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Penn Medicine Reaches Out

UCHCFrom providing screenings for high blood pressure in West Philadelphia barber shops to arming women who are recovering from addiction with the skills to build new lives with their children, Penn Medicine’s employees reach far beyond our campus community to help, care for, and inspire people to improve their health. Each year since 2007, Penn Medicine has highlighted the work of its faculty, staff and students in Philadelphia and its neighboring communities in Simply Because. Last year’s book is full of the faces and stories of everyone who comes together to be part of these programs.

Production of this year’s book is underway now, and will be available early in 2013. This year, we’ll be featuring programs from across Penn Medicine – from longtime initiatives that grow to help more Philadelphia residents with each passing year to new, innovative ventures sparked with seed money from Penn Medicine CARES Foundation grants, which we’ve been detailing this year here on the News Blog.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the initiatives that will appear in this year’s Simply Because:

Opening Doors to Dreams

After a year and a half working on a busy surgical unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Brittney Williams, 17, knows how to juggle. “It’s a really fast-paced environment, and I’ve learned how to do five things at once, and communicate with lots of different people to get things done,” she says. Those are skills she’ll put to use long after the William L. Sayre High School senior has graduated from Penn Medicine’s Pipeline Program. She’s applying to more than half a dozen colleges, with lots of help from the colleagues and mentors she has gotten to know through her work at HUP.

Penn Medicine’s Pipeline Program, which began as a summer internship initiative five years ago to introduce students to health care career options, is now a two-year program for high school juniors and seniors which not only provides college credits through the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), but also professional development training and experience working in a health care setting. Read more about this unique program in a News Blog post from earlier this year.

Weighing In

Something as simple as a scale can prevent a patient from being readmitted to a hospital. It’s not medicine, but when the numbers start to tick up, the device can serve as an early warning sign that trouble is on the way. That’s especially true for heart failure patients, whose hearts are no longer strong enough to pump blood efficiently through their body, leaving the kidneys unable to function properly. As result, the body hoards extra fluid, taxing all its organs.

But not everyone has -- or can afford -- a scale. Nationwide, heart failure is a leading cause of hospital readmission -- some 25 percent of these patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of going home. This year, with an aim of helping her patients avoid that return trip by empowering them to monitor their own weight at home, Penn Medicine nurse Nora Brennan launched a program to provide scales to heart failure patients who need them.

Stay tuned for the 2013 edition of Simply Because to learn more about how Penn Medicine is reaching out. Subscribe to our News Blog (in the right column of this site) or visit the Penn Medicine CAREs web site for updates.

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