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Philadelphia Consortium Projects

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

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“Where Is Thumbkin?” Creative Activities Making Health Education Fun for All

Student Intern(s):
Elliot Rabinowitz, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Bridget Remming, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Joanne N. Wood, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Community Preceptor(s):
Nicholas Bisaccia, MSEd, Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, Therapeutic Nursery

The Community Site:
The Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CcTC) Therapeutic Nursery, located in Center City Philadelphia, is a structured full-day preschool program for children aged 2½ to 5. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:    
Leading Health Indicators:  Injury and Violence; Mental Health; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Bridget and Elliot worked with the staff at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center in the Therapeutic Nursery.  Daily activities in this structured therapeutic preschool program focused on academic and behavioral development, as well as positive communication. The interns worked to creatively incorporate fun and educational games, stories, and projects into the basic health-related information they provided to promote healthy lifestyles. Through both one-on-one and group interaction, Bridget and Elliot provided opportunities for the children to gain the tools to make healthy decisions as they prepare for kindergarten.

Bridget stated, “I have learned a great deal about myself and how to effectively communicate with the pediatric population … This summer has opened my eyes to not only the uphill battle these children face to overcome social and emotional problems, but also the struggle that staff members take on daily to support this recovery. The staff at CcTC deserves a great deal of praise and respect from everyone for their dedication … to give the children at the Therapeutic Nursery the care they deserve." 

Elliot noted, “Working at CcTC has certainly been a change of pace from the first year of medical school.  The children are in many ways like all children — full of life, creative, clever and spontaneous.  However, this particular pediatric population provides many new challenges that I do not think I would have experienced in my regular medical school curriculum. The trauma they have gone through at such a young age has clearly affected their mental and physical health … The interdisciplinary staff really strives to make the therapeutic nursery the best possible environment for these struggling children … I am definitely thankful that such places exist for the many children that need them."

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Healthy Choices: Promoting Behavioral and Physical Health in Children

Student Intern(s):
Alana Feiler, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Kimberly Shooshan, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Michael Berger, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Glenda Wrenn, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine 

Community Preceptor(s):
Paul Giannette, MA, Hall Mercer, Child and Family Unit

The Community Site
Hall Mercer Child and Family Unit, located at Pennsylvania Hospital, provides outpatient services for children under age 18. The Summer Therapeutic Day Program, a program for Head Start preschool children with behavioral disorders, focuses on socialization skills, and individual, group, and activity therapy. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Injury and Violence; Mental Health; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Environmental Health; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project
Alana, Kimberly and Michael assisted the Summer Therapeutic Day Program (STDP) staff with camp activities including puzzle building, reading books, circle time, trips to parks, the farm, playgrounds, museums and the pool. In addition to teaching socialization, conduct, and problem-solving skills daily, the student interns promoted positive behavior and enforced the importance of sharing and verbal communication. Kimberly and Alana organized lessons on cardiovascular health and hand washing to promote discussions about nutrition and germ prevention. Michael coordinated a dental lesson about the importance of oral health and provided the children with toothbrushes. In addition to organizing and helping to facilitate activities, the student interns also developed reference guides, which included information about nutrition and CDC immunization charts, to send home for parents. 

Michael said, “BTG was an incredible experience. I enjoyed being in a multidisciplinary team and interacting with other professionals in the community. After working at Hall Mercer, I have a new appreciation for the public school system for early education. BTG has showed me the importance of community health, and the positive impact that programs such as Hall Mercer have.”

Alana commented, “Through my time at Hall Mercer … I was able to combine two of my main areas of interest in medicine: pediatrics and psychiatry. After a full year of interacting with mostly books in med school, I got the chance to spend seven weeks getting to know 20 children, many of whom are diagnosed with ADHD and behavioral disorders.  Despite the challenges of working with a special population, the experience has been tremendously rewarding. The lectures and seminars I took part in on Wednesdays also helped me think more carefully about the best way to teach the kids and allowed me to reflect more meaningfully on my interactions. I truly believe that I've helped make a difference in their lives, and I can say without any doubt that they've made a difference in mine.”

Kimberly noted, “They solve puzzles together, fight over toys, show off their swimming skills, share lunches and help each other up on the playground. They are children, bubbling with potential in a world where environment makes a difference. BTG has opened my eyes to the cracks where community health programs and interns have a solid impact. The Hall Mercer children are teaching me more than I am teaching them: how to live with energy—even in the midst of hardship. This is where BTG makes a difference. If we start with fostering this energy, these children will have a fighting chance.”

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Prepping for the Outside on the Inside

Student Intern(s):
Carly Whitehead, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jada Ingalls, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Eugene Mochan, PhD, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Stacey Skiffer, New Directions for Women

The Community Site: 
New Directions for Women is a transitional home that provides residential services as an alternative to incarceration for female offenders who are eligible for early release from Philadelphia County prisons. New Directions is located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Family Planning; Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Carly and Jada designed and facilitated health education and life-skills workshops for the women in the New Directions residential program. Each woman who attended received a comprehensive booklet that summarized the material covered in the workshop and a list of community resources relevant to the session. Workshop topics included heart disease and stroke, substance abuse, smoking cessation, accessing social services, housing assistance, pregnancy and prenatal care, domestic violence, and rape. The interns also organized visits from members of the community who facilitated discussions regarding finances, parenting and addiction recovery. 

Carly noted, “Working at New Directions has definitely impacted my professional development.  Coming from a rural area, I had no direct way to witness the struggles of urban life, and this experience has definitely afforded me that opportunity. I come away with a deeper understanding of the complex relationship between health, health education and attitudes towards health.” 

Jada commented, “I have learned about real people’s struggles with our current medical system, and that the answers we are so quick to give aren’t as simple or easy to follow as we may think. As I progress in my education and career, I will keep the lessons these ladies taught me in the back of my mind, in the hopes that I can be a culturally relevant physician.”

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Gaudenzia Together House: Living a Life on Life’s Terms

Student Intern(s):
Caitlin Clifford, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Bradley Johnson, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Eugene Mochan, PhD, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Ronda Blackson, RN, Gaudenzia, People with Hope
Michelle Woltz, CRNP, Gaudenzia, People with Hope
 
The Community Site: 
Gaudenzia's People with Hope is a three- to nine-month residential treatment program facility for HIV/AIDS symptomatic people struggling with chemical dependency. The program focuses mainly on substance abuse recovery and disease management. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:      
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; HIV; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Public Health Infrastructure; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Caitlin and Bradley assisted the People with Hope staff with daily program activities that included individual problem-solving conversations with the clients, facilitating group sessions and actively participating in treatment planning for the clients. The interns developed and implemented a three-part series on heart health with the goal of creating tools that the clients could use to lead a more healthy and active lifestyle. Through daily group sessions, the interns were able to help the clients develop conflict resolution skills. 

Caitlin noted, “Working with residents every day gave me the opportunity to view recovery and the disease of addiction in a new manner. I was able to observe firsthand the highs and lows that they struggle with on a daily basis.” 

Brad said, “Through this experience I was able to more fully appreciate the complexity of the disease of addiction and the multifaceted approach necessary for its treatment. I better understand the physician's role in initiating this long-term treatment that will continue throughout the life of the patient.” 

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Defying the Limitations of Mental Illness

Student Intern(s):
Jinyoung Jean Choi, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Amy Glick, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Paul Hill, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptor(s):
Nancy Brisbon, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Marvin Elias, PhD, The Consortium, Inc., Chestnut Place Clubhouse
Karen DiTrolio, MPA, The Consortium, Inc., PRIDE Partial Hospital Program

The Community Site: 
The Consortium’s Chestnut Place Clubhouse and PRIDE Program provide mental health services for adult members of the Philadelphia community. The Clubhouse provides a space to improve vocational skills and to work toward a more independent lifestyle. The PRIDE program is a day treatment program designed to assist adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders of substance abuse and mental retardation to reintegrate back into the community. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Mental Health; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Oral Health; Nutrition and Overweight; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Paul, Jean and Amy spent time getting to know the Clubhouse system and listening to the members’ stories and concerns about life outside the Clubhouse. The interns encouraged the members to get involved with clerical activities, offering help with computer literacy and providing encouragement and support. They encouraged members to take an interest in Deaf Services by participating in member-led American Sign Language classes.  The interns also facilitated oral health presentations followed by on-site dental screenings. The heart health program designed by the interns included lectures on cardiovascular physiology, disease and prevention, and the reinstitution of a daily post-lunch walk. At PRIDE, the interns developed a weekly health session called Health Solutions. The interns met weekly with the PRIDE members to discuss what subjects should be included and what obstacles members might experience on the path to good health. The Health Solutions team voted on a list of topics and had weekly health discussions on hygiene, oral health, smoking and smoking cessation, and heart disease.  

Paul said, “My time with the members of the Consortium and my colleagues will not be soon forgotten. I have gained an invaluable experience by working with these wonderful people and a new perspective of the mental health community.”

Jean reflected, “As friendship between the interns and the members of the sites developed, we were able to help the members care for their physical and oral health; and the members were able to help us learn what mental health consumers need. My experience not only prepared me to be a better health professional who understands the mental health population, but also taught me worthy life lessons that I will cherish beyond my career.” 

Amy stated, “Working at the Consortium was a unique opportunity to understand aspects of mental health beyond the clinical setting. The staff and members at both sites were warm, welcoming and appreciative. I was thrilled to get to know and love many of the members outside of the context of a patient-doctor relationship.” 

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Fostering Wellness and Health Education at a Day Program for Homeless Veterans

Student Intern(s):  
Lindsey Pearl, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, College of Health Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy
Jeffrey Wertz, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s): 
Eugene Mochan, PhD, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ruth Schemm, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

Community Preceptor(s): 
Nancy Kincaid, RN, MA, Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center
Jaclynn Ries, BA, Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center, Perimeter Day Program 
Angela Libby, MA, Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center, Perimeter Day Program

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center, located in Old City, Philadelphia, was founded in 1980 to provide veterans with the services necessary to make the transition into mainstream society and civilian life.  Services such as counseling, job training and placement, recovery programs, housing placement and assistance, and daily community meals and gatherings are provided. View Community Partner Web Site 

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Physical Activity; Environmental Quality; Overweight and Obesity
Focus Areas:  Physical Activity and Fitness; Heart Disease and Stroke; Cancer; Oral Health; Nutrition and Overweight

The Project:
Jeff and Lindsey provided health education and socialization opportunities for the veterans at the Multi-Service and Education Center. They assisted in developing a daily schedule for the clients by integrating news, exercise and current events into their routine. The interns provided health education classes and led discussions on memory improvement, cardiovascular health, prostate cancer and oral health. They also organized socialization opportunities for the veterans that included a checkers tournament, a puzzle competition and a bowling trip. 

Lindsey remarked, “This opportunity allowed me to learn, teach and increase health awareness on topics that are pertinent to the population at my site. I experienced how working collaboratively in an interdisciplinary team is beneficial in informing others in the community about health care.” 

Jeffrey said, “I enjoyed learning about the health issues that are specific to homeless men and in particular homeless veterans. This experience has allowed me to interact with a community that I otherwise would only see occasionally in a patient setting.  As a result of this internship, I expect to be a more capable physician with a personal understanding of the needs of both the homeless and veterans.”

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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."
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