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Campus & Community - Health

Nurse-Run 11th Street Health Center Prepares for Future Growth

June 5, 2012

A nurse practitioner at the 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University provides primary care to members of the underserved North Philadelphia community.
Nurse practitioners at the 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University provide primary care to members of the underserved North Philadelphia community. The center provides comprehensive health services in a single location within the community.

The 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University has received a grant to support the expansion of health services from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, through its Blue Safety Net initiative. The one-year grant of $75,000 will help the center build upon the primary health care and health services it provides in its underserved community, while Drexel continues to plan expansion beyond the limitations of the center’s current small facility. 

The mission of the 11th Street Family Health Services is to provide quality, comprehensive services to vulnerable people and residents of four public housing units in the 11th Street corridor of North Philadelphia. The center, which is entirely nurse-managed, has been recognized as a national innovative university-community partnership model of care. The center offers primary care by nurse practitioners and comprehensive services by health professionals in dental, behavioral health, social work, creative arts and physical therapy, complementary and integrative health, fitness, health and nutrition education and more—in a single location within the community. The center is the result of a 16-year partnership between community members and Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions and is operated in partnership with the Family Practice and Counseling Network.

Watch a video about the 11th Street Family Health Services:

The new grant is part of the IBC Foundation’s Blue Safety Net initiative, which was created as part of the foundation’s commitment to caring for the region’s most vulnerable. This initiative provides grant support to non-profit, privately-funded health clinics in medically underserved communities in southeastern Pennsylvania and supports progressive, innovative approaches to expand access to health care in underserved communities. This grant represents a continuation of the regular, generous support IBC has provided to Drexel’s 11th Street center, with gifts totaling nearly $1 million since 2004 to benefit the health of the underserved community at the center with new programs and expanded services.

Since Drexel’s facility at 850 North 11th Street opened in 2002, the number of patient visits to the center has increased significantly, from 2,200 in 2003 to 10,000 in 2007, to over 30,000 visits in 2011. The facility is at capacity.    

“Adults and children need a single point of access for care that addresses the physiological and psychosocial aspects of the individual and family,” said Dr. Patricia Gerrity, the center’s director and a professor and associate dean for community programs in Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. “We have a nationally recognized model that addresses those needs but need more space to increase capacity and expand the array of services we deliver.”

Drexel recently purchased land adjacent to the center’s current building and is working with the Philadelphia Housing Authority and other local agencies to expand the facility. Drexel plans to raise funds to support the expansion through a benefit comedy performance by Bill Cosby at the University on October 5. This latest grant from the IBC Foundation will support the expansion of services in high demand by the 11th Street community.

“Drexel and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation share a deep commitment to the wellness of the people in this community,” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the IBC Foundation. “By supporting the growth of this Center, which has become a community anchor, we’re excited to be able to provide access to better health care for many more people, for many years to come.”

Media Contact:

Rachel Ewing