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Temple Health Celebrates the Opening of New ShopRite Healthy Together Hub

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This first-of-its kind collaborative installation offers free health screenings, testing, and health education for our community within a local grocery store

(From left to right) Lakisha Rodriquez, Community Health Worker; Lakisha Sturgis, RN, BSN, MPH, CPHQ, Director of Community Care Management, Population Health; Abhi Rastogi, MBA, MIS, President & CEO of Temple University Hospital; Nina R. O'Connor, MD, FAAHPM, Chief Medical Officer, Population Health; Steven R. Carson, MHA, BSN, RN, Senior Vice President, Population Health; and Jannette Cruz, Community Health Worker, cut the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new Healthy Together Hub.

“The most important thing is meeting our community members where they are,” says Lakisha Sturgis, RN, BSN, MPH, CPHQ, Temple Health’s Director of Community Care Management for Population Health. That’s the principle behind our new Healthy Together Hub at ShopRite of Fox Street, which celebrated its grand opening—with several news outlets, including, including NBC10/Telemundo62 and The Philadelphia Inquirer, in attendance—on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

The Healthy Together Hub is a first-of-its kind collaboration between Brown’s Super Stores, Inc. and Temple Health, with support funding from Highmark Inc. This permanent installation right at the ShopRite’s entrance offers health screenings, testing, and health education—all at no charge—making it convenient for community members to access these resources and empowering them to take control of their health.

“Brown’s Super Stores has been very intentional in opening supermarkets in underserved areas, including many of the communities we work with at Temple Health,” says Aliya Khabir, Marketing Manager for Community Health. “That makes them the ideal partner for this project—and the Fox Street ShopRite, which is just down the road from Temple University Hospital-Main Campus, is the perfect location. Whether community members are coming to Temple for treatment, or going to the supermarket to feed their families and getting information on nutritious food and screenings, we’ll be able to provide them with the full continuum of care.”

Easy-to-Access Preventative Care 

The full list of services offered at the Healthy Together Hub is extensive, thanks to the expertise of our staff and collaborations with the Lewis Katz School of Medicine (LKSOM) and Temple University’s School of Pharmacy and College of Public Health. “We’ll be administering blood pressure and diabetes screenings, including blood glucose testing, and providing behavioral health education,” Sturgis explains. “We’re also partnering with our Healthy Chest Initiative, which will perform lung health evaluations, and Fox Chase Cancer Center, which will offer education and screenings for different cancers, while our Community Health Workers will connect shoppers to local resources.”

Lakisha Sturgis, RN, BSN, MPH, CPHQ, Director of Community Care Management, delivers remarks.

In addition, Pharmacy students will provide medication counseling and reviews, while Nursing students will assist with blood pressure screenings and creating healthy recipes for community members to reference while they shop. Internal Medicine residents will perform screenings and discuss the risks of uncontrolled medical conditions, and Neurology staff will offer information on brain health and diseases like Parkinson’s.

“We want to create opportunities and a safe space to have these kinds of conversations in our communities,” Sturgis says. “You can come to the Healthy Together Hub and have instant access to experts who can answer the medical questions you’ve been wanting to ask. No one should have to succumb to major complications from illnesses like diabetes, and high blood pressure and cholesterol, because they’re manageable if you modify your lifestyle, and we want to give people the tools to do so.”

A Legacy of Empowerment

Empowering community members to take control of their health has always been an essential part of Temple Health’s mission, but the idea for the Healthy Together Hub project itself came about through the work of our Healthy Together Mobile Health Vehicle. This van, which is staffed by our Community Health Workers, travels through North Philadelphia and the surrounding areas providing many of the services that would eventually be offered at the Healthy Together Hub, including blood pressure screenings and disease management education.

“The Fox Street ShopRite was kind enough to allow us to park here and use their space, and we found that connecting with grocery shoppers was so effective,” Sturgis remembers. “If our goal is to meet people where they are, then there’s no better place to talk to them than at a grocery store, where they’re already thinking about making healthy choices.”

Sandy Brown, co-owner of Brown's Super Stores, delivers remarks.

With that in mind, the Population Health team began to plan for the Healthy Together Hub, believing that a permanent installation at the ShopRite would be even more effective. Over the next two years, they worked with Brown’s Super Stores leadership, including Jeff and Sandy Brown, to bring the project to fruition. Now that the Fox Street Hub has opened, Sturgis and her team are hopeful that, in the future, more will follow—but at the moment, they’re focused on the impact of this location.

“My goal, above all, is for us to have a healthier community,” Sturgis says. “We see so many people who’ve suffered from conditions like heart disease, or had strokes. I want the Hub to address these issues, and empower our community to have a vested interest in their health. That’s the purpose of the Hub—and that’s why we’re all here.”