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Mercy health promoter: A paradigm for just health care

Peter Clark, Sam Schadt

Jesuit Community, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, USA

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:807-817

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.889651

Available online:

Published: 2013-10-02


The foreign-born population in the United States, according to the “Current Populations Report” published in 2010, is estimated to exceed 39.9 million, or “12.9 percent of the U.S. population.” The increase in foreign-born peoples and their need for health care is a complicated issue facing many cities, health systems and hospitals. Over the course of the past few years Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia has treated increasing numbers of foreign-born African patients. The majority have been presenting in the late stages of disease. The increase of foreign-born documented and undocumented African patients seen by Mercy Hospitals seems to reflect a foreign-born population “boom” in Philadelphia over the past decade. To meet the needs of this growing population, the Mercy Hospital Task Force on African Immigration and the Institute of Catholic Bioethics at Saint Joseph’s University designed a program that centers on the third world concept of “Health Promoters.” This program is intended to serve as one possible solution for hospitals to cost-effectively manage the care of this growing percentage of foreign-born individuals in the population. This notion of a “Health Promoter” program in Philadelphia is unique as one of those rare occasions when a third world concept is being utilized in a first world environment. It is also unique in that it can serve as a paradigm for other hospitals in the United States to meet the growing need of health care for the undocumented population. As of November 2012 the Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia clinic became operative for patients who were referred from the Health Promoter clinics. To date, a total of forty-two patients have actively participated in the screenings, sixteen of which have been referred to Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia clinic for further evaluation. More than 75% of patient referrals were a result of high blood pressure. According to the American Medical Association, readings of 140–159 mmHg and above are indicative of stage 1 hypertension. Among those who presented at the Health Promoter screenings the mean systolic pressure for males was 140 mmHg and for females was 140.48 mmHg.

Keywords: Africa - ethnology, Adult, Health Promotion - methods, Hospitalization - statistics & numerical data, Kidney Failure, Chronic - therapy, Philadelphia - epidemiology, Preventive Health Services - trends, Public Health - trends, Renal Dialysis - methods, Social Justice, Transients and Migrants - statistics & numerical data



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