Connections4Health (C4H) is a program designed to partner with community health centers and community-focused organizations to address the broader, unmet social health needs of their patients or patrons, such as food security, housing and employment. Rooted in a person-centered philosophy, C4H recruits, trains, and mentors college student volunteers (Community Health Fellows) to work collaboratively with people, helping them bridge the gaps that exist between basic needs and health through referrals to relevant social agencies and following-up on a weekly basis by phone until the persons' needs are met to their satisfaction.. Connections4Health has two broad goals as the foundation of what we do: (1) to help and empower marginalized populations access the services they need to live healthier; and (2) provide the next generation of health professionals with the tools and experience to consider the social and environmental context that influences their patient’s health and wellbeing.

Click here to learn a little more about the specifics of how the program works. 

It opened doors and referred me to services. I am appreciative of the help I got.
— Birmingham patient

Whether you are a patient at clinic or a library patron C4H provides people with an individualized action plan linking them with relevant social service agencies that address areas such as:

  • food insecurity
  • transportation
  • housing
  • immigration concerns

These are only a few of the unment basic needs that C4H Fellows come across. The students utilize a comprehensive database of resources to connect people with services, and update the resources database regularly to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information. Students also participate in bi-weekly reflective sessions to address concerns, and hear from experts and stakeholders representing community service agencies.

As C4H Fellows, students gain valuable insight into the current system of medical care, a greater understanding of poverty and social determinants of health, and direct experience with the pathways to health that exist outside the treatment room. The fellowship offers first-hand experience with:

  • people experiencing issues such as housing/homelessness, addiction, health policy, built environment, and poverty and how this effects overall health
  • exploring and deepening their view of the intersection of their chosen field of study and the social determinants of health
  • training in motivational interviewing and other communication skills


If you would like to learn more about this program or discuss the possibility of bringing it to your site, contact

Mike Bowersox at (412) 408-3485 or

Connections4Health is supported through the generous contributions of the Hillman Family Foundation and individual giving.