Activities and Projects

Food Security Initiatives


All community members in the Greater Philadelphia region have the food they need to lead healthy lives. 

To achieve this vision, COACH aims to:

  • Coordinate systems through cross-sector partnerships that maximize the number of people needing assistance who receive the food they need to lead healthy lives.
  • Enhance capacity of local health systems to develop and implement strategies that address the root causes of food insecurity.
  • Support and align with efforts to advance development of an equitable and community-led food system.

What is food security and why is it so important?

Food security is having sufficient, nutritious food necessary to lead a healthy life.

Other social needs such as transportation, housing, employment, and neighborhood affect a person’s ability to access food. Experiencing food insecurity is associated with poor physical and mental health outcomes, high prevalence of chronic illnesses, high health care utilization and spending, and adverse effects on child development. 

COACH’s work is based on the premise that health care, community, and government partners all have critical roles to play in creating food access opportunities for those in need.

Project Framework

  • Identify and connect patients who are interested to resources and programs that help them access healthy food.
  • Strengthen community-clinical partnerships to meet patient needs on multiple levels and through multiple pathways.
  • Create a shared toolbox by testing new models of food access programming, developing training and resources, and fostering shared learning.
Current Collaborative Activities

Food Security Workgroup

The COACH Food Security workgroup serves as the ongoing forum for all health system and food access partners to engage in shared continuous learning. The workgroup meets approximately monthly to share individual partners’ successes and challenges and plan ongoing collaborative projects. In the future, potential priority areas include applying a health equity lens to all food insecurity activities and creating opportunities for authentic community engagement.

Food Insecurity Training Toolkit

Designed for health system staff, this training offers a role-based approach to screening and referring patients with food needs to resources. The toolkit includes four modules (Social Needs & Their Impact, Background on Food Insecurity, Identifying & Addressing Food Insecurity in Healthcare Systems, and Role-Based Guidance for Healthcare Systems) with information specific to the Greater Philadelphia patient population and landscape of community-based food access organizations.

Food Access Support Technology (FAST)

In partnership with the Penn Medicine Center for Health Equity Advancement, COACH provides coordination and project management support for the Food Access Support Technology (FAST) project. FAST aims to create a centralized platform to coordinate a city-wide response to food insecurity across health systems, food access agencies, minority-owned delivery businesses, and food recipients. Support for the FAST project is provided by TD Bank.

Trauma Informed, Healing-Centered
Care & Practice


Greater Philadelphia is a region that fosters a culture of trauma-informed, healing-centered care. 

To achieve this vision, COACH aims to:

  • Build awareness of the importance of a trauma-informed and healing-centered approach, especially in the context of pressing traumatic experiences such as the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism.
  • Encourage systems of care and service to anticipate, acknowledge, and respond to past trauma, in order to support healing in health system staff, patients, and communities.
  • Support the development and implementation of trauma-informed and healing-centered practices at participating organizations, including staff training, best practices for care and service delivery, and infrastructure for supportive resources for staff.


Trauma results from experiencing physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening events or circumstances that overwhelm a person’s ability to cope over time. These experiences cause lasting adverse effects on a person’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

Trauma is broader than a single type of experience, like warfare, or a single clinical diagnosis, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Trauma may arise from a host of challenging experiences, from Adverse Child Experiences (ACEs) to emergent crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, to accumulated trauma resulting from historical, interpersonal, and systemic racism and discrimination. A trauma-informed and healing-centered approach can encourage caretakers, service providers, and community members to lead with empathy in order to support those who have experienced trauma to heal. 

COACH’s efforts align with the growing recognition that addressing trauma is a priority in Pennsylvania, including the Governor’s Office of Advocacy and Reform and the “Trauma-Informed PA: A Plan to Make Pennsylvania a Trauma-Informed, Healing-Centered State.”


COACH seeks to create healing-centered care environments in partner institutions through the following strategies:

Convene an Advisory Group of local and national experts to develop recommendations for trauma-informed and healing-centered practice, including establishing common standards for staff training, care and service delivery, and supportive infrastructure, resources, and policies.

Support COACH member health systems in assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating trauma-informed practices that align with standards recommended by the Advisory Group.

Create an ongoing forum for shared learning across COACH member institutions as they engage in this challenging work of culture change.

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