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 2015-16 Report

University of Pittsburgh Program Activities


Program Established: 1997.

Program Period: June 8 to July 31, 2015.

Students/Projects/Sites: 20 students worked on 10 projects at 10 community sites in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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

Service Days: Students provided 593 days of health-related service.

Types of Sites Served: Community organization offices, day camps, in the field/community, client homes, community health centers, libraries, and schools.

Student Activities:* Health-related client education, planning health activities, community social activities, assessing community resources, oral health activities, research on health issues, development or administration of surveys, client interviews, teaching living skills, evaluation of existing programs, and literacy activities.

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

Community Health Issues:* Oral health, diet and nutrition, access to health care, child care, poverty, mental health, violence, communication, insurance/social services, transportation, personal hygiene, cultural beliefs/practices, exercise, homelessness, physical disability, obesity, race/ethnicity, and women’s health.

Mentor Workshop: Prior to the start of the program, Pittsburgh held a Successful Mentoring Workshop for all new community and faculty mentors that was well attended with representatives from most community sites and all new community sites.

Didactic Sessions: The Pittsburgh curriculum included guest speakers who represented community-based program providers, researchers, and individuals from underserved backgrounds. The students came together for five and a half (5.5) hours a week to participate in a curriculum that included readings and journaling and presentations on the following topics: Inequalities Within Women’s Health; The Problem Isn’t Homelessness, It’s Lack of Housing!; Experiential Poverty Exercise; EHS Parent Perspectives on Meeting the Needs of Children; Oral Health for the Underserved; Walking Tour of Braddock; Community Violence and Homicide Review Board; Community Advocacy—Affordable Care Act and Medicaid; Remote Area Medical Film.

Oral Health Activities: In Pittsburgh, on July 1, 2015, a presentation on Oral Health for the Underserved was given by Dr. Brian Martin, Chief of Pediatric Dental Services, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, focused on both preventive care and advocacy efforts. A week earlier, all interns were required to complete an online oral health tutorial developed by School of Dentistry faculty to expose the interns to the most common oral health terms and concerns. The School of Dentistry student working with BTG provided all of the interns with oral health education resource lists and updated materials tailored to their populations. In addition, the program provided free oral health supplies (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and denture care materials as appropriate) to all program participants at 10 community sites, in addition to supplies for several sites to carry into the fall.

Community Event: Pittsburgh hosted an Annual Mentor-Student Social on the evening of July 15, 2015. This gathering was hosted at a new favorite restaurant in a local underserved neighborhood. Students provided a homemade-dessert potluck as thanks to their mentors. This evening event was very well attended by community mentors, faculty preceptors, students, and community members, and gave everyone a chance to network and socialize.

Symposium: Pittsburgh’s 19th Annual BTG Day of Presentations was held on the last day of the program, July 31, 2015. All student teams presented posters on their projects. Three of the student teams were selected by their peers to also give oral presentations of their summer projects. This event was well attended by a variety of community and faculty mentors, students, community members and advisory board members. Two students presented the Outstanding Mentor Award to new community preceptor, Patricia Wood from Sister’s Place. 

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


2015-16 University of Pittsburgh Program Participants

Program Staff and Faculty
Thistle Elias, DrPH, MPA, Program Director
Joan Harvey, MD

Academic Preceptors
Emma Barinas-Mitchell, PhD
Sharon Connor, PharmD
Thistle Elias, DrPH, MPA
Mark S. Friedman, PhD
Rachel Fusco, PhD, MSW
Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD
Ann Mitchell, PhD, RN, FAAN
Tracy Soska, MSW, LSW
Martha Ann Terry, PhD

Community Preceptors
Pam Dickinson, BS
Deborah Gallagher, MEd
Karen Garland, BS
Sharon Higginbothan, PhD, COO
Sharon Jones, MS, LPC
Katelyn Kaczorowski, RN
Lynn Knezevich, MSW, LSW
Denise McGill, MSW
Laura Oliver, MSW
Mary Parks, CSJ
Lisa Reihl
Casey Rich
Lyndsey Sickler
Trevor Smith, MSW
Monique Wingfield
Patricia Wood, MSW


2015-16 University of Pittsburgh Community Partners

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

  • Bethlehem Haven
  • Community Human Services
  • COTRAIC Early Head Start
  • Hazelwood YMCA
  • Heritage Community Initiatives
  • Prospect Park Family Support Center, South Hills Interfaith Ministries
  • Sisters Place
  • Sojourner House
  • The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh
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University of Pittsburgh
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