Service Impact Award Winner: Philadelphia Health Corps
Over the next several weeks, we will be profiling the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards. Look for their stories and videos here on the blog.
Rising health care costs continue to hit extra hard for people with chronic illnesses who are uninsured or living on fixed incomes. Philadelphia Health Corps AmeriCorps members serve in the city's District Health Centers to help these patients gain access to medications through drug company prescription assistance programs.
Philadelphia's network of eight health centers provide comprehensive primary care to more than 80,000 people each year, 57 percent of whom have no health insurance. When uninsured people become patients at the city health centers, the city is responsible for subsidizing care, including their prescription medications.
Without Philadelphia Health Corps members helping patients navigate through the complicated system of prescription assistance programs, it could be very difficult for the city to afford the tremendous cost burden and patients would go without needed medications. For AmeriCorps members, this program is a great way to learn about the healthcare system, where many of them hope to have future careers as physicians and other health specialties.
The effort began with two AmeriCorps members in 2006 and has expanded to 16 members serving in eight health centers. During the past six years, this program has helped more than 12,646 patients gain free access to medications, saving the City of Philadelphia over $8.5 million. The Philadelphia Health Corps, based at the Health Federation of Philadelphia, is an operating site of the National Health Corps AmeriCorps program.
The opportunity for a diverse group of college kids to join together and work toward a single purpose is something that should not be taken for granted. Imagine a world in which this generation -- from both religious and nonreligious backgrounds -- comes together to serve their communities.
Summer is in full swing, and it's time for some healthy competition! Around the country, local organizations from churches to community centers are busy serving meals to kids through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a federally-funded program that provides free, nutritious meals and snacks to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need throughout the summer months when school is not in session.
Last week, the Corporation for National and Community Service participated in a historic moment when acting CEO, Robert Velasco II joined Members of Congress, service leaders, and 9/11 Day of Service partners on Capitol Hill where the National 9/11 Flag made a stop on its nationwide tour.
Each year the Corporation for National and Community Service recognizes innovative programs and outstanding volunteers with it’s Service Impact Awards. This year, the 2011 Service Impact awardees exemplify important achievements in the six focus areas as outlined by the 2011-2015 Strategic Plan – Education, Disaster Services, Healthy Futures, Economic Opportunity, Environmental Stewardship and Veterans & Military Families.
Last fall, about 360,000 youth, educators, and community partners began a year-long campaign to demonstrate the potential of education powered by service. Through the Learn and Serve Challenge, they pledged to engage in service-learning activities to help more young people understand how their education is relevant in the real world.