Inventory of Community Service Centers, Offices, Organizations, and Resources

The Community Engagement and Research (CEAR) Core of the Penn CTSA aims to facilitate community-based research and community engagement across the university. As a resource to faculty and staff, the CEAR Core has compiled an inventory of university centers, offices, organizations, and resources related to community engagement and community service.

Please let us know if anything needs to be updated or added to this list, as the inventory is a work in progress. Please send all questions and comments to Sarah Green.


A. Community Service

B. Community Service & Education

C. Community Service & Research

D. Community Service & Health Care

E. Community Service & Student Organizations

F. Other


Name of Organization: Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative
Brief Description: The Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) is a program of University of Pennsylvania's Netter Center for Community Partnerships to address issues of poor nutrition and physical fitness in West Philadelphia.
Name of Organization: Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships
Brief Description: Penn's central administrative office for community partnership programs.
Name of Organization: Camp Erin
Brief Description: Counselors and social workers from Penn Wissahickon Hospice volunteer their time to help run Camp Erin, a weekend camp for children who have experienced the death of a family member or friend. The camp combines traditional activities with grief education and support, to help children overcome the emotional effects of their bereavement. Developed in partnership with The Moyer Foundation, Camp Erin is open to children ages 6 to 17.
Name of Organization: Civic House
Brief Description: Civic House is the University of Pennsylvania's hub for student-led community service and social advocacy work.
Name of Organization: Office of Government and Community Affairs
Brief Description: The university's primary liaison with city, state, and federal governments, as well as with Penn's many external constituencies and community organizations.
Name of Organization: Penn Medicine Community Activity Reporting E-nitiative (CAREs)
Brief Description: The university's primary liaison with city, state, and federal governments, as well as with Penn's many external constituencies and community organizations.
Name of Organization: Penn Medicine in the Community
Brief Description: Community events are listed and Penn Medicine employees & students are invited to browse upcoming community outreach opportunities and register for those that interest them.
Name of Organization: Penn Volunteers in Public Service (VIPS)
Brief Description: VIPS has been established to provide a vehicle for staff, faculty, alumni, and the West Philadelphia community to work together through community service activities and events. Further, Penn VIPS assists schools, community groups and non-profit organizations in achieving their goals of providing service to their constituents.



Name of Organization: Academically Based Community Service Courses (ABCS)
Brief Description: Supported by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, ABCS's courses involve hands-on, real-world problem solving and work to build a sustained engagement that transforms students into active community members and citizens.
Name of Organization: Civic Scholars Program
Brief Description: The University of Pennsylvania offers undergrads remarkable opportunities to engage in extracurricular community service and social advocacy work. Each semester, more than two dozen special academically-based community service courses are also offered where students address such issues as urban health care, education, housing, and poverty in West Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Name of Organization: Community Service Directory
Brief Description: The Community Service Directory is a guide with descriptions of the courses offered as part of Penn's nationally recognized and academically based community service program. Further, the page has a searchable database that allows you to access information on the community service programs offered by Penn's students, faculty and staff.
Name of Organization: Fox Leadership Program
Brief Description: The mission of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program is to enrich the Penn undergraduate educational experience in ways to excite and equip students for present and future leadership roles in whatever realms of human excellence and endeavor may call them.
Name of Organization: Office of Equity and Access Programs (EAP)
Brief Description: EAP provides professional guidance to scholars of all ages and backgrounds. Their extensive array of services and programs is designed to help you succeed in your academic achievements.
Name of Organization: National Clinician Scholars Program
Brief Description: The National Clinican Scholars Program offers unique clinical and community-based research training through intensive mentorship for clinicians as change agents during policy-relevant research and partnerships to improve health and healthcare. The Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program closed and the University of Pennsylvania, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Michigan, and Yale University formed a consortium to continue this critical training.



Name of Organization: African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN)
Brief Description: AACORN partners with U.S. researchers, scholars-in-training, and community-based researchers to improve the quality and quantity of research on weight-related health issues in African American communities.
Name of Organization: Asian Health Initiatives
Brief Description: The Asian Health Initiatives embodies the three guiding principles of Penn's School of Medicine: "increase access, integrate knowledge, and local and global engagement." Consistent with this guiding structure, they strive to integrate academic exploration with community involvement.
Name of Organization: Center for Health Behavior Research
Brief Description: The Center for Health Behavior Research is working to become an epicenter for fundamentals of behavioral research on the Penn campus by advancing the development, application and testing of health behavior measurement and theories in clinical and population-based research.
Name of Organization: Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE)
Brief Description: CHIBE provides an academic home for behavioral economic research that makes significant contributions to reducing the disease burden from major U.S. public health problems such as tobacco dependence, obesity, and medication non-adherence.
Name of Organization: Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research (CMHPSR)
Brief Description: CMHPSR researches the organization, financing, and management structure of mental health care systems and the delivery of mental health services and provides consultation and technical support to those individuals and programs involved in implementing system change.
Name of Organization: Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI)
Brief Description: The CPHI is a university-wide center founded in 2007 by the Provost's office. The CPHI promotes interdisciplinary research, education and practice in public health.
Name of Organization: Guidelines for Research in the Community
Brief Description: Provided as part of the Penn Book of resources, policies and procedures, the Guidelines are targeted to those who are engaged in research that involves the study of the Philadelphia community (West Philadelphia in particular) or involves community members as research subjects.
Name of Organization: Mixed Methods Research Lab
Brief Description: The goal of the Mixed Methods Research Lab is to foster the use of qualitative and mixed methods research methodologies with a focus on integrating key stakeholder perspectives and goals into research designs.
Name of Organization: Office of Inclusion and Diversity
Brief Description: The office's mission is to help Penn Medicine become a more collegial, intellectually exciting, and supportive institution through the recruitment, retention and promotion of women and underrepresented minority faculty, housestaff and staff.
Name of Organization: Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)
Brief Description: CFAR has a community advisory board (CAB) that works to foster and maintain partnerships and open communication between Penn CFAR researchers and community members. The CAB also works to enhance HIV education, prevention, treatment and research activities reflecting both investigators' interests and community needs.

Name of Organization: Penn CTSA: Community Engagement and Research (CEAR) Core
Brief Description: The purpose of the Community Engagement and Research Core in the Penn CTSA is to facilitate community-based research and community engagement, especially community-based participatory research, and enhance the translation of research and technological developments to key public health and community stakeholders.

Name of Organization: Penn Minority Aging Research for Community Health (MARCH)
Brief Description: MARCH is a research-based and mentoring center aiming to improve the health and well being of older minority populations by identifying mechanisms for closing the health disparities gap between minority and non-minority elderly populations.

Name of Organization: PolicyLab
Brief Description: PolicyLab partners with numerous stakeholders within the health care field to develop evidence-based solutions to the most challenging health-related issues affecting children. By informing program and policy changes through interdisciplinary research, PolicyLab aims to achieve optimal child health and well-being.

Name of Organization: UPenn Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC)
Brief Description: The UPenn PRC serves as a hub for interdisciplinary chronic disease prevention research, training, and dissemination at the University of Pennsylvania. The UPenn PRC brings together Penn researchers from a variety of disciplines to conduct innovative public health and disease management research aimed at preventing chronic disease and reducing health disparities in Southeastern Pennsylvania.



Name of Organization: ACCESS Intensive Case Management Program
Brief Description: ACCESS aids the city's homeless and displaced population by seeking out mentally ill people living in shelters and on the streets and providing them with support services and treatment.
Name of Organization: Bridging the Gaps (BTG)
Brief Description: BTG links the training of health and social service professionals with the provision of health-related services for under served and economically disadvantaged populations. BTG includes the Community Health Internship Program, the BTG Seminar Series, and the BTG Clinical Program.
Name of Organization: Community Asthma Prevention Program (CAPP)
Brief Description: CAPP has served children with asthma, their parents, and asthma caregivers, as well as working in many Philadelphia communities to offer free asthma education, home visits and training to school personnel and primary care providers.
Name of Organization: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Office of Government Affairs, Community Relations and Advocacy
Brief Description: The Office of Government Affairs, Community Relations and Advocacy works with departments throughout CHOP, as well as community-based organizations and government officials to assure the best care for the children and families served by the hospital.
Name of Organization: Diabetes Education Center
Brief Description: Penn Medicine's Diabetes Education Center offers diabetes treatment, supplies and education programs to those in need. Its initiatives include diabetes education for homeless men (in conjunction with Old St. Joseph's Church) and Hispanic women (through Latina Community Health Services). Twice a week classes provide information regarding nutrition, exercise and use of medication as well as skill training in blood sugar monitoring, insulin injections and proper foot care.
Name of Organization: Dr. Bernett L. Johnson Jr. Sayre Health Center
Brief Description: The Sayre Health Center provides clinical services to residents of the surrounding community, as well as educational opportunities for high school, undergraduate and graduate students.
Name of Organization: Family Medicine: Residency Community Initiatives
Brief Description: Family Medicine residents at Penn Medicine participate in a longitudinal community medicine curriculum that utilizes didactic and service–based venues for resident training and community enhancement. The curriculum is based on a series of academic/community partnerships developed with the shared intent of improving the health of West Philadelphia while helping residents develop the necessary skills and knowledge base to be effective health advocates in clinical and community settings.
Name of Organization: Guatemala Health Initiative (GHI)
Brief Description: Guatemala Health Initiative is an organization of students from the University of Pennsylvania working in partnership with communities in Guatemala. Since 2005, GHI has primarily worked with Hospitalito Atitlán to improve health in the Tz’utujil Maya town of Santiago Atitlán.
Name of Organization: Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center
Brief Description: Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center is committed to providing quality behavioral health care services to members of the community - in particular, vulnerable and under served populations in Philadelphia.
Name of Organization: Healthy in Philadelphia (HIP)
Brief Description: HIP partners with the West Philadelphia community to meet the needs of society and to advance the translation of knowledge and evidence-based, culturally competent models of care in the areas of healthy lifestyles; transitions in health, illness, and end of life; and disparities in access to and provision of health care.

Name of Organization: Living Independently for Elders (LIFE)
Brief Description: LIFE is a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). This model of care is centered around the belief that it is better for older adults and for their families if their chronic care needs are provided by the community whenever possible. This is an innovative program in that it provides services to those who would otherwise need nursing home care while they remain in the community in their own home or the home of loved ones.

Name of Organization: Ludmir Center for Women's Heatlh
Brief Description: The Ludmir Center for Women's Health is staffed by Penn physicians, nurses and students and is an ambulatory health care clinic specializing in obstetrical, gynecological and family planning services.

Name of Organization: Old St. Joseph's Church
Brief Description: Every month, homeless men gather at Old St. Joseph's Church in Old City to hear lunchtime health lectures by Penn nurses on topics the men choose themselves. Nurses from many disciplines participate, including psychiatry, emergency medicine, cardiology, and internal medicine.
Name of Organization: Penn Dental Medicine: Division of Community Oral Health
Brief Description: The School of Dental Medicine, through its Division of Community Oral Health, emphasizes local and global community health as a core competency and highlights the integration of oral health within general health care. The Division of Community Oral Health provides oral health education, screening, preventive and clinical dental services, and referrals in select West and Southwest Philadelphia schools and other community sites and provides supervised clinical experiences for students in community settings serving elderly and special needs patients.
Name of Organization: Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP)
Brief Description: PPP is a non-profit agency in the Kensington section of North Philadelphia. It is a multi-service public health organization committed to protecting the health and welfare of the homeless, the uninsured, individuals suffering from substance abuse, and sex industry workers.
Name of Organization: Puentes de Salud
Brief Description: Puentes de Salud, Spanish for "Bridges to Health," is a non-profit organization operating a health clinic in South Philadelphia. Penn physicians, nurses, medical students and undergraduates from the University of Pennsylvania volunteer to provide care to nearly 1,400 primarily Spanish-speaking patients. Puentes de Salud also provides community members with access to health education programs while addressing social factors that influence community health.
Name of Organization: Refugee Clinic at Penn Center for Primary Care
Brief Description: The Refugee Clinic is a partnership with HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) Pennsylvania, a local rescue, resettlement and assistance agency. Working through translation services, the clinic provides medical care to newly arrived refugees from such countries as Nepal, Eritrea, and Burma, who speak a variety of languages including Nepali, Tigrinya, Chin, and Kachin. Penn internal medicine residents work with attending physicians to carry out physical exams, administer immunizations and arrange for specialty care.
Name of Organization: United Community Clinics (UCC)
Brief Description: UCC is a free health clinic coordinated by University of Pennsylvania students from the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. Located in a church in the East Parkside community of West Philadelphia, UCC draws upon the resources and expertise of this multi-disciplinary group of students in order to offer a wide range of services to the surrounding community. Their goal is to develop an understanding of the needs of the community, and respond to those needs by providing clinical assistance, education, referral and representation services.
Name of Organization: University City Hospitality Coalition
Brief Description: The University City Hospitality Coalition provides meals to vulnerable individuals in University City six days a week.  More than just a soup kitchen, it also offers medical advice, vaccinations, screening tests, and medical referrals by physicians and medical students from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.



Name of Organization: Civic House Associates Coalition (CHAC)
Brief Description: CHAC is a unifying organization created by and for students to support community service and social justice initiatives at U-Penn. CHAC is comprised of 41 student organizations at Penn that fall under six liaison groups: One-Time Service, Tutoring & Mentoring, Arts Based Service, Advocacy, Public Health, and Poverty. The Coalition meets as a general body in Civic House once a month and encourages all groups and individuals engaged with communities outside the university to attend. CHAC provides members with educational support and workshops, opportunities to collaborate and network, funding options, organizational support and other resources to enhance community involvement and advocacy work.
Name of Organization: Community Health Initiatives at Penn (CHIP)
Brief Description: The purpose of CHIP is to promote health care in the local Philadelphia community through volunteer service in local clinics, financial support of healthcare non-profits and free clinics in West Philadelphia and abroad through fundraising events, and community outreach through participation in community health fairs and health events.
Name of Organization: Penn Fitness for Life
Brief Description: Fitness for Life is a non-profit, student-run community service organization at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to fighting the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Its goal is to empower children and young adults to take control of their health and fitness level through physical activity and eating right.
Name of Organization: Penn Med Student Organizations
Brief Description: A directory of student organizations in the Perelman School of Medicine.
Name of Organization: Service Link at Sayre Health Center
Brief Description: As a school-based community health center, Sayre Health Center in West Philadelphia serves a high population of patients who are low-income and uninsured. Service Link strives to fill the gap between medical care and social services by using online tools to connect low-income patients with basic resources that they need to stay healthy, such as health insurance, food, housing, and heating assistance.
Name of Organization: Students for Nutrition at Penn (SNaP)
Brief Description: SNaP strives to improve medical student awareness of and appreciation for the importance of nutrition in their own lives and the lives of their future patients. They aim to accomplish this goal through educational lectures on diverse topics ranging from practical counseling to theories of nutrition and disease.



Name of Organization: Research and Fellowship Opportunities for Penn Med Students
Brief Description: This resource outlines a variety of research and fellowship opportunities for Penn Medicine students and is designed to help medicial students to navigate the variety of research options that are available.


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