Health of the City Media Coverage


“What surprised me the most was the impact of the opioid crisis on our overall vital statistics,” Health Commissioner Tom Farley said Thursday. “To see life expectancy going in the wrong direction has not occurred in this country for a long time.”

By Aubrey Whelan

Philly Magazine:

The just-released Health of the City report found that drug overdose deaths among Philadelphia residents increased nearly four-fold in recent years, with those deaths making a resounding mark on the city’s overall life expectancy — specifically on the rate of premature deaths (those that occur before age 75).

By Claire Sasko


Raynard Washington, chief epidemiologist for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, said that disparity can be attributed primarily to poverty and social factors.

“Really underlying much of this is the social determinants of health — where people live, the environment in which they live in, their ability to be able to pay their bills, and acquire healthy food at affordable rates,” he said.

By Alan Yu

Al Dia:

Amid a “nearly 4-fold” increase in drug overdose deaths in recent years, and a 14 percent uptick in homicides over the previous year, Philadelphia’s life expectancy declined in 2017, a report released last week by the city’s Department of Public Health found.

By David Maas

2018 Health of the City Report Issued

Today, Philadelphia Department of Public Health released the second Health of the City annual report, which describes the landscape of health for Philadelphia residents. Many health indicators are improving, but some indicators – particularly those related to opioid use and unhealthy behaviors – are troubling. Among the grimmest findings was that drug overdoses and homicides have caused a decline in life expectancy in Philadelphia. The latest data on teen health has good news though: cigarette use, drinking, sweetened beverage use, teen birth rates, and new cases of sexually-transmitted diseases have all continued to drop.

Philadelphia’s Public Health Lab

Philadelphia has had a public health lab since 1894, when the City created the Division of Pathology, Bacteriology, and Disinfection, working right in City Hall.  In those early days of the new science of bacteriology, the lab focused on two main killers of the day, diphtheria and tuberculosis, and it produced antitoxin for diphtheria.  Ever since then, our lab has been providing crucial information to public health staff on what invading species are circulating in the city and how we can keep them at bay.

Access to Care Report

Press Release

PHILADELPHIA — This morning, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, with the support of the University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, released a report on the state of primary medical care in Philadelphia, Staying Healthy: Access to Primary Care in Philadelphia. This report found that while the total number of primary care providers in the city continues to rise, some neighborhoods–the Northeast and Southwest Philadelphia–have a significantly lower supply of primary care providers than other parts of the city.


In a city with more than 30 hospitals and five medical schools, it might seem that proximity to basic health care would not be a problem.

But the new report finds that parts of the Northeast and Southwest are officially “primary care shortage areas,” with one provider for every 3,500 people, far below the citywide average of one per 1,200 people.

By Pat Loeb


Currently, there is a six-month wait for a doctor’s appointment, said Joan Bland, the clinic’s director and a nurse. For a walk-in, there is at least a half-hour wait to see a health-care provider, she said. The clinic is adding patient exam rooms in the basement, and has hired more nurse-practitioners to help with the patient load.

The clinic is in an area rich with diversity. There are 12 interpreters on staff for patients who speak Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Hindi, and Urdu, among other languages. Six staff members, who all speak at least two languages, help patients set up insurance, Bland said.

By Mari Schaefer


If the place had the feeling of bursting at the seams, it’s because it is – Health Center 10 is by far the busiest of the eight primary care health centers run by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. It sees 67,000 patient visits a year, and new patients add their names to a long waiting list for appointments. City clinics treat patients regardless of insurance status — making them the only option for many families. On Tuesday, the sound of a construction crew hammering away in the basement reverberated through the building – an effort to expand the number of exam rooms spaces.

By Nina Feldman

Philly Tribune

The study released on Tuesday by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health indicates that while the total number of primary care providers in the city continues to rise, some neighborhoods — the Northeast and Southwest Philadelphia — have a significantly lower supply of primary care providers than other parts of the city.

This shortage means that these areas, commonly low-income and with high proportions of racial and ethnic minorities, are forced to wait longer to see their primary care providers for routine appointments. For residents who utilize Medicaid as their health insurance, this report finds that many providers who accept Medicaid as insurance nonetheless do not make appointments available for Medicaid patients.

By staff

National Laboratory Workers Week

Did you also know that the Philadelphia Public Health Laboratory performs over 300,000 tests per year? Did you even know that the Health Department has a lab?!

The tests our laboratory professionals do include everything from general health screenings, diabetes testing, sexually transmitted disease testing, and general microbiology testing.  In addition, testing is also performed on samples collected from any disease outbreaks that we investigate.