West Philadelphia is a widely divergent community that extends West and South of “University City” where the University of Pennsylvania is located. About 220,000 people (about 14% of the city’s population) live, shop, and work in West Philadelphia, and approximately three-quarters of the population is African-American.
West Philadelphia has been industrial and residential throughout its history. As a result the aging housing stock, deteriorating infrastructure, and brownfields pose ongoing environmental health hazards. Although West Philadelphia contains much of Fairmount Park, the largest Park in Philadelphia, it is also includes the busy Schuylkill Expressway which contributes significant air pollution to the region.
Serious environmental health impacts in West Philadelphia include:
- asthma in children
- lead poisoning
- chemical exposure from former industrial sites
COEC Activities in West Philadelphia
We have conducted multiple educational activities about environmental health hazards in West Philadelphia through our Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) Courses and our partnership with the Netter Center. These courses address issues of asthma, lead, prevention of tobacco addiction in preadolescents, and community-based environmental health.
West Philadelphia has been a long-time focus of the pioneering asthma prevention work of Tyra Bryant-Stephens, M.D., a member of COEC and the Lung and Airway Disease Research Core. The Community Asthma Prevention Program (CAPP) is a community asthma education program and a unique home environmental mitigation program for patients in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Primary Care Centers.