The People. The Places. The Reasons We Serve.

Project Overview


Improving health in a meaningful and lasting way is at the heart of what drives Penn Medicine’s missions in every domain. This calling inspires the passion and creativity of an extraordinarily talented and dedicated team of physicians and nurses, faculty, trainees, students, staff, and volunteers.

This commitment to patients’ health is grounded in the life-changing treatments made possible in Penn Medicine’s labs and clinics and the personalized care delivered throughout the health system. But health is also inextricably linked to the lives patients lead outside of a hospital’s walls. Having a clean and safe place to live and play, having enough healthy food to eat, and having access to regular health care all play a part.

The stories detailed here represent just a snapshot of the creative ways in which we meet this challenge. Every day, the people of Penn Medicine work alongside our community partners to provide compassionate care and connect people to the resources and tools they need to overcome barriers to better health. They vaccinate children against infectious diseases, teach students skills like bleeding control techniques that can save lives when minutes count, and deploy an array of innovative outreach efforts to offer testing for hypertension, glaucoma, cancer, and sexually transmitted infections. As the nation’s opioid epidemic continues to exact its deadly toll on our own community, our teams are also dedicated to connecting with individuals struggling with substance use disorders to build lasting bridges to recovery.

Our efforts take place wherever a need can be met—in community clinics provided in church basements, in schools, and even barber shops—as well as in our hospitals and outpatient centers. Some of the initiatives have become new standards of care and now serve as national models that cities across the nation are using to improve and save lives.

In our mission to serve our neighbors, we are strongest when we work together, making a difference through our collective talents and passions.

Penn Medicine is committed to providing the best care to patients no matter where they live, in whatever setting works best. Penn Medicine is made up of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Perelman School of Medicine. Our growing health system includes three acute care hospitals in Philadelphia, as well as Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and numerous hospitals and clinical practices across 27 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Improving the health of a community is essential to enhancing the quality of life for residents in the region and supporting future social and economic well-being. Every few years, Penn Medicine hospitals conduct collaborative Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) to identify and prioritize the health needs of residents in the many disparate communities we serve, particularly those who experience health inequities.

CHNAs help us identify data that drives new health outcomes measures and focus our efforts on creating and supporting programs that will have the greatest impact on the health and lives of those in our region. Because people only spend a fraction of their time in contact with the health care system, our efforts to improve the health of our populations focus on actual medical care but also the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age.

Top Issues Affecting Our Communities Include:

Penn Medicine CAREs logo


Penn Medicine faculty, staff, and students throughout the organization donate their time and expertise to provide countless hours of work to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve. The Penn Medicine CAREs grant program was established in 2011 to offer institutional support to these individuals and programs in the form of grants—awarded quarterly—that can be used for the purchase of supplies and other resources needed to perform this important work in the community. As of January 2024, the program has surpassed more than $1 million in funding in over 1,000 grant awards.