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VILLAGE VIEW: Project focuses on improving health care for immigrant communities

January 17, 2019

From Main Line Times

Jan 16, 2019

“It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight — it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

If you ever attended Ardmore Junior High School when Principal Edward Snow was in charge, you heard him shout out this mantra all the time. If you watched any of the recent Eagles wins, you would have thought about Mr. Snow and his adage — a lot.

It’s funny how certain sayings and thoughts, especially poems, pop up often to the surface of your brain. As I write this column, my editor, Thomas Celona, had forwarded to me an email request from a research scientist, Dr. Michael Liebman, who had found an article from 2009 which I had written for the Main Line Times about the wonderful late Dr. William Glicksman.

Since Liebman had been a student at the Overbrook Folkshul under Dr. Glicksman, he did some more googling and found information on Dr. Allen Glicksman, the son who is a researcher at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. And thus began a collaboration to understand better the health care needs of older adults in Philadelphia, particularly in the two largest growing aging groups, Spanish-speaking and Mandarin-speaking.

The email made me think of Emily Dickinson’s poem, “A Word dropped careless on a Page …” I mean, you never know what will happen when you consign your thoughts to paper. Or computer. Or who will discover your words and what he or she will do with them once found.

I emailed Dr. Michael Liebman and asked if he would be kind enough to let me interview him for my column. He was! And he was very generous with his time as well. Turns out he had grown up in Penn Wynne, was a graduate of Lower Merion High School, had been the first recipient of the Lower Merion Scholarship, which he used to attend Drexel Institute of Technology (as it was called back then), and he was about to embark on an important research project in partnership with Dr. Glicksman at PCA.

In 2012, Liebman started ipqanalytics with a partner, who is no longer active, Torsten Geers, a Main Liner. They help pharma companies — from developing new drugs, to improving clinical trials, to understanding how to make their drugs more effective and who will benefit from them.

Dr. Liebman has some very interesting titles: adjunct professor of pharmacology and physiology, Drexel College of Medicine; adjunct professor of medicine, First Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China; and invited professor, SCBIT Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai, China.

He does not speak Chinese, but he told me that most of his Chinese colleagues speak English, and many of his students do, as well, so he has easy access to translators. He travels to China twice a year.

Liebman was with Wyeth and Roche, where he served as global head of genomics at Roche.

Liebman also works with a Norwegian pediatric rare disease foundation, The Nathaniel Adamczyk Foundation, which is interested in pediatric ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).

Dr. Glicksman is director of research and evaluation at PCA, with an undergraduate degree from Temple and a PhD in sociology from Penn. He has a colleague at PCA, Lauren Ring, who is also working on the project. The Borchard Foundation is funding the initial research, which will allow them to run four focus groups, two in each community they wish to study — Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) and at the Philadelphia Senior Center, the Coffee Cup (for Chinese) — and they will translate results. They will be asking them their needs, what services they know are available, how do they learn about services, how do they choose.

Despite the chaotic situation at the Mexico-U.S. border, the biggest change that’s coming is that the number of white and English-speaking older adults is declining and the number of Spanish and Chinese-speaking older adults is increasing. The majority of the Spanish-speaking population are from Puerto Rico, then the Dominican Republic. The grant started Jan. 15. Then they have to go through human subjects review.

Some of the questions they are planning to use on the focus groups are: Is there a native language newspaper? TV station? A social media channel?

We look forward to hearing about the results of their research and hope for better outcomes for health care in our immigrant communities.

Bonnie Squires is a communications consultant who writes weekly for Main Line Media News and can be reached at bonniesquires.com. She hosts the “Bonnie’s Beat” TV show at Radnor Studio 21 and Main Line Television.


The Latino Heartbeat of PA Society – Al Dia News

December 7, 2018


A new group promises long-term support for Puerto Rican hurricane evacuees

March 1, 2018



Philadelphia disaster relief organizations have established a new committee designed to help the city support the more than 900 Puerto Rican families who landed here after losing their homes, schools, and jobs in the winds of Hurricane Maria. The move is a major step towards creating the long-term recovery strategy that city officials and community advocates have struggled to create in the five months since the storm caused upwards of $9 billion in damages and displaced hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens.

Now getting off the ground, the Greater Philadelphia Long Term Recovery Committee will provide disaster evacuees in Philadelphia and its surrounding boroughs a centralized place for services, something needed since Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management’s disaster center closed last December.

The group will be hosted by the local chapter of the National Voluntary Organizations in Disaster (NVOAD), a coalition that assists communities affected by disasters. Julia Menzo, coordinator of disaster preparedness and recovery for Liberty Lutheran and Southeastern Pennsylvania VOAD co-chair, said the committee will gather information from organizations that have been working with evacuees and assign families a case manager to document and digitalize their needs. The case manager’s job will be following up with evacuee families over the longer term as they settle into the city, return home or go elsewhere.

The group still doesn’t know exactly how many Puerto Rican evacuee families are staying in Philadelphia, but as of the last count in December, 875 families had visited OEM’s disaster center, and 380 displaced students had entered the Philadelphia School district.

“By having a way to looking at all the most urgent cases at the same time, we can make some determinations about priorities and then equitably distribute to them,” Menzo said.

Another goal of the new committee is coordinating efforts across local and federal agencies and organizations.

“Recovery is a collective response, from government agencies through community and faith-based organizations,” Noëlle Foizen, deputy director of Philadelphia OEM, said in an email. “Long-term recovery groups bring together all these resources to share information, pool resources, identify possible problems as well as solutions, all with the goal of getting the disaster survivor back on their feet.”

If federal funds are available to the evacuees, agencies in the long-term recovery committee can assist them in locating and securing the resources, Foizen said.

She described the city’s post-Maria struggles as a learning experience that will prove useful in a world of increasingly extreme weather.

“As the United States sees more natural disasters, we, as a region, need to be thoughtful of disasters that hit home, but also afar,” Foizen said. “Hurricane Maria was a new experience for the city. Just as other responses, we look to learn and improve to prepare for the next event.”

VOAD is not new to the region. It’s operated in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and Chester for the past 10 years yet this is the first time it is responding to a disaster that happened outside of the region, and the first time its created a long-term recovery group locally. Menzo, too, expects this won’t be the last time VOAD finds itself in this position.

“The volatility of the world seems to be increasing, so I don’t see an end for the need to respond to unique situations anytime soon,” Menzo said.

Last Friday, Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló promised to contact Governor Tom Wolf and FEMA to declare Pennsylvania as a host state and get federal funds for housing for evacuees staying in Philadelphia. A FEMA spokesperson said that the agency has not received a formal request or notification of a host state agreement between Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania.

“So we have to move on,” said Will González, the executive director of Ceiba, a nonprofit that is part of the new committee. “The long-term recovery group will provide access to some national nongovernmental resources in a time when there’s a growing need.”

About 2,500 Puerto Rican families moved to Pennsylvania after Hurricane Maria, according to FEMA. The Greater Philadelphia Long Term Recovery Committee Continues estimates the number will grow to 56,000 by the end of the year, and that about 50 percent of them will be in Philadelphia.

Those still staying in city hotels paid by FEMA’s Temporary Shelter Assistance (TSA) program have less than a month to find funds to pay the three months of rent needed to move to a new place. And those staying with friends and family, sometimes in sofas or in mattresses on the floor, won’t be able to stretch the love a lot longer.

“We have families living in one-bedroom apartment where there are six, seven, eight people in the same room, and places where three families are living in the same apartment,” said Reverend Robertoluis Lugo, director of intervention and prevention development at Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM). “They don’t have privacy, they’re on top of each other… it’s too much pressure. They’ll be kicked out in any minute.”

Puerto Rican evacuees can seek help at Catholic Social Services’ Casa del Carmen or APM in North Philadelphia. Other agencies participating are Ceiba, Lutheran Disaster Response, Salvation Army, Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, United Church of Christ Disaster Services (UCC), and American Red Cross.


-— Editors Note March 1, 2018: This article has been updated since its original publication.


Original Article – http://planphilly.com/articles/2018/02/28/a-new-group-promises-long-term-support-for-puerto-rican-hurricane-evacuees

APM Sugarcane Festival 2017

June 3, 2017

A photo collage of the images of our 2017 Sugarcane Festival. June 3, 2017

Music by Funk Salsa Urban




APM Sugarcane Festival 2016

June 20, 2016

A photo display of the 2016 APM Sugarcane Festival.

Photos by Simon Bolivar and music by Franco Olivo Y Alto Voltaje.



Philly wins HUD Grant

July 3, 2014

Philadelphia Awarded $30 Million HUD Choice Neighborhoods Grant Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha will play major role in the relocation process and social services provided to residents

Philadelphia has been awarded a Choice Neighborhoods Grant. This is a $30 million grant from the United States Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and is targeted to help transform North Central Philadelphia.



APM part of HUD Grant

July 3, 2014

Philadelphia Awarded $30 Million HUD Choice Neighborhoods Grant Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha will play major role in the relocation process and social services provided to residents

Philadelphia has been awarded a Choice Neighborhoods Grant. This is a $30 million grant from the United States Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and is targeted to help transform North Central Philadelphia.



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