Urban Health Accelerator 2018 Philadelphia Winners

1st Place

Terry Gao 1st place winner of the Urban Health Accelerator 2018 Philadelphia
Terry Gao from Philly Shares!
photo of Terry Gao, JeffDESIGN
Philadelphia, PA

SDOH Health Impact Areas:

Public Health | Medical | Behavioral | Psychosocial

I have chosen to take a year between my third and fourth year of clinical medicine training to pursue a Health Design Research Fellowship. My first and second years were classroom based lectures – comprised of basic science content as well as interventions, epidemiology – intended to expose us to the wide range of pathologies we would encounter as future clinicians. “For this infection, we give X; if not X, we give Y. For this suspected disease, we diagnose with Z.” I concluded my second year feeling encyclopedic in my knowledge base of pathology specific minutia. The life lessons and empathy crash courses came in third year, in the shapes of interpersonal conflict, hospital hierarchy, and – above all else – patient interactions. My most challenging patient interactions always occurred with those whom I had developed personal connections with.

I realized that just knowing which anticoagulants to give Mrs. X in the aftermath of her heart attack, or knowing when it was time to stop Mr. Y’s Lasix, or knowing to trend Mrs. Z’s
pressure during her dialysis appointments – it wasn’t enough. I realized that for every 5 minutes I had control over what to do to help my patients, there were entire lifetimes they’d spend away from me. There were patient’s whose lives depended on their ability to connect to an outpatient provider, and time and time again for factors we couldn’t seem control in the acute setting, we’d be unable to connect them to those resources at their time of discharge. It felt like we were constantly running out of time to address these problems, where maybe they could have been resolved with a little knowledge of patient context and some creative problem solving.

In the particular instance of Mrs. T, I made the decision intervene. She was the first patient I took care of during my last rotation of the year, Internal Medicine, and she was Vietnamese speaking only. She suffered from congestive heart failure, a condition that at the time of diagnosis requires careful outpatient adjustments of Lasix to find the perfect dose and regular blood tests to assure that all electrolyte levels remain within the normal ranges. Since her diagnosis in May, she had been hospitalized three additional times for the same problem. I quickly discovered that for a litany of reasons, she had been unable to acquire her medications between each hospitalization. I resolved to work diligently to do what I could to understand her particular barriers to care. My decision to do so helped me
realize that true healing takes a team much larger that you’d think – it takes cooperation across the many facets of a patient’s life to truly impact healthcare outcomes.

Eventually, I was able to connect her to a team of Vietnamese speaking providers within the city and arrange transportation to the visits through her adult day care center. I helped
her obtain home health aide services with the help of our social work team, and found a grocery delivery service compatible with her needs to lessen the physical burden her disease had taken on her. My decision to develop CoLab stems from the multitude of similar experiences I’ve had over the past year. CoLab, especially as a community engagement tool, challenges me to take on the concept of patient centered care at a whole
other level.


2nd Place

Tommy Caison 2nd place winner of the Urban Health Accelerator 2018 Philadelphia

Tommy Caison from North Philly Peace Park
photo of Tommy Caison
North Philly Peace Park

SDOH Health Impact Areas:

Public Health | Medical | Behavioral | Psychosocial

When I was 11 I started my first social enterprise building custom made basketball courts made from milkcrates. In response to violence and drug activity preventing us from accessing the neighborhood basketball courts I had organized my friends to build our own. The concept quickly took of, with other children emulating our project, and a league of sort developed outside my front porch. At these games, my older sisters would sell hot dogs and homemade water ice. From this money my sisters were able to by their own new clothes and I received a new bike.

This ability to bring folks together to solve problems continues with my work with the North Philly Peace Park.. The approach is innovative because it is a humanitarian, collaborative effort between community activists, farmers, educators and trained designers engaged in a ethical redevelopment process. It takes the grass roots organizing skills of activists and combines design to create beautiful, equitable spaces for undeserved communities and is truly in the interest of the public good. The redevelopment keeps the people in the communities solving their own problems through access, design and education.


3rd Place

Andrew Kucer 3rd place winner of the Urban Health Accelerator 2018 Philadelphia

Andrew Kucer and Amy Lackpour from
Students Run Philly Style 
photo of Andy Kucer, Student Run Philly Style

SDOH Health Impact Areas:

Public Health | Education | Behavioral | Psychosocial

Heather McDaniel was the founder of SRPS. She was a marathoner who worked in the public sector and this was a way she was able to mesh together two passions she held. She was an amazing ED. She grew the program from 50 youth across a few community centers to serving over 1000 youth across 55 schools. But she came to a point where she had to reexamine what she could do. She wanted to make sure the organization lasted beyond her. She had to see if she had enough gas to bring the organization to the next level and she decided she did not. She had to step away and that was hard because the organization could churn and churn and she could stay there but she cared so much about the organization that she put its interests above hers and decided to step away. This choice is something that is selfless and inspiring.

I took over for Heather and it was no doubt what an amazing thing she built. But the organization has become independent, built a 100,000 online volunteer management system, expanded to another city, and increased funding by 40%. Heather knew she was not the person to take it to these places and did the best thing she thought for the organization and stepped away. She now proudly serves on the Board of Directors.