Family and Community Health
Faculty in the Department share a commitment to teaching, research and practice that embeds individuals’ experience of health and illness in the context of their families and their communities. We are particularly interested in exploring how we can strengthen the context in which nursing care is delivered to achieve health equity for all and healthy outcomes for those at different points along the health and illness continuum.
The Department also defines our community as a global one. With our longstanding participation in the Global Network of World Health Organization of Collaborating Centers for Nursing and Midwifery Development, we can look to carefully crafted community-based participatory research to affect change.
The Department’s commitment to enhancing the experiences of families and communities leads inexorably to its commitment to diversity - diversity of thought, of experiences, and a faculty dedicated to eliminating the disparities that plague our health and educational systems.
It also leads to our unique emphasis on historical methods to understand, challenge and change the systems we have inherited from the past as we look to a more just and equitable future.
We also have a long tradition of interprofessional leadership in our teaching, research and practice. And we now seek the same in our education of students who will assume new roles in a changing healthcare environment.
Testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology about the grim challenge of COVID vaccine hesitancy, Penn Nursing’s Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, the Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein Term Endowed Professorship in Global Women’s Health, called on Committee members to recognize and exploit the power of “fun and delight” in public service ad campaigns designed to change hesitators’ vaccine perceptions.
With stressors mounting daily on the health care system due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a de-prioritization of the childbearing family has been noted. Their care has changed, resulting in mothers forced to go through labor and birth without their partners, parents barred from NICU visitation, and discharge of mothers and newborns early without enough expert lactation care. There is great concern that these changes in childbearing families’ care may become permanent – to the detriment of the health of both mother and child.
New work from Penn Nursing and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia describes the importance of recognizing COVID-19’s psychological effects on young people and the pivotal role pediatric nurses in all settings can play.