The St. Joseph Medical Center Downtown Campus is the largest ambulatory care facility in the City of Reading. The campus has undergone renovations and expansion to better serve the healthcare needs of the community. It is located in a federally and state qualified Weed and Seed district at 6th and Walnut Streets. Given the City of Reading’s young and ethnically diverse population the major healthcare focus of the Downtown Campus is on ambulatory and primary type care (e.g., family practice, immunizations, prevention and wellness, diabetic care, etc). The Community Health Center offers primary care during 220,000 visits a year. St. Joseph’s Reading campus also offers specialty clinics for the underserved that are unable to get specialty care at private physician practices, and our facility is the only one locally that provides immigration physicals.
The St. Joseph Family and Women’s Care was formed in April 2004 from the consolidation of the Family Practice Center (primary care clinic) and St. Elizabeth Women’s Center (ob/gyn clinic). This is also the home of St. Joseph’s family practice osteopathic residency program. This center focuses on providing family health care. Services are available for preconception counseling through elder care with an emphasis on women’s care, well-child care andbchronic disease management.
Well-child care focuses on ensuring developmental milestones are met or addressed, immunizations are current, and chronic illnesses are addressed appropriately (e.g., asthma, diabetes, etc.). The Family Practice Center has strong working relationships with community organizations including the Migrant Health program and serves mainly the indigent population. Staff also offer Comenzando Bien (Prenatal Education Program for Spanish Speaking) and PA Department of Health’s Healthy Women’s Program (annual gyn exam for women age 55+ that have no insurance or insurance that does not cover these services).
The facility offers many services, including:
Centering Pregnancy Prenatal Model at our Downtown Reading Campus
While the traditional model of prenatal care is given one-on-one by a provider in a private examination room in an office or clinic setting, Centering Pregnancy is an innovative model in a group setting that includes self-monitoring and extended time with the provider. It integrates three major components of care: health assessment, education, and support.
Expecting moms are placed in a group of 8-12 other women due within the same month, and they attend group sessions until it is time to deliver. They are seen by a prenatal provider as they would be in a traditional appointment, and their exams take place in a private section of the Centering room during their group sessions. After all the women have been examined, they gather in a circle for group discussions about pregnancy related topics led by expert facilitators. This is not just for first-time moms. Experienced moms enjoy sharing their pregnancy and parenting knowledge to add to the group discussion.
Studies have shown that knowledge about pregnancy is greater in Centering groups when compared to traditional prenatal care. St. Joseph’s program – with offerings in both English and Spanish at our Downtown Reading Campus – includes educational sessions that consist of: prenatal nutrition, dental health, healthy relationships, labor preparation, pain management during labor, breastfeeding, post-partum depression, bonding with your baby, preventing SIDS and Shaken Baby Syndrome, and newborn care.
Since the Centering model promotes self-care, it has been linked to better overall health management. The combination of the continuity of prenatal care, as well as the educational, emotional, and social support the women in Centering Pregnancy receive has also been linked to better pregnancy health outcomes such as: lower rates of preterm delivery and low birth weight babies, and higher exclusive breastfeeding rates.
Please contact Kim Hunter, OB Nurse Navigator at khunter3@PennStateHealth.psu.edu or (484)650-1767 for more information about this program.