Connecting to Better Health

Program Service Link
Location West Philadelphia
Health Need Health Care Access & Navigation
Funded with Support From

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to turn for help. For underserved and disproportionately affected patients living in Philadelphia, the road to housing, transportation, and insurance, among other social determinants of health, remains a challenging one. Penn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives interdisciplinary, student-volunteer program Service Link aims to make this process smoother by helping connect this population directly to public benefits and community resources, such as health insurance, utility assistance, and legal support, that can improve their health and overall wellbeing.

“We help in small ways and in big ways,” said Varshini Gali, a Penn undergraduate student and director of operations for Service Link. “To work with patients over weeks and months to help them figure out how to navigate their transportation or housing needs, for example, is gratifying. But I think one of the best things we do is provide a listening ear to a lot of people. It’s facetime just for them.”

Social Determinants of Health in Philadelphia
Health Insurance
total uninsured (up to 30% in some neighborhoods)
of non-citizen immigrants are uninsured
unsheltered homeless
Up to
miss or reschedule appointments because of unreliable transportation
are food insecure
patients helped by Service Link since 2014
Penn student volunteers per year
Public health
Graduate studies
volunteers Created with Sketch.
Service Link locations
Penn Family Care at Penn Presbyterian
Penn Center for Primary Care Refugee Clinic
University City Hospitality Coalition
United Community Clinic
Unity Clinic
Common Place Dance for Health
Sayre Rec Center Steps for Health
How Service Link Supported Patients in 2019
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