Mercy Suburban Grants SJU Health Promoter Project $65,000

Thursday, October 29, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 29, 2015) — Saint Joseph’s University’s Institute of Catholic Bioethics (ICB) recently received a $65,000 grant from Mercy Suburban Hospital in Montgomery County, Pa., to support its Health Promoter (HP) effort. The funds will aid current HP programs and will include the purchase of medical and dental equipment; the construction of medical exam and meeting rooms in Norristown’s St. Patrick’s Church; a stipend for graduate-level research to be conducted on the HP model; and continuing education for individual Health Promoters.

“By providing accessible health education and basic medical interventions in poor and underserved communities, the Mercy Health Promoter Model has contributed to the prevention of complex diseases and the management of chronic conditions in these populations,” says Peter Clark, S.J., director of the ICB and professor of theology and interdisciplinary health services at SJU. “We are grateful for this essential support from Mercy Suburban.”

The HP program is based on a successful model pioneered in the Dominican Republic, which was adapted by Father Clark and ICB associates for use in the United States and elsewhere. Health Promoters are well-respected individuals recruited from marginalized communities to serve as liaisons between health care professionals and community members, who may be uninsured or underinsured.

“We found that in many of these communities, people were not getting the health care they needed, and by the time they ended up in hospital emergency departments, their conditions could be life-threatening,” says Fr. Clark. “The Mercy Health Promoter Program provides these individuals with basic health care or information about where to obtain quality and affordable or free health care before the situation becomes dire. Education about healthy lifestyles is another program initiative.”

Through partnerships with established health care organizations, like sister hospitals in the Mercy system and other health care providers, the Mercy Suburban model has served as a paradigm for organizations in Philadelphia and beyond to adapt to the challenges of reducing health care costs, particularly in light of immigration.

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