The Alliance for Health Equity is a philanthropic organization focused on advancing a more equitable, resilient, and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area of Pennsylvania. As the first month of the new year comes to a close, we would like to take a moment to shine a spotlight on some of our health initiatives that are helping to tackle the inequities experienced by our most marginalized community members in Chester County, including The Greater Coatesville Hospital Closure Group and the Let’s Talk: Community-Designed Challenge.
The “Health Care Desert” In Chester County One Year Later
One year ago, the closures of the Brandywine and Jennersville hospitals drastically increased the inaccessibility and inequity of healthcare in the Coatesville area. WHYY, the public news source serving Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, reported that this has created a “health care desert” in Chester County. At a “Virtual Town Hall” back in January, 2022, State Rep. Dan Williams predicted that the hospital closures would deeply and disproportionately impact people of color and those living below the poverty line, who make up a majority of Coatesville.
In response to the situation, The Greater Coatesville Hospital Closure Group was formed. This group is made up of leaders representing nearly 20 local and county organizations, including The Alliance for Health Equity, who are working to develop strategies to minimize the disruption of healthcare services and rebuild a strong and equitable healthcare system in the region.
Two subgroups, Advocacy and Coordinated Health Services, were also formed to prioritize and communicate short-term healthcare needs and to focus on long-term solutions. The Advocacy group, in conjunction with the Chester County Health Department and healthcare providers, developed educational materials for the community with information on where to get care, where to find a doctor or medical home, and where to find free or low-cost health insurance. These materials can be accessed here, in both English and Spanish.
Other resources include ChesPenn Health Services, which offers “quality, patient-focused medical, dental and behavioral health care, support services and health education outreach.” “As a Federally Qualified Health Center, ChesPenn offers affordable fees based on ability to pay regardless of insurance status” and “strives to meet the unique health needs in our communities in linguistically and culturally competent ways.”
2022 Greater Coatesville Community Health Impact Report
In a 2022 survey, respondents were asked what groups of people they thought would be most impacted if healthcare services are not changed in the Greater Coatesville area. Between eighty (80)% and ninety (90)% of the following groups were identified as vulnerable to negative impact if services do not change in the Greater Coatesville area*:
- People with chronic health issues or disabilities who need ongoing care
- Older adults
- People with low incomes
- The uninsured
- Black people and other people of color who have traditionally faced more barriers, like discrimination to healthcare
*See Figure 1 of our Community Health Impact Report.
During key informant interviews and focus group discussions, participants identified the uninsured/underinsured, African-American and low-Income as the most vulnerable population by twenty (20)% percent for each group.
Additionally, the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) ranks neighborhoods on the basis of socioeconomic disadvantage in the areas of income, education, employment, and housing quality. Areas with greater disadvantage are ranked higher. National scores are normalized to the whole country, and state scores are normalized to a particular state.
Higher Area Deprivation Index scores have been shown to correlate with worse health outcomes in measures such as life expectancy and chronic conditions. 1 is the lowest rate of disadvantage and 100 is the highest.The lowest rates of disadvantage are shaded in dark blue, while the highest are shaded in dark orange/red, as seen in the pdf of our Community Health Impact Report, which can be found here on the Community Voice page of our website.
Let’s Talk: Community-Designed Challenge
In November and December, 2022, over 100 members of the Greater Coatesville community came together to develop seven challenge questions for the Let’s Talk: Community-Designed Challenge. Informed by publicly available data and a content area expert, these challenge questions relate to economic development, behavioral health, health recovery, education, workforce, and housing. And now we need your help!
We will select 10 ideas and solutions for each event date in the Let’s Talk Allyship series in February, March, April, May, and June. Each person selected will have a maximum of 5 minutes to present their idea and compete for prizes/community investments ranginging from $500 to $2,500. Click here for more information, including event dates, challenge question categories and community reports, details on how financial awards are determined, and a link to submit your ideas!
Leading Positive, Community-Driven Change In The Year To Come
At The Alliance for Health Equity, we want to empower people in the places where they live by amplifying their voices to shape the services and programs that affect them the most. We believe this strategy will help to tackle systemic racism and discriminatory practices by influencing inequitable policies, systems, and structures that improve health and well-being for all. For more information or to get involved, please visit our website.
The Alliance for Health Equity (formerly Brandywine Health Foundation) is a philanthropic organization striving to advance a more equitable, resilient and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area. We pursue our mission by providing grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students that address health and economic disparities and social justice. We also build partnership programs and give voice to those often left out of community solution building to improve the overall health of their communities. 100% of contributions go directly to those in need.