Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Temple Health Connection: A Successful Collaborative Model of Community-Based Primary Health Care

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Temple Health Connection: A Successful Collaborative Model of Community-Based Primary Health Care

Article excerpt

Abstract: Temple Health Connection exemplifies the education, research, and service missions of the university through the provision of culturally competent and effective primary health care. This article reports on the history and successes of a community-based, community-driven academic nursing center at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pender's Health Promotion Model has been used to guide the design of interventions, and theoretical propositions are related to community programs and projects. Demographic characteristics of the population served and statistics on both primary care and community outreach efforts are presented. Collaborative efforts are framed in terms of successful funding and programming initiatives.

Key Words: Academic Health Center, Community-Based Care, Underserved Communities

Temple Health Connection opened its doors in 1996 as the academic nursing center of the Department of Nursing in the College of Health Professions at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was one of several academic nursing centers funded in 1995 by the Division of Nursing in the Bureau of Health Professions of the federal Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Within the center, the Department of Nursing addresses the university's trifold mission of education, research, and service. Temple University has a strong history of commitment to the community in North Philadelphia where the university's main campus is located. Russell H. Conwell founded the university on the notion that there were "acres of diamonds" surrounding the initial site of instruction within the Baptist church that became Temple College in 1888. Temple College subsequently evolved into Temple University, a public research university of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania System of Higher Education, with seven campuses in the state of Pennsylvania as well as campuses in Tokyo, Japan and Rome, Italy. Temple University also offers educational programs in the People's Republic of China, Israel, Greece, Great Britain, France, and other countries throughout the world (Temple University, 2005).

The dream of Temple Health Connection began in 1993 with the advent of the white paper, Nursing's Agenda for Health Care Reform, co-authored by the American Nurses Association (ANA), the National League for Nursing (NLN), and Sigma Theta Tau International (Reifsnider, 1992). In response to President Clinton's call for health care restructuring, this white paper promoted grassroots nursing: nursing care provided in communities where people lived, rather than in large impersonal hospital settings. The participation of consumers in health care planning and delivery was a major component of this reform (Salsberry, 1993). Nursing's Agenda for Health Care Reform also emphasized personal responsibility for health. This was a significant shift in the philosophic underpinnings of the health care delivery system, with the nursing profession taking a major role in its implementation. In response to this white paper, a task force from the Temple University Department of Nursing was organized to document the feasibility of a nurse-run, nurse-managed health care center in North Philadelphia.

COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT AS A FIRST STEP TOWARD TEMPLE HEALTH CONNECTION

A community assessment was performed by senior student nurses during their community health rotation. They discovered the following environmental elements within a one-mile radius: 68 churches, 83 vacant lots, 7 vacant factories, 2 supermarkets, 60 corner stores, 18 check cashing centers, 3 banks, 2 police stations, 18 bars, 1 fire station, 4 Philadelphia Housing Authority developments, 17 schools, 4 day care centers, 14 medical clinics, 2 hospitals, and 10 pharmacies. Unemployment rates were high, educational levels were low, and the percent of residents living below the poverty level was as high as 66% in the census tracts assessed. Sixty-eight percent of the families were headed by single women. …

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