PCOM Takes on Food Insecurity in PhiladelphiaMarch 24, 2023
Food insecurity continues to be a nationwide issue, contributing to health inequities
that disproportionately impact low-income and minority communities. Philadelphia is
no exception, with nearly 250,000 individuals experiencing food insecurity and multiple neighborhoods classified as food deserts—meaning that residents of those
communities do not have access to affordable, nutritious foods. For Philadelphia children,
30.9% are food insecure.
More must be done to help families access healthy and nutritious food. Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) is marking National Nutrition Month by highlighting
the work of the PCOM Healthcare Centers to address nutrition needs and help more families
get access to healthy food.
In the fall of 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, PCOM opened food pantries at two of its Healthcare Centers, starting with the Cambria and Lancaster Avenue
Divisions. PCOM began this initiative in partnership with Bebashi—a full-service HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization—and has continued to expand the program.
As of today, PCOM is operating food pantries at all three of its Philadelphia Healthcare
Center locations, including Family Medicine at PCOM. These food pantries are a natural
extension of the college’s goal to provide access to quality health care and to respond
to the vital needs of the communities PCOM serves.
To date, the food pantries at PCOM Healthcare Centers have distributed over 5,000 pounds of food to 2,433 individuals and their families.
Each bag of food distributed contains a variety of staple items to help patients or
members of the public feed themselves for several days. Last year, frozen protein,
vegetables and fruit were added to the pantries. Each bag offered now includes a package
of frozen chicken or turkey meatballs, a bag of frozen vegetables and a bag of frozen
“PCOM education is rooted in the osteopathic philosophy of caring for the whole person
and addressing root causes, not just symptoms. Food insecurity is a root cause of
health disparities and poor health outcomes,” said PCOM President and CEO Jay S. Feldstein, DO '81. “The food pantries we operate at our Healthcare Centers reflect our mission and
philosophy, and our commitment to addressing healthcare needs in the communities we
Clinical services at PCOM Healthcare Centers include family medicine, internal medicine,
gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics, psychology and osteopathic manipulative medicine
(OMM), among other specialties. Each PCOM Healthcare Center site is equipped with
a food pantry.
“We understand the challenges many families face in accessing healthy and nutritious
food,” said Stephen Castellano, PCOM Chief Practice Operations Officer, who leads the Healthcare Centers. “We now
have a holistic solution that brings our clinical services under the same roof as
nutrition assistance for patients and families experiencing food insecurity. We are
proud to connect these dots, and we look forward to helping many more families.”
PCOM Healthcare Center food pantries are made possible through generous donations,
with ongoing support from the PCOM community.
Individuals and families interested in accessing food pantry services should call
the PCOM Healthcare Centers main number to schedule an appointment or visit their
Main Telephone #:
Family Medicine at PCOM (City Ave Division)
4190 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131
2100 W. Cambria Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132
Lancaster Avenue Division
4148 Lancaster Avenue
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
For the past 125 years, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained
thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral
scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just
symptoms. PCOM, a private, not-for-profit accredited institution of higher education,
operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, and school psychology. The college also offers
graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical
sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling,
physician assistant studies, and school psychology. PCOM students learn the importance
of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its
community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations.
For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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