Mann: Building Support for Health Equity
I head to Seattle hoping to put Together for West Philadelphia on the radar of innovative Philadelphians. I am honored to represent this exciting new grassroots collaborative, which is intended to enhance equity in healthcare and to maximize sustainable opportunities for the community of West Philadelphia.
I am the Program Director of the surgical residency at Lankenau Medical Center and serve as Chief Academic Officer for Main Line Health. Lankenau, the academic flagship of the System, is situated at the junction of route 30 and route 1, immediately between the Main Line and West Philadelphia. The median annual income on the Main Line is $110,000 per year and Montgomery County is ranked 4th in health outcomes among Pennsylvania counties; across the street, the mean family income in West Philadelphia is $27,000, and the county is ranked 67th in health outcomes among the 67 counties of Pennsylvania.
Over the course of the past decade, Main Line Health has created programs to identify the socioeconomic determinants of health among our underserved patients and to eliminate them as much as possible. In 2016, Main Line Health was selected to be one of nine health systems in the nation to join the Pursuing Equity Initiative of the Institute for Health Improvement (IHI). Upon entering this initiative, we theorized that we could have broader impact in the West Philadelphia community by joining in partnership with other academic institutions and community-focused organizations of West Philadelphia. With the support of Jack Lynch, president & CEO of Main Line Health, and Phil Robinson, president of Lankenau Medical Center, we stimulated the creation of Together for West Philadelphia, a collaborative of academic and community partnerships now intended to amplify the impact of each of the partners in their work for creating more equitable and sustainable opportunities for the residents of West Philadelphia through cooperation with each other.
The efforts of Together for West Philadelphia will be concentrated in six areas: Health Equity, Education, Food Justice, Employment, Housing and Senior Well-Being. Our geographic focus will be on five specific zip codes in the West Philadelphia area: 19104, 19131, 19139, 19143 and 19151. Each of these zip codes contains key community assets, and each zip code is known to have a specific needs prioritization based on previously developed Community Health Needs Assessments.
In February 2018, Congressman Dwight Evans endorsed the goals of this group.
Over the summer of 2018, our six subcommittees have been meeting (1) to prioritize needs; (2) to design quick-win projects, demonstrating the value of collaborative efforts; and (3) to outline longer-term strategies to help build the organization and maximize its impact.
The first public presentations of priorities, projects and strategies will take place at a Together for West Philadelphia retreat to be held at Lankenau Medical Center on Saturday, October 6, 2018.
I am excited to join the 2018 cohort in the hopes that other members of GPLEX 2018 will learn about Together for West Philadelphia and will be willing to offer their recommendations on how to maximize the impact of this new collaborative.
Barry D. Mann, MD is Chief Academic Officer, Main Line Health