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Advisor: Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH. Thomas Jefferson University.


An essential part of a non-profit hospital’s function is to serve its surrounding communities. In order to provide community benefits, federal law mandates that a needs assessment is conducted within the targeted communities at least every three years. The purpose of community benefit planning is to fulfill the hospital’s mission, coordinate the use of limited resources, and meet the IRS imperative for delivery of community benefits. This project was designed to fulfill the imperatives of the community benefit committee and provide beneficial services to local underserved communities. The goals for this project were to: 1) identify underserved populations within targeted neighborhoods, 2) assess the health and wellness of these populations, 3) present findings to the hospital’s community benefit committee, and 4) develop a strategic plan for the delivery of community benefits in these surrounding communities. Before desired beneficial services could be offered, it was necessary to conduct a needs assessment. The joint hospital and university committee analyzed the demographics of surrounding communities and determined that location proximate to the hospital campuses and poverty rates greater than 20% should be used to identify the areas of focus. The committee then selected two neighborhoods, Point Breeze and Grays Ferry, for priority focus given their location in the primary service areas of both campuses and their lack of resources. Following these decisions, the health of these communities was further explored using data from the Public Health Management Corporation’s 2008 Household Health Survey, the Philadelphia Department of Health, the US Census 2000 and focus groups. A number of health and other indicators were selected for analysis. These indicators include demographics, mortality and morbidity rates, preventive screening rates, maternal and child health indicators, health behaviors, and access and barriers to healthcare. Once these target communities were analyzed, a strategic plan was developed for the delivery of community health promotion programs. The focus of this plan was on primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight management.