Philly Legal: These Sectors Are on the Right Side of the Law

by Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — Over the last few years, Philadelphia’s legal sector has seen a steady flow of law firms entering the market as well as local firms expanding in and outside the region. As the market gets more concentrated, many firms are betting on key growth areas to expand their practices. 

According to Invest: interviews with leading legal voices in the Philly area, health and life sciences, technology, real estate and finance are some of the sectors keeping attorneys busy. With a diverse business ecosystem in Philadelphia, firms like Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C. are experiencing high demand in commercial business, especially in the areas of banking, leasing, real estate financing and real estate development.

“We also have seen growth in our employment practices area, in part due to the #MeToo movement, which is generating many more workplace claims. Commercial litigation is also a growth area for us,” Mitchell Kaplan, managing shareholder at Zarwin Baum, told Invest:. “But we are currently seeing the most growth in our data privacy and cyber-liability department. That department gets involved in the training of businesses to prevent data leaks and breaches. We provide training, prevention and breach response,” Kaplan said. 

Similarly, St. Louis-based Armstrong Teasdale LLP is growing its intellectual property presence in Philadelphia as a result of the increasing demand in technology litigation around the country. “Intellectual property services, whether it be trademark, patents or copyrights, are required by any business. We support our clients with many trademark and retail issues. For example, in the science, healthcare and pharmaceutical fields, we do a lot of patents and protection of intellectual property. There is high demand for intellectual property services in Philly,” Armstrong Teasdale’s Eastern U.S. Partner and Leader Richard Scheff said in an interview with Invest:. 

According to an article from The Legal Intelligencer, Pennsylvania-based firms saw demand growth of 2.6 percent last year, slightly above the industry average of 2.3 percent. One of the benefits of Philadelphia’s legal sector is the presence of 20 Fortune 500 companies and over 75 Fortune 1000 companies. 

Besides technology and intellectual property services, financial institutions and real estate companies are particularly robust areas for Philadelphia’s legal sector. “Blank Rome’s Real Estate and Financial Services practices are very strong, particularly in Philadelphia. Both continue to be core areas of our law firm with a strong national presence,” Alan J. Hoffman, chairman at Blank Rome LLP, told Invest:.

Finance and technology also form part of Duane Morris LLP’s Top 5 sectors in terms of revenue and areas of focus. “About 85% of our revenue is in the following industries: financial institutions, health and life sciences, technology and telecommunications, infrastructure (including construction and energy) and finally, retail and consumer products. Those areas are our focus across the firm and in Philadelphia, which is our largest office with over 200 lawyers,” Matthew Taylor, chairman & CEO at Duane Morris LLP, told Invest: 

Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group’s Q2 2019 report projects a good year in 2019 relative to earlier post-recession years, although it will be a challenge for the industry to see a repeat of 2018’s strong performance.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C.: https://www.zarwin.com/ 

Armstrong Teasdale LLP: https://www.armstrongteasdale.com/ 

Blank Rome LLP: https://www.blankrome.com/ 

Duane Morris LLP: https://www.duanemorris.com/ 

Banks increasing support for Philly’s growing small businesses sector

Banks increasing support for Philly’s growing small businesses sector

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — The economic environment in Philadelphia, with many world-class educational and healthcare institutions, a diverse population and affordable rents, represent an ideal space for entrepreneurs to start their small or medium-size businesses. At the heart of the small-business community is an industry that plays an essential role: banking.

 

Many Philadelphia banking leaders say they have seen increased demand for lending and other services from small businesses. “Philadelphia has long been home to successful small businesses, but in recent years the collaboration between the public, private and nonprofit sectors is spurring a new level of growth,” Robert Kane, market president at KeyBank, told Invest:. 

 

According to Kane, KeyBank ranks 13th among more than 1,800 SBA lenders nationally. In the last five years, the bank has loaned more than $1.13 billion to small businesses across its footprint.  

Similarly, Philadelphia is one of the largest portfolios in BB&T’s footprint for small business. In an interview with Invest:, Regional President Greater Delaware Valley/Lehigh Valley Region for BB&T Travis Rhodes explained that the number of small business clients the bank is serving in Philadelphia is disproportionately larger than any other market in BB&T’s footprint. As a result, it created the “Bank on Your Success” initiative, which is directed to this community. 

“This free financial knowledge program helps entrepreneurs begin to understand the value of an income statement, a balance sheet and other banking basics. When they begin to think about their kind of profitability, how to manage their short-term assets, receivables and inventory, this education is essential. That education is ultimately what prepares somebody to be able to withstand or to handle the next downturn, because it helps them understand the levers of a company,” Rhodes said. 

Some of the biggest challenges small businesses face are improving cash flow, reducing operating costs, improving financial wellness, balancing growth with quality and hiring and retaining talented employees. To help mitigate those challenges, Keybank has developed Key@Work, which is a comprehensive, no-cost employee financial wellness program. 

“We also have a program, Key4Women, that supports the financial progress of women in business. It’s a great program, offering mentorship opportunities, access to capital and professional development,” Kane said.  

The small-business sector also helps banks to maintain a local presence. “We have small-business relationship managers who know the people in the community and become the point of contact for growing their small-business loans. Business sales also come with a lot of deposits, and that’s been a very healthy growth vehicle for us over the last couple of years,” Rodger Levenson, CEO of WSFS Bank, said in an interview with Invest:. 

Small businesses also have a significant impact on Philadelphia’s employment. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia 2019: State of the City report, about 26% of private sector employees in the Philadelphia region worked in small businesses in 2017, a number that was typical for the comparison regions. Also, 17% of Philadelphia employees worked in firms with fewer than 19 employees, second-highest behind the Boston region.

“Small business continues to be the primary generator of jobs and economic activity, not just in Philadelphia but in our entire region. And we see significant growth in our small-business lending activity over the next few years,” Levenson said.  

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

KeyBank: https://www.key.com/small-business/index.jsp 

BB&T: https://www.bbt.com/small-business.html 

WSFS Bank: https://www.wsfsbank.com/Small-Business 

Philadelphia Readies the Fireworks for Iconic July 4 Bash

by Yolanda Rivas

2 min read July 2019 — When it comes to celebrating America’s birthday, few do it like Philadelphia. From spectacular fireworks displays and public concerts to festivals and parades, the City of Brotherly Love has one of the biggest and most popular Fourth of July celebrations in the nation. 

 

Among the most iconic local celebrations is the six-day Wawa Welcome America festival. With over 50 free multicultural events, the city, chambers of commerce, tourism organizations, local universities and dozens of public and private organizations come together to celebrate the nation’s birthday.

“The Wawa Welcome America festival continues to enhance Philadelphia’s national reputation as a must-visit destination, with show-stopping, diverse and most importantly, entertainment experiences that are open to the public,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a written statement. 

To offer families and guests an enhanced experience, the activities this year will have a new layout design for the July 4th Party on the Parkway and July 4th Concert & Fireworks. “Spending the day with us on the Parkway will be better than ever before; we are really excited to have our guests take advantage of this expanded layout,” explained Welcome America Inc. President and CEO Michael DelBene, in a statement outlining the event. 

Attendees will also have free entrance to 22 local museums, attractions and cultural institutions during the 2019 Wawa Welcome America festival. This year marks the largest number of museums participating in the festival’s 27-year history. 

The activities on the 4th of July will start with the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at Independence Hall, presented by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of the City Representative and Independence National Historical Park. The event will include a reading of The Declaration of Independence and a performance by the Philly POPS® BIG Band. Mayor Jim Kenney will present the fourth annual Magis Award and convenience-store chain Wawa will announce the recipient of The Wawa Foundation Hero Award. 

After this ceremony, 4,000 marchers, floats, and military personnel will begin the Salute to America Independence Day Parade. From noon to 7 p.m. visitors can enjoy numerous entertainment activities across five blocks at Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

This year’s concert, produced by Live Nation Philadelphia and Comcast NBCUniversal, will feature performances from GRAMMY® Award-winning singers Meghan Trainor and Jennifer Hudson. 

“The City of Philadelphia is proud to welcome GRAMMY® Award-winning superstars Meghan Trainor and Jennifer Hudson to our great city, as well as shine a spotlight on Philadelphia native Patti LaBelle along with the hundreds of talented entertainers performing leading up to July 4,” said Mayor Kenney.

The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony and Salute to America Independence Day Parade will be broadcasted by NBC10 and Telemundo62 on July 4 at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively. NBC10 will also broadcast the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert and Fireworks live from 7-10 p.m.

“This year, we embrace time-honored traditions to celebrate the city’s diverse neighborhoods, thriving creativity, and global appeal. With over 50 free, family-friendly events, we invite everyone to join the fun, and commemorate our nation’s independence,” said DelBene. 

For more information, please visit: 

Wawa Welcome America: https://welcomeamerica.com/ 

Philly POPS®: https://www.phillypops.org/ 

Meghan Trainor: https://www.meghan-trainor.com/ 

Jennifer Hudson: https://jenniferhudsononline.com

Baby boomer retirees keeping accountants, advisers busy

By staff writer

June 2019 — As the baby boomer generation retires from the workforce, the need for business succession planning continues to grow. This is keeping at least one group busy: accountants and advisers.

 

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen significant growth in the need for succession and exit planning services due to the concentration of businesses that are owned by baby boomers who are retiring on a daily basis,” Christopher Meshginpoosh, managing director of Kreischer Miller, told Invest:. “Many of the owners of our clients are trying to fill their bench of future leaders or determine which exit options make sense for them in light of their long-term goals,” he said.

Although boomers are staying longer in the workforce and they continue to drive the U.S. labor market, business owners who were born between 1946 and 1964 are having a hard time transitioning their companies to the next generation of owners. According to Deutsche Bank Research an estimated 10,000 people turn 65 each day, which is the standard age for retirement. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65.

“There is potential for a talent void as baby boomers leave the workplace. This represents a tremendous opportunity for younger professionals as they are presented with more career opportunities,” James Bartolomei, Principal at HBK CPAs & Consultants, told Invest:.

The increased number of boomers retiring each day presents several challenges for employers, including the need to provide the right tools for every party involved in the transition process. “Companies need to make sure they have mentoring and training programs in place to allow a smooth and effective transition from one generation to another,” Bartolomei said.

Some accounting and advisory firms, such as Kreischer Miller, have seen a great deal of interest in the formation of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), which has driven them to develop a deep expertise in that area.

“In the right situations, ESOPs provide a tax-efficient method for owners to gradually transition ownership to their employees, allowing the business to continue to thrive as an independent organization,” Meshginpoosh said.

According to Generational Equity, there were some 12 million baby boomers who owned a business in 2015, and 70 percent will be retiring over the next couple decades.

Although the exit of the boomers from the workforce presents numerous challenges for the economy overall, it translates into opportunities for the youngest generations. Many Philadelphia accounting experts are positive about the market.

“The fundamentals that our clients are showing us are great. Earnings are good, the businesses are solid and they’re growing organically as well as through acquisitions. Overall, the Philadelphia economy is expanding and we’ll continue to see a lot of private equity pumped into the Philly market,” Christopher Bruner, managing partner of EY, told Invest:.

For more information about our interviewees visit:

Kreischer Miller: https://www.kmco.com/

HBK CPAs & Consultants: https://www.hbkcpa.com/

EY: https://www.ey.com/en_gl

 

Philadelphia Grows Online Education Presence

By staff writer

June 2019

2 min. read

Credit: Neumann University

Over the last several decades, online education has been growing, not only at for-profit universities, where it once thrived, but at public academic institutions as well. An average of one- third of students in the United States are taking at least one online course. Invest: Philadelphia met with several leaders of local higher-education institutions to understand which online programs are attracting the most attention in the area.

A recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed that approximately 49% of the 1.3 million students enrolled at private for-profit institutions were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses in fall 2017. On the other hand, 19% of the 4.1 million students at private nonprofit institutions and 11% of the 14.7 million students at public institutions were enrolled in distance courses.

Health sciences and data and cyber analytics are some of the online courses that are experiencing growth in the Philadelphia area.  

“We started an online program for doctors in pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing, and last year we received the endorsement of the American Osteopathic Association,” Joseph DiAngelo, dean of Erivan K. Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University, told Invest:.

Similarly, Arcadia University is expanding its online courses in the health sciences area.

“At Arcadia, we have a big focus on health sciences innovation, with nationally-ranked programs in our physical therapy and physician’s assistant degrees. Both of these degrees will see investments in a hybrid online version of the programs, which will make us one of the very few institutions in the world delivering those programs through an online platform,” Ajay Nair, President of Arcadia University told Invest:.

A survey entitled Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States showed that the percent of academic leaders who rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face instruction grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013. In addition, most survey respondents agree that students require more responsibility and discipline to take online courses, and the abandonment of the courses remains one of the challenges of online education.

Jefferson University recently announced the country’s first ever graduate-level certification for blockchain for healthcare. The online course is focused on exploring the fundamentals of blockchain and related technologies that can be leveraged to improve healthcare and empower patients. Upon completion of this program, students will be able to advance in their careers as Business Analysts, Technology Engineers, Hospital Administrators, Data Analysts and more.

Neumann University also is moving to a significant online education offering, as Chris Domes, president at Neumann University, told Invest:. “In the last few years, we ramped up our online programming and we just invested in an instructional designer who will help the faculty to enhance online learning for our students. We are moving all our graduate programs to become either fully online or blended,” he said.  

The 2019 Online Education Trends Report from BestColleges showed that school administrators’ predictions about which programs will grow have remained fairly steady for the past two years. They are seeing opportunities for programs in healthcare, business, and computer science.

For more information about our interviewees visit:

Erivan K. Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University: https://www.sju.edu/academics/haub-school-business

Arcadia University: https://www.arcadia.edu/

Neumann University: https://www.neumann.edu/

Jefferson University: https://www.jefferson.edu/

 

 

Philly Builders Nailing New Trends

By staff writer

June 2019

Philadelphia’s construction sector has been experiencing a boom over the last couple of years. The influx of millennials and a mix of renovation and new construction projects have been altering the city’s construction industry. Along with these changes, industry professionals are seeing a variety of new trends in the market. Invest: Philadelphia met with local industry leaders who shared some of the new construction trends that are having the most impact on the city.  

Among the leading growth drivers is prefabricated modular building, Robert Cottone, president and CEO of IMC Construction, told Invest:. “IMC is engaged in a number of applications for prefabricated hospital rooms, bathrooms and panelized construction. This type of construction has significantly increased compared to years past. Modular construction can be efficient; often, quality control is improved, and deliverables are expedited,” he said.

Todd Lofgren, executive vice president and general manager at Skanska USA Building, Inc., agreed with Cottone. “There is a lot of opportunity with innovation and prefabrication in our industry,” he said in a separate interview with Invest:.

Also trending is the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) method, which is a collaborative approach that integrates the owner, design and construction teams and key subcontractors to optimize project results, increase value, reduce waste and maximize efficiency.

“We’re seeing that clients are looking to partner with construction managers earlier in the construction project where the construction manager can have an influence on the design of the building, the budget, and the schedule,” Lofgren said. “This allows the construction manager and the architect to work together as a team to ensure the quality of the project. Skanska’s Inspira Health hospital is being built under the IPD method and is Skanska’s largest IPD project in North America,” he added. The Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill is a $349 million hospital project in New Jersey.

Philadelphia’s history is reflected in its diverse historic and modern architecture. The Comcast Technology Center, the Laurel apartment building in Rittenhouse Square and uCity Square Philadelphia are just some of the examples of the most recent innovative projects in the city. The University of Pennsylvania is also working on a state of the art hospital facility to offer improved healthcare delivery. “We are also on Penn Medicine’s New Patient Pavilion, Penn First, which is a $1.5 billion high-tech hospital. We have one of our top budget managers working in that project and we aim for Penn First to be the most modern hospital in the country,” Blane F. Stoddart, President and CEO of BFW Construction Project Management told Invest:.

Another example is the DWELL apartment complex at 2nd Street, which is expected to be completed by December 2019. “The project will include 198 apartments and 120 of the units will be modular, which is a concept that seems to be getting more of a push in Philadelphia because of increasing construction costs,” Scott Zuckerman, principal at Domus Construction told Invest:. “Modular construction and smaller, efficiency-style apartments are trends we’ll continue to see in Philly.”

The modular process not only reduces the time frame and costs, it is also friendly to the environment since it generates less waste, creates fewer site disturbances and allows for tighter construction.

Renovation projects that are turning existing spaces into new inventory are another trend, particularly in Center City’s retail construction segment. Converting existing warehouses into spaces with other uses is also gaining steam as the construction boom continues to build momentum.  

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

IMC Construction: http://imcconstruction.com/

Skanska USA Building, Inc.: https://www.usa.skanska.com/

Domus Construction: http://www.domusinc.net/

BFW Group LLC: https://bfwgroup.net/

 

American Heritage Keeps Growing, Giving Back

By staff writer

May 2019

American Heritage Credit Union has made the news many times lately — and the pace of breaking developments is only going to speed up as the esteemed Philadelphia institution continues growing at a rapid clip. Yet the financial institution’s focus will never change a key aspect of its operations, according to CEO and President Bruce K. Foulke.

“All our efforts are driven to directly benefit our members and give back to the communities where our members and employees live and work,” said Foulke, who has seen American Heritage’s assets grow from $4 million to more than $2.5 billion during his 40-year tenure. “That’s the heart of American Heritage.”

Last year, the $2.5 billion, member-owned financial cooperative with locations across Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Camden counties was named the top credit union in Pennsylvania by Forbes and the market research firm Statista. Recently, it was named “Best Place to Work” in the extra-large companies category by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

It’s on many national top-50 and top-100 credit union lists, too. “We began as a small credit union in Philadelphia 70 years ago,” said Foulke. “We were the only financial institution in a two-mile radius in our part of Philadelphia when we started. Today, we have more than 38 locations in the Philadelphia area.”

But that doesn’t mean that American Heritage has become like the other financial powerhouses in the state, he added. “Credit unions offer a special experience compared to a traditional banking institution. We’re a non-profit organization, and our members are also our owners. So we don’t have shareholders we need to satisfy. Whether it’s in the form of lower fees, better technology, or better rates, we’re focused on solutions that make our members’ lives better.”

Indeed, American Heritage is making big investments in delivering best-in-class convenience. The credit union continues growing its branch network throughout the Philadelphia and South Jersey region with more and more locations — all with surcharge-free ATM access to the public.  Additionally, it gives free ATM access to members at more than 30,000 locations.

American Heritage has also made significant investments in innovative, transformational technologies. It was the first financial institution in the tri-state area to introduce video tellers, for example. Its technology offers “personalized service and extends our hours, which allows our members to make transactions on a schedule that meets their needs,” said Foulke, who added that American Heritage’s Personal Automated Tellers are being implemented throughout the credit union’s network in branches, workplaces and in drive-thru locations.

A key benefit that comes with the implementation of new technologies, he said, is the increased connectivity with experts and personnel in different locations, as well as later hours. “We’re also adding video conferencing to all our offices so that members can have that personal interaction with our financial experts right at their fingertips, no matter where their branch of choice is located,” Foulke said.

Both the video conferencing and the Personal Automated Tellers are helping American Heritage become less transactional and more consultative — which in turn improves its personalized service. That type of attention and community focus will remain American Heritage’s priority despite technological advancements, Foulke said.

“The Philadelphia area is a region of unique neighborhoods, and although in recent years we have enjoyed significant growth in our technology, membership base, workplace partner relationships and expansion into the suburbs and New Jersey, we don’t forget our roots and the communities from which we were built.”

Indeed, American Heritage invests heavily in local neighborhoods through donations, volunteer hours and lending programs. In fact, American Heritage was the first credit union in the country to start its own Foundation, Kids-N-Hope, which has contributed more than $2 million since its inception to underwrite health programs, schools, child programs, parks and recreational activities throughout Philadelphia and its suburbs.

In addition, “our lending programs have helped businesses grow, creating jobs and revitalizing badly needed parts of our city,” Foulke said. “Through our lending efforts to families, businesses and non-profits, we’ve been able to provide true economic development opportunities.”

“Despite all the success and growth that American Heritage has enjoyed, our members can still contact me directly through our website or by calling me.  I still welcome the personal interaction with our members. Ultimately, the impact that our credit union, its members and employees have had on the community is my greatest source of pride.”

For more information about our interviewees, visit their website:

American Heritage Federal Credit Union: https://www.americanheritagecu.org/

 

 

Salus University Awards Medal of Honor to University President

By Salus University

April 2019

Elkins Park, Pa. – It takes a special community to ensure that Salus University continues to be a leader in health science education, just like its founding College, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), set out to do 100 years ago. That’s why on Friday, April 26, 2019 at the Science History Institute, 10 individuals will be awarded the first-ever Salus University Presidential Medals of Honor to commemorate an important milestone: 10 years of the establishment of Salus University.

The award ceremony will be part of a larger centennial celebration of PCO. The new recipients for the medals were nominated by the University’s Centennial Committee. Each recipient was chosen for their significant contributions to their profession and/or for their service to the institution.

Among those to receive the first-ever Salus University Presidential Medals of Honor is Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, FAAO, FACHE, Salus University president.

“The Salus Board is thrilled that Dr. Mittelman is being recognized for his achievements at PCO, Salus as well as being an ‘ambassador’ for the school while serving in the Navy,” said Jo Surpin, Salus University Board Chair. “As president he has provided the leadership necessary to continue the transition from PCO to Salus University while preserving our legacy.”

Dr. Michael H. Mittelman served with distinction for more than three decades in the United States Navy in a succession of increasingly responsible, mission-critical command positions, and achieving the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper Half) and serving as Deputy Surgeon General. He was a trailblazer for optometry in the military as the first Navy aerospace optometrist, the first optometrist to command a major naval hospital; the first and only clinician to lead the Navy Medical Service Corps; the first non-medical doctor to serve as a combatant command surgeon in the U.S. Pacific Command; and the first non-medical doctor to serve as the command surgeon for the U.S. Joint Forces.

After 33 years, Dr. Mittelman retired from the U.S. Navy, a Rear Admiral and former Deputy Surgeon General, and returned to his alma mater to become Salus University’s sixth president in 2013. Dr. Mittelman is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the AAO. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the AOA and of the Armed Forces Optometric Society’s Orion Award.

The full list of the awardees and their bios can be found on the University’s Centennial website: salus.edu/centennial.

About Salus University Salus University, founded as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1919, today is a diversified, globally recognized professional academic center of learning that offers a wide range of degree programs in the professions of Optometry, Audiology, Physician Assistant, Public Health, Blindness and Low Vision Studies, Biomedicine, Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology. Salus operates four clinical facilities in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties that provide highly specialized vision, hearing and balance, and speech-language pathology services. The University has more than 1,200 students and more than 14,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, please visit www.salus.edu.

Organizations Work Hard to Improve Access to Healthcare in Philadelphia

By staff writer

March 2019

Although Philadelphia is already known to be a city of medical firsts — including the first medical school, first hospital and first medical library in the United States — its public and private healthcare entities continue creating new and innovative partnerships to fight health inequities and improve access to healthcare.

The Health of the City 2018 report from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health showed that although most key health indicators in Philadelphia continue to improve, disparities in key health outcomes persist, particularly for racial/ethnic minorities and those experiencing poverty.

“As we assess the areas that need us most, our focus areas have been north, west and southwest Philadelphia, and we’re spending a lot of time and resources on creating communities of health in those underserved neighborhoods,” said Jennifer Davis, senior vice president and executive director of the American Heart Association in Philadelphia told Invest:.

Throughout the years, the American Heart Association has established strong partnerships with faith-based organizations, schools and community centers in order to educate and better serve the community in areas ranging from heart health and diabetes care to healthy cooking and physical fitness.

In addition, organizations such as The Renfrew Center, a treatment center for eating disorders, have created solid connections with insurance companies and a full continuum of care in the Philadelphia area.

“Mental health coverage has been a major focus area for us,” said Samuel Menaged, founder and partner of The Renfrew Center. “As the pioneer in the field of eating disorders, one of our missions is to take responsibility for expanding public awareness and understanding about mental health.”

Today, the Renfrew Center Foundation advances eating-disorder education, prevention, research, advocacy and treatment, and works to bring about better access to treatment.

Philadelphia is home to the second-largest university population in the U.S., and institutions of higher education also play a significant role in the healthcare arena. For example, in December 2018, Drexel University’s College of Medicine was given a $1.5 million, three-year grant to address the opioid epidemic.

“As an academic health center, we reach at-risk individuals in the community for evaluation and then offer evidence-based treatment,” said Daniel Schidlow, dean and senior vice president for medical affairs at Drexel. “Our research and educational programs will help the college develop new models of care to help curb the epidemic.”

There’s still much work to be done. Philadelphia’s 2018-2022 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) identified two priority areas that need urgent attention: Improving access to, and utilization of, primary care; and a more robust effort to address social and economic determinants of health issues. The Invest: team will continue covering these efforts and many others focused on bringing about better health care access to all Philadelphians.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

The Renfrew Center: http://renfrewcenter.com/

Drexel University College of Medicine: https://drexel.edu/medicine/

American Heart Association in Philadelphia: https://www.heart.org/en/affiliates/pennsylvania/philadelphia