Thirty Penn Medicine staff and medical students received support this quarter through the Penn Medicine CAREs grant program to fund community services initiatives and commitments to improve healthcare.
The Penn Medicine CAREs grant program was established in 2012 to offer institutional support for Penn Medicine employees and medical students who participate in volunteer programs that serve the Philadelphia region. Since its inception, the program has provided more than $880,000 in funding to over 880 service initiatives.
One recipient this quarter was Meg Kalafsky, a program manager with the Penn Memory Center. Kalafsky used the grant to support PMC’s Time Out Weekly Smiles program, both in-person and virtual, to that offer care companionship to older adults with dementia and provide caregivers a temporary break.
These programs allow older adults with physical or cognitive impairments to “forge connections,” while preventing caregivers from suffering burnout, Kalafsky told Penn Medicine. Students are also able to gain “learning experiences.”
"The program is truly beneficial to everyone involved,” she told Penn Medicine. “Thanks to the Penn Medicine CAREs grant, we now also have additional funding to support these vital programs.”
Penn Medicine CAREs grants support work directly related to clinical health care, but also efforts that help improve social determinants of health, such as access to educational opportunities.
Barbara Pallan, director of Operations, Surgical Specialty, at Lancaster General Health, is another grant recipient of the program. Pallan has been a volunteer and board member with the Lancaster Science Factory for 10 years — a program that hosts STEM workshops in after-school programs for children from pre-K to 8th grade. Her grant will help fund workshops in topics ranging from engineering and robotics to hands-on math and electricity.
“The Lancaster Science Factory has become an invaluable resource to the education of youth in our community,” Pallan told Penn Medicine. “I am honored to be part of the Lancaster Science Factory and am grateful to Penn Medicine for its support through the CAREs grant program.”
All Penn Medicine staff, faculty, and students are eligible to apply for a CAREs grant to support their work in the community at any time.