Local Impact

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Committing to change.

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health brings support and care to the communities needing it most, with a major focus on partnering with organizations in urban Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Our research has shown that health disparities can be eliminated by assuring equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of health conditions. We couple our health programs with efforts to address unmet social and behavioral health needs by fostering strong and enduring community partnerships with Penn.


Penn Family Practices


Student-Run Clinics


Community Clinic Partners


Primary Care Providers


Patients Cared For

Making a promise to the Promise Zone

proomisezone banner

The Obama administration designated West Philadelphia as one of the first five Promise Zones in the country in January 2014. These ten-year designations were created to address challenges faced by people living in deep and persistent poverty and ensure that the zip code a person is born in does not determine their future. The West Philadelphia Promise Zone is now one of twenty-two Promise Zones that serve urban, rural, and tribal areas across the country.

The West Philadelphia Promise Zone aims to reduce poverty and bring greater opportunity to people living and working in West Philadelphia. The initiative helps organizations work together to connect residents to high quality education, well-paying jobs, affordable housing, health services, and safe, economically healthy places to live.

The Need for Change

The 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment recognized key unmet health needs planned to be addressed by UPHS: 

  • Access to, and coordination of of, preventative, primary, and specialty care services, and prescription drugs particularly for low-income people in the area;
  • access to care for behavioral health conditions and treatment options, particularly for addiction, depression, or the aftermath of trauma;
  • access to women’s health services, especially access to prenatal care, and low-birth weight, prematurity  and infant mortality;
  • Programs to coordinate access of care and use of health improvement and promotion efforts with the community;
  • Educational programs to address health behaviors that increase risk of heart disease and cancer including smoking, obesity, and physical activity, and the importance of screening and preventive care for cardiovascular disease and cancer, particularly follow-up after screening for cancer and hypertension. 

Based on the results of Penn Medicine’s Community Health Needs Assessment, we are placing an initial emphasis on cancer, heart disease, behavioral health, and infant mortality. 

The Department of Family Medicine’s involvement in public health has greatly strengthened our work in communities, with a major focus on partnering with organizations in urban Philadelphia neighborhoods.