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 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment recognized key unmet health needs planned to be addressed by UPHS: 

  • Substance/opioid use and abuse – grow programmatic outreach to reduce substance use overdoses, emergency department visits, and deaths related to drugs and opioids.
  • Behavioral health diagnosis and treatment – increase community provider partnerships and services for behavioral health patients, primary care and specialty care patients to expand access.
  • Chronic disease prevention – expand programming and place-based activities to educate and advocate for chronic disease prevention.
  • Maternal mortality and morbidity – increase programmatic outreach and impact to reduce maternal and infant morbidity.
  • Access to affordable primary and preventive care & access to affordable specialty care – Increase care coordination and navigation for medically complex patients using social determinants of health; growth of our range of telehealth services including virtual visits, consultations, and remote second opinions in a variety of specialties; grow partnerships with Federally Qualified Health Centers and Philadelphia Ambulatory Health Centers to support care coordination and access to specialty care.  

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.