BTG Hope

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BTG Community Preceptor
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Lake Erie Projects - 2012

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The Saint Vincent F.A.M.E. Program

Student Interns:
Garrett Beatty, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Harry Menon, MPH, 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Garrett and Harry collaborated with the Children’s Miracle Network and developed the Saint Vincent F.A.M.E. (Family Activities and Meals Education) Program. F.A.M.E. has four themes and four classes: My Plate, Energy Balance, Energy In, and Energy Out. At each class a parent and his or her children meet with a pediatrician and then attend a group meeting with a dietitian. After these meetings there is a breakout session for the adults and a separate breakout session for children. The parental breakout session is a group discussion; the children participate in a game related to the week’s topic. The F.A.M.E. project was also taken to other Bridging the Gaps locations in the community, including the Erie Heights YMCA and Clara’s Way. Harry noted, “Trying to create and implement a health education program is a challenge. … BTG has provided me the opportunity to assist in bringing together individual health care, preventative medicine, public health, and health care management through one creative community-based program. … The skills and experiences I have gained have provided me with the knowledge base and experience needed to progress in my professional goals.” Garrett stated, “The most striking thing about this project has been the realization of the many factors that must be considered when attempting to help someone change their lifestyle. … Once we had all of that figured out we still had to tailor the thoughts we had to the system in place; we had to figure out ways to fit our ideas into what other people had in mind, and make compromises to help create the program that everyone had envisioned.”

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Summer Olympics

Student Interns:
Juliann Ondecker, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Thomas Sheehan, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Cherie Kinem, MSW, Kids Club

The Community Site:
The YMCA of Greater Erie Kids Club is located in the community for children aged 6 through 18. The Kids Club provides numerous opportunities and activities, including dance lessons, golf practice, swimming, arts and crafts, sports and daily activities that provide a chance for the kids to interact with adult role models. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Thomas and Juliann organized Olympic Games for the children of the YMCA Kids Club. They planned an opening ceremony in which each child selected a country he or she would represent and then made a flag of that country. The Olympics included football, basketball, volleyball, swimming, track and field, soccer, and kickball. At the end of the Olympics, all the children were awarded prizes based on their participation and performance. The purpose of the Olympics was to highlight physical activity, safety and fellowship. Juliann stated, “I have had such an amazing experience working at the YMCA Kids Club. … The most important aspect of being a part of this site is mentoring these kids. … The Kids Club is dedicated to these kids and allows them to have many different experiences. … Working at this site has been very rewarding, and I am deeply grateful to have been a part of BTG this summer.” Thomas noted, “From the very first day the kids surprised me. … The best part of the summer was every time I got to see pure joy on a child’s face. It was easy to see when the kids were off in their own world or playing games with others that they all have the ability to possess so much joy and happiness.”

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Making a Difference, One Child at a Time

Student Intern:
Swaminathan Thangaraj, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Clara Ward, Youth Development Center

The Community Site:
The Youth Development Center (YDC) is dedicated to improving the lives of children of all ages. The YDC’s mission is to ensure that no child goes hungry, no student is without help, and no families are without support during the holidays. The YDC provides after-school and summer programming for kids in need.

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Swami assisted the staff of the Youth Development Center by encouraging the children to participate in physical activities such as basketball and other outdoor games. He also used bone models and other instruction to teach the children human anatomy. In addition, Swami accompanied the children to a youth camp in Corry, Pennsylvania, called Miracle Mountain. Swami stated, “I went into this BTG opportunity with no expectations. I was not sure what I would learn or encounter. During my time at the Youth Development Center, I have learned much about myself and the youth in our community … [and] the hardships these children face in their day-to-day lives. … We can always close our eyes and live in our intense world of academics and clinical pursuit. My eyes have been opened to the struggles of those who help the community and the children.”

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My Best Me: Striving Toward Physical, Mental and Emotional Wellness Using Science and Medicine

Student Intern:
Sheetal Kumar, 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 females aged 12 to 18 who have been court-ordered out of their homes and communities. The program is gender specific and follows the Sanctuary Model for trauma-informed care. Gannondale encourages accountability, increases competencies, instills life skills, teaches ownership and personal responsibility, and improves familial relationships so that a return to the family and community is possible. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness

The Project:
Sheetal created the My Best Me program to provide the 38 girls currently residing at Gannondale with the tools and scientific and medical knowledge needed to have a physically, mentally and emotionally healthy lifestyle. The first four weeks of the project educated the girls about how the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems work and the disease states that could result if these systems are disrupted. Then mental and emotional health were addressed in several ways, including art and music therapy and writing exercises in which the girls wrote letters to their past and future selves. Sheetal reflected, “Not only was this project a learning experience for both the residents at Gannondale and myself, it was a life-changing seven weeks for me. … The compassion and trust you can gain by simply being present, patient and real is one of the greatest lessons the young ladies at Gannondale have taught me. … We must keep in mind that behind each concern or raw emotion that our patients share with us is a very real fear, and by giving them the trust, compassion, and time that they deserve, one day we may be able to help them reach a place not of perfection, but simply their best them.”

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JDRF Outreach Extension

Student Intern:
Allan Moser, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Sarah McCarthy, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Diane Sickles, JDRF, Northwest PA

The Community Site:
The Northwestern Pennsylvania Branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is a 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 has put forth a large initiative toward supporting and reaching out to both children and adults affected by the disease. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The three main goals for Allan’s summer project with JDRF were to continue outreach activities and events in Erie County, extend JDRF’s outreach to the nine surrounding counties, and prepare a diabetic-friendly cookbook. Allan prepared materials for local endocrinologists and certified diabetes educators (CDEs) to hand out to their diabetic patients. He assisted in meeting with local contacts to start up JDRF outreach in Titusville. He registered children and their families for Frolic on the Bay and attended the event. He assisted in setting up for a local diabetes camp. Allan prepared a flier asking for low-sugar and sugar-free recipes from diabetic families, received recipes, and compiled them into a cookbook to distribute and be added to the “Bag of Hope,” which is given to newly diagnosed patients. Allan said, “Seeing [the families’] struggles made an impact on me, and I started to truly understand the positive impact of JDRF on the community. I encouraged families to attend activities and meet others in similar situations. The most successful of these activities was Frolic on the Bay. … I am grateful to JDRF for the experiences I’ve gained and the opportunity to meet these amazing families. I started this project with the intent of giving it my all this summer and then moving on when the school year stars. I can no longer imagine being done with JDRF and already have plans to volunteer throughout school and hopefully after that as well.”

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Education to Improve Understanding and Care

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

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

Community Preceptor:
Barb McGuigan, RN, Brevillier Village

The Community Site:
Brevillier Village meets housing and health care needs of the elderly and adult populations in a home-like atmosphere. Services include skilled nursing, personal care and apartment living. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health

The Project:
David developed and presented a series of health educational programs for the staff and residents at Brevillier Village. His goal was to improve patient care by educating staff members, especially certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and residents, on the medical background of some common diseases of the elderly. The presentations included causes and effects of stroke, degenerative bone and joint diseases, the necessity of daily oral care, and infection control. David’s presentations were videotaped and put onto DVDs so that they could be presented at new employee training sessions. David stated, “My time spent at Brevillier Village … has given me a deeper understanding and respect for the aging process. I realize now how much of an impact declining mobility, mental and physical health can have on an elderly patient’s life. The effectiveness of patient care, rehabilitation and recovery is dependent on not just the physician, but the entire health care team. … The impact these health professionals have on patient lives through their constant encouragement and care is immeasurable.”

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Celebrating the Olympic Spirit: Balance of Body, Will and Mind

Student Intern:
Josephine Shen, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Kim Whelan, MS, Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS)

The Community Site:
HANDS (Housing and Neighborhood Development Service) provides quality affordable housing for seniors, families and people with disabilities to help them to continue to live independently and continue to be an active part of the community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Josephine worked with the residents of St. Joseph Apartments, St. Francis Xavier Apartments, Maryvale Apartments and Ridgebury Apartments, offering activities that promoted camaraderie, improved overall health and, by all accounts, were a lot of fun. With the London 2012 Summer Olympics just around the corner, Jo teamed up with other BTG interns at HANDS sites to create and run a five-week HANDS-wide Olympics event. For four weeks, the senior residents competed in a variety of games that challenged both body and mind and really brought out the community spirit at each of the properties. The 2012 HANDS Olympics culminated in weeklong awards and closing ceremonies in which each participant took home prizes, building pride and generating lots of laughs. In keeping with the health and wellness theme this summer, Jo also taught weekly tai chi chuan, qigong, and meditation classes at the four senior housing developments; did several oral health presentations; discussed osteopathic principles and holistic medicine; shared tips for developing and maintaining healthy habits with the residents; and even prepared and enjoyed a healthy Chinese meal with the ladies of St. Francis Xavier. Josephine reflected, “Simply spending time with the residents, listening to their stories, helping them with simple tasks, and of course, organizing fun activities for them has taught me so much, as they really opened up and welcomed me into their lives in just a short time. … With their candor and generosity of spirit, the residents really taught me a lot about building relationships, human dynamics and the importance of ‘family’ and community to total health and well-being.”

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Lighting the Torch Inside to a Healthier You

Student Interns:
David Bitonte, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Afton Thomas, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Stephanie Garcia, Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS)

The Community Site:
HANDS (Housing and Neighborhood Development Service) provides quality affordable housing for seniors, families and people with disabilities to help them continue to live independently and to be an active part of the community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
In light of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, David and Afton teamed up with the Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS) to organize and host a HANDS Olympics, with the goal of promoting and facilitating both physical and mental health among HANDS residents. For four weeks, participants were challenged with activities that tested their physical and mental capabilities. Residents were encouraged to participate through the promise of prizes, giveaways and apartment complex pride, as each location was pitted against the others in a heated rivalry. The HANDS Olympics resulted in improved camaraderie and motivation to stay healthy among participants. In conjunction with the health-related theme of the HANDS Olympics, David and Afton presented information on important topics such as stroke, normal aging and oral health. Afton stated, “Working with HANDS has been an invaluable opportunity, where I learned not only about the community I live in, but also about myself. … As I created physical health activities and raised stroke awareness, my greatest achievement has been connecting with the residents and developing a better understanding of their culture. I am truly grateful to be a part of this program and intend on utilizing this experience to relate to future patients.” David said, “On the verge of summer, ready to partake in what would become one of the greatest experiences of my young life, I sat wondering what from my medical education could I teach to the residents of HANDS. … Anytime you spend time with people that do not live similar lives to you, you are going to be in for a great learning experience. Getting to know the residents, their lives, their families and their difficulties did just that. With what I’ve experienced, I have been able to take a step back, gain a better perspective on the world, and reprioritize my own thoughts and feelings.”

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Improving Geriatric Health and Well-being

Student Interns:
Christopher Buzas, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Hollan Harper, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptors:
Martin Kelly, NHA, Millcreek Community Hospital
Amanda Lis, BSW, Millcreek Community Hospital

The Community Site:
Millcreek Community Hospital is an acute-care facility 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Oral Health

The Project:
Chris and Hollan’s goal was to enhance the quality of life for the residents primarily by increasing their ability to enjoy the fresh air and receive essential vitamin D. To enable the residents to use the Millcreek Manor courtyard, the interns purchased wheelchair umbrellas to shade the residents and acquired portable speakers and MP3 players to allow them to listen to health-promoting music. Hollan said, “It has been incredible interacting with the Millcreek Community Hospital staff, patients and residents. … This experience has definitely allowed me to see firsthand what I am going to be doing and revitalized my passion and commitment to medicine.” Chris noted, “The most rewarding aspect of BTG at Millcreek was the ability to interact with patients on a one-on-one basis. Often times, students forget that diseases and conditions are associated with people. This program has allowed me to work on my humanistic skills. I undoubtedly know that this experience has prepared me to become a better osteopathic physician.”

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Enhancing the Short-Term Rehabilitation Patient Experience in a Nursing Home Facility

Student Interns:
Joseph Cody, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Paul Tran, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Allen Bonace, MSN/MBA, RN, NE, BC, NHA, Saint Mary's Home of Erie, Saint Mary's at Asbury Ridge

The Community Site:
Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge is one of two facilities of Saint Mary’s Home of Erie. It is a continuing care retirement community that enables primarily seniors to live life in a respectful, dignified and fulfilled manner via a continuum of care. As part of its services, Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge offers nursing care, residential living, personal care services and a residential Alzheimer’s unit. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Joseph and Paul conducted a survey to assess the needs of short-term rehabilitation residents at Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge. Based on the survey responses, the interns implemented and recommended changes to improve the patient experience, focusing on dining, activities and social interactions. The ultimate goal of their efforts was to enhance the recovery environment and improve overall quality of life for the patients. Paul commented, “The residents taught me about the struggles with having severe dementia, the pains in suffering from terminal illnesses, and the hope that comes in recovering from physical setbacks. … I was able to experience the intricacies involved in health care for the elderly. I am confident that what I have learned from my experiences in this internship will only increase my eagerness to strive for excellent medical care within the community.” Joseph noted, “I never realized how much fun it could be working with a geriatric population. … As for the long-term residents, I think I have learned even more—perhaps the most poignant being the importance of ensuring a dignified life in the final years and ultimately ensuring a dignified death of a person.”

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Decreasing Readmissions to Better Serve Long-Term Care Patients

Student Intern:
Benjamin Lee, 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 East is a continuing care retirement community that enables primarily seniors to live life in a respectful, dignified and fulfilled manner through a continuum of care. As part of its services, Saint Mary’s East offers nursing care, personal care services, residential living, an Alzheimer’s unit and adult day services. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Ben assisted the Saint Mary’s staff with a survey of past readmissions to this specific retirement facility to determine what problems caused these hospital readmissions and what patients can do to prevent these problems. The results of the survey will be organized and used to create a pamphlet that will advise both staff and residents of the dangers of frequent transfers and ways to prevent needless readmissions. Ben said, “This has been a very helpful experience, especially in regards to addressing the problems involved with the aging population. It has also been eye-opening to observe how families react to end-of-life cares and how personalities clash in dealing with death. Additionally, dealing with the staff at this site has inspired me in how well they interact with patients and how passionate they are in helping not just the residents, but also their families. … The great thing about BTG is that it gets us out of the classroom and connects us directly with the populations that we will be serving in the future.”

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Homeless Care Team Participant Workbook

Student Interns:
James Davis, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jessica Rosenblum, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Michael R. Wehrer, MSW, LCSW, Erie VA Medical Center

The Community Site:
The Erie Veterans Administration provides health care and supportive services to local homeless veterans and 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Cardiovascular Health; Health Communication; Mental Health; Oral Health; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Jessica and Jim observed the social workers on the Homeless Care Team at the Erie VA Medical Center performing patient intakes as well as case management for those participants already successfully housed through the HUDVASH program. From these experiences the interns discovered that the areas that needed the most improvement were related to daily tasks, time management and information access. To address these issues they redesigned the participant handbook to be a more user-friendly and effective resource in the veterans’ daily lives. Along with this workbook, Jessica and Jim created a laminated quick sheet to be posted on the veterans’ refrigerators. The quick sheet contains a checklist of daily reminders, a list of emergency numbers and a calendar. Jim stated, “Working in the veterans hospital has afforded me the opportunity to learn about a subset of the population not many people are familiar with. I have seen many veterans over the course of this program, mostly homeless, who are struggling with day-to-day life, and need help to get back on their feet with housing rent assistance. It has been eye-opening to see how these individuals function on a daily basis and utilize all their available resources just to survive. … I have the BTG program to thank for these experiences this summer, which I truly believe helped my understanding of those who are homeless and less fortunate.” Jessica noted, “Being exposed to the issues that plague the veterans opened my eyes to the fact that this is a population that needs special attention. This experience has shown me the extreme importance of treating patients as individuals in a holistic manner to encompass all aspects of their life when providing their care. … This experience has helped me to be more open-minded and better able to interact, treat and truly understand my patients in the future.”

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Empowering the Homeless to Be Responsible for Their Well-Being

Student Intern:
Fahmida Khan, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Barbara Ann Lewis, RN, Erie Faith Community

The Community Site:
Health Care for the Homeless Initiative Partnership is a pilot project of the Western Pennsylvania United Methodist Church’s Health as Wholeness Team. The agencies involved in the partnership are the Erie United Methodist Alliance and Community Shelter Services. Each agency has an emergency shelter as well as other types of transitional housing. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Heart Disease and Stroke; HIV; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
Fahmida spent her summer working with the recently homeless at two emergency shelters and a transitional housing facility for previously homeless adults. Her goal was to identify which health issues were important to Erie’s homeless population and to provide interactive, educational sessions relating to these topics. She also developed a program to engage the children in the shelters in activities that taught about exercise and nutrition. She made a Healthy Living Jeopardy board, pairing families in teams to test what they had learned. At each of the three sites, Fahmida prepared a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner for residents using foods from the program’s pantry. Additionally, Fahmida invited a yoga instructor to come weekly for an hour-long class to support the residents’ physical, mental and spiritual health. In general, Fahmida wanted to give this population adequate information and motivate them to take charge of their nutrition and health. Fahmida said, “During the course of my internship I worked with children, the elderly, the mentally and/or physically disabled, veterans, single adults, single parents and families. Right away I realized that my biggest challenge would be earning their trust and motivating them. At each of the three sites, I threw myself right into whatever the residents were doing. This meant joining in on the chatter in the smoking room, eating lunch with everyone at the shelter, and playing Wii with the children. For each of the activities I planned, I asked the residents for their input and passed around a sign-up sheet, which, I believe, was key to discussing health topics that they cared about. There were times during my first year of medical school I questioned whether medicine was the right profession for me, but I am sure now that this is what I was born to do.”

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Have Heart: Mind-Body Health for Women in Transitional Housing

Student Interns:
Cherish Church, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Colleen Little, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Maureen Dunn, 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Heart Disease and Stroke; Immunizations; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
Colleen and Cherish were involved in a variety of activities at Erie DAWN. They organized a health fair for the Erie DAWN picnic that highlighted several health-promotion activities, including distributing toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste and oral health coloring books. Other health fair activities included distributing meal planners and sharing information on women’s health and the health benefits of family meal planning and immunizations. In addition to the health fair they created a “Have Heart” workbook and a stress relief/self-esteem workbook. “Have Heart” focused on nutrition information, meal planning, fitting fitness into a busy life, the importance of family meals, and healthy recipes for children and adults. Colleen also designed a meal planner for the women to assist them in meal planning, shopping, budgeting and incorporating the whole family into the process. After creating the workbooks, Cherish and Colleen met with the women and children and made meals; distributed the workbooks; educated about physical fitness, nutrition, heart health and meal planning; and did self-esteem and stress-relief activities. Cherish said, “Working with Erie DAWN has exposed us to a population we often overlook. … The women in the program are also under a lot of stress in trying to work and set a budget so … we focused on incorporating physical fitness into their daily routine. … Overall, the experience was eye-opening for us and taught us a lot about ourselves as well as different cultures.” Colleen said, “Working with Erie DAWN has shown me the importance of not giving up even if I don’t feel as if I am being successful in reaching out and helping people. … It was a valuable experience to see the obstacles some individuals face in their life and how their own health can take a back seat to just everyday living. … I think the idea of being persistent, even when it seems there’s no point in trying anymore, is the most valuable lesson I have taken from the experience because you never know when someone is going to be ready to listen.”

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Balancing Nutrition and Physical Fitness for Healthy Living

Student Intern:
Sarah Brown, 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Sarah created a health education program for the residents of the Mercy Center for Women, including ideas on how to improve oral health, nutrition and physical fitness. Sarah led discussions on easy ways to use simple substitutions to improve the quality of calorie intake. Since many of the residents are mothers, the sessions discussed the risks of childhood obesity and offered suggestions for improving the health of children through good nutrition. The program aimed to determine each resident’s current nutritional status and create achievable goals for improving her overall health and the health of her children. Sarah noted, “In the face of adversity, I found it amazing the strong relationships the residents develop between each other and with the faculty, which can last long beyond their stay. I have learned so much, witnessing the struggle the residents endure and the strength their success stories give the faculty. Being at the Mercy Center for Women has shown me the importance of advocacy and the difference a team approach can make when helping a woman and her children begin a new life.”

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Baby Steps Toward a Healthier You

Student Intern:
Leah Giaccotto, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Sue Presta, SafeNet Domestic Violence Safety Network, the Transitional Living Center

The Community Site:
SafeNet is committed to ending domestic violence, affirming human dignity and delivering comprehensive client services to victims of domestic violence. SafeNet provides sanctuary, support, education and advocacy. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Heart Disease and Stroke; Immunizations; Nutrition; Oral Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
Leah developed lessons on immunizations, heart disease and stroke, nutrition and responsible sexual behavior for the residents in the two transitional housing programs at SafeNet, including discussion of habits and practices for healthy eating, birth control and children’s immunizations. In addition to the lessons, Leah gave a presentation on oral health to the residents in transitional housing as well as to the women staying in the shelter. Leah compiled a booklet, “Baby Steps Towards a Healthier You,” that includes the handouts from the lessons as well as additional information on relaxation techniques. Leah noted, “Working at SafeNet has been an invaluable experience. Having no personal experience with domestic violence before interning at SafeNet, I was naive about its prevalence and effect in this community and others. I have learned that domestic violence affects all races, all religions and all socioeconomic classes; no one is spared from its effects. The dedication the staff has to the residents and the women in the shelter is clear in everything they do at SafeNet. … The experience I have had with BTG and SafeNet has taught me that anyone in the community can be a victim of domestic violence. Having this knowledge will help me become a more empathetic and compassionate physician towards all my future patients.”

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Maintain the Brain: Dementia Care in Patients with Intellectual Disability

Student Interns:
John Malta, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Serenity McCarthy-Arnone, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Erica McCauley, 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 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. 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Oral Health

The Project:
Serenity, John and Erica worked at the Barber National Institute Senior Center with several individuals facing intellectual disability with concurrent early to mid-stage dementia. The three interns worked on a scrapbooking project that strove to preserve fragments of the past and present, creating a permanent source of memories for the aging adults. In addition to this scrapbooking project, Serenity, John and Erica each focused on a separate research topic to help the Barber Center staff further prepare for the challenges of dealing with an aging population. Erica focused on the early detection of dementia in the intellectually disabled population. John researched the role of music therapy in memory preservation. Serenity focused on behavioral coping mechanisms that can be employed to decrease challenging behaviors. John noted, “This summer, I learned through experience that working towards a solution is the crux of caring for someone, not simply believing one knows everything and throwing the quickest solution at the problem. … As a physician, I will need to be a strong advocate for my patients, and whether the answer is apparent or not, the most important part will be saying, ‘I know this much, but I will be your partner in finding the answers you need.’” Serenity stated, “I have always considered myself an open-minded, considerate individual who has the passion to help others. After this summer, I have experienced firsthand that convictions, no matter how honest or sincere, do not tell you how to carry them out. BTG’s … biggest lesson to me is that the key to understanding anyone is listening to what they have to say. Everyone has a voice, and their choices should not be taken away simply because you think you know better. I had to learn that sometimes you have to be humble and ask questions, admitting you do not know everything, to gain the respect and trust of others.” Erica noted, “My summer has been enriched with lessons that could never be taught in a medical school lecture hall. It is my job as a future physician to protect the sick and the vulnerable, and to respect every person no matter their differences. Dr. Gertrude Barber spent her entire career trying to bridge the gaps of society to build a world where all would be accepted. … I know that her mantra will be ingrained in me forever. I have seen how one woman’s vision changed the lives of thousands; I can only hope that one day my own sight will be as strong.”

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Being Healthy With a Disability

Student Interns:
Chen (Emily) Chen, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Thaddeus Liniewicz, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Jon Kalmey, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Tiffany Frey, Voices for Independence

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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease; Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
Emily and Thaddeus’s activities included a health fair for the consumers and attendants at Voices for Independence. The morning portion of the health fair consisted of general health screenings performed by doctors and nurses and a fitness demonstration. The afternoon portion consisted of presentations on various aspects of health. Professional presentations covered diabetes, obesity and nutrition; Emily and Thaddeus offered an oral health presentation, distributing oral health supplies to the attendees at the end. Thaddeus said, “My eyes were opened as to what life could be like living with a disability, along with the many struggles that having a disability might cause. The many stories I heard of the ways in which different people with disabilities were treated like second-class citizens will always resonate with me. I am grateful to know the many ways in which I can treat my future patients that might need extra services or care and to just take the time to listen to and learn from them.” Emily reflected, “After getting to know the consumers and staff at Voices, I have witnessed the tremendous abilities and spirits that drive some of the members of this community. Through this experience, I have only begun to understand the wide breadth of needs and concerns of different people with different disabilities. I’ve learned to focus on the person, not his or her disability; to try to foresee the special needs of a person with a disability; and to always ask questions because a person is more likely to know more about his or her abilities than an outsider or health practitioner does.”

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