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."
BTG Community Preceptor
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Alliance Hall Summer Recreation Program

Student Interns:
Amelia Lloyd, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health
Juli Wagner, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health

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

Community Preceptors:
Tina Amato, MS, RD, LDN, Allentown Health Bureau
Margaret Hadinger, MS, Lehigh Valley Health Network

The Community Site:
Alliance Hall Summer Recreation Program is located at Central Elementary School in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The camp is a resource for children aged 7 through 13, designed to help them remain active and healthy for five weeks during the summer. The children are provided with breakfast and lunch and participate in many different activities, including field trips, swimming, arts and crafts, and sports and exercise.

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

The Project:
Amelia and Juli worked with the staff from Alliance Hall in Allentown in the summer program for children aged 7 through 13. The program focused on education regarding nutrition; exercise; and cardiovascular, oral and respiratory health. In addition to education, children participated in several field trips, including bowling, swimming, roller-skating and the DaVinci Science Center. Amelia noted, “BTG was an undeniably valuable experience. This summer has taught me so much, and I hope that I have made an impact and continue to take what the kids taught me and use it in my future practice.” Juli commented, “Through my experience with BTG and working at Alliance Hall, I have learned a lot about different lifestyles and cultures and how they can affect a community’s health on both individual and group levels. This summer really opened my eyes to another aspect of the world and my community. I have learned a lot … and all the new insight I have gained will definitely influence my future health care practices to provide better and more appropriate care.”

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Sexual Health: Developing a Counselor Curriculum to Improve the Services Offered at the Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley

Student Interns:
Veronica Boyle, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Victoria Martin, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program

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

Community Preceptors:
Abby Letcher, MD, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Department of Family Medicine
Frances Romero, MD, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Department of Family Medicine

The Community Site:
New Life at the Caring Place is a primary health care home that provides preventive health and social services as well as educational programs. New Life provides affordable and accessible care to the underserved community. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Health Communication; HIV; Immunization; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
Veronica and Victoria worked with the Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley to develop and implement a curriculum about sexual health. The team researched sexual health programs established by Maternal and Family Health Services Inc., the World Health Organization and other community health programs to compile their work. They also gained knowledge of government funding for such programs. The curriculum consisted of all available options for sexual health, including sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, as well as health literacy and its effects on patient health outcomes. Furthermore, they explored resources within the community, such as Turning Point of Lehigh Valley for abused women, to assemble a list for counselors to use for patient referrals. In addition, Veronica and Victoria provided outreach to the community by conducting a workshop on STI prevention at the Boys and Girls Club in Allentown. Veronica said, “I have come to the conclusion that access to proper medical care is more than just providing services such as a physical exam. Overcoming obstacles to get the patients their medications at a price that they can afford or referring them for services beyond primary care takes great effort on the part of the provider. Each doctor must be an advocate for their patients and reach out to community resources and partner with organizations to provide proper services and ensure that patients are able to achieve overall wellness.” Victoria stated, “I have realized how imperative it is to keep in mind the idea of health literacy and language barriers when working with patients. Specifically, in creating materials for patient health education this becomes crucial. Even by excluding medical jargon from such materials, one must be aware of a patient’s ability to understand and not overestimate or underestimate this ability. I have also become aware that this is not just an issue in the inner city but it is widespread, and every patient must be evaluated individually rather than assuming the patient’s inability or ability to understand what is presented to them.”

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Connections to Hope: Cancer Support Community Outreach

Student Interns:
Andrew Lapsley, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program
Caitlin Trovato, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program

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

Community Preceptor:
Marcie R. Grello, MPH, CHES, Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley

The Community Site:
Cancer Support Community provides support, education and hope to people with cancer and their loved ones. Through participation in professionally led support groups, educational workshops and mind/body classes, people affected by cancer can learn vital skills that enable them to regain control, reduce isolation and restore hope regardless of the stage of disease. Most important, Cancer Support Community provides a home-like setting for people fighting cancer to connect with and learn from each other. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health Communication; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
Andrew and Caitlin worked with the Cancer Support Community (CSC) of the Greater Lehigh Valley in community outreach efforts. The interns visited dental practices in the community to provide both patients and providers with information on the connection between oral health and cancer while promoting the CSC, an underutilized, free and local resource. They provided similar information packets to family practices in the area. In addition, Andrew and Caitlin compiled cancer-related data, statistics and studies into a user-friendly format that will be used regionally for grant-writing efforts. Andrew stated, “Through my time spent with BTG and the CSC, my previous ideology of health care has both transformed and matured. Although the obvious importance of prevention, diagnosis and treatment continues to dominate the medical community, the privilege of being exposed to the psychosocial face of medicine has introduced me to a new, undervalued and equally important approach to patient care. With this, I can serve the community as a well-rounded, effective and holistic health care provider.” Caitlin said, “Working with BTG and the CSC has taught me invaluable life lessons that I would not have gotten anywhere else. This program truly has instilled in me the importance of community and stewardship, which will absolutely push me to be the best health care provider I can be. The CSC’s motto is ‘So that no one faces cancer alone,’ and I find this statement can be applicable to all things we do to lend a helping hand. As a future physician assistant, I can truly live out these principles of BTG well after the summer, with the presence of mind that to lead is to serve.”

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Barriers and Facilitators Associated With School-Based Obesity Programs in the Allentown School District

Student Interns:
Bernadette LoBaido, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health
Laura Wroge, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program

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

Community Preceptor:
Laura Chisholm, MPH, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Division of Community Health and Health Studies

The Community Site:
The Division of Community Health and Health Studies provides leadership in the Lehigh Valley Health Network and community to improve the effectiveness of health care interventions and improve patient outcomes, access to care, and health status of our community. The Community Health section provides core services related to community health improvement in partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network clinical departments. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted from HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Bernadette and Laura performed a needs assessment using the ecological system theory approach. They assessed what school-based interventions to combat obesity were available in the Allentown community, focusing specifically on the barriers and facilitators associated with these intervention programs. They learned about the causes and prevalence of obesity among children and its correlation with socioeconomic status. In addition, they identified the leading causes of obesity and health risks associated with being obese or overweight (cardiovascular, endocrine, psychological and pulmonary disease). They also conducted a formal literature review and key informant interviews regarding the public health issue of childhood obesity. Bernadette noted, “BTG has increased my overall awareness of issues existing in my community that I was once not aware of. This program has taught me the importance of interdisciplinary support when conducting programs and improving conditions within the city. I now realize the full extent of all the resources needed to implement any program, regardless of the size.” Laura commented, “[The] BTG internship enabled me to experience the culture of Allentown that I’ve never experienced before and opened my eyes to the full extent of obesity implications. I never realized how much is involved in programs promoting health and wellness, and it makes me not take for granted all things I have been gifted with all my life. I am very thankful to understand and have a very high level of respect for people I was once intimidated by. Now walking down the streets of Allentown, I understand and sympathize with the people. I want to help in any way I can. And I am very excited to take what I learned this summer and apply it to my profession as a physician assistant.”

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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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