In 1989 the groundbreaking AGH Northside Partnership Agreement provided a context in which a mutually beneficial relationship could grow between Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) and the Northside community establishing a framework for a series of initiatives. Every two years since, Allegheny General Hospital and the 15 neighborhood groups organized through the Northside Leadership Conference have reaffirmed their commitment in a manner that responds to a changing environment. Central to this series of agreements is a commitment to communication, consultation and cooperation between AGH and the Northside Community.
The first of its kind in the region, the Agreement outlines six initiatives which allow the Partners to work together in good faith to realize their common goals for housing, education and employment, economic development and health of the communities.
Allegheny General Hospital lends its support and technical assistance to neighborhood groups involved in the development of projects that address concerns affecting the physical landscapes near the Hospital proper. These neighborhood projects include purchase and infill of vacant or blighted properties and façade and streetscape improvements. Most recent improvements include the renovation of the Aeberlie building at the corner of North Avenue and Sandusky Street, and the Parkhurst Street Improvements.
Over 20 AGH employees serve as mentors to Northside Public High School students through its partnership with the Pittsburgh Public School's Start on Success program. Students work with their mentors daily to receive job readiness training and hands on experience in a modern workforce setting. Other initiatives include the Stranger Danger Awareness program in which high school students teach Northside elementary students about stranger awareness, the Allegheny Women's Biotechnology Workforce Collaborative which provides tuition and resources for Northside women interested in earning a degree in medical science, and other health career ladders available to both Northside residents and current AGH employees.
Mortgage and Marketing
AGH sponsors yearly neighborhood tours for hospital employees to visit cultural and neighborhood attractions on the Northside. The Partnership also promotes Northside neighborhood events through the use of its newsletters, communications, and displays. Homebuyer education is provided through the Workforce Home Benefit Program.
Health Improvement Initiatives
Established in 2001 by AGH and the NSLC, the Northside Health Improvement Partnership (NSHIP), whose members include AGH, NSLC and its member organizations, and other healthcare and social service providers, views its mission as measurably improving the overall health status and quality of life of Northside residents. Programming includes Access to Healthcare initiatives, the Northside Youth Summer Guide and the Northside STRIDE Walking Program.
AGH is committed to providing residents of the Northside community priority in hiring for new positions provided all other qualifications are equal. The goal of this prioritization is to promote the economic vitality of the Northside by increasing the number of Northside residents at work in the hospital. AGH also provides job listings to the Employment Center located at the NSLC in order to assist them in reaching qualified applicants from the Northside area.
Local Purchasing Initiatives
AGH purchases products and services from Northside businesses whenever possible. In addition, vendor fairs are held bi-annually for Northside merchants to showcase and sell their products at AGH.
Fall 2012 Update on AGH-Northside Partnership
It is autumn on the Northside! The leaves in Allegheny Commons Park are changing color and doorsteps across Central Northside, Fineview, and East Allegheny are decorated with Pumpkins. Throughout the season, Allegheny General Hospital has been actively working in the community through its twenty-plus year, AGH- Northside partnership.
This fall, AGH has hosted two health fairs in the local community. The first was held at the National Aviary, who celebrated its 60th anniversary. On September 29th, in conjunction with Highmark, eleven AGH departments and four partnering organizations teamed up to provide visitors with information on everything from diabetes and dental care, to stranger awareness and free bicycle helmets for kids. The Pirate Parrot also made an appearance and got his blood pressure checked. An estimated 250 to 300 visitors passed through the fair.
The 7th Annual Health Fair at the East Allegheny Pumpkinfest was also held on October 13th. 3,000 visitors joined the fun, an estimated 1,350 children were served, and 20,000 pounds of pumpkins were given away during the event. AGH departments, including the WPAHS Women in Medicine, joined other community organizations, including the Consumer Health Coalition, the Allegheny County Department of Health/WIC Program, Mercy Behavioral Health, and many more to provide visitors with information on both adult and child healthcare. Kids learned exercise moves, tooth brushing tips, and got their faces painted, while adults were given free blood pressure screenings and had the opportunity to talk to experts about nutrition.
Additionally, AGH proudly supported Fineview’s annual Step-A-Thon on October 6th. Eighty participants claimed up and down the 330 stairs to complete the 2.5 and 5-mile races. For the first time in the Step-A-Thon’s seventeen year history, a woman won the race in under 48 minutes. The Fineview steps are not only a great workout, but they also provide a great view of the city. Grab your most comfortable shoes and hit the stairs before it gets to cold!
In addition to its work in the community, AGH also invited the Northside to come visit the hospital. On October 5th the Auxiliary hosted a Northside Autumn Community Showcase and Merchant Fair. Eleven of Northside’s shops, restaurants, attractions, and community organizations took part in the event, which was enjoyed by several hundred AGH employees and visitors. If you did not get a chance to stop by, the annual holiday Northside Merchant Fair will be held on December 6th in the Magovern Conference Room Exhibit Area.
September saw the beginning of the Start on Success program at AGH for the 2012-2013 school year. This Pittsburgh Public School program provides a transition to prepare youth with mild learning disabilities for successful careers. This year there are eight students working throughout the hospital, including in ultrasound, security, psychiatry, nursing, the gift shop, wound healing, and patient transport. This will be AGH’s fifteenth year participating in the program.
AGH was also pleased to host fifteen local youth for National Disability Mentoring Day, October 17th. The students, from Perry High School and Conroy Education Center were treated to a brief history of hospital before they were introduced to their mentors. For two hours the students got a backstage tour of AGH. Some of the students had the opportunity to observe a surgery, transport patients, and bag biscotti at the Grand Grounds. Reflecting on their experience, the students were surprised by the wide variety of jobs at AGH and only had one complaint, they wished they could have spent more time with their mentors. AGH is proud to annually support National Disability Mentoring Day. It is a great opportunity to show local youth how they too can have a career in health care.
Debra Caplan, Sr. Vice President at AGH and liaison for the AGH-Northside Partnership, commented, “I am so grateful for the time and commitment of the AGH staff, who give their time to benefit our local community.”