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Lake Erie Projects

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Instilling Wellness in the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled via Independent Activity

Student Intern(s):
David Shirilla, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
John Wojtkielewicz, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Amy Will, RN, Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute

The Community Site:
The Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute provides services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The institute’s primary motivation is to enable all individuals of varying mental impairments to reach their full potential. These services range from early intervention (birth to 3 months old) to older adult care. The Wheels in Motion program is designed for intellectual stimulation of clients suffering from cerebral palsy. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity; Immunization
Focus Areas: Oral Health; Nutrition and Overweight; Immunization and Infectious Diseases; Physical Activity and Fitness; Food Safety

The Project:
In an attempt to mix the educational goals of Bridging the Gaps with the enabling spirit of the Wheels in Motion program, David designed a geocaching tour of Erie for seven individuals. A relatively new hobby, geocaching is an activity in which adventurers obtain GPS satellite coordinates and then use whatever travel means necessary to reach the desired destination and earn a prize. Slightly tweaking this format, David delivered a series of interactive presentations on the aforementioned focus areas to the Wheels in Motion participants. Following the presentations, each of the seven individuals received a puzzle testing their recall of the wellness information. Successful solving of the puzzle revealed the names of two intriguing destinations in the city of Erie. Reaching these destinations would yield a prize, but to do so, they would need to use a GPS device and successfully direct a driver to the desired location. The goal of this activity was to strengthen retention of the information by allowing the individuals to employ it in a stimulating, independent activity. David said, “The staggering pervasiveness of developmental disability in this society should demand that a far greater proportion of the medical school curriculum be devoted to caring for these individuals. … I feel like I’ve gained immeasurable experience. The patience I’ve acquired along the way was worth the internship alone. … Managing care for the developmentally disabled requires more than just an understanding of the person’s condition. It depends upon knowledge of the individual’s home life, emotional state, past interactions towards health care professionals, phobias, etc.”

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Small Steps to Healthier Living for Women in Transitional Housing

Student Intern(s):
Melissa Miara, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Teagan Riggs, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Heather Jones, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Maureen Dunn, MS, Erie DAWN, Inc.

The Community Site:
Erie DAWN (Dwellings and Advocacy for Women in Need), in partnership with area landlords, provides safe, affordable, independent transitional housing for low-income women and children. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas: Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Tobacco Use; Oral Health

The Project:
Melissa and Teagan developed individual lesson plans on healthy living that were delivered to the women in the Erie DAWN program over a four-week period. The program opened with a health awareness assessment comprising 22 questions about healthy living that provided an opportunity for the clients to state personal goals. The goal of the healthy living lessons was to provide essential education, including information on sexual health and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), tobacco cessation, stress management, oral health promotion, nutrition and physical activity. The project complemented the life skills and support services offered by Erie DAWN by contributing to the women’s efforts at wellness and self-sufficiency. Melissa noted, “My BTG experience has been both fulfilling and enlightening. In addition to the relationships I have formed with both the staff of Erie DAWN and the women within the program, I have learned much about the social service network of the Erie community. … My experience is an excellent supplement to my medical education because I have gained a different health care perspective—through the eyes of the women in the Erie DAWN program.” Teagan commented, “I feel that my BTG experience impacted my professional growth by providing ways to develop approaches to handle individual persons/patients differently based on their health needs. I also realized that I was uneducated when it came to understanding the hardships of the homeless and the difficulty it takes in getting reintroduced back into society in a self-sufficient manner.”

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The Healer Within®: An Integrated Healthy expERIEnce

Student Intern(s):
Edward J. Skicki, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Kim Moscatello, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Tami Netkowicz, expERIEnce Children’s Museum

The Community Site:
The mission of expERIEnce Children’s Museum, located in downtown Erie, is to enrich the lives of children by providing a creative and interactive environment where children can experience learning as fun. The museum is host to more than 55 hands-on exhibits that encourage children and adults to explore topics in science, art and history in a “please touch” atmosphere. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health

The Project:
Although Edward worked on several projects during his time at the museum, there were three primary endeavors. First, he redesigned the teacher’s resource packet used by educational tour groups to include more activities and information, creating an appropriate guide for each of the various grade levels of visitors. Second, he conducted four RAZZMA day camps and several large group tours that focused on teaching children and parents about the importance of their bones, the immune system and wound healing, proper nutrition, and good oral health. Third, he designed a script for guided tours that integrated several different aspects of the Healer Within® exhibit. In addition, he prepared, illustrated and posted several materials to augment the experience of non-guided groups and provide further detail to visitors. The goal of these projects was to provide a more integrated experience for all guests and to encourage a more child-friendly atmosphere in the Healer Within® exhibit. Edward noted, “Over the past several weeks, I have had the distinct opportunity to work with the tireless and enthusiastic staff at the expERIEnce Children’s Museum. … I deeply enjoyed the chance to be able to work with young children and their parents, not only leading them through the exhibit and answering questions, but also preparing materials that will allow them to continue to draw from it even after my internship is complete. … I developed a deeper gratitude for programs like BTG, which help to keep our future professionals grounded and invested in the communities that help to train and to nurture them. As a physician in training, my time with the museum has taught me how to develop a more accessible vernacular for my future patients while showing me the value of reaching younger age groups in an effort to promote healthy living practices early in life.”

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From Mentor to Pupil: A Lesson in Role Reversal

Student Intern(s):
Heather Baran, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Ann Stephanie Stano, SSJ, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Rich Ragen, Gannondale

The Community Site:
Gannondale is a residential center offering a holistic and therapeutic approach to the rehabilitation of young women aged 12 through 18 who have been placed there by the courts. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Access to Health Care; Physical Activity; Substance Abuse; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Overweight and Obesity; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas: Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity; HIV; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use; Oral Health

The Project:
Working with the Gannondale staff, Heather provided the adolescent residents with health promotion information about nutrition, physical activity, diabetes, substance abuse and sexual health. The material was reinforced by facilitating discussions with the young women or engaging them in games and activities. Heather commented, “Even though I am well educated on the health topics involved in my project, this was still not enough to prepare me for my time with the residents at Gannondale. I needed to separate myself from my medical school knowledge and just listen to the needs and experiences of the girls. A seemingly simple skill, but it took me a couple weeks to learn how to listen. I will remember these encounters with the girls in the future when I interact with patients from all walks of life and different backgrounds.”

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Bridging Health Care and the Community — It Can Be a Two-Way Street

Student Intern(s):
Lauren R. Weber, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Theodore A. Makoske, MD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Sr. Stephanie Schmidt, OSB, House of Healing

The Community Site:
The House of Healing is a residential program that gives women involved in the criminal justice system the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their children in a structured, caring learning environment. Recently, the House of Healing has expanded to provide services to women and children involved with the Office of Children and Youth. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Responsible Sexual Behavior; Injury and Violence; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas: Oral Health; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Substance Abuse; Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Educational and Community-Based Programs

The Project:
Lauren led several group discussions with the residents of the House of Healing on various health care topics including personal hygiene, oral health, women’s health, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and pregnancy prevention. Lauren also addressed the residents’ health concerns individually and used videos, games and handouts to engage the women in discussions about various health issues. Also, Lauren worked with preteen and teenage girls involved in the aftercare program, leading weekly Girl Talk sessions in which they discussed responsible sexual behaviors, oral health and self-esteem. Lauren said, “When I came to the House of Healing, I carried with me all of the typical stereotypes that one might have about incarcerated women and individuals addicted to drugs. … After my first hour at the House, I realized my fears were unfounded. … Ironically, I came into this program thinking I would be the teacher; little did I know that I would be the one learning. I have acquired the invaluable skill of explaining medical concepts to others in a way that they can understand. I finally comprehend the concept of ‘know your audience.’ I have also learned that addiction is a disease and not a matter of ‘just say no.’ Hopefully I can lead my peers to realize that addicts are not just ‘junkies’; most are individual souls who have suffered tremendously and genuinely need someone to reach out a caring hand. … I want to thank the House staff and residents for all of the friendships I have made and the lessons they have taught me.”

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Promoting Healthy Habits in an Aging Population

Student Intern(s):
David Carl, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Mathew Bateman, PhD, DHEd, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Kim Whelan, Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS), St. Joseph’s Apartments

The Community Site:
Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS) provides quality affordable housing for members of the community with disabilities, senior citizens, and families or individuals with financial hardships. At St. Joseph’s Apartments, HANDS provides affordable housing primarily for senior citizens and facilitates a communal environment where residents have the opportunity to interact with one another and attend educational and recreational events within the building. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Physical Activity; Mental Health; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas: Physical Activity and Fitness; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Tobacco Use; Oral Health

The Project:
David organized events for the residents of St. Joseph’s Apartments with the goal of developing healthy habits in the population. He organized a Walking Club and kept track of the total mileage of each walker. David also set up an Arts and Crafts Club and guided the group in making a craft each week. In addition, he planned an oral health presentation, gave computer classes, organized games for the residents, and participated in a non-smoking group. David reflected, “The time I spent as an intern with BTG has elucidated my perspective of the aging population. It created a bridge over my lack of appreciation for the challenges facing the elderly and allowed me to see clearly the struggles they face with finances, mobility, and mental and physical health. … One of the biggest takeaways for me personally was seeing how much the elderly value their family and look forward to spending time with them. … There is no doubt that this experience has better equipped me to serve the senior population in the future as a physician.”

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Nutrition and Green Living at the Villa Maria Apartments

Student Intern(s):
Samuel Rednor, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Mathew Bateman, PhD, DHEd, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Cyreta Barnes, BA, Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS), Villa Maria Apartments

The Community Site:
Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS) provides quality affordable housing for members of the community with disabilities, senior citizens, and families or individuals with financial hardships. At Villa Maria Apartments, HANDS provides affordable housing primarily for senior citizens and facilitates a communal environment where residents have the opportunity to interact with one another and attend educational and recreational events within the building. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Environmental Quality; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas: Diabetes; Environmental Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Samuel’s goal was to provide educational discussions and activities on health topics of diabetes and nutrition that were of most interest to the residents of the Villa Maria Apartments. In addition to the diabetes and nutrition sessions, Samuel also presented sessions that focused on green living. The presentation on green living was designed to engage the residents in a discussion on ways to save money on their electric, heating and water bills while also being eco-friendly. The eco-friendly cost-cutting approach was important because HANDS has the goal of preparing their family residents for home ownership. Samuel said, “I thoroughly enjoyed working for HANDS as an intern at the Villa Maria Apartments. It was an amazing experience to be out in the community, working with the residents, all of whom showed passion for the topics I was discussing. I was thoroughly encouraged by the residents’ depth of knowledge and their eagerness to learn. … My site preceptor was an amazing guide through the problems facing this population. She showed me not only the problems, but the solutions which were being implemented to help alleviate those problems. BTG was a thoroughly enriching experience and one that I will carry with me long into my career as an osteopathic physician.”

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Broadening the Definition of “Safe Sex” for Women at Risk

Student Intern(s):
Ann Price, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Michael Bradbury, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Christine Tombaugh, Mercy Center for Women

The Community Site:
Mercy Center for Women provides long-term transitional housing and support services to homeless women with or without children. Transitional housing fills the gaps between emergency housing and permanent housing. The extended stay at Mercy Center allows women time to work with an advocate who helps them develop life skills and set realistic goals to attain self-sufficiency. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Responsible Sexual Behavior; Mental Health; Access to Health Care
Focus Areas: Sexually Transmitted Diseases; HIV; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Access to Quality Health Services; Oral Health; Nutrition and Overweight

The Project:
Working with the staff of Mercy Center, Ann developed a program that integrated a discussion of healthy relationship skills with the notion of safe sex. The goal of this program was to highlight the importance of developing a healthy relationship of mutual respect, along with safe sex (STD and pregnancy prevention). Ann said, “Getting to know the residents of Mercy Center for Women has been both difficult and extremely rewarding. … Quickly, I realized I had no clue of the depth of their all-consuming battle with addiction and/or mental illness. Over time, I came to a greater understanding of the hurdles they endure and overcome as they work to better their lives with the help of the staff: the constant, daily struggles to remain ‘clean’ of addiction, of navigating the complicated systems of health care and housing as welfare recipients, raising children, and just plain living as a functioning member of society.”

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ACE Unit: An Innovative Approach to Geriatric Health Care

Student Intern(s):
Bryan Geoffrey Anderson, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Teiah Moore, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Richard McCabe, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Martin Kelly, NHA, Millcreek Community Hospital
Amanda Lis, BSW, Millcreek Community Hospital

The Community Site:
The Millcreek Community Hospital (MCH) is a full-service acute care facility. MCH is affiliated with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and the Millcreek Geriatric Education and Care Center. The goal of MCH is to broaden the scope of its community involvements and its own commitment to regional health care needs. The Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit is a new unit on the second floor of the MCH, dedicated to treating acute illnesses that affect adults over the age of 50. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Injury and Violence; Physical Activity; Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity
Focus Areas: Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Chronic Back Conditions; Chronic Kidney Disease; Diabetes; Heart Disease and Stroke; Respiratory Disease; Cancer; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Teiah and Bryan created an informational brochure highlighting the unique aspects of the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit and its role in treating the elderly patient. Distribution of this pamphlet is intended to increase community awareness of this new facility and use of the many geriatric services Millcreek Community Hospital (MCH) has to offer. Bryan noted, “Spending my summer immersed in the unique needs and medical care of the local geriatric population has been a completely novel experience that was previously unexpected. … For so much of my life I have lived in the theoretical environment of academia and have clung to its idealistic perspectives. Nevertheless, the pragmatic conditions that surround the matured lives and histories of the elderly population has softened my heart and helped me to not only understand some of the vast needs that affect their daily lives, but to want to use my career to care for those needs.” Teiah commented, “The internship proved to be more challenging than I had ever imagined yet tremendously exciting and academically stimulating. The greatest benefit from this experience is that I no longer regard medicine as a myriad of detached theories and facts but can recognize similarities and patterns leading to a more logical comprehension of medicine—a puzzle with many pieces that must fit together correctly to create a picture that illustrates not just the solution to an illness but the patient as a whole. There is also a deep admiration for geriatrics for it demands the utmost attention to detail, along with a great understanding of the limits of the human body.”

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Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives: Implementing a Nutrition Education Program

Student Intern(s):
Andrea Darnell, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Reann L. Carrier, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Sue Presta, SafeNet Transitional Living Center

The Community Site:
SafeNet provides a variety of direct services to women and their children who are victims of domestic abuse. While the program’s original focus was emergency shelter for battered women, SafeNet provides other services aimed at ending domestic violence, including a 24-hour hotline, counseling, education, and social and legal advocacy. Transitional housing is also available in the Transitional Living Center (TLC), for young homeless mothers aged 16 to 21, and in the Bridge House, for women transitioning from shelter. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Overweight and Obesity; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Mental Health
Focus Areas: Nutrition and Overweight; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Family Planning; Oral Health

The Project:
Andrea participated in a comprehensive nutrition counseling program that included current sessions and a nutrition program that agency staff will lead in March, which is National Nutrition Month. The lessons are interactive and incorporate life skills, such as reading nutrition labels, meal planning, and educating children on healthy foods. Andrea created a women’s instructional binder with associated discussion topics and the resources, materials and handouts needed to implement the counseling topic. The children’s binder has games and lessons on the same topics, which can be taught to both mothers and children the same week. Andrea reflected, “SafeNet is a vital community resource, and I feel privileged to have witnessed not only the strength and resiliency of the women who utilize the program, but also the unfailingly generous spirit of the SafeNet staff. Through my experiences I have learned so much about the realities of domestic violence and the impact it has on the health of everyone involved. … BTG has taught me that, to give my patients the best possible care, I need to take the time to listen to their story.”

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Implementing BladderScan Technology into Long-Term Care

Student Intern(s):
Melissa Jones, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Theodore Makoske, MD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Barbara M. Elliott, RN, Saint Mary’s East Home of Erie

Community Site:
Saint Mary’s East Home of Erie offers a full continuum of care including adult day services; independent, assisted and residential living; personal care; nursing care; Alzheimer’s nursing care; Alzheimer’s assisted living; and respite care. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Mental Health; Physical Activity; Environmental Quality
Focus Areas: Medical Product Safety; Disability and Secondary Conditions; Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions; Physical Activity and Fitness; Mental Health and Mental Disorders

The Project: Melissa assisted the staff at Saint Mary’s East with a variety of activities, including writing policy and developing training sessions for the implementation of a new piece of technology, participating in meetings and revising policies for the Restorative Task Force team, and giving a dental health presentation to adult day services attendees. Melissa noted, “Professionally, this experience has given me an opportunity to take charge of a project on my own, within a health care environment, with all of the trials, protocols, intricacy, and complexities along the way. … I learned the process for implementing new technology into a health care setting, but I also learned about myself, my abilities to work with others, to listen, to problem solve, and to compromise. … The knowledge about medicine and the health care system in general, as well as about life, that I have gained from this opportunity will stay with me throughout my medical career as well as forever in my heart.”

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Fostering Independence Within the Senior Home Community

Student Intern(s):
Marina Pekelis, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Christine S. Kell, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Allen Bonace, Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge

The Community Site:
Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge, a continuing care retirement community, is committed to an environment where seniors (primarily), their families, staff and volunteers participate in fostering an atmosphere of community. The assisted living facility and the Alzheimer’s unit at Saint Mary’s provide stimulating scheduled activities to promote self-esteem, maximize function and minimize disruptive behavior. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Mental Health; Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity
Focus Areas: Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Physical Activity and Fitness; Nutrition and Overweight; Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions; Disability and Secondary Conditions; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
Marina helped the staff publicize to the residents the many games, activities and trips that are available for them. In addition, she led a computer workshop and assisted individual residents in addressing their computer concerns. Marina also worked on increasing health awareness and tolerance of others through a health fair, a dental presentation, and a “Jeopardy” game at the end of the program. Marina said, “It was eye-opening to be immersed in the senior community and truly learn what they struggle with on a daily basis. … Empowering the elderly with that kind of confidence will enable them to take care of themselves in all aspects of health, including mental health. … At my health fair, I taught the residents about the choices that they need to make in order to take care of their health.”

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Developing a Health Maintenance Screening Reminder and Scheduling System

Student Intern(s):
Imran Baig, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Ann Stephanie Stano, PhD, SSJ, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Sam Reynolds, MD, Saint Vincent Hospital, Edinboro Medical Center

The Community Site:
The Allscripts House, established by Saint Vincent Hospital, consists of a team of individuals who have been working together to switch Saint Vincent and about 16 primary care and 6 specialty offices to electronic health records (EHR). The team accomplishes this by training office staff, nurses and physicians in using the EHR program Allscripts, providing technical support and troubleshooting and carrying out other responsibilities related to ensuring that the different practices can successfully use Allscripts. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Access to Health Care; Environmental Quality
Focus Areas: Cancer; Public Health Infrastructure; Health Communication

The Project: Imran assisted the Allscripts House team in developing the Health Management Plan (HMP), which keeps track of any active clinical items in a patient’s chart. Imran commented, “Working on this project at Saint Vincent’s has been an extremely valuable learning experience for me. … the skills and knowledge I have gained throughout my BTG experience will help me greatly in my own practice of medicine in the future. I was able to see how EHR are used in real-life medical practice to the great benefit of both patients and providers—from being able to enter information directly into a patient’s chart as it is told to the provider to ordering prescriptions directly to the patient’s pharmacy of choice. … The health maintenance screening reminder system I have helped develop is just another example of this. I am truly grateful for having had this opportunity to be on the cutting edge of patient-centered medical care, and to have been able to learn firsthand from an innovator in the field.”

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ReCharging Children’s Health in the Erie Community: A Childhood Obesity Awareness Program in the Balance

Student Intern(s):
Jordan P. Balencic, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Ann Stephanie Stano, SSJ, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Sean D. Wiley, Saint Vincent Health System

The Community Site:
Saint Vincent Health Center is an acute care hospital serving a population of more than one million people in northwestern Pennsylvania, southwestern New York, and northeastern Ohio. Founded in 1875 by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Saint Vincent has since evolved into an integrated health system, providing patients with an outpatient network that has spread across the entire region of northwestern Pennsylvania. In accordance with their mission statement, the community of caregivers within Saint Vincent Health System remains committed to compassion and excellence in the delivery of a continuum of holistic care to all people. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity; Mental Health
Focus Areas: Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; Oral Health

The Project:
Jordan developed a six-week syllabus using the ReCharge! Program, which provides an educational blueprint from which instructors can gather lessons geared toward helping children adopt appropriate dietary and physical activity habits though team-centered activities. ReCharge! addresses our country’s growing epidemic of childhood obesity by focusing on core concepts such as goal-setting, teamwork, appropriate serving size and balancing “energy in” (nutrition) with “energy out” (exercise). ReCharge! provides children with transferable life skills involving total mind and body health. Each week Jordan led students through the lessons touching on new healthy core concepts. Jordan noted, “Having the opportunity to develop a teaching program adopted from lessons outlined in ReCharge! has placed me on the forefront of combating America’s obesity conflict right here in Erie, Pennsylvania.”

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Assessing the Needs of the Little Italy Community

Student Intern(s):
Ryan Hancox, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Robert Evans, DO, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Sr. Mary Herrmann, Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network

The Community Site:
The Neighborhood Network is a community-based program created to revitalize the Little Italy community in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Network provides services to the residents of the community in the form of emergency needs, educational programs and community networking. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Environmental Quality; Injury and Violence; Substance Abuse; Mental Health; Access to Health Care
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Environmental Health; Access to Quality Health Services; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Injury and Violence Prevention; Oral Health; Nutrition and Overweight

The Project:
Ryan surveyed the residents of the Little Italy community to assess the needs of the area, the quality of rental units, their awareness of services in the area, and their interest in future home ownership. He then compiled the data into a spreadsheet to assist the Neighborhood Network in selecting clients for housing programs and to better meet the needs of the community. He also created a pamphlet that listed the free services in the community and distributed it with the survey. The long-term goal of the project is to increase community awareness of the Neighborhood Network and to increase the quality of life for the residents through use of its services. Ryan commented, “Working at the Neighborhood Network has been an enlightening experience. Working with the clients at the center and talking with the residents of the community have provided me with invaluable insight into the hardships that the impoverished population experience on a daily basis. I have experienced a wide spectrum of human reactions to community services, ranging from very difficult to very appreciative clients. BTG has exposed me to intricate, complex situations that will inevitably occur throughout the course of my medical career, thus preparing me for the adversity encountered in holistic osteopathic care. I truly feel that BTG has helped prepare me for realistic clinical conditions that cannot be taught in a classroom.”

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Increasing Health Care Awareness in an Underprivileged Community

Student Intern(s):
Bradley Heiple, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Matthew Heitzenrater, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Ann Stephanie Stano, PhD, SSJ, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Sr. Rosemary O’Brien, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception

The Community Site:
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, located in downtown east side Erie, provides a community outreach program for the surrounding area. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity; Mental Health; Tobacco Use; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas: Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Brad and Matt worked with the St. Mary’s team in their various community outreach activities. Primarily, they began to look at some of the major health care needs of this community, such as hygiene, cardiovascular health, obesity and oral health. The interns did an oral health care and cardiovascular health maintenance presentation to a group of children, and they set up blood pressure clinics and a donation center to assess and to address some of the needs of the community. Bradley noted, “The experience at St. Mary’s has been very eye-opening for me, to say the least. … I have been struck by the apparent needs of this community—and even more surprisingly, the prevalent lack of awareness that these needs even exist.” Matthew commented, “This has definitely been eye-opening as to what can be expected in medical practice. This experience has opened my eyes to the needs of underprivileged communities. At the beginning of the project, I was directed to reflect upon what could be learned about myself as serving clients. Insights told me I have just begun on a journey that will take more listening, more insightful observation and much more patience.”

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Drug Education in Hospice Patients

Student Intern(s):
Chad Thurman, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Raeann L. Carrier, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Dave Kuchta, MDiv, RN, Visiting Nurses Association of Erie County

The Community Site:
The Visiting Nurses Association of Erie County is an organization of nurses and other health care providers who specialize in home health care. The VNA Hospice Team collaborates closely with the patient’s own physician to create a plan of care driven by the needs and wishes of the patient, family and loved ones. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Access to Health Care; Environmental Quality
Focus Areas: Medical Product Safety; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication

The Project:
Chad worked with the staff of the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) Hospice Team. One of Chad’s activities was to create medication sheets for the patients that presented drug information and side effects in a format that was easy to understand and less worrisome than the drug companies’ pages. Chad said, “Working at the VNA Hospice has been one of the great joys of my professional life. I was blown away by the care and selflessness that every staff member showed each and every day. … Even more so, I was taken aback by the openness and warm reception at each patient’s home when I traveled with the nurses. I learned more about respect and the good nature of those within a community in the seven weeks of BTG than I had learned in my previous year of medical school. In terms of patient understanding and patient care, the skills that I have gained from working with the wonderful staff at the VNA have given me a tremendous advantage for my professional career to come.”

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Healthy Habits for Independent Lifestyles

Student Intern(s):
Paul Campana, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Iris Castillo, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Raeann L. Carrier, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Tiffany Frey, Voices For Independence

The Community Site:
Voices For Independence (VFI) is a center for independent living that serves 13 counties in northwestern Pennsylvania and aims to empower people with disabilities and promote independent living. VFI provides services to people with disabilities to help them achieve and maintain their independent lifestyle. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Access to Health Care
Focus Areas: Disability and Secondary Conditions; Physical Activity and Fitness; Nutrition and Overweight; Access to Quality Health Services; Oral Health

The Project:
The lack of accessibility to services in the community, including health and dental care, is a major issue that people with disabilities face. In response to the insufficient services, Voices For Independence (VFI) launched Living Well With a Disability, a program that provides holistic services that help individuals live independently. As part of this new program, Paul developed the nutrition portion to be incorporated into VFI’s weekly cooking classes. Iris focused her efforts on fitness information and materials to be used with VFI’s brand-new accessible fitness center. Additionally, the interns created an oral health presentation in which they taught consumers and staff members about common oral health problems and how to prevent them. Paul said, “The consumers and staff members of VFI have taught me many important lessons about the obstacles facing people with disabilities, and about how to work with them when I am a physician. … My work on this program, along with the lessons I have learned at VFI, has left me with a profound take-home message. This message, that every individual under any circumstances should be identified according to who they are as people, not by any physical limitations they might have. Furthermore, people with disabilities deserve and have the right to the same freedom of choice enjoyed by able-bodied individuals.” Iris said, “My experiences at VFI have changed the way I view the disabled community. … They have introduced me to issues that I had never paid attention to before. Personal stories of discrimination and disrespect left me disappointed and saddened. At the same time, it has motivated me to work towards change. Exposure to this community has given me a new perspective on the abilities of humans not only to overcome challenges, but also to find the courage to change them. I hope to take the lessons I have learned into my medical practice by identifying specific needs of any patient with a disability and treating them with both respect and understanding to provide the best holistic care that I can.”

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Health Education for Children in Two Communities

Student Intern(s):
Mazin Albert, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Tania Qadir, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Paul Renz, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Christopher Keller, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Cherie Kinem, MSW, YMCA of Greater Erie

The Community Site:
The YMCA Kids Clubs is a program for children aged 6 to 18 that provides various activities, including sports leagues, fitness programs, camping, golf lessons, swimming and field trips. The Kids Club programs are located within the John E. Horan Garden Apartments and Erie Heights, providing parents in these communities with affordable after school and summer programs for children. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Injury and Violence
Focus Areas: Physical Activity and Fitness; Nutrition and Overweight; Injury and Violence Prevention; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Oral Health

The Project:
Mazin, Tania and Paul assisted the YMCA Kids Club with their summer program at both the John E. Horan Garden Apartments and the Erie Heights locations. The interns created a summer sports camp program that was geared toward introducing the children to new sports and encouraging physical activity on a daily basis. Each day the interns worked with the children providing lessons in various sports the children chose. They also addressed healthier eating habits by educating the children on healthy snacking and discussed injury prevention relative to the sports they played. Mazin said, “I know that this experience will reflect in future patient encounters as this summer has proven to be an educational life-altering opportunity. Working with the children in each community has been wonderful and challenging and has allowed me to develop an adaptability index that will translate easily to the clinical setting. They have also opened a new world to me, giving back to the young within my community, one that I will be sure to revisit time and time again. Their energy, carefree attitude, and simple love for life and joy have been rejuvenating and left an impression on me that will last a lifetime.” Tania noted, “BTG has provided me with a great opportunity to reach out and give back to the community. At the YMCA, I was able to partake in various activities that taught valuable lessons, from sports and fitness to overall well-being, to the children there. In medical school, we are kept very busy with our studies and are unable at times to give back to the Erie community. Through this program, we were able to do so and it has been a great experience.” Paul commented, “My experience at the YMCA Kids Club was more than worthwhile. It was very enlightening and helped me to experience a different part of the Erie community. I enjoyed working with the children to teach them different life lessons. What I didn’t expect was how much they would teach me in return. I feel my experience really strengthened my professional development by allowing me to interact with all of the different cultures represented at the club. I would recommend this BTG experience to any of the future BTG interns, as I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

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BTG 20 Years Video
BTG 20th Anniversary Tribute
"My internship … has affected me deeply. I have learned about the complexities of substance abuse and the struggles women face to remain clean. Working with a student from a discipline other than my own has helped me to view health issues from another perspective."
BTG Student Intern
BTG 20 Years Video
What BTG Means to Us

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