As Philadelphia and the nation begin to lift restrictions on Stay at Home orders, methods for controlling further spread of COVID-19 will be increasingly important. The Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, and the Center for Public Health Initiatives are working with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) to strengthen local contact tracing capacity by combining traditional human outreach with digital strategies.
At the behest of health system leadership, Drs. Kevin Volpp and Carolyn Cannuscio are pulling together a team to coordinate these efforts at Penn.
The Penn Contact Tracing Team represents a collaboration across schools, with more than 80 student volunteers, faculty, and staff from the MPH program, SOM, SON, and SP2 as well as strong input from leaders across a number of groups at Penn Medicine. Mohan Balachandran, Chief Operating Officer for Way to Health, is overseeing the digital strategies and Austin Kilaru (clinical) and Rachel Feuerstein-Simon (administrative) the human contact tracing efforts. We are grateful to many people for their contributions to date including PJ Brennan, Raina Merchant, Hillary Nelson, Mike Restuccia, Bill Hanson, Alison Buttenheim, David Asch, and Roy Rosin.
We are working to leverage a number of Penn Medicine health and social resources in support of the patients who are contacted, including COVID Watch, ImPACT, the Social Needs Team, and the COVID chatbot. Since its formal launch two weeks ago, over 60 volunteers from the Penn Contact Tracing team have connected with over 1300 Penn Medicine COVID patients and their contacts–with the overriding goal of supporting our community and breaking the chain of transmission.
To streamline Penn’s communications with PDPH, inquiries regarding this collaboration should be directed to Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carolyn (email@example.com). Please feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions.