Social determinants of health are grouped into five key areas: Economic Stability, Education Access and Quality, Social and Community Context, Health Care Access and Quality, and Neighborhood and Built Environment. Examples of social determinants of health include:
- Safe housing, transportation, and neighborhoods
- Racism, discrimination, and violence
- Education, job opportunities, and income
- Access to nutritious foods and physical activity
- Polluted air and water
- Language and literacy skills
Our employees are our most vital asset and ensuring their well-being directly impacts our ability to effectively care for our community. Identifying and addressing the root cause of our employees’ social, economic, educational and quality of life issues will help us maintain a healthy workforce and ensure the long term stability of PMPH by reducing absenteeism, turnover rates and occupational and employee health care costs. The initiative will begin by focusing on the 100 PMPH employees most at risk for poor health due to social factors. The effectiveness of this investment will be carefully tracked and when compelling evidence is obtained, the program will be expanded to help additional employees at PMPH.
Every year, close to 100 employees at PMPH apply for financial assistance from our Employee Benevolent Fund or request a salary advance to meet an emergency financial need. In the majority of these cases, these financial challenges are a result of a change-in-life event, such as loss of family income, illness, accident or divorce. While our current Employee Benevolent Fund, which provides one-time financial grants, has been an important lifeline for many employees in crisis, we recognize that these are temporary solutions and that many employees are dealing with chronic issues that impact their well-being. We also recognize that employees applying for assistance may only represent a portion of those who need help with similar challenges, such as food insecurity or access to healthy food options, insufficient or expensive child care, or lack of stable and safe transportation or housing. Prolonged exposure to these factors often impacts the quality of life of our employees, including an increase in both physical and mental health issues.
THE BARRY S. RABNER ENDOWMENT
In recognition of Barry Rabner’s 18 years as President and CEO of Penn Medicine Princeton Health, our intent is to establish an endowment, which will remain in perpetuity, that will seed this program and build the foundation for continued philanthropic support in the future.
The program will be managed by our Vice President, Human Resources, PMPH and directed by a diverse oversight committee comprised of physicians, health care executives, employees and community leaders. The role of the committee is to ensure that the program is effective, efficient, fair and transparent and to support the development of similar programs nationally. The use of the endowment will be directed by the Princeton Medical Center Foundation’s Board of Director in collaboration with the oversight committee and our Vice President of Human Resources.
Support from this endowment will help us:
- Understand the social determinants of health that are barriers to our employees
- Partner with our colleagues at Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania and our community to leverage their research, expertise and resources
- Develop strategies to address the root causes of these challenges
- Identify, connect with and pay for community resources to help employees
- Provide emergency financial assistance
- Develop a mechanism to track progress and adapt the program to the changing needs of employees
Some examples of how social determinants of health can be addressed include:
Food insecurity or access to nutritious foods:
- provide vouchers for employees to local farmer’s markets
- create a food pantry on campus
Education and Job opportunities:
- provide on-site GED and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and professional training opportunities
- create a mentorship program to match employees with managers to provide career counseling and coaching
Early Childhood Education:
- support onsite and offsite early childhood education
- provide housing assistance in the form of loan programs and housing allowances
We recognize that we will not be able to address every social determinant of health, but by leveraging the extraordinary resources of Princeton Health, Penn Medicine, and the community we serve, we will make a meaningful difference in the health of our employees and strengthen our organization.
Please click here if you are interested in supporting our employees and helping to fund this initiative.