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Lake Erie Projects - 2016

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A Better Mind Through Better Health

Student Intern:
Brendan Paull, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Diana Zenewicz, RN, Barber National Institute

The Community Site:
The 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. This is carried out through early intervention, early inclusive preschool, 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 (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern aided the staff of the Adult Mental Health Partial Hospitalization Program by facilitating daily activities on the topics of physical and mental health, focusing on healthy eating and proper nutrition through analyzing food labels and educating clients on the proper components of a healthy diet. The intern used the USDA’s MyPlate to illustrate daily nutrition guidelines and proper portion sizes, placing special emphasis on the consumption of water, distributing water bottles to the clients, and tracking daily water intake. The intern also discussed the importance of a proper diet and oral hygiene for good oral health and cavity prevention, and facilitated discussions on mental health and coping mechanisms that can be used to deal with daily stresses. The intern encouraged daily physical exercise as an important aspect of a healthy body and a healthy mind by implementing a pedometer program.

Personal Statement:
Brendan said, “Working at the Barber Institute has given me a new perspective on the difficulties faced when providing health care to those with intellectual disabilities and mental health challenges. As a future physician, it is important to be able to provide quality health care to all of my patients, regardless of their mental health status or intellectual disabilities. Through this internship at the Barber National Institute, I have become more comfortable working with adults with mental health challenges, and recognize the importance of good communication and reaching common grounds. Working with the in-house psychiatrist has also been extremely insightful in realizing the challenges that are faced in managing the medications of patients with multiple mental health and physical illnesses. Overall, I have found the Bridging the Gaps internship at the Barber National Institute to be exceptionally educational, and I feel that I will be able to apply many of the experiences and lessons gained from this internship to better myself as a future physician.”

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Strength Training for Seniors

Student Intern:
Kaeli Freeborough, MS, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Alice Hudder, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Amy Paszkowski, ADON, Brevillier Village

The Community Site:
Brevillier Village is where quality of life matters. Staff and volunteers provide uncompromising attention to body, mind and spirit of seniors and rehabilitation residents. Brevillier Village meets housing and health care needs in a home-like atmosphere. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern implemented a program to help residents at a senior living facility get outside and conducted personalized restorative therapy exercises, using existing exercise kiosks to support a resident-centered exercise program. The intern and restorative therapy nurses implemented this program with various groups of seniors and found that it led to increased strength and balance. Residents reported a decreased fear of falling after the restorative therapy exercises.

Personal Statement:
Kaeli said, “I feel spending the summer with the residents at Brevillier Village has taught me so much about focusing on what people are capable of, not what they cannot do. The residents were wonderful to work with, and they helped me each step of the way with my project. I helped them strengthen some of their muscles so they had reduced fall risks and increased mobility; they helped me learn the importance of modification. I am very fortunate to have had this incredible opportunity to work with such a caring, motivated group of residents, and I will always remember my time at Brevillier Village fondly.”

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Yoga: A Holistic Practice to Create Movement

Student Intern:
Vishesha Patel, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Leah Labranche, MSc, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Veronica Wygant, RN, Erie Homes for Children and Adults

The Community Site:
The mission of Erie Homes for Children and Adults (EHCA) is to assist people with disabilities to live rich and fulfilling lives. To fulfill this mission, EHCA provides compassionate, therapeutic and medical support to individuals of all ages and all levels of disability, enabling them to live with purpose and dignity. We provide opportunities and choices for individuals to grow to their full potential, coordinating services that maximize ability and participation in a variety of community settings. Since its founding in 1912, the agency has grown to include 17 group homes for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. EHCA’s six community programs offer opportunities and support services for individuals with disabilities who reside with family members or on their own. Today, EHCA makes a difference in the lives of more than 350 people and their families each day in Erie, Crawford, Venango and Potter counties. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Disabilities Conditions; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern helped create and implement a twice-a-week yoga class for individuals who attend the Making Opportunities for Volunteerism and Exploration (MOVE) facility day program, from either their EHCA group home or the community. MOVE provides adults with physical and mental disabilities with opportunities to actively participate in their communities. The staff strongly believes in promoting artistic expression, and the yoga class helped clients explore their own minds and bodies. The goal of the class was to increase awareness of a practice that involves moving the body and training the mind to create balance, strength and awareness of oneself. Along with producing a calming effect, the class allowed participants to stretch their bodies and increase their strength and range of motion to benefit their everyday lives.

Personal Statement:
Vishesha said, “Working at the EHCA has been an extremely rewarding learning experience. Before my experience, I thought that I understood the ways in which care is provided to individuals with physical and mental disabilities. I soon realized that I had many misconceptions, and I’m so grateful that they were proven false. All the individuals at EHCA are so unique, with their different personalities and their own way of communicating and understanding. I learned that even if an individual is incapable of expressing themselves verbally, that does not mean that they are incapable of communicating their needs. … I know this opportunity has improved my social and communication skills, further built upon my knowledge of various intellectual disabilities, and most importantly taught me how to interact with individuals who have these types of disabilities. I am very thankful for my Bridging the Gaps experience, and truly believe it has given me an advantage over my peers in terms of learning and valuable skills that I will be able to apply to my future career as an osteopathic physician.”

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Family Circles: Strengthening Communication and Healthy Living

Student Intern:
Suzanna Sellars, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Pam Biroscak, MS, Erie DAWN

The Community Site:
Erie DAWN 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 (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gap student intern assisted with writing, modifying and teaching a curriculum to local families in the Erie community. The goal of the curriculum is to help families improve their relationships, communication and overall health. The intern developed three units, each with three or four scripted sessions/activities for weekly nighttime classes. The classes began on July 5th and continued throughout the fall. The hope is that the program can be adapted as the community response grows to eventually be a mainstay in how Erie DAWN reaches out to and serves the community.

Personal Statement:
Suzanna said, “This internship has been a helpful learning experience into the daily operations of a nonprofit organization and into how communities respond to outreach. I am thankful to have been able to work with such inspiring, hardworking women on staff and in the program. As Erie DAWN changes and grows, I strongly believe that this curriculum has the potential to do wonders for Erie families. I truly enjoyed having the opportunity to help teach these classes and am happy that I was exposed to all of the positive action being taken by Erie DAWN. Bridging the Gaps is a really valuable asset to provide both to Erie and to medical students who may not have a lot of experience working in these communities, or for students who are passionate about serving people and did not want this to stop over their summer break. … I am confident that what I have learned this summer will help me become a better doctor and teacher for my patients.”

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Oral Health for HUD-VASH Veterans

Student Intern:
Morgan Wardrop, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Amanda Merski, MSW, LCSW, HUD-VASH Case Manager, Erie VA

The Community Site:
Erie VA provides health care and supportive services to local homeless veterans and veterans at risk of becoming homeless. HUD-VASH is a collaborative program between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Veterans Administration (VA) that combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services to help homeless veterans and their families find and sustain permanent housing. The program offers a wide range of resources, including 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 (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Health Literacy/Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Tobacco Use

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern developed a project that surveyed veterans on their current tobacco use and oral health. The intern used this data to develop an informational brochure on the health risks associated with smoking and tips for quitting. The intern also held a health fair luncheon for the veterans, where they received information related to smoking cessation and oral health. This health fair also included giveaways for all veterans in attendance, including toothbrushes, toothpaste and other personal hygiene products. During the final week, the veterans were invited to participate in a free oral health screening at the LECOM Dental School.

Personal Statement:
Morgan said, “Working with homeless veterans has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience. The variety of factors contributing to homelessness, including mental health, job status, family problems and lack of access to needs, create a truly diverse population of individuals who find themselves without a home. No two veterans have been alike in what they seek out in VA care. Additionally, the bureaucracy involved in service connection can be intimidating for veterans to take on alone, which is a large goal of the Erie VA Homeless Care team for those veterans who qualify. Thus, through this project, I have learned to be sympathetic to the variety of barriers to housing and care people experience, and have come to understand that having the resources to maintain a home is not synonymous with receiving housing.”

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The First Wealth Is Health

Student Intern:
Jeffrey Taylor, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Erika Allen, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Stephanie Garcia, HANDS
Kim Whelan, MS, 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 our community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use

The Project:
The goal of the Bridging the Gaps student intern’s project was to use fun games and demonstrations to educate and engage the residents of the HANDS properties on the importance of smoking cessation and how to live a healthy life. For the older residents at many of the properties, such as St. Joseph’s Apartments, Villa Maria Apartments and Chestnut Street Apartments, the intern created and played a Health Wheel of Fortune game with them to educate them on the health benefits of smoking cessation, exercise and sleep. The intern worked with SafeKids Erie to educate residents on bike and home safety and provided them with bike helmets and home safety kits. The intern assisted with a summer camp for young children and taught oral health to residents and provided them with dental supplies. The intern also coordinated lawn games for seniors as well as oral health presentations through demonstrations and Jeopardy games.

Personal Statement:
Jeffrey said, “This summer has been a wonderful experience that has given me the opportunity to spend an extended amount of time with a population that has a lot of needs, and a population that I will most certainly be working with in the future. This summer I have been able to see what it is like when a patient returns home from the hospital and what they go through to live independently, especially as an aging adult. I am grateful to all the residents at HANDS who welcomed me with open arms. Whether they were wheelchair-bound or an energetic summer camper, each person at HANDS will always have a special place in my heart.”

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Healthy Living for the Homeless: Connecting Mind, Body and Soul

Student Intern:
Jonathan Brach, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Jack Lee, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

The Community Site:
Health Care for the Homeless Partnership Initiative is a project of the Western PA UMC Health as Wholeness Team. The agencies involved in the partnership are the Erie United Methodist Alliance, Community of Caring, and Community Shelter Services. All three agencies have an emergency shelter as well as other types of transitional housing. The goals of the initiative are to provide preventive health care promotion and education to people living in homeless shelters and transitional housing; to determine and assess the gaps in the existing health care structure for the homeless in Erie; and to explore the attitudes and barriers homeless persons experience in both seeking and receiving preventive health care services.

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern developed an outline for a sustainable monthly health program for the residents at Community Shelter Services and held weekly health-related programs at various sites. He encouraged healthy eating and daily exercise, and he increased productive group socialization and improved health literacy among residents. He also started a library at Lodge on Sassafras and a hygiene pantry at Columbus Apartments.

Personal Statement:
Jonathan said, “I am very happy that I had the opportunity to participate in Bridging the Gaps this summer. Not only did I get to know my sites and the residents who live there really well, but also I was also able to gain a greater understanding of the dynamics within the city of Erie. I did not realize how difficult it is for socioeconomically disadvantaged people to stay healthy. Almost all of the residents I worked with had health issues that were caused at least partially by not eating enough nutritious foods, not enough exercise and/or a general lack of health knowledge. Because of this, I really tried to focus the programs I designed on addressing these problems.”

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Outreach to Type 1 Diabetes Community

Student Intern:
Anthony Holst, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Kyle Scully, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Diane Sickles, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

The Community Site:
The Northwestern Pennsylvania Branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) serves Erie and its surrounding nine counties—Crawford, Venango, Mercer, Warren, Forest, Potter, Elk, Clarion and McKean. JDRF’s vision is a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D). The mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs that will cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. JDRF is dedicated to researching and finding a cure for T1D through the support of research, and recently has put forth an outreach initiative to support and mentor both children and adults affected by the disease. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Heart Disease and Stroke; Immunizations; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern’s main project at JDRF was to expand the local outreach program, focusing on developing a plan to identify and connect with recently diagnosed children and adults with type 1 diabetes, introduce them to JDRF, and match them with mentors who can help and support them and their families. The intern’s activities included monthly outreach meetings, the Presque Isle Slow Roll, Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes, Frolic on the Bay, the One Walk Kickoff, oral and heart health presentations and material development, and the T1D Connection brochure update.

Personal Statement:
Anthony said, “The friendships and relationships that were garnered through my time have been very valuable to me. Some of the things that the T1D community taught me are that even though the people must live with a lifelong disease, they can be lighthearted, are able to smile, and can be happy while controlling their disease. … I learned one doctor cannot provide the complete care needed for a diabetic patient because the symptoms and risks associated with diabetes encompass many specialties, such as ophthalmology, dentistry, endocrinology, etc. I want to be part of the creation of an organization of doctors that focus on giving the T1D community the overall health care that is needed.”

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A Kids Day Event at Tacoma Road

Student Intern:
Katie Alsheimer, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Leah Labranche, MSc, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Molly Johannessen, PhD, MSc, MEd, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

The Community Site:
The mission of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine is to prepare students to become osteopathic physicians, pharmacy practitioners and dentists through programs of excellence in education, research, clinical care and community service to enhance the quality of life through improved health for all humanity. The professional programs are dedicated to serving all students through innovative curriculum and the development of postdoctoral education and interprofessional experiences. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern organized a Kids Safety Day at a local YMCA for as many as 35 children separated into five stations. At one station, the children made first-aid kits consisting of Band-Aids, a gauze pad, a hand-sanitizing wipe and floss. Another station discussed the importance of hand washing to prevent illnesses and of emergency phone number lists. A third covered sun and exercise safety, including the importance of hydration in the summer and of stretching. At a fourth station, members of the fire department showed the children their rig and tools they carry on for emergencies, discussed fire safety, and allowed the children to use the hose on the fire truck. At the fifth station, police officers were available to speak about how kids can stay safe and what to do if they are with a person who commits a crime. Also, SafeKids stopped by to talk about bike safety, and many of the children received bike helmets.

Personal Statement:
Katie said, “The experience that I gained from Bridging the Gaps was unique and very rewarding. The number of organizations that I was able to work with was beyond my expectations, and I would have been unable to match the experience on my own. This also improved my comfort level of working with children of all ages. My knowledge of Erie and the surrounding areas greatly increased, as [did] my knowledge of the resources that are available. Additionally, the experience with Bridging the Gaps allowed me to have a leadership role in which I organized a community outreach event that the children really enjoyed and was an overall success. The program has increased my interest in continuing to work with the pediatric population as a volunteer. Children are open to learning, and the presence of a role model or just a trustworthy adult that the children can open up to and confide in can change their future. … All of the effort was more than worthwhile if these projects affected even one life.”

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Raising Awareness for Cardiovascular and Oral Health at MCH

Student Intern:
Mary Seroka, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
John Gallagher, DO, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Martin M. Kelly, BSW, NHA, Millcreek Community Hospital

The Community Site:
Millcreek Community Hospital 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 unit serves acute medical needs for adults over 50, while the Transitional Care Unit assists patients in returning to independent living following a surgery, injury or hospitalization. The LECOM Senior Living Center is a long-term-care facility that provides skilled nursing to more than 100 geriatric patients. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern provided dental supplies and oral hygiene pamphlets to the emergency room. She created flyers that effectively summed up Millcreek Hospital’s services, complete with updated pictures. Using information from the American Heart Association, she compiled a set of guidelines to heart healthy choices for employees, which were distributed to cafeteria staff.

Personal Statement:
Mary said, “This whole experience has strengthened my resolve to become involved in psychiatry, as well as increased my compassion as a whole for the elderly population. It is important to note that struggling with a physical illness is easier for an outsider to comprehend, rather than understanding a mental illness which does not manifest in a physical deformity. These mind-altering diseases are often misunderstood by the public, which can result in a fear of authority, major depression and anxiety for the afflicted. I would love to spend my life treating the misunderstood and broadening the public’s understanding of mental illnesses.”

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Empowering Women With Knowledge

Student Intern:
Megan Church, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Diana Speelman, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Angela Tadda, MPA, Mercy Center for Women

The Community Site:
Mercy Center for Women is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy and is committed to enhancing the dignity of each person we serve through the healing of body, mind and spirit. We provide safe and supportive transitional housing, education, case management and advocacy for homeless women with or without children. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Health Care; Environmental Health; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Oral Health; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern created a book to help mothers be more aware and knowledgeable about their children’s health. The book includes information about vision problems, ear infections, ADHD and other health topics concerning children; the hope is that the information will help mothers be more confident and more likely to take their children to the doctor when needed. The intern also held classes for the children on hand washing and dental health and presented a talk on dental health awareness to the adults living at the Mercy Center.

Personal Statement:
Megan said, “My experience at the Mercy Center for Women has been a very unique learning environment. In my time at the center my eyes have been opened to the struggles that many people in the community face on a daily basis that I have not had to experience in my life. I have learned a lot about how limited the access to health care is when a person is homeless or living in poverty. … It was amazing to hear about times that a person’s health care had been altered due to their status in a medical assistance program. … This experience has allowed me to become more open and think about my future in terms of patient care.”

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Developing Healthy Lifestyle Changes for Older Adults

Student Intern:
Minju Hwang, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptors:
James Johnson, MEd, Mercy Hilltop Center

The Community Site:
Pennsylvania’s first nationally accredited senior center, Mercy Hilltop provides an environment for communal, educational and physical activities. The center’s mission is to keep older adults as independent as possible for as long as possible, with a focus on each individual’s mind, spirit and body wellness, enabling seniors to live a productive, harmonious and healthy lifestyle. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
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 Bridging the Gaps student intern created a comprehensive summer health program for daily exercise, physical health and nutrition in older adults with the goals of implementing a conscious change to a healthier lifestyle. She organized a physical activity class for seniors, so they could fulfill their daily exercise quota, and weekly didactic presentations on nutrition and related diseases. The weekly presentations were immediately followed by food samplings to encourage seniors to incorporate new and healthy dietary changes. In addition, the intern gave a dental and oral health presentation and demonstrated proper oral hygiene techniques. Overall, the main purpose of the project was to encourage the senior population to adopt healthier lifestyle changes and improve their quality of life.

Personal Statement:
Minju said, “By working closely with the older adult population at the Mercy Hilltop Center, I have developed skills to become a better physician. I have been impressed by how welcoming and nurturing the environment is. My ideas for my project were met with so much enthusiasm, and everyone was so encouraging of my progress; it gave me the confidence to realize that I can be a strong leader. The time spent with the senior residents has been extraordinarily inspirational, and it taught me about working with and for other people. I feel that BTG is a highly successful program that does bridge the gaps between the lives of people from many different backgrounds.”

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Dangers of Poor Dental Health

Student Intern:
Thomas Tuyen, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Shannon Getz, BSW, SafeNet

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 (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Injury and Violence Prevention; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern developed activities for children on the topics of healthy eating, hand washing etiquette and physical activity. He also created an oral health brochure and gave a presentation and demonstration on proper oral care. The goal of the activities and the brochure was to provide educational tools that would be passed along after the end of the internship. The intern also observed and participated in counseling sessions, hotline calls and various other advocacy activities.

Personal Statement:
Thomas said, “The experience that I’ve gained while at my BTG internship is something that I plan on incorporating into my own lifestyle, whether it be interactions with friends and family or professionally. It has further encouraged me to pursue helping the population base that I’ve wanted to assist and has helped me to empathize with the issues and concerns a person going through traumatic events endures. I have no doubts whatsoever that the knowledge and skills I have acquired while at SafeNet will transfer soundly into my future time as a physician.”

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Encouraging Successful Aging Through Health and Wellness Intervention

Student Intern:
Carly Chamberlain, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
John Gallagher, DO, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Elizabeth Seibert, NHA, MHSA, LECOM Senior Living Center

The Community Site:
LECOM Health has introduced skilled nursing care for older adults with a new Senior Living Center, which provides exciting and innovative patient-centered health care on a health and wellness campus centrally located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The LECOM Senior Living Center was developed to have clinical services for every senior, making sure that we are serving with the patient’s health in mind and providing complete care of the mind, body and spirit. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern developed an activities curriculum to enhance the lifestyles of the Senior Living Center residents. Residents gathered two or three times a week for various health activities and/or lectures. These sessions consisted of exercise instruction, nutrition discussions and games to encourage cognitive health and recall. The intern also delivered informative lectures about the importance of daily oral hygiene. The goal was to establish a sustainable project that could be continued into the future. In addition, the intern created staff in-service lessons to address the care of geriatric patients, covering topics such as oral hygiene, signs of dehydration and communication among staff members. Integrating health education for both staff and residents ensured that this knowledge was accessible to all communities within the Senior Living Center.

Personal Statement:
Carly said, “My internship relationships with the staff and especially the residents of the Senior Living Center will leave a lasting impression on my outlook of the geriatric population, benefiting my work as a future osteopathic primary care physician. The clinical knowledge I gained, in addition to the constant appreciation by residents for our activities and communication with them, further enriched my experience. My greatest takeaway from the internship was a greater understanding and respect for the elderly population, which shifted my viewpoint of geriatric care to follow the LECOM initiative of ‘successful aging,’ rather than simply coping with the degenerative diseases of aging.”

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Advocacy for Independence for Those With Disabilities

Student Intern:
George Rollins, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Sarah McFarland, RN, Voices for Independence

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

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Health Care; Disabilities Conditions; Health Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Preparedness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern was involved with the implementation of a medical organizer. The medical organizer is divided into categories, including emergency contact list, emergency plan, baseline information about the consumer/client, physician list, record of physician and hospital visits, record of new and ongoing prescription medications, and attendant reporting. The purpose of this organizer is to have all necessary medical information in one location so that the needs of the consumer/client can be efficiently communicated to health care personnel. In addition, the intern used both one-on-one and group interaction to help clients develop reading comprehension and math skills.

Personal Statement:
George said, “My internship at Voices for Independence has been very enlightening. I have had some experience working with children with disabilities and advocating for their rights; however, this has been my first experience working alongside consumers advocating for themselves. They are passionate about living with as much autonomy as possible. I had many opportunities to join in on classes and witness the consumers demonstrating their abilities in many different capacities (e.g., math class, reading class, arts and crafts, preparing meals, enjoying leisure time with a round of golf, bowling and walk-a-thons with their community). It was wonderful to see the community embrace them, and disappointing to hear about experiences with discrimination. After talking with many of the consumers, they all expressed that it can be challenging for them when meeting with their physicians because they don’t feel that they are being listened to. As a future physician, I want to change their experience into a positive one. I will continue to be a voice for people with disabilities so they can be seen as an individual that happens to have disability, rather than be defined by it. I thoroughly enjoyed working with this population, and hope to continue to work with them in the future.”

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Nurturing Mind and Body From a Young Age

Student Intern:
Hasan Aoun, OMSII, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Cherie Kinem, MSW, Recreation Director, YMCA Kids Club

The Community Site:
The John E Horan YMCA Kids Club provides after school, summer recreational and educational activities, and free lunches during summer. Programs include sports, arts and crafts, movies, homework time, snack time, field trips, swimming and access to the YMCA Downtown. The YMCA is a neighborhood service organization that provides a variety of programs for children aged 6 to 18. Its primary goal is to provide a safe, fun environment for children during the summer. The Y’s programs, day trips, sports and mentoring are free to Erie Housing Authority residents. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern worked on improving health-related activities for the kids at the club. These included teaching them new outdoor and gym games, which improved their physical health, and new card and board games, which helped stimulate their mental abilities. Activities also included presentations on nutrition and healthy diet, a scavenger hunt, ways to stay safe in the sun, and assembling first aid kits. The intern also arranged for the fire and police departments come in to talk to the kids about staying safe and out of trouble.

Personal Statement:
Hasan said, “Overall, the experience I have had here has been a great one. I got to meet new people, new kids, and interact with them in a way that will hopefully improve their lives. On a personal level I feel a certain joy whenever I see that I had an impact on these kids’ lives, whether it is something small such as teaching them a new card trick or something more important such as hygiene or first aid. After the scavenger hunt, some of the kids came up and gave me hugs, which was a first since the kids had known me for only a few weeks. The satisfaction of actually knowing that the kids found this both helpful and entertaining was all I could ask for from my experience here.”

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