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Jefferson and Philly Collaborating for the Greater Good



It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. On May 7, Jefferson hosted its Inaugural Community Engagement Impact Summit which served as the first step towards addressing social determinants of health that contribute to health disparities for many Philadelphians.  An all-day summit at the Center City campus brought together Jefferson healthcare providers, administrators, benefactors, community stakeholders and organizers to share the work they’re doing in the community and learn about other community partners.  Additionally, this event served as the launch of the newly created Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity (P-CHE).

Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, announced the citywide initiative aimed at improving the lives of the poor and underserved in the community. Explaining that a person’s ZIP code is more apt to determine health and lifespan than their genetic code, he said P-CHE creates an alliance of major stakeholders—community members,  government, business, academic, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations—to work toward the goal of helping Philadelphia families reach their full potential.

Jack Ludmir, MD, senior vice president of Physician Engagement and Integration, associate provost of Community and Global Initiatives, and executive director of P-CHE, said the Collaborative is not a Jefferson initiative, but a Philadelphia initiative that will foster and coordinate partnerships with surrounding communities and citywide affiliates. He stressed that the Collaborative will spend time listening to, and building trust within the community in order to ensure this is a grassroots initiative that is community driven.

In his speech, Ludmir thanked Philadelphia’s Lindy family for becoming P-CHE’s first benefactor and expressed appreciation for the many people who attended the Summit to show support for the community engagement work being done throughout the City. In addition, Dr. Giridhar Mallya, MD, MSHP, senior policy officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, presented thoughts on the challenges facing the Collaborative, as well as how to address them to build a culture of health within the community.