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August 21, 2014, 5:57 pm

Drexel opens urban health program

Med school initiative seeks to close disparities


Drexel University College of Medicine has launched a new Office of Urban Health, Equity, Education and Research.

The office will be led by Dr. Ana E. Núñez, professor of medicine and the director of the college’s Women’s Health Education Program, as well as principal investigator of its National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

“Regrettably, health inequities are prevalent. Whether it’s age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual minority, immigrant, single-parent household status, etc., not everyone has access to the same level of health education and health care delivery,” said Núñez.

“As innovative as the Philadelphia health care community is in terms of research, medical school curricula, and health care delivery, we can still promote our excellence to a higher level by improving our outreach to and engagement with the communities we serve.”

In directing Drexel’s new Office of Urban Health Equity, Education and Research, Núñez and her team will work with various constituencies to engage and sustain the urban communities of Philadelphia by providing a dedicated office that connects urban-based health advocates and citizens with expert health care providers.

The office will also convene conversations with citizens and health care providers to seek solutions to complex health care issues, bring the important perspectives of gender, trauma and social networks to research and education in health care delivery and promote an urban culture that values health and wellness.

“The goal of our office is to work together to promote self-care and health, and to identify and replicate models with a realistic approach that will have a larger impact so that people become better, more informed health advocates – for themselves, their family, friends and colleagues,” said Núñez.

Núñez is currently the principal investigator on a community-centered initiative funded by the Department of Health & Human Services called the Philadelphia Ujima™ Project, one of 10 nationwide sites that serve as models of effective outreach and care.

“Based upon our ongoing success with the Philadelphia Ujima, we have a robust network of community collaborators and a model that has proven to be effective,” Núñez said.

“We are excited about expanding our current collaborations and identifying new individuals and organizations who wish to bring a movement of health awareness and self-advocacy into our vibrant, diverse city.”