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
Home >

Lehigh Valley Projects - 2013

Back to Summaries by Region

A Lifelong Alliance Between a Healthy Lifestyle and the Allentown Youth

Student Interns:
Hilary Evarts, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health
Nicole Schneider, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program

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

Community Preceptors:
Tina Amato, MS, RD, LDN, Allentown Health Bureau

The Community Site:
The Alliance Hall Summer Recreation Program is located at Central Elementary School in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The camp is a resource for children aged 7 to 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, health education, swimming, arts and crafts, and sports and exercise.

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked as counselors at the Alliance Hall Summer Recreation Program with children aged 7 to 13. They held several educational sessions with the children, covering topics such as water and sun safety, cardiovascular health, oral health and nutrition. Along with these activities, the interns also oversaw and participated in the children’s recreational activities, such as swimming, basketball and roller-skating. Hilary notes, “This summer Bridging the Gaps has given me a whole new perspective on health care. … Each week I was inspired by both the seminars in Philadelphia and the youth at Alliance Hall to be a better nursing student and eventually a great nurse. I know that the experiences I had this summer will stay with me my entire life, and hopefully I will be able to one day participate in more programs such as this one.” Nicole remarks, “I have greatly enjoyed my BTG experience because it has really opened my eyes to the great variety of public health programs in Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley that are doing amazing and impactful work for their community. … These experiences that I had during this internship will help me to become a better clinician because I am now more aware of the problems and solutions to some pressing health concerns.”

Back to Top

Exploring Boundaries

Student Interns:
Brittany Wilson, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health
Lydia Younger, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program

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

Community Preceptors:
Lucy DeLabar, Casa Guadalupe Center, Education Program
Eric Difulvio, BSED, Casa Guadalupe Center

The Community Site:
Casa Guadalupe is a nonprofit community-based organization established in 1969 to meet the needs of primarily the Latino residents in the Lehigh Valley. It offers health, education and social services for children, youth, adults and the elderly. The free summer camp program registers approximately 100 children aged 5 to 13 during the program’s operational period in July and August. The 2013 program ran Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns mentored and supervised children from families with limited financial resources. They worked with members of the Casa Guadalupe Education Center to ensure a positive experience for all the students involved in the program. The interns presented on health-related topics and provided math tutoring. They created a number of learning outcome reports necessary for state funding. Brittany notes, “On a personal level, I grew to love 60 kids that I would have never otherwise met. From them I learned how to look at the world with a fresh set of eyes. On a professional level, my experience showed me that behavior can reflect a personal situation. Nursing presents the challenge of caring for people at the weakest, most vulnerable, and most frustrating time of their lives. Caring for these individuals requires one to be mindful of their struggles, realizing that their behavior may be a reflection of a struggle in their personal lives.” Lydia comments, “This summer I thought I was going to change the world. While I didn’t quite live up to those expectations by single-handedly saving center city Allentown, I did learn quite a bit. … Seven short weeks taught me more than I could ever learn from a book or a lecture, and I am grateful for the experience I had this summer.”

Back to Top

Untangling Spaghetti: A Love Story

Student Interns:
Emily Ickes, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program
Jillian Michael, DeSales University, Department of Nursing and Health

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

Community Preceptors:
Abby Letcher, MD, Medical Coordinator, Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley

The Community Site:
The mission of the Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley (NHCLV) is to provide primary and preventive health and wellness services to residents of the Lehigh Valley, regardless of ability to pay. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked specifically with the super utilizer team at the Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley (NHCLV). The team works with patients with multiple chronic conditions that lead to frequent hospital admissions, with the goal of untangling the patients’ physical, social and emotional lives. The interns observed the roles of the social worker, nurse and community health workers in the lives of the patients. They also worked with patients to gather digital stories — for the patients to use themselves, for education or for advertising the program. Jillian notes, “Through Bridging the Gaps I learned that all patients are different, but all have a story to tell. … As a future health care provider I need to remember to ask what is most important to the patient as a person.” Emily comments, “During these seven weeks at NHCLV, my eyes have been opened to the world of community health. The experiences I have had at my site this summer align perfectly with the mission of Bridging the Gaps and all of our Wednesday sessions. The super utilizer patients have taught me that behind every ‘noncompliant’ patient there is a story: a tangle of adverse childhood events, chronic conditions, substance abuse disorders, transportation problems and food shortages. But more importantly, there is a person who longs for relationship — to be judged not by what is wrong with them, but to be received with love for who they are.”

Back to Top

Sixth Street Shelter: Health Promotion Development

Student Interns:
Amanda Miller, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program
Nathan Noll, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program

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

Community Preceptors:
Jessica Dreistadt, Sixth Street Shelter
Lauren Praedin, Sixth Street Shelter

The Community Site:
The Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown is the largest family shelter in the region and has been providing housing and casework services to homeless families with children since 1984. It is a program of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, which, for over 45 years, has been in the vanguard of community-based solutions to the challenges of the region’s low-income people. The shelter has 20 units and provides intensive programming for up to 60 days. Families work with staff to set and achieve specific goals. During their stay family members work with the shelter’s caseworkers to design a goal plan, which includes a search for permanent housing, life skills education and a budget plan. The guiding principle of the shelter is to help families set and reach their goals through intensive and effective case management, in-house programming and referrals to appropriate services. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
At Sixth Street Shelter, the BTG student interns worked in the Family Resource Center to support overall health and well-being among the residents and community. Amanda and Nathan worked to promote the health of the residents by creating programs to assist families in their transition toward independence. At the same time they worked to provide a positive, educational environment for residents of all ages. Programs included résumé-writing workshops, breast health education, cardiovascular disease awareness and oral hygiene education. Nathan states, “Working with the families and staff at the Sixth Street Shelter has been an extremely rewarding and eye-opening experience for me. My experiences during the past seven weeks have completely changed my outlook on homelessness in the community, reaffirmed the importance of holistic care, and charged me to help fundamentally transform and progress the public health care system. The most important thing of all, however, is the reality that this opportunity has truly helped me towards becoming the best health care provider I can be.” Amanda shares, “I had a very impactful summer at the Sixth Street Shelter. Through working with both the shelter’s staff and its residents, I am able to better understand the social and environmental circumstances that impact a person’s overall health. The most important thing my experience has taught me is that it is vital to take the time to understand the entire individual with whom you are working, treat them with compassion and heal with love.”

Back to Top

Bridging the Barriers

Student Interns:
Alexandra Borakove, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program
Jessica Hillegass, DeSales University, Physician Assistant Program

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

Community Preceptor:
Bonnie S. Coyle, MD, MS, Saint Luke’s University Health Network

The Community Site:
St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Community Health Department strives to achieve its mission of partnering with the community to increase health awareness, improve the health status of the community and encourage appropriate access to health services. The Bethlehem Partnership for a Healthy Community and St. Luke’s mobile health units, HealthStar I and HealthStar II, have been the primary venues for achieving this mission. The three primary focus areas within the department are maternal, child and adolescent health; access to care; and health disparities reduction. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease; Health Communication; HIV; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
At the Breast Cancer Screening and Awareness Initiative, the BTG student interns’ primary responsibility involved working with project and clinic staff to promote breast cancer screening among low-income patients. The interns were trained in patient navigation strategies, educated female patients about breast cancer and screening recommendations, and assisted patients in connecting with needed services. Alexandra and Jessica assisted with tracking and evaluation processes for this project. They shadowed in the hospital’s AIDS Services Center clinic and developed a navigation system to educate and track patients who were behind on their health care screenings in an effort to promote screening for breast cancer. Jessica remarks, “During my experience with BTG CHIP I have come to realize that there is often little to no tracking of services that are considered standards of care during a primary care visit. Not only are there cultural and/or physical barriers that prevent women from keeping up with their health care screenings, but there is also a lack of case managing with patients, or seeing that they follow through with preventive care. … I sincerely hope that the progress we made in these few weeks not only continues, but expands beyond what we accomplished so that all women receive the care and compassion they deserve.” Alex notes, “Being able to work at the St. Luke’s Community Health site has shown me a side of health care that I previously did not know existed. … I realized there is a lot more to helping patients than just identifying and treating their chief complaint. I am now able to recognize and am much more able to identify hidden barriers that may exist in these patients’ lives, preventing them from receiving care.”

Back to Top

BTG 20 Years Video
BTG 20th Anniversary Tribute
"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."
BTG Student Intern
BTG 20 Years Video
What BTG Means to Us

BTG Photo Gallery BTG Video Archives