Student Mentoring Program at Esperanza

Training a Future Generation of Christian Health Professions Leaders

For years, Esperanza Health Center has participated with numerous medical and graduate health professions schools as a site where students can complete required clinical rotations in areas such as family medicine. These rotations have helped students gain an understanding of the complexities of health care in an urban setting, and have led some to pursue careers in underserved communities. In 2015, Esperanza’s Student Mentoring Program was established with the goal of cultivating in-depth, personal mentorship for Christian health professions students, helping them to integrate their faith and their clinical experiences. Each student in the program is paired with an Esperanza clinician mentor for the duration of their graduate studies. As David Feister, Esperanza’s Medical Department Administrator, explained: “The vision of this program is to provide a way to dive deeper into student mentorship by creating a context for both clinical development and relationship building over the course of students’ training.” 

One of the program’s eight current participants is Claire Shaffer (photo, R), a third-year medical student at the Temple University School of Medicine. She has been paired with Amaris Allan, M.D., Esperanza’s Fifth Street Site Medical Director as her mentor. “I was almost sure I wanted to participate after I did SMI [Summer Medical Institute] between my first and second year and got to spend some time with doctors from Esperanza during those weeks,” said Claire.  “It has been wonderful to get to know [Dr. Allan] and for her to get to know me 
– it makes such a difference to have somebody you trust to go to with questions or share concerns with!”

Zachary Lorenz (photo, L), a second-year student at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College, was one of the initial program participants in the fall of 2015; his mentor is Timothy Leaman, M.D., Kensington Site Medical Director at Esperanza. “The process of becoming a doctor is a long one that I have only just begun,” said Zachary. “But, I’ve already seen God use the process to continue to to grow and mold me into the physician he intends me to be. It helps to be surrounded by people who I think speak to that vision, such as Dr. Leaman.”  

As Claire explained, her experiences at Esperanza have impacted her understanding of patient-clinician relationships: “Now that I have done several rotations at Esperanza, I think what I took away most was the way that clinicians loved even the frustrating patients, and the hope that they had for patients in situations that were very difficult. I have rarely gotten to hug my patients since my rotation at Esperanza, and now that I sit down to think about it I miss that!” 

Congratulations to our APEX Award Winners!

We’re excited to announce that three members of Esperanza’s staff and Board of Directors received 2016 APEX Awards for Primary Care Excellence from the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC)! 

  • Rob Reich, PA-C, Director of Care Management at Esperanza (photo, far right) received the APEX Innovation Award;
  • David “Coz” Crosscombe, President of Esperanza’s Board of Directors (second from right) received the APEX Community Ambassador Award;
  • Alejandra Tarquino, Integrated Health Services Coordinator at Esperanza (third from right) received the APEX Customer Service Excellence Award.

Esperanza staff members also shown above (L to R) include Bryan Hollinger, MD, MPH, Medical Director; Susan Post, D.Min, MBA, Executive Director; and Leslie Book, LCSW, Director of Behavioral Health.  

Esperanza Celebrates National Diabetes and Breast Cancer Awareness Months

Image result for american diabetes awareness monthEsperanza is celebrating National Diabetes Awareness Month this November by bringing diabetes awareness and education to those walking into the clinic! Diabetes is now the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the CDC; over 29 million Americans are believed to have the disease, 8.1 million of whom remain undiagnosed. While diabetes has a high prevalence in our North Philadelphia community, many residents with the disease are undiagnosed or lack access to needed diabetes care. At our Hunting Park site, students from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing will help patients to complete diabetes risk-assessment forms, answer questions, and provide diabetes-related resources. Esperanza provides highly-coordinated care for our patients with diabetes, including “Diabetes Days” that combine primary care visits with nutrition counseling, and that focus on encouraging patients in diabetes self-care. Said Christina Chong, RD, LDN, CDE, Dietitian/Diabetes Educator at our Kensington site: “We want our community to know that this month, our aim is to recognize and encourage those we know living with diabetes. We are excited about our diabetes initiatives and hope to grow and improve them for the future!” 

And, as part of Esperanza’s celebration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, a representative from the Susan G. Komen Foundation visited with members of our “Young at Heart” Seniors group on October 25th to share about breast cancer awareness and detection. Many  of our Seniors were decked out in pink for the occasion! 

We’re Hiring!

We’re seeking qualified, committed people to join us in advancing our mission to serve God in our North Philadelphia community. Check out our current openings and apply online at  

Give Today to Support Esperanza!

Your generous gift will enable us to provide quality, Christ-centered care and many other services, such as integrated diabetes care and nutrition counseling, to those in our medically-underserved North Philadelphia community who need them most. Please click the link below to make a secure, online donation – all gifts to Esperanza are tax-deductible. Thank you!                                          

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