Making an Impact: The Philadelphia Foundation

For more than a century, the impactful work of The Philadelphia Foundation has been amplified through collaboration with community-minded individuals looking to make a significant and lasting impact on the Greater Philadelphia region.

Working with Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Foundation has helped make possible several initiatives to improve community health and wellness.

Einstein’s Pride Program is one of the beneficiaries of the foundation’s efforts. The program was established in 2015, following a response to an identified area of need for Einstein patients, and offers LGBTQ+ staff, patients, and their families a professional, safe and caring home for their healthcare needs. It offers a full scope of obstetric and gynecologic care, surgical services, hormone therapy, outpatient mental healthcare, and patient navigator support.

The program now has providers in five departments and has trained hundreds of Einstein employees on LGBTQ+ competency and sensitivity. “Pride plays a key role in Einstein’s designation as a top performer on the Healthcare Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign,” said Landes Blyth, MSW, LSW, newly appointed Program Manager of the Pride Program. “Pride has helped both employees and the community by making Einstein a more welcoming environment to all. By streaming resources into Pride, Einstein is showing they are here to build, educate, and expand regarding Pride initiatives.”

Thanks to a grant from the Philadelphia Foundation for the third consecutive year, Pride continues to build its provider network, giving patients more options for holistic care within the Einstein system. “We are working with Einstein’s IT Department to change its electronic medical records (EMR) so that every patient’s name, gender identity, and pronouns can be easily documented,” Blyth added. “The program also continues to work on making education for staff accessible through an online training program.”

Along with the Pride Program, The Philadelphia Foundation also supports Einstein’s expanded efforts to address food insecurity in the community. “We knew the pandemic would exacerbate this issue which had already been on the rise for our community and patients,” said Joan Boyce, Senior Director, Government Relations & Public Affairs, Einstein Healthcare Network. “To align with CoVID-19 precautions we adjusted the established distribution at the Fresh for All market to ensure we could keep people safe while maintaining this valuable community resource.”

In conversations with Philabundance, Einstein’s Fresh for All partner, an alternative was established which better aligned with necessary CoVID-19 precautions. Working in collaboration with the Liberti Network, led by Vito Baldini, Director of Mercy and Justice Ministries, and founder of the Small Things initiative, Einstein’s patients are now receiving food delivered to their homes once they are discharged from the hospital.

“Much of the success of the program is dependent on Einstein social workers’ ability to connect with patients, earn their trust and encourage those in need to accept help,” explained Boyce. “The positive partnership we have with the employees and willing volunteers at Philabundance, Liberti and the folks at Small Things, has been critical. In addition, the ongoing support from Einstein leadership in advocating for our communities has been crucial to the success of the program. We are continuously finding ways to impact the social determinants of health, including food insecurity, that are so pervasive within our neighborhoods.”

Emelia Pine, MSS, LCSW, Clinical Program Manager, ACO Complex Care, has been involved in the initiative. “When basic needs can be met, people can focus on other aspects of their life, such as physical and mental health. The prepared food option senior citizens can receive has been especially appreciated. This makes a great impact on both the patient and caregiver, who may be preparing an additional meal for their parent/family member, while also taking care of family members within their own household, which is even more stressful during these pandemic times. We truly appreciate the recognition of the importance of supporting Einstein patients in the community and food is at the very core of what one needs to feel secure.”