BTG Hope

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Lake Erie Projects

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Proprioceptive Balance Training: Exercising for a Healthier Tomorrow

Student Interns:
Adam Biedny, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Trevor Cox, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Nancy Carty, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Amy Will, RN, CDDN, Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute

The Community Site:
The Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute is an organization that provides a variety of programs and services focused on helping children and adults with disabilities. The Barber National Institute is committed to providing the highest quality education and health care to individuals, geared to making all of their dreams come true. The plan to accomplish all of this is carried out through early intervention, early inclusive preschooling, the Autism Center of Excellence, community-based group homes, transitional work service job training and an approved private school. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Adam and Trevor assisted in developing a proprioceptive balance training exercise regimen for individuals considered a significant fall risk. The goal of the regimen was to correct postural muscle imbalances to help the individuals improve balance and limit their risk of falling. Adam and Trevor’s work with individuals at the Senior Retirement Center was used to create an example video for the future development of similar exercise programs for elderly individuals at the Barber National Institute (BNI) with the hope of decreasing preventable falls among its clients. Adam noted, “I think that the BTG internship, working with the nurses and care providers at the BNI, has truly been an eye-opening experience. I have been impressed by the passion and dedication that the employees have for their work with the individuals. … The nursing and care staff is focused on continuous innovation in safety, quality and the education of clients at the center. The BTG program has given me an insight into the real world of care and support for the intellectually and developmentally disabled population. I know that this summer experience has given me a model of excellent care for these individuals, and this will help me in my future health care practice.” Trevor said, “I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in BTG at the BNI. This internship has opened my eyes to a very diverse group of professionals and clientele that have dedicated their lives to helping others. From the nursing department to the training department and to the residential aides, every employee we talked to was passionate about their job, and you could just see the pride they took in performing their jobs. I am now better prepared and looking forward to working with the special-needs and mental health patients in my future practice.”

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Grow Program

Student Interns:
Jennifer Leap, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jessica Tyler, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Maureen Dunn, MS, Erie DAWN, Inc.

The Community Site:
Erie DAWN, Inc., works with landlords in Erie to provide affordable housing to low-income single women and their children. They work to help the women improve the physical, emotional and financial aspects of their lives through mentoring and goal setting. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Jennifer and Jessica designed the Grow Program as a counseling program for women at Erie DAWN to discuss growing a relationship with their children. Each family was given a tomato plant to nurture. The women discussed their family backgrounds, hopes they have for their children’s futures, boundaries and freedoms they set up for their children, and how their relationship with their children will change as they get older. Vegetables and other foods were provided in each session to encourage the families to eat healthy meals. The clients also took a nutritional survey and, based on concerns they raised, were counseled individually on healthy eating habits, exercise and smoking cessation. Jennifer said, “The clients of Erie DAWN have shown me a realistic example of the issues women in need face. They are stressed about finances. Many of them work long hours and do not have the time to cook healthy dinners or to exercise. They all are concerned with their children’s happiness and health. Many feel guilty for not being able to give their children more things or for not having the time to spend with them. The women have been very open to new information about their medical concerns and healthy habits they can adopt. Working with them has shown me how to approach advising people on their health. … It has shown me how to modify academic principles into achievable goals for patients with busy lives. I enjoyed this internship because I saw perspectives and life problems other than my own. Being a student with no children gives you a sheltered life from the problems of raising a family and organizing a household on top of working. Working here has helped me see the value in volunteering in the future at a free clinic or doing pro bono work.” Jessica commented, “I have learned a lot at Erie DAWN that I will consider in my future as a physician. It was very interesting to hear the outlooks that many of the women had on their interpersonal relationships and their health. All of the women want the best for their children and are willing to work for them to have the best life they can give them. It was also a wonderful experience to work with an organization that cared so much about its clients. Erie DAWN aids clients in both concrete and abstract ways at all times of the day. A few of the women in the program had chronic health issues that they were very interested in learning more about. … It was eye-opening to see the difficulty that these clients had in obtaining health care access despite social programs in place due to severe limitations of time, transportation, money and other obstructions. This experience will cause me to ask about my patients’ living situations and plan my treatment and follow up accordingly, but without prejudice.”

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Empowering Young Women Through Health Education

Student Interns:
Kelsay McFall, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jamie Skrove, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Margarita Dangel, Gannondale

The Community Site:
Gannondale provides residential placement for adolescent females aged 12 to 18 who have been court-ordered out of their homes and communities. The primary focus of Gannondale is to instill within the young women the importance of responsibility, accountability, life skills, setting and obtaining goals, and increasing competencies. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Health Communication; Mental Health; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Kelsay and Jamie each taught daily one-hour sessions for the young women of Gannondale. Using basic science concepts, the lessons focused on how the body works and bodily systems. Additional lectures covered stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, nutrition, diseases and transmission, and the systems of the body. Jamie said, “I truly believe that working at Gannondale has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The ability to have an impact on a young woman’s life is very important to me. There is nothing as empowering to an individual as the ability to make an educated and responsible decision, especially as it pertains to health. I hope that I have provided an adequate education and answered any of the health-related questions that these young ladies have had so that they are able to make those important decisions in life.” Kelsay commented, “I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to know what is happening inside his or her body. … By providing the young ladies at Gannondale with knowledge of how their bodies work, I hope I have also provided a sense of confidence and empowerment. In addition, I also wanted to provide the girls with an example of what a health care professional can be by listening to their concerns, answering their questions, and being honest, reliable and respectful. This experience has been nothing but rewarding, and I hope to maintain an ongoing relationship with Gannondale.”

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Holistic Health Care for a Better Future

Student Interns:
Joshua Kistner, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Parevi Majmudar, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Anna Brzozowski, Goodwill Industries of Ashtabula, Goodwill Good Guides

The Community Site:
Goodwill Good Guides is a national mentoring program for youth aged 12 to 17 who are at risk for making harmful choices. The goal of the Good Guides program is to help youth build career plans and skills and prepare for school completion, post-secondary training and productive work. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
HIV; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
Using interactive presentations, Joshua and Parevi educated Strong Vincent High School students about healthy nutrition, sexual health and oral health. Their goal was to prepare the students with appropriate knowledge about their health that will help them be successful in high school and enrich their lives beyond. Joshua stated, “As a physician I need to be communicating on the same level as my patient, and that requires some knowledge of what their worldview is like. I had not previously had a lot of experience working with adolescents, and so working with Good Guides gave me valuable insight into how to interact with them. It helped me better understand their unique attitudes and issues. I think it also gave me some self-confidence knowing that they were interested in what I had to say. Most importantly I saw the lack of knowledge in a lot of areas, including health issues. … This experience definitely helped confirm my desire to work in similar communities to help fill these pressing needs.” Parevi noted, “This experience has made me more aware of the gaps that exist in the community. One of the most apparent things I noticed at my site was that the teenagers seek help, but change comes so infrequently that they get discouraged. Regarding medicine, I believe it’s necessary to make future doctors aware of biases and prejudices that different cultures, customs and populations might hold when dealing with physicians. Though brief, this encounter has showed me that it is our responsibility as budding physicians to help overcome such beliefs. By working directly in the community, we gain trust and respect, eventually progressing to a strong partnership between patient and physician. I hope such an interaction heightens health care awareness among disadvantaged populations.”

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Wellness Through the Decades

Student Intern:
Courtney Tardiff, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Randy J. Kulesza, Jr., PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Kim Whelan, Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS), Elderly Supportive Services

The Community Site:
The Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS) St. Joseph and Maryvale Apartments provide affordable housing for seniors who are still able to live independently. Social services are available to the seniors as well as a safe and friendly living environment. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
 
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Courtney worked with the residents at St. Joseph and Maryvale Apartments on an overall wellness project. She conducted workshops on health topics such as blood pressure, nutrition and stress reduction and involved residents in daily activities. Professionals from the community also shared their knowledge with the residents during presentations and activities. Each day offered residents an opportunity to participate in some form of physical activity and to interact with other residents. The goal of the project was to address how to maintain overall wellness as one ages. The theme underlying each activity was preparing people for the physical, social and mental changes of aging and sharing tips on how to maintain an excellent quality of life despite these changes. Courtney reflected, “I have learned so much more than I have taught this summer. The wisdom and kindness of the people I see every day have shown me how important it is for a physician to not only be knowledgeable, but also a caring and compassionate person. People let me become a part of their lives, which is exactly what our patients do each time we see them. Developing that trusting relationship is more important than I thought before working with HANDS. There truly is no greater feeling than walking down the hall and being greeted by smiling faces and friendly conversation knowing I made a small impact on someone’s day just by being there. I have learned patience and the importance of giving someone the undivided attention that they deserve while speaking with them. If nothing else, the residents have taught me to slow down and enjoy every moment because life is fragile and goes by too quickly.”

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Community Outreach for Type 1 Diabetes

Student Intern:
Courtney Baker, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Diane Sickles, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Northwestern Pennsylvania

The Community Site:
The Northwestern Pennsylvania Branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is part of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of JDRF. The local organization serves Erie and its surrounding nine counties: Crawford, Venango, Mercer, Warren, Forest, Potter, Elk, Clarion and McKean. JDRF is dedicated to researching and finding a cure for type 1 diabetes through the support of research; recently, National JDRF put forth a large initiative toward supporting and reaching out to both children and adults affected by the disease. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Courtney worked with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to develop and implement an outreach and networking initiative targeting both children and adults with type 1 diabetes. She compiled a database of people with type 1 diabetes in the area and worked with JDRF to reach out beyond the records. Courtney established a mentoring database for interested families and worked to develop a long-term, sustainable outreach program that meets regularly for discussions, guest speakers and outings. In addition, she worked with the office in continuing Bag of Hope deliveries to area patients and in planning JDRF’s annual family picnic. The overall effects of the outreach have proved positive. Courtney reflected, “My work with JDRF has been a unique experience; as I talked with other families and let the community know about JDRF’s initiative, I was overwhelmed with the response. The theme was all too common—people had been in need of outreach for some time and nothing had been available. The community was thankful something was finally taking ground. … The more people I talked with, the more I saw this outreach program spiraling in a positive direction—I became increasingly excited, ideas flourished, and I grew more and more confident about the positive influence of this project on the thousands of type 1 diabetics in the area.”

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Fall Prevention in the Geriatric Patient

Student Interns:
Thomas Doran, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jamie Rhodes, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Martin Kelly, NHA, Millcreek Community Hospital

The Community Site:
Millcreek Community Hospital (MCH) is an acute-care facility that is specially equipped to provide a wide range of care for the elderly through the LECOM Institute for Successful Aging. The Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) unit services acute medical needs for adults over 50, while the Transitional Care Unit (TCU) assists patients in returning to independent living following a surgery, injury or hospitalization. Millcreek Manor is a long-term care facility that provides skilled nursing to 50 geriatric patients. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Diseases (Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Injury and Violence Prevention; Physical Activity and Fitness; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
During their initial weeks of observation on the geriatrics service at Millcreek Community Hospital, Tom and Jamie recognized a need for a proactive fall prevention program that would evaluate individual patients as they prepared to return home from the Transitional Care Unit. The project was designed as a Fall Prevention Discharge Protocol in accordance with American Geriatric Society guidelines. The protocol includes a document to be incorporated into the patient chart that evaluates fall risk at the time of discharge and recommends safety interventions to be carried out at home. Patient education materials distributed upon discharge encourage patient involvement in addressing fall risks. Education materials of similar scope are placed in prominent locations throughout the Transitional Care Unit. The intent of this project is to mitigate the likelihood that a rehabilitated patient will be set back by a fall at home. Tom said, “It has been a rich experience to have been a BTG intern at Millcreek Community Hospital. I’ve gained new insight into myself and my potential for service as a physician. I know better what I’m willing to compromise and what I will not yield to medicine. I know now that as I learn medicine I will be embarrassed at my ignorance, ashamed that I cannot do everything, proud that I can do something and justified in feeling all of these emotions. I know now more than ever that medicine is a tremendous responsibility and that there will be times when the moral and ethical obligations to a patient or their family will outweigh all other priorities, including myself and my own family.” Jamie said, “Seven weeks ago, I could not have predicted that my summer experience at Millcreek Hospital would have been so unique, rewarding and eye-opening. I have come to understand the significant challenges of connecting and applying theories learned in classroom study to achieve an individualized approach to patient care. Most importantly, I have seen the significance of the osteopathic philosophy—to treat mind, body and spirit as a unit—especially in regards to the distinct needs of the geriatric community.”

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Heart Healthy on a Budget: A Realistic Approach to Preventing Heart Disease Through Nutrition and Exercise

Student Intern:
Lisa Chang, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Melissa Thompson, MA, Mercy Center for Women

The Community Site:
The Mercy Center for Women is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy of Erie. The Center provides safe and supportive transitional housing, education and counseling for homeless women with or without children, and also connects with social service agencies and volunteers to form a network of ongoing support, mentoring and education for the residents and women in the community. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness

The Project:
Lisa implemented an initiative that used presentations and pamphlets to address the effects of nutrition and exercise on cardiovascular disease and other pathologies. The goal was to educate clients on the consequences of unhealthy nutritional habits and lack of exercise, and to present realistic solutions to combat these consequences. The initiative also included creating multiple pamphlets to give to clients at graduation from the program at Mercy Center for Women. In the long term, the hope is that this initiative will allow a population at risk for heart disease to prevent illness, reduce medical care costs and practice a holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle. Lisa reflected, “I have thoroughly enjoyed undertaking this project for a population that is one of the most at-risk groups for heart disease. My stint at the Mercy Center for Women involved much more than just this project. I spent time interacting with children, advising a woman in her first pregnancy, and also simply making friends. My greatest realization was that the clients at the Mercy Center are not so different from me; had I encountered bad luck or made a few different choices, I could just as easily be a client and not an intern at the center. It was through this lens that I learned very important lessons about interacting with clients and patients—lessons that may not come from a textbook but will surely benefit my future career in medicine.”

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SafeNet: Healing Toward a Healthy Lifestyle

Student Intern:
Laura Epperly, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Christine Kell, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Sandra Cranston, SafeNet Domestic Violence Safety Network, Transitional Living Center

The Community Site:
SafeNet Domestic Violence Safety Network is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence in Erie County, Pennsylvania. The agency offers a variety of programs and services designed to break the cycle of abuse and provide a support system to help women begin to plan for the future. One of SafeNet’s many outreach programs is the emergency shelter, which offers immediate safety and security from abusive relationships. The staff and volunteers at SafeNet are dedicated to empowering women and giving them the ability to make a fresh start in life, free from fear and abuse. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
This summer, Laura was responsible for compiling and organizing information for a book, “SafeNet: Healing Towards a Healthier Lifestyle,” that emphasizes different aspects of physical, mental and sexual health. The physical health section highlights proper nutrition, the importance of physical activity and fitness, and disease prevention. It also contains information on common diseases that are found in shelter life. The next section, sexual health, focuses on providing the reader with material on responsible sexual behavior, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and various birth control options. In the final section, mental health, Laura describes the effects of stress on a person’s overall health and suggests healthy strategies for coping with various stressors in life. This section also includes information on common psychological disorders. The information contained in “SafeNet: Healing Towards a Healthier Lifestyle,” will be a great help to future clients whom SafeNet assists in starting a new and healthier life. Laura shared, “When I was initially assigned as the BTG intern at SafeNet, I had a very clear picture of what my summer would be like. Looking back, I can honestly say that the summer I spent as SafeNet’s intern was the complete opposite of what I originally thought it would be. The women here at the shelter continually amazed me. When I proposed the idea of the… book to the clients, their response absolutely overwhelmed me. They were so excited about the project and came up with many ideas in the book. Besides their contributions to my project, these women have taught me the values of forgiveness, courage and perseverance. Despite their past histories, they have a quiet strength that is inspiring and truly touching. This summer has opened my eyes to an entirely different world and truly changed my life. I am forever indebted to these women, the staff here at SafeNet and the BTG program.”

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Scrubby Bear—Hand Washing Prevents Infection

Student Intern:
Shawna Kubasky, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Lisa Kaveney, Saint Vincent Health System, Children’s Miracle Network

The Community Site:
Saint Vincent is a multisite health system and tertiary hospital serving both children and adults in Erie and surrounding communities. The Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) was founded in 1983 by Marie Osmond, her family, John Schneider, Mick Shannon and Joe Lake. It started as a small, televised fundraiser and has grown to be one of the largest children’s charities in North America. The CMN has two major goals: 1) Help as many children as possible by raising funds for children’s hospitals, and 2) keep funds in the community in which they were raised to help local children. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Environmental Health; Health Communication; Immunization; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Oral Health

The Project:
Shawna reinvented the Scrubby Bear—Hand Washing Prevents Infection program. With a short, interactive presentation, Shawna traveled to day care centers and preschools in the Erie community. The goal of the project was to teach children the danger of germs, where the germs are located, when and why they should wash their hands, and the proper way to wash. This was achieved through a small PowerPoint presentation, group discussion and the use of a Glo-Germ hand wash kit so the children could visualize the amount of germs on their hands before and after washing them. The desired long-term effect of the project is that the children will continue to actively think about how the act of hand washing after certain activities will affect their overall health. Shawna noted, “It has been an entertaining yet valuable learning experience to discuss an important health concern with young children. I was delighted that my work had such an impact, that both children and adults asked when I could make a return visit. These few weeks have made me appreciate the hard work I have dedicated to becoming a physician. BTG has not only been productive in terms of connecting health and wellness topics to everyday life activities for the community, it has also helped me recognize that even the simplest tasks I perform can truly have an impact. As a medical student, I am lucky because even though I have much to learn about the practice of medicine, I still am a representative of a valued profession. I have a voice the community wants to listen to—it is a magnificent gift.”

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Improving Quality of Life During the Golden Years

Student Interns:
Jennifer Saad, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Rachel Zimmerman, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Allen Bonace, MSN, MBA, RN, Saint Mary’s Home of Erie, Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge

The Community Site:
Saint Mary’s Home of Erie at Asbury Ridge is a continuing care retirement community 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

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Jennifer assisted six residents in the skilled nursing facility at Saint Mary’s with restorative care. The goal was to improve the residents’ abilities related to their activities of daily living and range of motion. This was accomplished by prioritizing exercise, particularly walking, in an attempt to increase their independence and overall quality of life. Throughout the seven weeks, Jennifer tracked and charted the distance, measured in feet, walked by each individual in order to show his or her improvements and accomplishments. Rachel assisted in implementing a survey of residents who isolate themselves. The survey sought residents’ opinions on their current living situation as well as potential areas of improvement. After completion of the initial survey, Rachel used one-to-one visits with residents to improve their quality of life. Individual activities were typically 60 to 90 minutes several times each week and included conversations, letter writing, computer time, discussions of current events, health education and recreational games. Jennifer said, “The population at Saint Mary’s is full of remarkable and charming individuals. Since the majority of the residents suffer from multiple chronic conditions, it remains important to continue promoting the importance of maintaining independence and a high quality of life. Throughout the summer, I was pleased to see the motivation and enthusiasm that the residents maintained while struggling with the aging process. Although I was helping the residents and hoping to improve their lives, they, in turn, improved mine, as their positive attitudes were contagious. What I value the most about my experience was the opportunity that I had to form relationships with the residents. Formulating trustworthy physician-patient relationships will be crucial to my career in medicine, and gaining seven weeks of experience forming relationships with the residents was an invaluable experience that I will carry with me as I further my career as an osteopathic physician.” Rachel noted, “Going into this internship with a unique affinity for the senior population, I am delighted to say that my affection remains. I feel there is no other population that deserves the highest quality of care at such a disadvantaged time in their lives. Although I was seeking to reach out to those patients who isolate and have lost the opportunities of social interaction, I found much more. These residents had amazing stories to tell, remarkable lives to recount, legitimate concerns and reasons for sadness, and simple demands, which when implemented can greatly increase their happiness. Not only did they benefit from the experience, but also I got the chance to become intermittently drenched in their incredible wisdom, funny particularities and marvelous take on today’s world. This internship has been a rare view into the past and an exciting chance to see how some of our community members with astonishing longevity have adapted in an ever-changing world.”

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The Realities of Rehabilitation

Student Intern:
Nicole M. Lundy, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Tammy Black, RN, Saint Mary’s Home of Erie, Saint Mary’s East

The Community Site:
Saint Mary’s Home of Erie is a continuing care retirement community that aids seniors with living lives in a respectful, dignified and fulfilled manner. As part of its services, Saint Mary’s Home offers adult day services, independent living, residential living, personal care services, a nursing facility, nursing Alzheimer’s care and respite care. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Nicole created and presented a lecture for family members of residents at Saint Mary’s concerning the therapy program provided and how it fits into the comprehensive care plan. The aim was to educate families on the different types of therapy—physical, occupational and speech—offered at Saint Mary’s and what each form of therapy addresses. The presentation was videotaped for future use by the therapy department. In addition, Nicole created brochures with helpful information. The video and brochures are intended to facilitate better understanding of the therapy process and to put family members more at ease with their loved one’s therapy program. Nicole stated, “I began my internship with great enthusiasm because the elderly population is a group of people I am comfortable with and greatly enjoy. Even though I have worked with similar communities previously I quickly realized there is a great deal I did not know about the health care of the geriatric community. Over the summer I became knowledgeable about the different forms of therapy (physical, occupational and speech) and how to better practice geriatric medicine. Further, I gained a greater understanding of how important communication is between health care providers, patients and family members. I have benefited far more from my BTG experience as a future physician than I feel I gave to my site. My passion for the elderly was not only reinstated this summer, but also greatly increased. After only a year of medical school and my internship at Saint Mary’s Home I see an immense need for physicians who are dedicated to the elderly. The geriatric population is medically complicated and requires special attention. Over the summer I have developed several skills that will benefit me both as a person and as a physician for years to come.”

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Supporting Teen Parents: Building a Family and Achieving Their Goals

Student Interns:
Jason Black, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Kelly Lyons, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Lorri Bland, MEd, Erie School District, Student Parenting Program

The Community Site:
The mission of the Erie School District Student Parenting Program is to assist pregnant and parenting (female and male) students with their dual role as student and parent by providing education, counseling, advocacy, support services and community resources so babies are born healthy and student parents realize their potential. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Jason and Kelly assisted in planning and teaching a nutritional seminar for young teen parents. The seminar, titled “Yummy in the Tummy,” was geared toward teaching young teen parents how to properly feed themselves and their babies. Jason and Kelly helped design and compile a booklet of information for each teen parent to take home and use as a reference. The booklet included recipes, nutritional facts and figures, and a grocery store shopping tip section to help teen parents make healthier decisions. The long-term goal of the nutritional seminar is to provide a healthy knowledge base for young teen parents that will assist them as they feed and provide for their families. Jason stated, “It has been an incredibly rewarding opportunity to work with teen parents. … I want to be the voice of encouragement telling these young parents they can still do great things with their lives while providing for their children. I learned so much about who I am as a person while interacting with each of these teens and their babies. I learned that it’s not what I say, but what I represent to them that will help them on their journey. BTG has given me a better understanding of what type of person I am and how I can personally help others.” Kelly noted, “The experience that I have had working with the teen parents in the program has been extremely rewarding and has taught me about sacrifice, hard work and the importance of a support system. With my interest in women’s health, I was able to work more specifically with the teen mothers and connect with them as they overcame many obstacles in order to provide a great life for their babies. The teen mothers taught me so much about my own interactions and relationships, and I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from them. … BTG has helped open my eyes to new opportunities and lessons this summer through my connections with the teen parents, and I know I will take the lessons learned with me in my future career.”

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Healthier Veterans: A Homeless Care Assessment

Student Interns:
Mark Bialas, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Cameron Smith, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Michael Wehrer, MSW, LCSW, Erie Veterans Administration Medical Center, Homeless Care Team

The Community Site:
The Erie Veterans Administration provides health care and supportive services to local homeless veterans or veterans at risk of becoming homeless. The program offers a wide range of resources—transitional and permanent housing, case management, dental and medical care, and other supportive services—that aim to meet veterans where they are and guide them to where they want to be. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Health Communications; HIV; Mental Health; Oral Health; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Mark and Cameron assisted with creation and distribution of a needs assessment questionnaire for the homeless care team. The goal of the questionnaire was to provide the homeless care team and future interns with data regarding areas of need within the veteran population. The data included information pertinent to each veteran’s work and housing history, physical and mental health status, substance abuse, tobacco use, and HIV and hepatitis C testing. The questionnaire also included an open response section, which allowed the veterans to identify unmet needs not previously addressed. Mark commented, “It has been an educational experience to speak with veterans in the VA homeless care program. I have had the opportunity to learn from a population to which I may have never otherwise gained exposure, hearing both a variety of veterans’ concerns and life stories. In this way, I feel I may have benefited more through this internship than I have been able to give back. In listening to each veteran voice his opinion, I was given a snapshot of life in the military through different eras. The opinions were as variable as the population itself, and I found each to be insightful and revealing. My hope is that through our needs assessment project, we can build a foundation for future interns to provide services in the areas of need that were identified.” Cameron noted, “The experience gained from working with the homeless veteran community has been very informative and eye-opening. It has been great to be able to once again get out into the community and really try to make an impact, and it was very helpful to work with a staff that seemed to share the same passion for change. The homeless care team came to us at the beginning of summer asking for us to find the needs of their veterans in order to not make better homeless people, but to make them better people. The veterans that we have spoken with have been extremely helpful and receptive to our cause and have given us as much support that they possibly could. Additionally, these veterans have rewarded us with stories of their past of both success and failure, and they have given us a glimpse into their lives, which has made this summer experience completely worth all the hard work and sacrifices.”

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Outlooks on Healthy Independent Living

Student Interns:
Dawn Deike, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Elizabeth Kermis, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Philip Hultgren, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Tiffany Frey, Voices for Independence

The Community Site:
Voices for Independence promotes independent living for people with disabilities. The organization offers support through five core services: skill training, peer support, information and referral, deinstitutionalization, and advocacy. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Health Communication; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Voices for Independence allowed Elizabeth and Dawn to develop programs to promote healthy living for people with disabilities. After building a fitness center in the summer of 2010, Voices for Independence was looking to encourage awareness and use of the facility. Elizabeth created the Buddy Fitness Program to provide physical activity in a group setting for the clients of Voices for Independence. She planned various activities, both at the fitness center and in the community, to promote physical, spiritual and emotional health. Elizabeth’s Buddy Fitness Program is continuing after her internship. Dawn evaluated health care access for people with physical disabilities. Dawn developed and distributed a survey to determine the health care access and barriers that people with physical disabilities face. The goal of the survey was to determine common and individual health care experiences, barriers and trends within disability subgroups in the Erie area. Dawn also developed a presentation to present to medical students on treating people with disabilities. Elizabeth commented, “To say that this has been an invaluable experience would be just scratching the surface of what my time at VFI has meant to me. Being a future physician I realize I will treat all kinds of people; therefore, I was pleased to have the opportunity to gain exposure to and work with the disability community at VFI. The biggest thing I will retain is that as a person without a disability I need to be sensitive and put myself in the shoes of someone with a disability. It is easy to go about life worrying about one’s own issues, but it is important to remember I am just one person and others are also dealing with issues that may be greater than my own. As a future physician I hope to never put people with disabilities in a category—I want to treat every person as an individual, as I would never want to be put into a category.” Dawn shared, “People with disabilities view health care from a unique perspective. BTG has given me the opportunity to hear experiences and advice from a knowledgeable underserved population. I am grateful for the time I spent, and I hope to be a better physician because of the time I spent here.”

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We Can! Addressing Childhood Obesity Among Saint Vincent’s Patients

Student Intern:
Matthew Nelson, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Ashlee Rzyczycki, MA, Saint Vincent Health System

The Community Site:
Saint Vincent is a multisite health system and tertiary hospital serving children and adults in Erie and surrounding communities. Saint Vincent caregivers strive to educate the communities they serve through community care programs, seminars and support groups. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Matt created a tool kit for the Saint Vincent primary care network to easily implement the national We Can! Energize Our Families: Parent Program in health provider offices. Created by the National Institutes of Health, We Can! is a research-based program that provides families with the tools and knowledge they need to help children aged 8 to 13 maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime. Each week, Matt helped parents at health provider offices learn about “energy in” (calories consumed) and “energy out” (physical activity) through group discussions and demonstrations. The effectiveness of the program was evaluated through a pre-test and post-test, and the results were used to recruit more partners and participants to the program. Matt noted, “BTG has helped me to be more aware of the health needs of the community in which I live. Before the program, I underestimated how much of a problem being overweight truly was in Erie, PA. I failed to see childhood obesity as a real concern, but as something that children shed as they get older. Now I am more aware of how early interventional education can change attitudes and behaviors toward nutrition and physical activity. Because of BTG, I feel more likely to continue assisting Saint Vincent and Children’s Miracle Network with the We Can! program during medical school, and to seriously discuss the sensitive topic of obesity in children during my clinical experiences.”

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Teamwork and Exercise Incorporated Into Everyday Life

Student Interns:
Michelle Hastings, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ryan Reed, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Christopher Keller, PhD, CPH, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Cherie Kinem, MSW, YMCA of Greater Erie, Kids Club

The Community Site:
The YMCA of Greater Erie Kids Club 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 in the Erie Heights and Franklin Terrace communities. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Environmental Health; Injury and Violence; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Exercise

The Project:
Michelle and Ryan assisted with a neighborhood YMCA of Greater Erie Kids Club program in Erie Heights. The goal of the project was to provide children with sports and exercise programs that promoted teamwork, good sportsmanship and working with new people. The end result showed that the children were more likely to work together and try new activities that were out of their comfort zone with the help of others. In the long term, the children can use these skills to work on an interdisciplinary team and be successful in everyday challenges. Ryan noted, “It has been an eye-opening experience to work firsthand with underprivileged children, teaching them proper teamwork and exercise. I have been impressed with the willingness of many children to try new activities and sports. … My experience has taught me to really value each person as an individual, which will help my career in osteopathic medicine. In school we learn from books and teachers about this, but to actually see it in person is truly inspiring. BTG is a program to help connect the community with our medical profession, but I think it really helped me bridge the gap of learning in the classroom to practicing in the field. The skills I have learned in this program will help me as a physician, reminding me to treat each person on their own rather than the disease.” Michelle commented, “Working at the YMCA’s Kids Club has been great. This summer the kids have gotten a lot of exercise, worked on teamwork and cooperation skills, and learned about various steps they can take to preserve their health. It has also been a good educational experience for me. I have learned how to interact better with children, which will help me in the future with pediatric patients. Also, I have learned how to teach others, which is a necessary skill for doctors to have, but a hard one to learn in a medical school classroom setting. Through educating patients, doctors can help them to maintain health and prevent problems instead of just reacting to them. I hope the children at the Kids Club will have healthier lifestyles and make more informed decisions because of their interaction with the BTG program.”

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President’s Fitness Challenge

Student Intern:
David Lyons, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Christopher C. Keller, PhD, CPH, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Cherie Kinem, MSW, YMCA of Greater Erie, Kids Club

The Community Site:
The YMCA of Greater Erie Kids Club 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 in the Erie Heights and Franklin Terrace communities. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Throughout the summer, David worked at a local YMCA Kids Club site. During his time at the site, David worked with the local kids on the components of the President’s Fitness Challenge. At the beginning of the project, the kids were tested on strength, endurance, flexibility, agility and speed. After the initial testing, David designed weekly workouts aimed at improving the kids’ abilities in each of these fitness areas. At the end of the program the kids were reassessed to see if their fitness improved. The goal was to educate the kids about the importance of physical activity and fitness. David said, “This summer was a big learning experience for me. I have never had the chance to work with a large group of children and immediately found out how difficult, yet rewarding, it can be. The kids at the site were great! It was fun getting to know them and their young personalities. The most rewarding part was being able to teach them the basics of physical activity and fitness. Seeing how interested some of them were and how much fun they were having while working out was very satisfying. … Without the BTG program, I would have never had the chance to reach this group of kids and educate them on something so important. I am very thankful for the opportunity I was given; hopefully the kids learned as much from me as I did from them.”

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