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Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice Marks 20 Years of Service

December 5, 2013

The Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice (the Partnership) of Drexel Medicine is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Over the span of two decades, the Partnership has not only grown in size, but also in reach. It started humbly in 1993 as one of the first clinics to treat a segment of the population that had been marginalized at the time due to the stigma that comes with an HIV positive diagnosis. Through the years, the Partnership has served thousands of patients and families in Philadelphia coping with HIV/AIDS. It is a comprehensive primary and specialty medical care practice that offers treatment and prevention services to about 1,900 people a year – regardless of their ability to pay.

The Honorable Michael Nutter, Mayor, and the City of Philadelphia recently honored the Partnership and its staff with a citation, "officially recognizing and congratulating the Partnership on two decades of steadfast service to the citizens of Philadelphia and commending the Practice's dedicated staff for the delivery of the highest quality care to citizens living with the challenge of HIV/AIDS."

"We are a full-service clinic to our patients and that includes supporting not only their medical needs, but also their emotional needs," said Jeffrey Jacobson, MD, professor in the Department of Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine. "The Partnership also maintains an active and engaged research arm, working to develop the next generation of HIV medications, with the goal, of course, being a cure."

Compassionate Care Comes First

The Partnership started out as a clinic – founded by Marla Gold, MD, professor and former dean of the Drexel University School of Public Health – dedicated to treating those with an illness that few understood in the early 90s. Its primary focus has always been providing compassionate, non-judgmental treatment for HIV patients. In addition to primary and specialty HIV medical care, treatment at the Partnership is comprehensive and can include: gynecologic care, prenatal care, family planning services, nutrition assessment, pharmacy services, HIV support groups, rapid HIV testing and much more. The partnership also focuses on educating people who will provide multidisciplinary HIV care in the future.

"HIV specialists at the Partnership are skilled in managing HIV, as well as a patient's other conditions, which could include diabetes and hepatitis C," said Sarah L. Allen, MSN, CRNP, clinical director of the Partnership. "The staff here feels very passionate about what they do and the impact they have in the community. The work they do is very well known in the Philadelphia area, and the Partnership has become a beacon to those who need medical attention and may have nowhere else to turn." In 2011 MANNA awarded the Partnership its Nourish Award in recognition of its service to those living with HIV and in particular its commitment to proactive nutritional practices.

Next Generation of Treatment

The Partnership is investigating long-term treatment options for those who are HIV positive, including a once-a-week, injectable drug. Over the past 20 years, the Partnership has garnered millions of dollars in research grants. In fact, Dr. Jacobson has been awarded in excess of $10 million in National Institutes of Health funding for a series of studies on improved HIV treatments, novel medicines and potential vaccines.

The idea of an injectable drug is much more desirable than the litany of antiretroviral drugs a patient has to take daily and at precise moments throughout the day, which is the current treatment regimen commonly referred to as the "AIDS cocktail." Although effective, the antiretroviral medication does come with limitations, including potentially serious side effects and problems with patient adherence. "For some, including portions of the patient population we see at the Partnership, it can be difficult to take their medication regularly, putting themselves and others at great risk. A drug designed to be taken once a week could dramatically increase a patient's adherence to a treatment schedule," added Jacobson.

A Trusted Source

Over the past 20 years, what was once a small clinic dedicated to treatment has blossomed into the largest HIV practice in the Philadelphia area, with a thriving research arm dedicated to finding a cure. The Partnership is a trusted source to the city of Philadelphia and its citizens and has helped the community better understand the plight of those fighting HIV/AIDS through community outreach, education and support.

It is located at 1427 Vine Street in Center City Philadelphia, with satellite practices at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Kensington Hospital.

The Honorable Michael Nutter, Mayor, and the City of Philadelphia recently honored the Partnership and its staff with a citation.

Drexel Medicine's Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice receives a City of Philadelphia citation for its 20 years of service. James Reynolds, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, makes the presentation to Jeffrey Jacobson, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, and Marla Gold, MD, professor and former dean of Drexel University's School of Public Health and founder of the Partnership in 1993.

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