Growing Philly’s lead in “Eds and Meds” sector

    No sector is more important to Philadelphia’s regional economy than “Eds and Meds,” higher education and health care. Participate in the discussion of how to grow our regions leading role in the eds-meds sector in the future.

    Philadelphia’s life sciences cluster was ranked second in the nation across a broad range of factors in a recent Milken Institute study. It has a diverse array of colleges and universities, ranging from Ivy League heavyweights to hard-working, under-appreciated community college. The sector is the No. 1 employer in the region.

    Participants broke into two breakout groups for discussion.This summer, WHYY gathered more than 30 leaders and thinkers from that sector to talk through the challenges and the opportunities it faces in this time of recession and stimulus.

    Their task: To work together to come up with specific ideas to help protect the sector from those challenges, and to help it seize those opportunities.

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    The forum was designed and led by WHYY’s partner in civic dialogue, the Penn Project for Civic Engagement.

    The second breakout groupThe participants, divided into two breakout groups, did a version of an exercise developed by PPCE called History of the Future. First, they were asked to name hopes or fears that led them to come to the night’s session.

    Then they were asked to imagine a Philadelphia region which, in the year 2020, was home to the healthiest, most active “eds-meds” sector in America. First, from the point of view of that imagined future, they tried to describe in vivid detail what that success looked like. Then they jointly wrote the “history” of that future, explaining what steps were taken, what problems overcome, what challenges met to achieve that good result. They were led in the effort by pairs of PPCE-trained moderators.

    >>Join the discussion<< at

    Read the prompt used by the two breakout groups.

    A list of the participants can be found here.

    Detailed reports on the work of the two groups can be found here: Group 1 report (pdf link), Group 2 report (pdf link)

    Read the blog report on the session by WHYY’s Alan Tu.

    Hear Chris Satullo’s audio commentary about the eds-meds issue.

    To highlight a few recurring themes from the evening’s dialogue:

    * That ideal Philadelphia of 2020 would be a place with many fewer silos, secrets and divisions, a place where a young entrepreneur with talent and an idea would not have to jump through so many hoops and learn so many secret codes to get a foothold.

    * It would be a place that had taken dramatic steps to reform its K-12 education.

    * The young students in that K-12 system would have a much clearer idea of the “career paths” and “talent paths” available to them in the region’s thriving eds-meds sector. And they would have teachers and other adult mentors who knew exactly what the opportunities were, and knew how to point young people in the right direction to grasp those options.

    * It would be a place that truly knew all the good things it had going for it, all the fine work being done inside its borders – and would celebrate and promote those successes to the world – instead of burying them beneath a pall of negativity and fear.

    * It would be a place that had big dreams, and was unafraid to ask state and federal government for help in reaching for those dreams.

    * It would be a place with rich, supple, active social networks, connecting people of talent and enthusiasm who might never have met in the old, siloed Philadelphia.

    >>Join the discussion<< at and participate in the dialog!


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