Terry Gao

National 2018 EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Acceleratorâ„¢ Fan Favorite


Terry Gao

Terry Goa 

CoLab Philadelphia (formerly Philly Shares) 
The CoLab Philadelphia team, formerly known as Philly Shares, became an accelerator finalist with a proposal to provide healthy meal kits to Kensington residents. However, after a series of community meetings and focus groups, the team found that meal kits weren’t a viable way to deliver nutrition education and create long-term change. Through collaboration and partnerships with numerous local organizations, the team’s ultimate goal has become finding a solution that doesn’t exist in a vacuum — a transformative experience that encourages lasting behavior change.

The team executed a new program, Recipe for Health, with the collaboration of CoLab Philadelphia, Sunday Suppers and Esperanza Health Center. Thirteen families in Kensington completed the 12-week program. It included lessons on diabetes, flavoring food with herbs, MyPlate and portion control. Sessions involved either a family-based lesson or, depending on the content, separate lessons for adults and children. Each session included time for physical activity as well as a community-style meal. Post-program reports showed significant changes in the participants’ eating habits. The most dramatic included an 84% increase in consumption of fresh vegetables and a 42% decrease in consumption of sugary drinks.

These behavior changes help decrease the probability of developing Type 2 diabetes and associated cardiovascular diseases. Goa is now in medical school and refocusing her efforts as a member of the Philadelphia Organization of Health Professions Students, a group of 2,000-plus volunteers dedicated to supporting communities and health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to Terry's Power Moment as she shares how she and other medical students started PPE 2 PHL to help supply personal protective equipment for their teachers, mentors and friends in the medical community fighting #COVID19.