BTG Hope

“Not only was it rewarding to have two outstanding students in our agency for six weeks, but it helped to broaden the real understanding of public health in an inner-city environment ... They [the interns] left recognizing the ‘gaps’ that affect the work that is done each day and the need for quality public health services. We were honored to be part of the program this summer and look forward to another opportunity to participate.”
Carol Wolff
Executive Director
Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

BTG CHIP 2016-17 Report

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Program Activities


Program Established: 2008.

Program Period: June 13 to July 29, 2016.

Students/Projects/Sites: 14 students worked on 6 projects at 6 community sites in Camden, Elizabeth, Edison, New Brunswick, and Newark, New Jersey.

Professional Disciplines: Medicine and public health.

Service Days: Students provided 341 days of health-related service.

Types of Sites Served: Community organization offices, in the field/community, community health centers, hospital clinics, recreation centers, and treatment centers (day or other).

Student Activities:* Community outreach, assessing community resources, research on health issues, development or administration of surveys, client interviews, health-related client education, oral health activities, community social activities, linking clients with health resources, planning health activities, and health status tracking.

Population Demographics: Mixture of females and males; all ages except newborns; mixture of races/ethnicities; both English speaking and non-English speaking.

Community Health Issues:* Access to health care, diet and nutrition, exercise, oral health, homelessness, insurance/social service, mental health, poverty, race/ethnicity, communication, obesity, and substance abuse.

Didactic Sessions: Students attended seven weekly sessions. The New Jersey BTG Program held its didactic sessions on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Rutgers School of Public Health. Speakers included faculty and staff from Rutgers School of Public Health, as well as from relevant health and social service agencies in Camden, New Brunswick and Newark. The sessions included the following: The Importance of Oral Health in the Context of General Health and Poverty; Risk Control and Insurance Management; Social Determinants of Health; Walking Tour of New Brunswick; Ending Homelessness in New Jersey; Decarceration; Reentry from Incarceration: Navigating the Individual and Systemic Challenges; Vulnerable Youth; and Food Insecurity: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Oral Health Activities: Yvonne Mikalopas, RDH, Central Region Coordinator for the New Jersey Children’s Oral Health Program/Zufall Health Center, provided a session for students on the importance of oral health and concerns around access to care. She also provided a workshop with students about teaching proper oral hygiene. Selected literature and dental materials were distributed to students.

Symposium:  The Rutgers BTG Symposium was held on July 27, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rutgers School of Public Health. Approximately 75 people attended the session, including students, faculty, staff, and community and academic preceptors.

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


2016-17 Rutgers University Program Participants

Program Staff and Faculty
Bernadette West, PhD, MA, Program Director

Academic Preceptors
Joyce G. Afran, MD
Bernadette Callahan Hohl, PhD, MPH
Irina Grafova, PhD
Teri E. Lassiter, PhD, MPH
Sonia Garcia Laumbach, MD 
Karen Lin, MD, MS
Adana Llanos, PhD, MPH
Qingyu Meng, PhD
Rebecca C.  Moore, DO
Aubrey M. Olson, DO, MSEd 
Samantha M. Plasner, DO
David E. Swee, MD
Meagan W. Vermeulen, MD

Community Preceptors
Manuel Castaneda
Kaiya Harris, BS
Melissa Mascolo, MA
Yvette Molina
Cindy Sickora, DNP, RN
Susan Stephenson-Martin, MS, CD/N
Michael Swerdlow, PhD


2016-17 Rutgers University Community Partners

For a complete alphabetical list of all 2016 BTG CHIP community partners and to view community project summaries by site, click here.

  • Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services
  • Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers
  • Elijah’s Promise
  • Jordan & Harris Community Health Center
  • Making it Possible to End Homelessness (MIPH)
  • New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT)
  • SNAP-Ed /EFNEP

BTG 20 Years Video
BTG 20th Anniversary Tribute
“Anyone considering a career involving community health should have a hands-on experience like this. No textbook can convey the full reality of the hardships faced by residents in some needy communities, and no lecture can prepare you for the situations you encounter … I feel more strongly than ever that I’ve chosen the right career path.”
Raina Brown
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
BTG 20 Years Video
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