BTG Hope

“Bridging the Gaps … is a great vehicle of exposure and learning for the ‘providers of the future.’ For the past four summers we have hosted these students and been able to educate and mentor students from various disciplines, and our agency has benefited from their final projects. Thanks BTG.”
Sharon Jones, MS, CCDP
Clinical Supervisor
Sojourner House
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BTG CHIP 2009-10 Report

University of Pittsburgh Program Activities


Program Established: 1997

Program Period: June 8 to July 31, 2009

Students/Projects/Sites: 15 students worked on 7 projects at 7 community sites in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Professional Disciplines: Medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, social work.

Service Days: Students provided 454 days of health-related service.

Locations Served: Community organization offices, treatment centers (day or residential), in the field/community, client homes, community health centers/clinics, schools, day camps, recreation centers, shelters (homeless or other), geriatric facilities (activity-based or residential).

Student Activities:* Community social activities, health activities planning, health-related client education, client interviews, health issues research, community outreach, advocacy activities, community resource assessment, linking clients with health resources, oral health activities.

Population Demographics: Mixture of men and women; all ages (except for geriatric population); mixture of races and ethnicities; black/African-American; English-speaking.

Community Health Issues:* Diet and nutrition, mental health, oral health, communication (language/literacy), homelessness, exercise, poverty, access to health care, budgeting/personal finances, violence, cultural beliefs/practices, substance abuse, asthma, child care, race/ethnicity, women’s health, STDs, teen pregnancy, diabetes, HIV, personal hygiene, sexual questions/issues.

Community Preceptor Orientation: On May 13, 2009, Pittsburgh held an orientation workshop required for all new community and faculty preceptors to introduce them to the program. Several former mentors shared their experiences and perspectives. 

Didactic Sessions: Students attended orientation, along with eight weekly sessions (approximately 5.5 hours per week). Topics included Inequalities Within Women’s Health; The Problem Isn’t Homelessness, It’s Lack of Housing!; Experiential Poverty Exercise; The Hill as Community and Trip to The Hill; Creative Community-Based Research; Oral Health for the Underserved; and Health Literacy. Guest speakers represented community-based program providers, academicians and individuals from underserved backgrounds. 

Community Event: Pittsburgh’s annual social took place on July 8, 2009, at a Lebanese restaurant in one of the program’s partnering communities. The event is open to all community mentors, faculty preceptors, students and community members, and is designed to give program participants an opportunity to network and interact with each other in a social setting.

Oral Health Activities: BTG students attended Oral Health for the Underserved, a presentation that offered an understanding of oral health needs in the community. All students were also required to complete an online oral health tutorial to expose them to the most common oral health concerns. Two dental students and a public health student (part-time BTG interns) provided resources and guidance to students and helped them prepare for their oral health presentations. All of the Pittsburgh projects incorporated oral health activities.  According to student estimates, 71 children (aged 13 and under), 72 youth/young adults (aged 14 to 20) and 57 adults received oral health education. 

Symposium: The University of Pittsburgh held its Annual Day of Presentations Symposium on July 31, 2009, the last day of the BTG Program. Students celebrated their summer projects through poster presentations, and two select student groups gave oral presentations of their summer projects. In lieu of a keynote speaker this year, the Pittsburgh program was pleased to present performances by COL Jazz and K.R.U.N.K. Movement, two youth-led musical groups that grew out of programming at the Center of Life (COL), one of Pittsburgh’s community partners.  The former group is a professional quality jazz ensemble and the latter is a group of rappers and dancers promoting positive health messages.

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


2008-09 University of Pittsburgh Program Participants

Program Staff
Thistle Elias, MPA
Cathy Sobocinski
Joan Harvey, MD

Academic Preceptors
Sharon E. Connor, PharmD
Patricia Documét, MD, DrPH
Ann Mitchell, PhD, RN, HNC
Patricia Nowalk, PhD, RD
Jon Pletcher, MD
Richard Rubin, DDS, MPH
Tracy Soska, MSW
Martha Ann Terry, PhD
Tammy Thomas, MSW, MPH
Michael Yonas, DrPH

Community Preceptors
Andrea Arrington, MPH
Thuy Bui, MD
Joann English
Deborah Gallagher
Karen Garland, FESS
Nick Hartman
Mary Herbert, MPH
Sharon Jones, MS, CCDP
Sue Kerr, MSW
Don McMillan, BA
Anesu Mutasa
The Rev. Tim Smith
Celeste Stephenson
Ellen Witkowski


2009-10 University of Pittsburgh Community Partners

For a complete alphabetical list of all 2009 BTG CHIP community partners and to view community project summaries by site, click here.

  • Birmingham Free Clinic
  • Braddock Youth Project
  • Center of Life
  • Community Human Services Corporation
  • Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center, Early Head Start Program
  • Sojourner House
  • Womansplace
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“With the aid of my amazing community mentor, I was able to ... have a much better understanding of the intersection of poverty, mental health, poor access to services and the housing crisis. I have also gained an intimate understanding of the process of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.”
Breanna Jay
University of Pittsburgh
School of Social Work
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