Diversity & Inclusion


Educational & Patient Outreach Opportunities

Perelman students volunteer with a number of organizations for underserved or vulnerable populations throughout Philadelphia. Their service provides support to communities that too often are left out of the health care system, while allowing students to learn valuable skills.

Please click on each title to expand and find out more details about the educational and patient outreach opportunities for students at Perelman.

Bridging the Gaps

Bridging the Gaps allows students in health and social service disciplines to broaden their training through interdisciplinary service to underserved communities. Students collaborate with nonprofit organizations throughout Philadelphia - location, patient population served, education and philosophy, vary by site. Components of this program include: a 7-week community health summer internship, attendance at a seminar series, and a clinical rotation in one of three community sites that provide health services to underserved populations.

For more info on Bridging the Gaps, visit their website: http://www.med.upenn.edu/btg/  or contact Ellen Martinak, Associate Director.


Common Place

The Common Place Initiative aims to promote healthy behaviors and youth-empowerment by organizing weekly dance fitness classes and health lessons for at-risk elementary-school children in Southwest Philly. This is a new initiative and medical students have been taking the lead as: Health curriculum designers; Health lesson instructors; Volunteer coordinators; and Dance Class coordinators.Volunteers will also take vitals, greet participants, hand out healthy snacks, mentor middle-school students, and collect and analyze data.

2017 Medical Student Leadership: Nancy Liu


Dance for Health

Dance for Health hopes to increase physical activity through dance among children and their families, with the goal of lowering the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Volunteer medical students monitor the weights, heights, heart rates, pedometer steps of participants and obtain survey data. They also develop new outcomes to study and have an opportunity to present data at a national conference. Keep up with Dance for Health on Facebook.

2017 Medical Student Leadership: Joy Obayemi


Daughters of the Diaspora

Daughters of the Diaspora, Inc. is a non-profit organization that teaches self-esteem and reproductive health to adolescent young women throughout the African Diaspora. The program partners with students at local universities who tailor the Daughters of the Diaspora (DoD) curriculum for their culture and locale in order to teach adolescent girls how to make great decisions regarding their life and reproductive health.

The design is centered on creating sustainable solutions for African women all around the world. DoD will educate and empower young women to make appropriate decisions concerning their reproductive health.

For more details, please contact the organization directly at daughters.o.diaspora@gmail.com.


Health Science Exploration

Through the Health Science Exploration Program (HSE), medical students, in collaboration with the University’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, help 6th-8th graders interactively explore health topics relevant to their community. The mission of HSE is to:

  • To increase health knowledge and skills of middle school students through an engaging, interactive curriculum
  • To empower these students to share their knowledge and promote health within their community
  • To strengthen a collaborative, community-centered partnership between Southwest Philadelphia and Penn
  • To diminish education-related disparities by creating lessons that adhere to state standards and are delivered with respect and equity

Medical student volunteers develop and execute the health curriculum, lead small groups, keep students on task and facilitate activities to maximize engagement.

2017 Medical Student Leadership: Megan Chenworth


Nourish - Mantua

The Nourish-Mantua healthy lifestyle program seeks to help overcome some of these barriers and improve life expectancy and quality of life in Mantua, by building on efficacious lifestyle modification interventions that have been implemented in resource-limited communities. Community residents learn how to prepare and eat foods in a healthy manner, taking into consideration their budget and health status. They also gather to listen to lectures, exercise, and connect with one another around healthy lunch.

2017 Medical Student Leadership: Blake Mergler


Penn Language Link

Penn Language Link is an organization of medical, nursing, and pre-health students that provides free, professional, in-person, medical interpreting for patients with limited English proficiency in the greater Philadelphia area. Volunteers are trained and certified as professional interpreters. Once certified, volunteers can sign up to an email listserv for their language and respond to jobs as needed.

Website: www.med.upenn.edu/pll

2017 Medical Student Leadership: Hanna Elmongy


Service Link

Established by Penn's Center for Public Health Initiatives in 2011, Service Link sends dedicated undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, medical, MPH, and law student volunteers to primary care and community sites in Philadelphia. Its mission is to improve the health of Philadelphians by linking them with public benefits and community resources that address their non-medical determinants of health.Volunteers work closely with patients to secure basic living and health needs including healthy food options, utility payments, prescription payments, employment assistance, and legal support.

Website: www.cphi.upenn.edu/servicelink.html