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“It is obvious that with the Bridging the Gaps Program our community and the academic education of LECOM students are brought together in a very unique and rewarding way … The Northwest Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (NW PA AHEC) is pleased to support the Bridging the Gaps Program. We hope that each year will be a continued success for the Erie community as well as all the other Pennsylvania communities honored to have this type of relationship with medical schools and their students.”
Jane A. Mullinax, MEd Director of Career Development,
NW PA AHEC
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BTG CHIP 2015-16 Report

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) Program Activities


Program Established: 1996.

Program Period: June 1 to July 17, 2015.

Students/Projects/Sites: 26 students worked on 15 projects at 15 community sites in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Professional Discipline: Medicine.

Service Days: Students provided 727 days of health-related service.

Types of Sites Served: Community organization offices, client homes, geriatric activities/living facility, in the field/community, community health center, and day camps. 

Student Activities:* Health-related client education, oral health activities, planning health activities, research on health issues, assessing community resources, community social activities, advocacy activities, community outreach, client interviews, direct service delivery, linking clients with health resources, evaluation of existing programs, and teaching living skills.

Population Demographics: Mixture of females and males; all ages; mixture of race/ethnicities; primarily English speaking.

Community Health Issues:* Diet and nutrition, oral health, exercise, access to health care, mental health, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular health, physical disability, communication, personal hygiene, budgeting/personal finances, and homelessness.

Didactic Sessions: The Lake Erie College of Medicine (LECOM) BTG Program held their didactic sessions on Wednesday mornings. Speakers included faculty and personnel from LECOM, as well as from relevant health and social service agencies with specific expertise in health-related issues. The sessions included Community Health Care, Dental Health, Serving the Elderly, Domestic Violence, and Communicating with Hospitalized Individuals with Intellectual and Development Disabilities.

Community Event: At LECOM, a community preceptor luncheon was held on March 26, 2015, which allowed new community sites to learn more about the program and to meet with sites that have been with the program longer. Additionally, a meet-and-greet event, held on April 14, 2015, enabled the students selected for the 2015 Bridging the Gaps Program to meet the administration and faculty and all the community sites seeking an intern. During the meet and greet, the community preceptors set up small displays about their agencies, and the students visited each display to hear about project opportunities and learn about the sites.  

Oral Health Activities:  In Erie, Amber Pascuzzi served as the dental mentor. Amber held an oral health session early in the program for the LECOM BTG students. The presentation and discussion addressed why oral health is an important component of overall health and how oral health can be incorporated into students’ patient and community encounters. Emphasis was placed on recognizing existing cultural issues and dental needs within the populations at the various sites.

Poster Presentation: The LECOM Annual Poster Presentation was held on August 10, 2015, at the college. The event was attended by representatives of the BTG community sites, invited guests, faculty and students of LECOM. The posters were divided into categories based on the community site focus.

*The information provided here reflects only those categories reported by 40% or more of students participating at this BTG program location.


2015-16 LECOM Program Participants

Program Staff and Faculty
Michael A. Schmidt, PhD, Program Director
Sarah A. McCarthy, PhD, Program Director
Walter Hu
Maricely Reyes-Cruz

Academic Preceptors
Matthew Bateman, PhD, DHEd
Nancy Carty, PhD
Robert Evans, DO
John Gallagher, DO
Alice Hudder, PhD
Heather M. Jones, PhD
Christine S. Kell, PhD
Christopher Keller, PhD, CPH
Randy Kulesza, PhD
Theodore Makoske, MD
Sarah McCarthy, PhD
Kim Moscatello, PhD
Michael A. Schmidt, PhD

Community Preceptors
Pam Biroscak, MS
Heidi Burek, RN
Stephanie Garcia
Martin M. Kelly
Cherie Kinem, MSW
Deborah Kraus
Barbara Ann Lewis, RN
Sarah McFarland, RN
Barb McGuigan, RN
Karen Narusewicz
Sue Presta, BSW
Diane Sickles
Melissa Thompson
Mike Wehrer, LCSW
Kim Whelan
Stephanie Wincik, RN
Diana Zenewicz, RN


2015-16 LECOM Community Partners

For a complete alphabetical list of all 2015 BTG CHIP community partners and to view community project summaries by site, click here.

  • Barber National Institute
  • Brevillier Village
  • Erie DAWN
  • Erie Homes for Children and Adults
  • Erie VA Medical Center
  • Healthcare for the Homeless, Partnership Initiative
  • Housing And Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS)
  • JDRF Northwest PA
  • Mercy Center for Women
  • Mercy Hilltop Center
  • Millcreek Community Hospital
  • SafeNet
  • Voices for Independence
  • YMCA Kids Club

See a Heart Smart Happy Birthday Wish for BTG.
“As a future physician, I have come to learn that health, especially in geriatrics, is not only what the labs and x-rays tell you, but for a majority, it is the interaction and communication with their loved ones.”
Filip Moshkovsky
Lake Erie College of
Osteopathic Medicine

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