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Community Health Engagement: Current Programs


In Summer 2017, health sciences librarians, Aman Kaur and Richard James, developed lesson plans for a health literacy course geared towards adult evening students. They hope to teach the course in University-Assisted Community Schools, public schools in West Philadelphia that receive support from the Netter Center. In Spring 2018, in partnership with the School of Nursing and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Diabetes Center, Richard and Aman provided health literacy training to its inaugural Community Health Worker. Since then, the Penn Libraries has expanded its offerings supporting Penn Medicine, Penn Nursing and Penn Dental's community health engagement in West Philadelphia as well as partnering with the Wellness Division and the Center for Public Health Initiatives for more opportunities regarding campus wellness initiatives.

Health Literacy

In collaboration with Dr. Gluch at the Penn Dental Medicine (PDM) Community Oral Health Division and the staff at the PDM Continuing Education Office, the Leon Levy Dental Medicine Library hosts the Health Literacy Study Club, where participants read and discuss foundational and emerging research and best practices about health literacy and patient education, particularly focused on oral health and dental medicine.

Here are the articles we discussed thus far:

  • February 2023:

  • April 2023:

    • Mokmin, N.A.M., Ibrahim, N.A. The evaluation of chatbot as a tool for health literacy education among undergraduate students. Educ Inf Technol 26, 6033–6049 (2021).

    • Rushabh H. Doshi, Simar S. Bajaj & Harlan M. Krumholz (2023): ChatGPT: Temptations of Progress, The American Journal of Bioethics, DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2023.2180110

    • Sallam, M. (2023). ChatGPT Utility in Healthcare Education, Research, and Practice: Systematic Review on the Promising Perspectives and Valid Concerns. Healthcare, 11(6), 887.

  • May 2023:

    • Farokhi, M. R., Muck, A., Lozano-Pineda, J., Boone, S. L., & Worabo, H. (2018). Using Interprofessional Education to Promote Oral Health Literacy in a Faculty-Student Collaborative Practice. Journal of dental education82(10),1091- 1097.

  • September 2023:

    • Tseng W, Pleasants E, Ivey SL, Sokal-Gutierrez K, Kumar J, Hoeft KS, Horowitz AM, Ramos-Gomez F, Sodhi M, Liu J, Neuhauser L. Barriers and Facilitators to Promoting Oral Health Literacy and Patient Communication among Dental Providers in California. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Dec 30;18(1):216. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18010216. PMID: 33396682; PMCID: PMC7795206.

We are seeking PDM students who are interested in facilitating virtual discussions in May  - December 2024. Email to learn more about this opportunity.

Logo of the Leon Levy Dental Medicine Library

In honor of Health Literacy Month (every October), Open Access Week, and the Provost's Years of Civic Engagement (2020 - 2022), Penn Libraries is promoting the Network of the National Library of Medicine's (NNLM) #citeNLM Wikipedia Edit-a-thon initiative, which you can participate asynchronously as a virtual volunteering activity by checking out the publicly-available training slides. These slides are updated every semester.

Because quality information helps you make better health decisions.

Become an asynchronous volunteer this October!

The Philadelphia Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 (Philly CEAL) is an NIH-funded initiative to address health-related misinformation overseen by Penn Nursing and Philly Counts. The Penn Libraries is collaborating with the Philadelphia Public Schools and Blackwell Regional Library of West Philadelphia to update the health-related books available at public elementary and high school libraries and create an online guide geared towards block captains, community health workers, and local residents who are interested in finding, understanding, and sharing accurate health information with their loved ones and communities.

In Spring 2018, Aman and Richard presented a monthly "Evaluating Health Websites and Apps" workshop at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Blanche Nixon Cobbs Creek Branch, in partnership with the Sayre Health Center. In the "Evaluating Health Websites & Apps" workshop, learn how to find websites and apps that have good health information. This workshop is geared towards adults interested in learning how to evaluate online health information. The Penn Libraries offers this workshop upon request to Penn students, staff, and faculty; public libraries; and non-profit organizations in the City of Philadelphia. Please email

If you are interested in free health literacy training, I recommend that you consider these two free resources.

If you know of other free health literacy training modules that should be added to this list, please email


Penn Walks 2 Wellness Flyer

Group photo of participants of Penn Walks 2 Wellness


Walk With a Future Doc is a medical student-run initiative sponsored by the Center for Public Health, in which medical students share health information prior to leading walks in the Kingsessing neighborhood of Philadelphia. Walk With a Future Doc is a chapter of the national organization, "Walk With a Doc."

For the Spring 2019 Big (Wellness) Idea Challenge, the Penn Libraries, the Center for Public Health, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative, and Walk With a Future Doc submitted a proposal for "Themed Wellness Walks", in which wellness walks leverage Penn's expertise in an assortment of topics and turn into informal learning and networking opportunities geared towards all students, staff, and faculty. In April 2019, "Weekly Themed Wellness Walks" was one of three pitches that won the challenge and will be funded via the Office of the Provost.

In October 2019, the Penn Libraries and the Center for Public Health rolled out "Weekly Themed Wellness Walks," a university-wide initiative to encourage students, staff, and faculty to network, learn, and walk together on this historic, beautiful, and multidisciplinary campus, in which we study and/or work. In April 2020, Sakshi Sehgal, an undergraduate student leader, founded Penn Walks 2 Wellness (PW2W), a registered student organization to engage students interested in supporting Weekly Themed Wellness Walks by recruiting and identifying potential walk leaders as well as promoting the walks via various online and in-person communications channels. Through funding from the SNF Paideia Program, Brinn Gammer, an undergraduate student leader and Paideia Fellow, served as the Penn Walks 2 Wellness intern from July 2021 to May 2022. Brinn helped PW2W relaunch in-person wellness walks starting in August 2021. Starting in May 2023, Penn Libraries fully supports PW2W.


Schedule: Check out the schedule of upcoming walks.

Want to join the email list? Email

Want to be a walk leader?

  1. Email

  2. Select a date, time, and a topic of your choice. PW2W finds that the middle of the week around 12pm works best.

  3. Work with PW2W to identify a walking route.

  4. On the day of your walk, share a 1 or 2-minute blurb about your topic. There will a brief opportunity for Q&A, before the walk begins. Some walkers will ask more questions during the walk.

The Relaxation Room at the Holman Biotech Commons reopened in March 2022. From December 2018 through March 2020, the Penn Libraries collaborated with on-campus partners to host in-person yoga and meditation workshops, before shifting to virtual workshops, including the one below from August 2020, in which the Penn Libraries, Campus Health, and New Student Orientation & Academic Initiatives co-hosted during New Student Orientation.

We welcome your collaboration, if you would like to co-sponsor virtual and in-person wellness programs or interest groups at the Leon Levy Library of Dental Medicine. Similar programs will be posted on the Penn Libraries Online Events Calendar.

Please use this Jamboard as the virtual version of the Positive Thoughts Jar.

Cartoon Image of a woman climbing a radio tower pointing to the words "Good Vibes"

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