July/August 2023

Summer Teen Internship 2023

During two weeks in July, a group of ten teenagers participated in our second annual Summer Teen Internship program. Under the direction of Karen Norris, Esperanza's Volunteer Coordinator, the program provides an immersive experience for students who are exploring health care as a possible career. Students came from a range of educational settings including public, private and charter schools and home schooling. The students shadowed Esperanza's primary care providers ("all of them loved that!" said Karen) and completed volunteer projects that included hosting an outreach table about mental health issues at our Hunting Park site and putting together school supply boxes for pediatric patients. Mentors led workshops on topics such as how to write a resume, and several Esperanza staff spoke with the students about their roles and experiences working in a community health center. As one student reflected: “I was interested before in a medical career and this internship allowed me to see what my life could possibly look like.” We're excited about offering another teen internship program in the summer of 2024! For more information, please contact Karen Norris at

Community Meeting at The CORE

On Wednesday, August 9th, we held a neighborhood open house and celebration to unveil plans for Esperanza's block and two new parks in Kensington. The event served as a platform to showcase the exciting initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life for residents and promoting a stronger sense of community.

The designs were done in partnership with the Community Design Collaborative and with funding from the Knight Foundation. Local residents had the opportunity to provide input on the park designs, ensuring that the spaces reflect the unique needs and desires of the community. The final designs emphasize multigenerational usage, flexible play space, safety and lighting, and green landscaping.

The event garnered enthusiastic support from attendees who were excited about the positive impact the new parks will have on the community. From fostering a sense of unity among residents to providing vital green spaces for relaxation and recreation, we hope these parks will be a center for future community gatherings. As plans progress, the community looks forward to having safe places for families and kids to enjoy.

Increasing Digital Literacy for Patients

Key individuals who were involved in the Digital Literacy project included (above, from L-R): Josefina Hendry and Chelsea Torres, Community Research Assistants; Karla Martin Gonzalez, Clinical Research Coordinator III, Jefferson Health; and, Esperanza staff members Maryann Salib, DO, MPH, Associate Medical Director for Community Health and Wellness, Population Health, and Clinical Quality Assurance, and Lianette Pappaterra, MPH, Community Programs Manager.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems have expanded their use of technology to interact with patients, such as through electronic patient portals and the use of telehealth to conduct remote patient visits. However, technology has not been used consistently across all communities. With generous grant funding of $50,000 from Digital Literacy Alliance, staff from Thomas Jefferson University, Esperanza Health Center and the community (photo, above), under the direction of project lead Dr. Kristin Rising of Thomas Jefferson University, collaborated on a project with a goal to increase digital health literacy within the Latinx community. Digital health literacy is a phrase used to describe if a person feels comfortable using technology for their health care. This may include talking to a doctor directly, making healthcare appointments, or checking lab results. 

During the project, interviews with members of Esperanza's North Philadelphia community were conducted by two Community Research Assistants, Chelsea Torres and Josefina Hendry, to learn more about their needs with regard to using technology. Among key findings were that many people in our community face significant challenges in using technology, including remembering passwords and language barriers. Many expressed interest in learning more about technology: for example, how to use computers, navigating the internet, protecting themselves from hackers/malware, and use of technology for health-related reasons. One of the key results of the project was the development of a new bilingual patient portal instructional video in Spanish and English, to help Esperanza's patients connect to and use the portal. Said Josefina: "I saw the need for digital health literacy in the Latino population because many don’t know how to independently use technology to benefit their health. This project also demonstrated how language keeps individuals from having the confidence to learn new technologies to manage their health. Learning about these barriers gave us the opportunity to bridge digital literacy gaps by creating a series of step-by-step videos on how to use a patient portal."

If you are an Esperanza Health Center patient and would like more information about how to set up your Esperanza patient portal account, please speak with a clerical assistant at your next appointment.

Fitness Center at The CORE Opens!

We're excited to announce that The CORE Fitness Center has just opened with limited hours! Located on the second floor of The CORE facility at 3222 H Street, the Fitness Center includes a range of cardio equipment (ellipticals, treadmills and stationary cycles), free weights, strength training machines and more; hours of operation are 4:00 to 8:00 pm, Monday-Friday. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to join (in-person registration with ID), and we're now offering a free membership for the months of August and September.

Questions. Please email Giovany Gonzalez, the Fitness Manager at:



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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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