BTG Hope

"The BTG Program provides needed resources to the many thousands of community-based organizations that are working to create a more socially just and compassionate world. Because of their support, many nonprofits are able to reach and enrich the lives of many more people."
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Lehigh Valley Projects

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Casa Guadalupe Center

Student Intern(s):
Maggie Farrell, Marywood University, School of Nursing
Pragati Jain, East Stroudsburg University, School of Public Health

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

Community Preceptor(s):
Jaquita Wilson-Rodriguez, Casa Guadalupe Center

The Community Site:
Casa Guadalupe Center sits in the heart of inner-city Allentown, which has the third largest population of Hispanics in Pennsylvania. The center’s programs are available to visitors of all ages and include a summer camp, an after school homework program, GED preparation programs, and community gardening projects for senior citizens. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project: 
Maggie and Pragati worked with the Casa Guadalupe Center to organize and conduct the summer camp for youth and to develop educational and community-based programs to promote health education. The interns facilitated a focus group to identify health topics relevant to the youth. They then created a curriculum that included oral health, cardiovascular health and overall physical fitness, along with activities designed to promote the development of the physical, mental and social well-being of the youth. Pragati noted, “The BTG internship was an opportunity to apply my classroom concepts of public health in a community setting. The weekly lectures further gave insight and guidance for how to approach the existing health issues highlighted in Healthy People 2010. … I interacted with students from the other universities … and shared some of their views and some of their ongoing work.” Maggie noted, “My internship with BTG was a surplus of multifaceted learning experiences. The weekly presentations allowed me to develop new insights on drug abuse, homelessness, violence and coping mechanisms.”

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Building an Alliance With Alliance Hall

Student Intern(s):
Tracy Gould, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Studies
Chase Schaeffer, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Studies

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

Community Preceptor(s):
Tina Amato
, Allentown Health Bureau, Alliance Hall Camp and Summer Feeding Program

The Community Site:
Alliance Hall Camp and Summer Feeding Program provide a safe place where children can learn, play, live and grow. The Summer Feeding Program provides breakfast and lunch for the children of center city Allentown. The Alliance Hall Camp is located at Central Elementary School and provides children the opportunity to participate in activities such as swimming, bowling, games and recreational activities, and education-related field trips.

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

The Project: 
Tracy and Chase worked alongside the staff of the Alliance Hall Summer Camp to help educate the campers and provide them with resources to live healthier lives. The interns conducted health education talks and activities on a variety of topics, including nutrition and exercise, cardiovascular health, and oral and personal hygiene. In addition to teaching the campers, the interns developed information and resources the Alliance Hall staff can use in upcoming years. Tracy noted, “My summer experience with the BTG has led me to better appreciate the diversity of situations a patient or a community might be in. … I have also learned to appreciate the value of getting to know the community. … This knowledge will help me to better assess their health and to adjust my treatment plans, as I learn to treat the entire patient and the patient’s situation, not just the specific symptoms.” Chase said, “As the world changes, the scope of health care must change as well. BTG understands this and wants to provide the opportunity for health care providers to experience a new perspective. … I have come to understand the population that is both the most neglected and most in need of health care. … I have gotten a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of a people left unheard.”

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Super-Utilizer Project

Student Intern(s):
Meghan Callahan, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program
Justine Ciarleglio, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program
Pragati Jain, East Stroudsburg University, Department of Public Health

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

Community Preceptor(s):
Abby Letcher, MD, New Life at the Caring Place Family Health Program

The Community Site:
The Caring Place Family Health Program provides health care, social services and case management for the underinsured and/or uninsured residents of Allentown. With a focus on primary care, the center is able to address many of the broad needs of underserved patients by partnering with the Lehigh Valley Hospital Health Network and other community agencies. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Diabetes; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight

The Project: 
Meghan, Justine and Pragati assisted the Caring Place Family Health Center staff in identifying patients whose health care needs are not being adequately met by any one provider. The interns gathered a list of “super-utilizers,” patients who frequently visit the Caring Place, as well as multiple hospitals and emergency departments. The interns talked to these patients to identify the reasons their health care needs were not being met. After the interviews, the interns shared the information with the Caring Place staff with a goal of proposing new ideas to improve health care services. The interns also created a resource guide with information about social services, pharmacies and health providers in the Allentown community. Justine said, “BTG helped me to truly understand the struggles that the patients of the Lehigh Valley face on a daily basis. This opportunity has assisted me in utilizing what I have learned in the classroom about health, health care and the underinsured, and applying it in the community. The workers at the Caring Place as well as the patients have taught me during this internship about how to effectively serve a community based on their needs, as well as how helping people and compassion are what make a difference in people’s lives and health every day.” Meghan commented, “Working with the super-utilizers has been an up-and-down experience this summer … there were some eye-opening experiences that I will take with me throughout my career. We saw drastically different situations that people were living in. … Overall, I enjoyed working on this project and hope it will open doors for health care in Allentown in the future.” Pragati said, “My main motivation of doing the internship was to apply classroom concepts in the real-world community setting. The program was intense, and it gave me the opportunity to … run focus groups, perform community asset mapping and do some quantitative analysis.”

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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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