Esperanza Health Center (EHC), a faith-based federally-qualified health center (FQHC) serving the predominantly Latino and African American neighborhoods of North Philadelphia, was awarded a $4 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) to support the expansion of critical health and wellness services in the Kensington community and surrounding neighborhoods. The funding will allow EHC to expand on existing medical, behavioral health, and wellness services offered at its Kensington health center site, while also providing opportunities to develop new health initiatives at Esperanza Health Center’s new community wellness center, The CORE.
Susan Post, EHC’s Chief Executive Officer said: “Since our founding in 1989, we have been following a vision for whole-person healthcare in North Philadelphia. We continue to learn the importance of community engagement to improve health and wellness and reduce health disparities. It is an extraordinary honor to have Pew’s support to help us propel this vision forward. In partnerships with our Kensington neighbors, we look forward to having an even greater impact on generations to come.”
Support from the Pew grant will enable EHC to better address the significant health disparities—including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, prenatal and perinatal health, opioid use disorder, and adult mental health—that are most common among its patient population and community residents. Pew grant funds will support: the addition of two new primary medical care hubs and one dental operatory; expanded behavioral health services for individuals and families, including group therapy and peer counseling; and, a robust fitness center and new community programming available at The CORE building.
Kristin Romens, the project director for the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services, said, “Pew is very pleased to support Esperanza Health Center’s commitment to providing care that integrates the highest-quality clinical services with behavioral health and social supports in underserved Philadelphia communities. With the expansion of its programs and outreach, we believe EHC will help even more individuals and families in Kensington and surrounding neighborhoods achieve overall wellness and better health outcomes.”
EHC is excited to introduce The CORE—a new four-story, 24,000 square foot facility located adjacent to the Kensington health center site—which will serve as a gathering space in the heart of Kensington where EHC will offer a diverse and broad range of spaces and programs that promote inclusivity, wellness and health for all community members and EHC patients. In addition to the fitness center, the facility features meeting spaces for nutrition, health education, and wellness classes, an open gymnasium, outdoor terrace, and an event space available for the community and other organizations to host gatherings and celebrations.
With Pew’s support, EHC will expand its comprehensive primary medical, dental, behavioral health, and community wellness services. Debra Ortiz-Vasquez, Director of Community Health and Wellness, said: “Our hope is to address the social determinants of health that make up 60-80% of our health determined by inequitable social, economic, built, and physical conditions that exist in the communities we serve. We strive to create shared spaces for increased social interactions and less isolation, where community can be created and fostered, where opportunities to build resiliency are offered and a place where equitable access to wellness is readily available for all in order to feel empowered to make the necessary changes to be well in their person, family, neighborhood, and community.”
For more information on The Pew Charitable Trusts’ support for Philadelphia-area health and human services organizations and the people and communities they serve, visit pewtrusts.org/pewfund. And for more information on Esperanza Health Center, visit esperanzahealth.com.