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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Philadelphia Consortium Projects

Maternal/Child & Women's Health

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Growth Through Positive Role-Modeling

Student Intern(s):
Jessica Forshee, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Ahila Kumar, Temple University, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Moya Kinnealey, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, BCP, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Community Preceptor(s):
Susan Brotherton, MSW, Salvation Army, Red Shield Family Residence

The Community Site: 
The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Family Residence, located in North Philadelphia, serves as a safe housing shelter for families. View Community Partner Web Site 

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

The Project: 
Jessica and Ahila worked to create a fun, educational summer program for children aged 5 to 13, focusing on topics such as nutrition, mental health, nonviolence and physical fitness. The interns also gave the children opportunities to express themselves creatively through art, music, and writing, and organized field trips and outings throughout Philadelphia. 

Jessica noted, “I learned to be creative using limited resources. I was also able to expand my ability to effectively communicate and network with various organizations. Being part of BTG has changed my perspective on many different levels and this experience will continue to impact the choices I make in the future.” 

Ahila reflected, “This experience has helped me discover a creativity within myself, and my ability to adapt has grown to great extents. I have gained so much insight into the nature of a nonprofit organization, and my respect has grown immensely for those who continue to work hard in this arena. Ultimately … I have gained in so many ways, from the children and the surrounding community.”

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Improving Stability of the Family Unit by Promoting Maternal Health

Student Intern(s):
Bethany Canver, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Diana Jaiyeola, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Jeffrey Draine, PhD, MSW, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Courtney A. Schreiber, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Shaquita Rivers, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Early Head Start Program

The Community Site: 
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Early Head Start (EHS) Program, located in West Philadelphia, promotes healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, enhances the development of very young children and promotes healthy family functioning. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Mental Health
Focus Areas:  Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project: 
Bethany and Diana identified health and hygiene as a focus of their health promotion activities with the Early Head Start families. The interns created a cardiovascular disease pamphlet to help the mothers understand risk factors and identify tips on how to prevent heart attack and stroke.  Bethany and Diana compiled a cookbook aimed at promoting heart healthy recipes using WIC-approved ingredients. They also facilitated an interactive workshop during which mothers were educated on the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids and were presented with ways to prepare foods rich in “good fats.”  During bimonthly socialization events, Bethany and Diana highlighted the benefits of fitness and exercise for the mothers and children. By observing clients in their homes and at the Montgomery Early Learning Center, the interns gained a deeper understanding and awareness of the community and of the importance of the family system on early childhood development. In addition, the interns collaborated with the Health and Wellness Department to plan for an upcoming Health and Safety Day. 

Diana reflected, “Being an intern at the Early Head Start program has given me the opportunity to see the direct impact that financial status and home environment has on a family’s health.  Interacting with the mothers, children and staff has helped me to better understand the needs of the diverse Philadelphia community. Also, working together with an intern from another discipline helped me to view and resolve problems from a different perspective.“ 

Bethany reflected, “My experiences … have increased my understanding of the ways in which the challenges associated with living in poverty strain the family system and may negatively impact the early growth and development of children in low-income families. Despite the challenges low-income families face, I have gained a greater awareness of the resiliency of families living in poverty and their capacity to love and nurture their children.”

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Witnesses to Hunger: Housing, Homelessness and Child Health

Student Intern(s):
Shubha Bhar, Drexel University College of Medicine
Susete Carneiro, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Amy Montemarano, JD, Drexel University, Earle Mack School of Law

Community Preceptor(s):
Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH, Drexel University, School of Public Health

The Community Site: 
Witnesses to Hunger is a project featuring the photographs and voice recordings of 40 low-income women from Philadelphia who are working to create better lives for their children. The Witnesses’ stories emphasize the unbearable situation of raising children in unstable housing and food insecurity. View Community Partner Web Site 

Health People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Food Security; Environmental Quality; Mental Health
Focus Areas:  Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Nutrition and Over/Underweight; Mental Health; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Environmental Health

The Project: 
Shubha and Susete worked on expanding Witnesses to Hunger from focusing on nutrition and child health to addressing the effects of poor and insecure housing. Through this project, the interns researched what it means to be “housing insecure” and the conditions that precede homelessness, such as high housing costs, poor housing quality, unstable neighborhoods and overcrowding.  They met with various organizations to learn about current housing policies and legislation, and they identified the government assistance available for those in need. With this information, Shubha and Susete worked with the Witnesses to find housing solutions, which ranged from living in a shelter to rental assistance. They also created housing advocacy pamphlets, updated policy information and created a photo slideshow for the Witnesses to Hunger Web site. 

Shubha said, “Working with the women of Witnesses to Hunger allowed me to hear firsthand accounts about the struggles faced by many low-income mothers in Philadelphia. I found that poverty, depression, homelessness, hunger, abuse and violence are most often interconnected. As a physician, I will be able to consider what these women taught me about poverty and homelessness in order to better treat and provide services for my own patients.” 

Susete said, “It is very different reading about the poverty in Philadelphia compared to going out and seeing the abandoned and run-down homes in the neighborhoods that these women live in. The most interesting part of this internship was hearing how much their lives have changed since becoming a part of Witnesses to Hunger. Through this project I have come to admire the women for their strength, and appreciate what they have to say as experts on living in poverty.”

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Rock-a-Bye Baby: Safe Sleep Education and SIDS Risk Reduction

Student Intern(s):
Olivia Chuang, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Angela Lucarini, 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

Community Preceptor(s):
Stephani Tyrance, MPH, Maternity Care Coalition, Cribs for Kids

The Community Site: 
Cribs for Kids, a component program of the Maternity Care Coalition (MCC), provides needy families in Philadelphia with cribs, along with education on safe sleeping and how to reduce the risk of SIDS. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas:  Family Planning; Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Oral Health; Tobacco Use

The Project: 
In collaboration with the advocates on the Cribs for Kids team, Olivia and Angela assisted in educating families on the newest information on safe sleep and SIDS risk reduction.  The interns participated in a variety of activities, including responding to calls on the Cribs for Kids hotline; entering new clients into the program database; and participating in the call-back effort, contacting clients by phone and filling out prenatal and postpartum intake forms. Once eligibility to receive a crib was determined, the advocates and student interns scheduled clients for either educational workshops or home visits, based on individual circumstances. At the workshops, the advocates and interns monitored group discussions and presented information on safe sleep and SIDS risk reduction. The interns also accompanied advocates on home visits for the one-to-one educational sessions. Additionally, Angela and Olivia developed resources on cardiovascular and oral health for new and expecting mothers and also distributed that information during workshops and home visits.

Angela stated, “My time at Cribs for Kids allowed me to experience the city of Philadelphia in an entirely new way, despite having lived here all my life. I was introduced to the growing needs of impoverished families within the city borders. Being a part of the Cribs for Kids team and helping to ensure the safety of newborns was a wonderful and rewarding experience. I would highly recommend this BTG internship; it expanded my horizons and opened my eyes to the issues that face our city.” 

Olivia noted, “Through my BTG experience, I have learned to appreciate the various programs and organizations that strive to address the health-related issues of communities all over Philadelphia. I have also come to recognize that no single discipline or perspective has all the solutions. This summer experience has demonstrated the importance of stepping outside of our comfort zones of hospitals and medical clinics and stepping into the neighborhoods of surrounding communities to adopt their perspectives as our own.”

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Promoting Health and Nutrition in Early Childhood

Student Intern(s):
Alexandra Hochster, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Claire Mulvey, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Kelly Walker, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice

Academic Preceptor(s):
Jeffrey Draine, PhD, MSW, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Charmaine Smith-Wright, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Theresa McKelvy, RN, MS, Health Federation of Philadelphia, Early Head Start Program

The Community Site: 
The Health Federation of Philadelphia’s Early Head Start (EHS) Program, located in North Central Philadelphia, provides comprehensive home-based services to 75 low-income infants/toddlers, pregnant women and their families. Early Head Start promotes healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, enhances the development of very young children and promotes healthy family functioning. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Access to Health Care; Injury and Violence; Overweight and Obesity
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Injury and Violence Prevention; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health

The Project: 
Alexandra, Claire and Kelly assisted Early Head Start (EHS) staff during client socializations and home visits, focusing on parental education about safe sleep environments and summer safety. The interns worked to expand the nutrition education program by introducing The Food Trust Farmers Markets to the EHS staff and families. They developed educational materials that contained basic information on the markets and compiled a recipe booklet, which ideally will empower clients and staff to use the farmers markets and increase their access to fresh produce.  As a group, the interns worked to expand enrollment of children with disabilities in the EHS program. Alexandra assessed the current oral health information for the dental screening day and identified dental facilities providing dental care to children aged 1 to 3.  Additionally, she facilitated the relationship between a pediatric dentist and the Early Head Start program. 

Kelly said, “I was very fortunate to collaborate with interns from different disciplines and backgrounds. Their insights about health and nutrition allowed me to explore the functionality of health and nutrition in relation to the staff at Early Head Start and the population of clients Early Head Start serves. I broadened my scope of social work understanding by working on mental health and disability services for infants and toddlers.”

Claire reflected, “I was challenged to examine the complex societal forces that shape health and behavior. I now have a deeper understanding of the barriers faced by low-income parents as they help their children grow and develop. I am grateful that I had this opportunity to learn about the strengths and needs of families in Philadelphia. This knowledge will ultimately make me a more compassionate, understanding physician.” 

Alexandra noted, “Having the opportunity to be a part of the BTG internship program has been a wonderful experience. I have had the chance to learn about Philadelphia and its citizens, as well as many of the complex issues surrounding health care, education and poverty. I feel that this has been as important to my professional development as my classroom education, and I will be able to be a better ally to my patients through the knowledge I have gained this summer.”

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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."
BTG Student Intern

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