PITTSBURGH, November 24, 2021 / PRNewswire-PRWeb / – Marking an important next step in an ongoing partnership to provide more robust support services to people with unmet health and wellness needs in Pittsburgh communities, the AHN urban health and street medicine program and the City of Pittsburgh The Office of Community Health and Safety today announced plans to open three community outreach centers across the city in the coming months. Officials cut the ribbon today at the first hub which is located at Pittsburgh City Center at 538, rue Smithfield.

Since its launch in spring 2021, the three street outreach teams of the Urban Health & Street Medicine program have worked with more than 1,000 unique people across Pittsburgh at the intersection of homelessness, addiction and untreated mental health issues. With the opening of these community outreach centers, AHN teams will have centralized spaces to track and care for these people and others in the future.

“While working alongside community members who often face a range of barriers within the housing, healthcare and criminal law systems, our teams have recognized the need for designated spaces – without discrimination nor stigma – in which individuals can receive care and support as they navigate these systems, ”said Dan Palka, Executive Director, Urban Health & Street Medicine at AHN’s Center for Inclusion Health. “Demonstrating the role that a health system can play in empowering the community and connecting with care, Community Outreach Centers will provide a worthy framework for engagement and ongoing supportive relationships between our teams and those with whom we work. “

AHN’s community outreach teams, which include trained professionals serving as homelessness service team leaders, outreach specialists and community health workers, will work at the centers to connect people with social services and housing resources, and will help them access and navigate necessary health care services. . The centers will not function as homeless shelters, soup kitchens or reception centers.

Community outreach teams receive clinical support from a variety of partners, including federally accredited health centers (FQHC), community behavioral health organizations, the Allegheny County Health Department, and the range of health services. specialists from the Center for Inclusion Health. The hubs will provide a low-barrier engagement space for the vital services of these partners.

In addition to the location in Pittsburgh City Center, which will operate during the week of 8:304:30 p.m., two other community hubs will open in the North Side and Eastern freedom in the weeks and months to come.

An unprecedented part of the partnership between the AHN and the City of Pittsburgh is a collaboration with first responders known as the co-responder model. Traditionally, public safety agencies have responded to calls to address the needs of homeless people, problematic substance use, and / or unresolved mental health issues. Now, AHN’s street outreach teams are available to respond to such calls at the request of police officers, effectively integrating real-time social services into the emergency response process. AHN teams have responded to more than 500 calls for police assistance to date.

Community outreach centers will support the co-sponsor model by serving as a focal point for people who might otherwise be charged with minor offenses. Under a concept known as ‘Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion’ (LEAD), police officers can transport a person to an outreach center for case management and connection with upstream services. , thus preventing legal involvement or criminal incarceration.

The partnership between AHN and the city was initiated thanks to funds from the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act” which were allocated to AHN by the city. In June, the mayor Guillaume Peduto announced that the partnership would receive a $ 10 million in funding that will contribute to the continued expansion of services in the six police zones through Pittsburgh.

“What Pittsburgh has done, through our partnership with Allegheny Health Network and the creation of the Office of Community Health and Safety, is to design a unique model that meets the needs of our communities and puts people first. people. We have a lot of amazing resources across our city, but this model responds to the fact that we don’t have to wait for people to look for resources, we can get them the resources they need. these new community outreach centers will be easily accessible and will provide sustainable and one-on-one support and resources. I thank AHN and OCH & S for their leadership and commitment and we look forward to the continuation of our partnership ”, declared the Mayor Guillaume Peduto.

The AHN Urban Health & Street Medicine program is just the latest example of AHN and Highmark Health’s commitment to improving health equity in the Great West. Pennsylvania region by addressing the social determinants of health. Nearby the new AHN Community Outreach Hub is a 45,000 square foot homeless shelter under construction as a result of a partnership between Highmark Health, UPMC, PNC, the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The refuge is expected to open next year.

The AHN Center for Inclusion Health, part of the AHN Medicine Institute, was established in 2014 as one of the country’s first comprehensive programs focused on meeting the health care needs of individuals in populations underserved or marginalized. Through a coordinated and compassionate model of care delivery, and through evidence-based interventions, its programs address the barriers that make it difficult to access care. This includes, but is not limited to, substance abuse, food insecurity, HIV / AIDS, homelessness, immigrant / refugee health, and transgender health.


About the Allegheny Health Network

Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org), a Highmark Health company, is an integrated health care delivery system serving the largest Western Pennsylvania Region. The network is made up of 14 hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, Health + Well-being pavilions, an organization of salaried doctors, home and community health services, a research institute and a group purchasing organization. The network provides patients with access to a full range of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, cardiovascular disease, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women’s health, diabetes and more. AHN employs approximately 21,000 people, has over 2,600 physicians on staff and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University Faculty of Medicine and Lake Erie College of osteopathic medicine.

Media contact

Candace Herrington, Allegheny Health Network, 412-951-8193, [email protected]

SOURCE Allegheny Health Network