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Lehigh Valley Projects

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Facilitating Healthy Outcomes for the Adults and Children of Allentown

Student Intern(s):
Katie McNally, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program
Stephanie Sell, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health

Academic Preceptor(s):
Mary Ellen Miller, PhD, RN, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health

Community Preceptor(s):
Jaquita Wilson-Rodriguez, Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley, Casa Guadalupe
Abby Letcher, MD, Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley, The Caring Place

The Community Site:
Casa Guadalupe is a vital community asset in Allentown, providing WIC, child care and senior citizen programs. Vida Nueva at Casa Guadalupe is a community health center that accepts uninsured patients for both OB/GYN and primary care. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:  
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Environmental Quality; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Katie and Stephanie worked on a variety of projects within both Vida Nueva and Casa Guadalupe’s summer children’s program. At Vida Nueva at Casa Guadalupe, the interns used asset mapping and sliding fee scale interviews to better understand the patient population and to help provide necessary services. At Casa Guadalupe, the interns worked at a day camp with inner-city elementary school children, planning and executing various crafts, physical activities and health presentations. Katie and Stephanie used primary prevention strategies to teach children about the importance of maintaining oral health and explained basic cardiovascular health facts through various activities. 

Katie reflected, “It has been my privilege to become acquainted with the multitude of wonderful people and programs available in this community. I was pushed out of my comfort zone to interact with people of a different language and culture, which enabled me to more deeply understand the barriers others face in obtaining adequate health care. This internship has provided invaluable insight that will continue to aid me throughout my professional career.” 

Stephanie said, “It was a pleasure to work with the underserved children and adults of Allentown as well as the coordinators of the organizations of which I had the privilege of being involved.  They have taught me the importance of protecting and advocating for the health of those who could not achieve it without a helping hand. I hope to implement all of the personal and intellectual skills I have learned about community health through this program to become a more competent health-care provider.”

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Community Connections: Asset Mapping in Allentown

Student Intern(s):
Amelia Kalucki, DeSales University, Department of Nursing
Shannah Fleck, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program

Academic Preceptor(s):
Mary Ellen Miller, PhD, RN, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health

Community Preceptor(s):  
Abby Letcher, MD, Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley, The Caring Place

The Community Site: 
New Life at The Caring Place is a community health center affiliated with Lehigh Valley Health Network that helps the underserved population of Allentown (mostly those without insurance) with access to health care. The health center is co-located with The Caring Place Youth Development Center, which provides after school and summer day camps for children.

Healthy People 2010:  
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Overweight and Obesity; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Diabetes; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; Oral Health

The Project: 
Amelia and Shannah’s major project was to create a community asset map. Along with an actual map with plotted community resources, the interns created a list of all the resources they found, including contact information and a short description of services provided at each site. The interns performed financial interviews, using a sliding fee scale, to determine the cost of utilizing the clinic for patients without health-care insurance.  Amelia and Shannah also employed primary prevention strategies to teach oral health to the children at The Caring Place day camp, and participated in weekly diabetes workshops/teaching sessions for patients diagnosed with diabetes whose primary language was Spanish. The interns also created a bilingual anti-smoking brochure for the doctor’s smoking cessation class. 

Amelia noted, “BTG has provided me with not only a background in community health, but also an immersion into the Hispanic/Latino culture. I am more aware of the community’s wants, needs, and resources not only in the Lehigh Valley, but also in Philadelphia. Every individual in this program is welcoming and wants to improve the community and provide for a healthy, safe, and enriching future.” 

Shannah commented, “BTG has been an eye-opening experience … although one or a few people alone cannot bring about the vision that is community health and access to care for everyone; together many people with various disciplines and backgrounds … can make a positive impact for marginalized populations in society. This kind of teamwork is the key to success and its ideals will stay with me throughout my future career and medical practice.”

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"My internship … has affected me deeply. I have learned about the complexities of substance abuse and the struggles women face to remain clean. Working with a student from a discipline other than my own has helped me to view health issues from another perspective."
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