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 2011-12 Report

University of Pittsburgh Program Activities


Program Established: 1997.

Program Period: June 6 to July 29, 2011

Students/Projects/Sites: 18 students worked on 9 projects at 8 community sites in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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

Service Days: Students provided 536 days of health-related service.

Types of Sites Served: Community organization offices, in the field/community, day camps, shelters (homeless and other), client homes, community health centers/clinics, as well as other types of sites.

Student Activities:* Health-related client education, community outreach, community social activities, community resource assessment, health activities planning, oral health activities, client interviews, health issues research, development or administration of surveys, evaluation of existing programs.

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

Community Health Issues:* Diet and nutrition, poverty, exercise, budgeting/personal finance, mental health and oral health, child care, communication (language/literacy), access to health care, obesity, insurance/social services, women’s health.

Mentor Workshop: On May 11, 2011, Pittsburgh held an orientation workshop required for all new community and faculty preceptors to introduce them to the program.

Didactic Sessions: Prior to program start, students attended an evening orientation. During the program students came together for eight weekly sessions (approximately 5.5 hours per week). Topics included the following: 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; Health Literacy, Prevention Point Pittsburgh – Needle Exchange; East Liberty – Stories Over Time. Guest speakers included community-based program providers, academic faculty and individuals from underserved backgrounds.

Oral Health Activities: BTG students attended "Oral Health for the Underserved" a presentation that offered information about the oral health needs in the community. A week earlier, all interns were required to complete an online oral health tutorial developed by School of Dentistry faculty to give them basic knowledge related to the most common oral health terms and concerns. A dental student worked with each team of BTG students and helped them prepare for their oral health community presentations, provided resources and guidance, and attended presentations as requested. All of the Pittsburgh projects incorporated oral health activities. According to student estimates, 78 children (aged 13 and under), 51 youth/young adults (aged 14 to 20) and 139 adults received oral health education.

Community Event: Pittsburgh’s annual social was a sponsored dinner at the elegant LeMont restaurant on Mount Washington, in the city. 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.

Symposium: Pittsburgh’s 16th Annual BTG Day of Presentations was held on the last day of the Program, July 29, 2011. In lieu of a keynote speaker, three peer-selected student teams gave oral presentations on their summer projects, and all student teams exhibited posters on their projects to an audience of community and faculty mentors, students, community members and members of the advisory board. Four students presented the Outstanding Mentor Award to Dina Ciabattoni, a first-time community mentor with Community Human Services.

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


2011-12 University of Pittsburgh Program Participants

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

Academic Preceptors
Thuy Bui, MD
Jessie Burke, PhD, MHS
Ann Mitchell
Patricia Nowalk, PhD, RD
Jon Pletcher, MD
Tracy Soska, MSW, LSW
Martha Ann Terry, BA, MA, PhD
Tammy Thomas, MSW, MPH
Michael Yonas, DrPH, MPH

Community Preceptors
Traci Arnold
Andrea Arrington, MPH
Dina Ciabattoni
Sharon Connor, PharmD
Lisa Donofrio
Megan Flanagan
Deborah Gallagher
Nick Hartman
Lindsay Hudak
Lauren Jonkman, PharmD
Jessica Schmid
The Reverend Tim Smith
Caitlin Walk
Rachel Weleski


2011-12 University of Pittsburgh Community Partners

For a complete alphabetical list of all 2011 BTG CHIP community partners and to view community project summaries by site, click here.

  • Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center, Inc.
  • Braddock Youth Project
  • Center of Life
  • Community Human Services
  • Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center, Early Head Start Program
  • Grace Lamsam Pharmacy, Northside Christian Health Center and the Birmingham Free Clinic
  • Hazelwood YMCA
  • 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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