June 2023

The Summer Medical Institute 2023

A look into outreach in our North Philadelphia Community

A team of thirteen students from across the country have come to North Philadelphia for this year's Summer Medical Institute (SMI) 2023 (June 17 - July 8). SMI is a three-week program for health professions students to gain valuable experience by learning about the health needs in urban communities, while sharing the love of Christ through conversation and prayer.

During the first week, the students had breakout didactic teaching sessions on Christian perspectives on trauma and suffering, mental health, gun violence, and the relevance of spiritual backgrounds and beliefs in healthcare. The main focus was for students to prepare for their work in the community: becoming comfortable doing the screens, familiarizing themselves with the neighborhoods after several hours of community training, and learning how to approach "real life" situations in the homes of people in our community. Students have also received training on opioids and responses to the opioid epidemic, from both clinicians and community members with lived experience. SMI would not be possible without the contributions of many volunteers; this year's SMI volunteers include 42 faculty (volunteer clinicians and speakers), 12 volunteer meal providers, 3 dedicated interpreters (not including the faculty and students who are bilingual), and 15 additional planning team and support volunteers.

Holly Favino, SMI Program Director

Said Holly Favino, SMI Program Director: "This group learned quickly and all students felt comfortable providing screens, referrals and health education after the first day or two. They are really enjoying being immersed in the community and meeting individuals and families, and the community response has been very positive. In the first week we had many people who were grateful to receive needed referrals and some even visited church with the students on Sunday. But it's mutually beneficial, as the students are intensively learning about the community, its people and gaining a vision for what it means to be a Christian in healthcare. What always surprises the students is how many people respond positively when asked if they would like prayer."

Learn More About SMI!

Spectacular Summer Programs

Hosted by our Community Health and Wellness Team

Our Community Health and Wellness team organized a number of programs to kick off the summer festivities!

  • On Saturday, June 17th, we invited students to our School's Out Pop Up Park to celebrate the end of the school year and the start of summer where we had some fun in the sun with music, games and snacks.
  • On Monday, June 19th, Family Fit started back up at our new CORE building. During this week-long event, families were able to spend time together while staying active by learning the basics of yoga, taekwondo and much more.
  • Recently, we started our Zumba classes at The CORE that will take place every Thursday now through July 20th, where participants can break a sweat while dancing to some lively music. This program is ongoing so if you want to join, sign up by clicking the link below.

Be on the lookout on our social media pages for other events happening this summer!

Register for Zumba Classes

Message of Hope

Read our Spring 2023 Message of Hope Newsletter to catch up on exciting happenings at Esperanza Health Center including our recent CORE Carnival celebration, our newest medical providers, and one of our amazing volunteers!

Read our Spring Newsletter!



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Our Mission 

Compelled by the love of God in Christ Jesus, in cooperation with the Church and others, Esperanza Health Center is a multi-cultural ministry providing holistic healthcare to the Latino and underserved communities of Philadelphia.

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