Temple Health, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University welcomed Senators Art Haywood, Jimmy Dillon, Sharif Street, and Christine Tartaglione to a press conference and roundtable discussion this February at Fox Chase to thank them for their efforts in securing $1.1 million for four Mobile Health Units.
“We really couldn’t be as good and strong as we are without this capital assistance. Your ongoing support is critical to us achieving a stronger financial foundation, and the stronger Temple and Fox Chase become, the more we can reinvest in our people and our facilities,” said Michael Young, MHA, FACHE, president and CEO of Temple Health.
With this funding, Fox Chase, the Katz School of Medicine, and the Temple Center for Population Health will be able to expand upon screening efforts within the community to provide a range of other preventive services, education, and referrals.
“Long before it became ‘best practice,’ Fox Chase recognized the need for cancer screening in the community. More than 38 years ago, we began bringing this critical service to people throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey,” said Robert Uzzo, MD, MBA, FACS, president and CEO of Fox Chase.
“With this infusion of support from our partners in the Commonwealth, combined with the support of private philanthropy, we are expanding our services with a next-generation Mobile Screening Unit, which will be delivered to Fox Chase soon,” he said.
Services provided by Fox Chase’s mobile screening unit will include:
- Screenings for cancers, including skin, cervical, and head and neck cancer, in addition to the breast screenings already provided
- Screening assessments that can determine eligibility for colorectal and lung screenings, along with appointments for those who are eligible
- Work with providers in vulnerable communities to screen for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a key risk factor for liver cancer, with referrals for follow-up care
- Bilingual cancer education on risk factors, symptoms, and screening guidelines
- Collection of biospecimens to learn more about cancer health disparities
The Center for Urban Bioethics at the Katz School of Medicine also received funding for two mobile units to deliver health and wellness programs across North Philadelphia:
- Begin the Turn, which provides direct treatment and street-side trauma-informed behavioral health counseling, as well as other medical and social services, to individuals affected by substance use disorder
- The Miriam Medical/Zion Baptist Church/Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine (MZT) Collaborative, which meets the community where they are to deliver important health services for diabetes, hypertension, mental illness, and other chronic health concerns while providing referrals to trusted providers, reviewing and reconciling medications, providing immunizations, and delivering health education
Additionally, the funding will allow the Temple Center for Population Health to build on services provided through its Healthy Together Mobile Unit. The unit is staffed by community health workers and includes services such as:
- Screenings for diabetes and its complications
- Foot examinations for wounds and chronic conditions through a partnership with Temple University’s School of Podiatry
- Screenings for social determinants of health related to housing, food, transportation, and interpersonal safety
- Expanding services related to behavioral health and community education on topics such as disease prevention, nutrition, smoking cessation, hypertension, and stroke awareness
“When barriers prevent our patients from coming to us, we can now go to them,” said Amy Goldberg, MD, FACS, dean of the Katz School of Medicine. “Instead of just a doctor’s bag we are showing up with advanced technology and screening tools that previous generations could have only dreamed of.”
Haywood, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, was instrumental in securing this funding. Haywood said he first saw the positive effects mobile clinics can have on a community while working as a member of former Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.
“It is such a joy for me to see the mobile clinics outside and to be here to see how the services are provided to do the early screenings. We all know early screenings save lives and it takes teamwork to get these funds approved,” said Haywood. “I have no doubt that providing screenings to people where they are is a critical part of our healthcare delivery system that we must continue to build out.”
His remarks were echoed by Dillon, who had the opportunity to tour Fox Chase for the first time just a few months ago.
“Mobile health units are a lifesaver. They bring healthcare right into the heart of our communities, especially in neighborhoods where people have less access to healthcare,” said Dillon. “Walking through this place and realizing all that Fox Chase does makes it very easy to advocate back in Harrisburg to make sure that healthcare funding is coming into people’s lives.”
The senators were able to get an up-close look at the screening units before presenting Temple Health with a check for $1.1 million. They then attended a luncheon and roundtable discussion on the priorities of the Commonwealth and Temple Health in their collective efforts to ensure access to equitable, high-quality health care, including screenings and treatments for residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania.