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Puentes de Salud – Providing “Bridges of Health” in a New Home Base


For nearly a decade, Puentes de Salud (“Bridges of Health”) has provided low-cost primary care and a range of educational and social services to the city’s Latino community at many locations throughout the area. The program has grown to be recognized as a national model for immigrant health and wellness.

Now, it has achieved a long-range goal: opening a permanent home.

Penn Medicine donated the space to establish the clinic, and its funds toward the $1.2 million renovation of the clinic set the stage for additional foundation grants and in-kind donations from area construction, engineering and supply companies.

The new 7,000-square-foot clinic and education center – its full name the Puentes de Salud Health and Wellness Center – is part of the Penn Medicine Rittenhouse campus, located at 17th and South Streets. Puentes, which was featured recently in the Philadelphia City Paper, has grown over the past decade since its founding to be recognized as a national model for immigrant health and wellness.

“You read a lot about the use of new research, technology and buildings in health care, but this is where it really happens, down here on the street,” said Kevin B. Mahoney,vice dean for Integrative Services, senior vice president and chief administrative officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “And it’s the passion and vision of the Puentes co-founders that we must recognize.”

Penn Medicine physicians Steven C. Larson, MD, an associate professor of Emergency Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Hospital’s own Jack Ludmir, MD, chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, co-founded Puentes in 2006. Both physicians share a common philosophy of maintaining low cost health care by preventing illness and addressing the socioeconomic factors that affect patient outcomes. “Our aim is to keep them out of the hospital,” Larson told the City Paper.

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