On October 19 the Eagles Eye Mobile visited ChesPenn’s Center for Family Health at Coatesville. In only a few hours, 18 children and teens received complete eye examinations, chose their frames, and took home two pairs of prescription glasses each. The children had previously been screened by ChesPenn clinical staff for vision problems.
Since 1996, the Eagles Eye Mobile has been making eye exams and prescription glasses accessible to under- and uninsured children in the Greater Philadelphia area. For the past seven years, the Eye Mobile has partnered with ChesPenn to provide two pairs of new glasses each for children and teens in our care.
Originally, the Eye Mobile was a single van with an optometry setup. Patients were examined, chose their frames, and came back in two weeks to pick up their glasses. Two years ago, they added a second van – a fully equipped laboratory that prepares the lenses, fits them to frames, and delivers the completed product within just minutes.
One family that has benefitted from this service has three children who all need corrective lenses. Their mom told us, “We could never afford glasses for our children without your help.”
We agree with former Philadelphia Eagles right guard G Germane Mayberry, who convinced the Eagles Charitable Foundation to creat the Eye Mobile, “If you’ve ever seen a child put on glasses for the first time and watched them get excited over seeing the definition of a leaf or words on the blackboard, then you’d know how good it feels for me to give back in this way.”
Chester County resident Ronn Fletcher has provided significant financial support over the years to make this important service possible. As a child, Ronn had severe vision challenges. He is passionate about helping children succeed in school by ensuring that they can see clearly. We are deeply grateful to Ronn and proud to partner with the Eagles Charitable Foundation to see that children and teens receive the vision care they need.
Sarah first came to ChesPenn’s Coatesville dental offices with concerns about her front teeth. She was embarrassed for people to see them and afraid to chew. Sarah had seen a dentist who insisted that she needed several crowns, but she had no insurance and had no idea how she could pay for such expensive care.
Sarah had worked for several years as a caregiver for a woman who was a ChesPenn patient. When she shared her anxiety about her dental health with her client, the client recommended she visit Dr. Barroso at ChesPenn.
Dr. Barroso developed a treatment plan for Sarah that she could afford. Our dental team gave her a beautiful smile, and more important, the ability to chew without being afraid of breaking a tooth. In sharing her experience, Sarah said, “Dr. B. and Carol are quite a team. They are so kind and caring! Dr. B. explains everything and she’s so gentle. My care has been outstanding. I don’t hold my hand over my mouth when I talk – and I can eat anything now. I feel healthier. I smile more.”
Dr. Tina Ahmadinejad is starting a fellowship in which she will care for patients known as “super utilizers” – men and women whose complicated health and socioeconomic challenges send them to the emergency room frequently. She will be teaching her patients how to manage their illnesses so that they can avoid hospital stays in the future.
Dr. Ahmadinejad just graduated from Crozer-Keystone Health System’s Family Medicine Residency Program. She and three other residents chose ChesPenn’s Center for Family Health at Upper Darby as their primary practice site. Inspired by her experience with our program, she plans to devote her career to community medicine.
Dr. Ahmadinejad reflected on her experience at ChesPenn, “I am so grateful that ChesPenn exists. I was able to get to know both my patients and their families – I don’t want to give them up. And the working relationship with the preceptors is intimate here. You really get their full attention. Dr. O’Kicki is an amazing teacher.”
ChesPenn partners with Crozer-Keystone Health Systems to provide a Family Medicine Residency Program grounded in community health care. Dr. Letitia O’Kicki, ChesPenn’s Medical Director, is also a faculty member in the program. Family Medicine residents who practice at ChesPenn develop an understanding of the challenges and needs of adults and children of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Many of their graduated residents have chosen to pursue community medicine as a calling.
According to Dr. William Warning, Director of Crozer-Keystone’s Family Medicine Residency Program, “We are training the next generation of family practitioners. And we are creating a multiplier effect: we train students who care for and teach their patients how to care for themselves. They will also interact with other physicians, teaching them the principles of community health care.” He added, “Our program is unique in the eastern United States. I appreciate ChesPenn’s support in making this exceptional learning experience possible.”
Dr. Ahmadinejad wants to work in a community health center after she completes her fellowship. A native of Delaware County, she also feels a strong connection to Upper Darby and Chester. We hope she will come back as a family medicine practitioner in the future!
With the help of our donors, staff, patients, and partner agencies, ChesPenn has developed a new logo. The design reflects the interdependence of these four members of the ChesPenn community.
And now we’re excited to unveil our beautiful new website! The website offers resources to all the members of our community – patients can find the information they need to receive care, partner agencies can refer their clients to our services, and donors can learn how we are leveraging their investments to improve community health. Patient and employee portals are also in the works.
We’ve also moved the site, so that our address reflects our nonprofit status. Visit us at chespenn.org. And take a look at our redesigned Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chespenn/. While you’re there, don’t forget to sign up for our e-newsletter!
We’re very grateful to our friends at Proforma Vindee for their partnership in creating this beautiful site, and to The Philadelphia Foundation for funding our entire rebranding project.
Change is happening at ChesPenn! As Community Hospital began the process of closing in January, the staff at our Center for Family Health at Community moved to our Eastside location. In May, we began renovations at Eastside to make space for the larger staff and increased number of patients.
Our plan is to create more examination rooms, more private spaces in reception for discussions of insurance and payment options, and to freshen the look of the entire center. When renovations are complete, we look forward to welcoming patients to a beautiful facility that will enhance their health and well-being.
We expect to complete renovations in August and invite the community for an unveiling in October. Many thanks to our great staff and wonderful patients for their flexibility as spaces shift. Stay tuned for more updates on our progress!
Meanwhile, the administrative staff have also relocated to the beautiful Baldwin Tower in Eddystone. The new offices provide plenty of meeting space and a beautiful reception area to welcome guests and staff. We’re easy to find and there is plenty of parking, so stop by and say hello!
Dr. Rekha Yagnik, ChesPenn’s founding Medical Director, was a passionate supporter of healthy development in children. She advocated strongly for early childhood literacy, initiating the Reach Out and Read Program, which provides a new book for every child from infancy through age 5. As part of the program, pediatricians not only provide the books – they model reading to children and prescribe family reading as part of a plan for healthy cognitive development in their patients.
When she noticed older siblings looking with longing at the books, Dr. Yagnik also created a plan to provide them with books. Dr. Yagnik knew that research has shown the importance of reading to children from infancy in supporting healthy brain development, and that as children grow, supporting a love of reading continues to support healthy development and lifelong learning. Put simply, children who read are more likely to be healthier and more successful throughout their lives.
When Dr. Yagnik passed away, her family requested that gifts be made in her memory to a new fund that would continue to support the purchase of books for ChesPenn’s pediatric patients. Generous family members and friends responded by creating a seed fund of $3,000. ChesPenn’s pediatricians continue Dr. Yagnik’s dedication to encouraging family literacy. If you would like to partner with us to ensure that every child in our community grows up reading and learning, consider making a gift to the Dr. Rekha Yagnik Memorial Fund. You can designate the gift by making it in Dr. Yagnik’s memory: https://tinyurl.com/yagnikfund.
Thank you to everyone who has honored Dr. Yagnik’s memory by supporting children’s literacy!