and accept the uniqueness of individuals.
  • We promote innovation and a willingness to try new approaches with vitality, energy and enthusiasm in order to support change and foster growth.

The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University operated in partnership with the Family Practice and Counseling Network.

Model of Care

Partnership for Community Based Care

The overarching structure that guides all of the health center’s programs within the 11th Street Corridor is the Partnership for Community Based Care (PCBC).  The PCBC was developed in 1998 and is a collaborative effort between the health center and the residents of the 11th Street Corridor in cooperation with local schools, churches and relevant community groups and agencies.

A vital component of the PCBC is the community advisory committee of the health center, which meets monthly to advise the Center’s staff on programs and provides community feedback on existing and future services. For almost 20 year, the advisory board has provided coordination between the community and the health center to plan programs and services and it was instrumental in the planning, design, and layout of the new center.  

Three members of the advisory board represent the 11th Street community on the Family Practice & Counseling Network’s advisory board. 

Integrative Health Care Model
The center operates on patient-centered, integrated and trauma informed care. By definition, integrative health care creates a seamless engagement for patients 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.

At the center, our staff integrates primary care, behavioral health, and Healthy Living Center programs to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the biological, psychological, and social needs of the patient. This system ensures communication and collaboration between patients and staff as they work to manage current illnesses and prevent future health problems.

The center is now being highlighted nationally for its trauma informed approach to care and is Sanctuary certified, the first ambulatory care center to earn Sanctuary certification. The Sanctuary Model® represents a theory-based, trauma-informed, evidence-supported, whole culture approach that has a clear and structured methodology for creating or changing an organizational culture. 11th Street is becoming certified in the Sanctuary Model so that staff, patients and the surrounding community are trauma-informed and have a shared tool kit from which to work toward greater personal, intrapersonal and communal health.

Community Outreach

The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services’s Community Outreach department is responsible for letting the community know about Health Center activities and services. Staff may be available for a community health workshop or participation in a health fair. Contact Lidyvez Sawyer at for more information.


The Partnership for Community Based Care (PCBC) expands local initiatives that strengthen and sustain healthy families in the Lower North Philadelphia community. It builds on mutually beneficial relationships to promote health based on principles of social justice and helps to improve the quality of life for all. These collaborative partnerships contribute to the research and training of faculty and students in a variety of health professions, and knowledge gained from these activities is used to address local needs and societal problems.

The Center integrates teaching, research, and service into a delivery approach that involves its constituents and responds to the needs of this underserved community. Faculty, staff and students engage in thoughtful dialogue, both within Center teams and with community partners, about racism, power and privilege and how it effects our perceptions, health status and the provision of health care services.

Center partnerships include:

  • Spring Garden Elementary School
  • The Rodriquez Branch of the Free Library (The Romonita Rodriguez Branch – Free Library of Philadelphia)
  • Philadelphia Housing Authority Resident Councils
  • The Philadelphia Housing Authority
  • Neheimiah Homes
  • St Paul’s Baptist Church
  • Rodelph Shalom Synagogue
  • The local Community Develop Corporation 
  • Drexel University
  • Boy’s & Girl’s Club (The Fairmount Boys and Girls Club)
  • EPIC –Equal Partners in Change
  • RCTC  Center for Returning Citizen’s
  • Mural Arts
  • Farms to Families (St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children)
  • AmeriCorps-Philadelphia Health Corp
  • National Nursing Center Consortium
  • Family Practice and Counseling Network
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Teens 4 Good
  • Philadelphia Eagles Eye Mobile


Redefining Care

The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University dates back to 1996, when the School of Nursing at MCP/Hahnemann University entered into an agreement with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) to address health issues of residents in Philadelphia’s 11th Street Corridor.  This comprehensive, nurse-managed health care center targets a medically underserved population, many of whom live in four public housing developments in North Philadelphia.

The first services offered at 11th Street focused on health promotion and disease prevention. The Center’s Community Advisory Board, comprised of neighborhood residents, later arranged for use of a temporary space for primary care health services at the Harrison Plaza Community Center.  In 1998, a $3.3 million grant was secured from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in partnership with the PHA, to build a freestanding 17,000 square foot state-of-the-art health center. This site, within the PHA’s new Richard Allen Homes, is centrally located and accessible to four of the public housing developments in the 11th Street corridor. The new building opened in September, 2002.  

The Center entered into a “linkage” agreement with the Family Practice and Counseling Network in June 2002, which gave the center access to cost based reimbursement and grant funds for the uninsured through their Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status.  

In recent years, 11th Street initiated an integrated and transdisciplinary model based on “ . . . (a) health care process to create a seamless engagement by patients and caregivers of the full range of physical, psychological, social, preventative and therapeutic factors known to be effective and necessary for the achievement of optimal health throughout the lifespan.”  (Institute of Medicine, 2009).  11th Street strives to provide evidence-based prevention, wellness and patient-centered care for the underinsured and uninsured that is personalized, preventative and participatory.

In 2010, Drexel acquired the land adjacent to the Center, and with this acquisition will be able to increase the Center’s physical space through an addition to the existing building.  This new space will allow the Center to increase substantially the number of patients served and expand services to the thousands of vulnerable patients seen annually.  It will also support enhanced undergraduate and graduate health professions education initiatives for the next generation of caregivers while providing for increased opportunities in the evolving nurse-led environment.

On June 6, 2014, Drexel University broke ground for a 17,000 sq. ft. addition.  We are grateful to Stephen and Sandra Sheller, co-founders of the Sheller Family Foundation, for their generous support toward the expansion of the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University.

The Shellers’ gift provided a two-story expansion to serve our patients and increase space for Drexel students undergoing educational and clinical training. Dedicated space is available for more integrated primary and subspecialty care visits as well as for behavioral health, couple and family therapy services, plus new studio space for art, dance movement and music therapies. More space also opens the potential for developing enhanced and new healthy lifestyles programming and services as the community’s needs evolve. The expansion was complete in June 2015, with a Ribbon cutting celebration on 11.11.15.

The Sheller Family Foundation was founded by Stephen Sheller, a Drexel trustee and prominent Philadelphia attorney, and his wife Sandra, a Drexel alumna in art therapy (’04) and couple and family therapy (’05).

Beyond the good it does for the community, 11th Street provides Drexel students from across the health professions with hands-on clinical experience in a community health setting.  As they continue in their careers, this experience will inform their understanding of patients and human beings trying to improve their lives and the complexity of their needs, and the potential of the health system’s ability to meet complex patient needs. It is also a place where students from Drexel Colleges and Schools serving as Co-ops practice the experiential learning that is the hallmark of a Drexel education in a truly unique setting.  Our patients benefit from this educational exchange by having access to services not otherwise available in a primary care setting.

Supporting 11th Street

The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services relies on the generous support of individuals, corporations, foundations, and other organizations. Your gift can help 11th Street continue our important work in the Philadelphia community. To make a gift or learn more, contact James Harding at 267.359.5925 or

To Make Your Gift By Mail:

Drexel University
P.O. Box 8215
Philadelphia, PA 19101-9684
Make your check payable to: "Drexel University" and write "11th Street Family Health Services" on the subject line.

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