Ali helps, learns at health center

Ali Gorman, R.N., volunteers at 11th Street Family Health Services in North Philadelphia.

May 6, 2010 4:55:02 PM PDT
11th Street Family Health Services is a federally qualified health center serving about 6,000 patients with or without insurance.

Last week, I checked patients, met the staff and learned how the center runs.

Nurse practitioners, or NPs, work with behavioral health consultants. It is a concept the center's director, Patty Gerrity, says is vital

"In order to be really healthy, you have to treat both the mind and the body and you need to do it together, not in two separate places," Gerrity said.

11th Street clinic, which is run by an alliance between the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Family Practice Counseling Network, grew out of a partnership with the community. Gerrity and others started by working with neighboring residents, many from Philadelphia public housing.

"We worked with them to find out what they thought were the most pressing health needs and to meet those pressing needs, we worked in churches, we worked in schools, we worked anywhere we could," Gerrity said.

Years later, with funds helped raised by the community, came the new building.

Now the goal is still centered on the community and helping patients take charge of their health.