Health is a fundamental human right, and we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the same level of health and quality of life.
Dr. Rachel Levine
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health
Economic and social conditions like stress, employment, housing quality, and access to food have a profound effect on health.
Meeting health needs in Kensington
With funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, NKCDC is partnering with Jefferson University to train and hire Community Health Workers to address health needs in Kensington.
Sixteen Kensington residents have graduated as Community Health Workers, and 11 were hired by NKCDC as Health Connectors, conducting health screenings and matching neighbors to health care, healthy food, credit and budget counseling, and other social service resources.
What are Community Health Workers?
Community health workers bridge the gap between health care providers and patients. They advocate for patients and help them navigate the health systems and social support services available in their community.
The first assignment for NKCDC’s Health Connectors was to compile a database of resources, which they are now distributing in the community using an online screening tool developed by Jefferson University. By answering a short series of questions, Health Connectors are able to quickly match resources to an individual’s needs.
“Health Connectors walk through the neighborhood, station themselves at events and meetings, attend programs at local organizations, and keep regular hours at the NKCDC offices to connect residents resources that they may not be aware of,” said Lizette Lewis, who manages the group.
Social determinants of health
NKCDC’s Health Connectors initative is part of a state-funded Health Enterprise Zone demonstration project, aimed at improving health outcomes across North Philadelphia.
The project addresses the social determinants of health—economic and social conditions that have a profound effect on the health of individuals and communities. These determinants may include:
“Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age,” writes the World Health Organization. “These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities—the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.”