Subscribe to Notes on Nursing, our monthly news digest.
Nursing News & ProgramsAdvancing Culturally Competent Care

Addressing Homeless Health Disparities with Community Partnerships

Image of two smiling men in a library setting
Marcus Henderson, BSN, and Ian McCurry, BSN, RN, are co-founders and chief operations officers of Up and Running Healthcare Solutions, which was born from a project they developed while in nursing school to address health disparities facing homeless people in Philadelphia, Penn. We recently spoke to them about their initiative, and how nurses and small interventions can make a big difference in addressing health disparities faced by homeless populations.
Nursing News & ProgramsAdvancing Culturally Competent Care

Addressing Homeless Health Disparities with Community Partnerships

Share

Marcus Henderson, BSN, and Ian McCurry, BSN, RN, are co-founders and chief operations officers of Up and Running Healthcare Solutions, which was born from a project they developed while in nursing school to address health disparities facing homeless people in Philadelphia, Penn. We recently spoke to them about their initiative, and how nurses and small interventions can make a big difference in addressing health disparities faced by homeless populations.
Image of two smiling men in a library setting

In May 2017, we spoke with Marcus Henderson, BSN, as he was completing his degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Since then, he has taken on a new role as co-founder and chief operations officer (COO) of Up and Running Healthcare Solutions, which was born from a project entitled "Homeless Health and Nursing: Building Community Partnerships for a Healthier Future." Marcus and co-founder, Ian McCurry, BSN, RN, developed this project to address health disparities facing homeless individuals in Philadelphia, Penn. Marcus and Ian, who met while working as research assistants in the Penn Nursing Center for Health Equity Research, recently received the 2017 Penn President’s Engagement Prize for their idea. Receiving the award allows them to further develop their program while they simultaneously work within the public health field.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there were 15,421 homeless people in Philadelphia in 2015. Ian and Marcus have experienced firsthand how nurses and small interventions can make a big difference in addressing health disparities the homeless population often face.

“I started working in the homeless mission at my church when I was a sophomore in college,” Ian said. “I would wear a nursing fleece from time to time at the homeless mission and people began to ask me questions about healthcare. At the time I was a second-year nursing student, so I wasn’t able to fully answer their questions, but I began to think about the aspects of their problems I could work on at some point.”

While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Marcus was on the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Board of Directors and was president of the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP), which he credits with providing him with business skills and the ability to effectively advocate for nursing students, nursing education and other healthcare and nursing issues.

“Being an effective advocate is vital to my work today because I am serving as a voice for Philadelphia’s most vulnerable and ensuring they are able to lead healthier lives in the community,” Marcus said.

During Marcus’ senior year, he worked as a school nurse at a local Philadelphia high school, exposing him to the wide array of social determinants of health affecting individuals, families, and communities. From this experience, he was able to see nursing’s role in addressing these social determinants of health and the potential nursing has in affecting change to help individuals thrive where they live.

Through their program, Marcus and Ian are building a network of individuals and organizations specializing in community engagement, homelessness care, community-based care and health centers committed to addressing health disparities homeless populations face. The pair has already enlisted the Bethesda Project and the National Nurse-led Care Consortium, to name a few. Their goal is to eventually develop the program into an evidence-based model that can be translated to vulnerable populations nationwide.

While Marcus and Ian prioritize developing Up and Running Healthcare Solutions, they are engaged in other work outside of their organization. Marcus is president of ASH Theater Company and mentors high school students interested in health careers through PENN HOSA-Future Health Professionals. Ian works as a chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Marcus and Ian both plan to pursue graduate and doctoral degrees to further fuel their passions for public health, health policy, and holistic care all while caring for underserved populations. 

Throughout the transition from student nurses to new nurses, Marcus and Ian attribute their unconventional post-graduation paths to believing in their idea.

“You never know what resources and doors will open until you knock. Be tenacious and go for it,” Ian said.  

Learn more about Up and Running Healthcare Solutions here. To learn more about what inspired Marcus to become a nurse, watch this video. 

                                                                                                                    
Meet Marcus
 
Header Image Credit: University of Pennsylvania 
Latest from Johnson & Johnson Nursing
  • Johnson & Johnson has proudly championed the nursing profession for over 125 years because we know that for healthcare to work, it takes nurses. This National Nurses Month, we celebrate the innovation, expertise and tremendous impact of more than 4 million nurses across the U.S. Below, meet four inspiring nurses dedicated to transforming the health of their patients and communities, underscoring the innovation and leadership of the nursing profession.
    2024-04-29T15:11:36.755Z
  • Public health nursing is a unique specialty, offering nurses the opportunity to impact population health at the bedside and beyond. In celebration of National Public Health Week, meet Dr. Oluwatosin Olateju, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Coppin State University and Co-Chair of the Maryland Commission on Public Health, whose tireless efforts demonstrate the power of nurse-led innovation and patient advocacy.
    2024-04-10T18:22:25.751Z
  • Nurse holding glass globe in hands
    The effects of climate change impact human health in many ways, from changing disease patterns to increasing the risk of food insecurity. In observance of Earth Day, meet public health nurse Kasey Bellegarde, MPH, RN and physician Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, who share their perspective on nursing’s role in mitigating the effects of climate change and building a more sustainable and equitable future.
    2024-04-10T18:22:15.291Z
Group of smiling nurses in scrubs holding folders
Group of smiling nurses in scrubs holding folders
Subscribe to Notes on Nursing, our monthly news digest.
Explore issues of our monthly newsletter, which features the many ways nurses' innovation and leadership drive transformative change in healthcare.