Jefferson Health and the Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity have announced a $3.1 million gift from the Wyss Foundation in support of a community wellness center dedicated to serving immigrants and refugees in South Philadelphia.
Slated to open in early 2020 in the Bok Building, the Hansjörg Wyss Wellness Center will provide services to neighborhood residents regardless of whether they have health insurance or are U.S. citizens. In addition to medical care, the center will offer educational, social, and mental health services in collaboration with the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition.
Launched in 2007 by Marc Altshuler, the Jefferson Center for Refugee Health is the largest provider of refugee health care in Philadelphia and is one of only four programs recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a center of excellence in refugee health care. Last year, 14 percent of those discharged from Jefferson Methodist's emergency department in South Philadelphia were uninsured and nearly 23 percent were immigrants.
"Health care is hard to navigate even when you do speak English," said Altshuler, an associate professor and physician of family and community medicine at Jefferson and clinical leader of the Wyss Wellness Center. "Immigrants and refugees are facing unprecedented challenges today and receiving health care shouldn't be another barrier to overcome. This wellness center will be a place to see a doctor and a safe space to receive culturally competent care and feel a part of the community."