BTG Hope

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Philadelphia Consortium Projects

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Giving Children the Tools to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle, A Summer Education Program at Cobbs Creek

Student Intern(s):
Nina Panaligan, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Kajal Patel, 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):
Geraldine O’Hare, MSN, CRNP, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Primary Care Center at Cobb’s Creek

The Community Site:
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Primary Care Center at Cobbs Creek, located in West Philadelphia, provides primary care for newborns to adolescents. View Community Partner Web Site 

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

The Project:
Kajal and Nina worked with their community preceptor to create and implement a waiting room educational program that focused on topics pertinent to the community’s needs.  The weekly themes were illustrated through interactive educational activities and games, posters, and informational handouts that were distributed to the patients and their families.  Topics ranged from nutrition to school safety, and the activities were designed to meet the individual children’s various learning styles.  In addition, the interns created several resource guides that provided patients and their families with information on free daily summer camps, the locations of parks and recreation centers, information on the city’s farmer’s markets and more. 

Kajal noted, “I could never imagine that teaching children would be so challenging yet rewarding at the same time. To be able to share my experiences and learn from the children of this community as well as my fellow interns has taught me so much, something I will carry with me always.“ 

Nina reflected, “Working at Cobbs Creek has definitely changed my outlook on community health care and the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations. Although I was only able to see many of the patients once throughout the summer, it was easy to feel a connection to the community and feel invested in the education and resources we were providing.  I definitely hope to have more future opportunities to work in a similar setting.”   

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Promoting a Healthy Future: Educating Children on Oral Hygiene, Mental and Physical Health

Student Intern(s):   
Erin Crosby, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Caitlin Kauffman, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Chrystal Webb, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

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
Anje Van Berckelaer, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):   
Lorraine Thomas, Family Practice and Counseling Network, The Health Annex

The Community Site:
The Health Annex, a component program of the Family Practice and Counseling Network, provides primary, dental and behavioral health care, prenatal care, and social services. The Myers Recreation Center provides a summer day camp for community children. Both programs serve the Southwest Philadelphia community. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Food Safety; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
At the Health Annex, Erin, Caitlin and Chrystal worked with the staff to organize, raise funds for, and promote the Annual Southwest Family Day Festival: Health and Safety Fair. The Fair promotes healthy lifestyles and nonviolence in the Southwest Philadelphia community.  At the Myer’s Recreation Center summer day camp, the interns organized a curriculum and activities that highlighted mental health, nutrition, oral hygiene, cardiovascular health issues and bicycle safety for the campers aged 2 to 12. 

Erin noted, “Working with the children of Myers Recreation Center has allowed me to see firsthand the wonderful spirits and aspirations of this community’s youth. Contrary to what is portrayed in the media, these children are eager to learn and excited by the possibilities of new knowledge. This experience has taught me to always challenge society’s assumptions with regards to inner-city youth.” 

Caitlin said, “This summer, the field work and also the didactic experiences allowed me to better understand the intricacies of the human experience. I hope that from my experiences this summer, I will have the ability to work with people from many disciplines in order to treat a spectrum of clients with the dignity and integrity they deserve.” 

Chrystal, who grew up in the neighborhood herself, said, “This experience has reminded me of the importance of being a positive role model in my community. There are so many negative influences out there that can deter youth from maximizing their potential.  I am happy that I was able to show them that they can make it out of the neighborhood and become something amazing.” 

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NYAP: A Community-Based Intervention for Improvements in Health and Education

Student Intern(s):
Cherissa Chong, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Alex Hirsch, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Peter Cronholm, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Frances Drake, Carroll Park, Neighborhood Youth Achievement Program

The Community Site:
The Neighborhood Youth Achievement Program in the Carroll Park neighborhood of West Philadelphia focuses on the positive development of children and adolescents through after school and summer programming.

Healthy People 2010:   
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Overweight

The Project:
Alex and Cherissa developed a five-week summer program for youth aged 6 to 14. The program’s weekly activities included trips to Philadelphia cultural centers, book clubs, science experiments, creative writing, leadership speakers, community volunteering and health education sessions. The interns spent approximately four weeks at the community site.  In addition to helping with curricular programming, the interns helped with the creation of fund-raising materials and recruitment of students for the summer program. Midway through the summer, the BTG project transitioned to the development of lesson plans for the Healthy Living curriculum for Fall 2009. Topics covered a wide variety of preventive health issues, including conflict resolution, lead safety and hygiene.  Both students have committed to continued involvement with the program during the following year. 

Alex noted, “My experience with this program was particularly effective in teaching me how to take my aspirations for community engagement and make them a reality. Exposure to the challenges of developing an effective curriculum for high-risk youth is a lesson I will carry with me in my career as a physician. The mentors and community partners I interacted with this summer will serve as a foundation and professional model for me in the years to come.  

Planting Roots: Connecting Temple University Resources With Community Needs and Establishing Sustainable Relationships

Student Intern(s):
Kawthar ElBishlawi, Temple University, School of Pharmacy
Matthew Jarrett, Temple University, School of Medicine
Jennie Johnson, Temple University, School of Medicine
Danielle Smith, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Nursing

Academic Preceptor(s):
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Frances Walker, Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry
Beth Galinsky, Temple University Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (CMHHD)

The Community Site: 
The Temple University Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (CMHHD) is committed to increasing access to quality health care and supporting the healthy development of vulnerable and underserved communities. View Community Partner Web Site 

Healthy People 2010:   
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Environmental Quality; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; Nutrition and Overweight; Public Health Infrastructure

The Project:  
Jennie, Kawthar, Danielle, and Matt each identified and implemented projects with the goal of linking community needs with Temple University resources. The projects were designed to ensure sustainability beyond the Bridging the Gaps summer internship.  Each project was linked with a student group to strengthen ties between Temple’s health science students and the community they serve.  The student groups will continue to implement the BTG interns’ projects throughout the year. Although Jennie, Kawthar, Danielle and Matt each spearheaded their own projects, they also coordinated and supported each other’s. 

The interns reinvigorated Sun Circle Garden in North Philadelphia by cleaning, weeding, mowing and planting the garden.  They built a raised bed and planted a vegetable garden with children from the local summer camp, HERO. They educated the children in nutrition, biology and exercise.  At the Nicetown Free Library, Philadelphia Senior Center and Boys & Girls Club, the interns assessed community needs and implemented programs addressing literacy, resume building, computer training, GED /SAT prep and art activities. The interns designed and established a student-run health clinic at Hope Outreach Ministries in Kensington, and wrote and submitted a grant proposal for the clinic. Interns participated in the Riyadda Health Fair at Temple University, a health fair at Hope Outreach Ministries and a “Give Back to the Community Festival” at Nicetown CDC. In addition, they gave oral health presentations at the Nicetown Free Library’s Shake, Rattle and Roll Learning Center, the Philadelphia Senior Center and the HERO summer camp. 

Danielle noted, “I now have a profound appreciation for the community in which I serve. Interdisciplinary work was also a great idea because we all now have some level of understanding and appreciation for one another in our respective fields. The greatest health care cannot come from any one profession, it takes a team. BTG truly prepared us for that.” 

Jennie stated, “BTG has given me the opportunity to not only get to know the neighborhoods surrounding Temple but students from the other health professional schools. I also loved working directly in the North Philadelphia community.” 

Kawthar said, “Assessing the community’s needs and actually implementing sustainable programs to address these needs has been empowering for me because it allowed me to realize it only takes a few committed people to impact many lives. I also appreciated getting to know students from other disciplines and learning about their fields.” 

Matthew said, “Meeting individuals in their community, outside hospital walls, is a different experience than meeting them when they are sick.  After my experience with BTG … I have a fuller appreciation of the North Philadelphia community. I was able to observe more closely the sick elements of our society, but more importantly, I was able to observe and be part of the remarkable positive growth that takes place in North Philadelphia. In addition, I appreciated working so closely with health professionals other than medical students.”

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Tearing Down Walls … Building Up Cambria

Student Intern(s):
Samantha Benjamin, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Patience Ekperi, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jasmine Garner, LaSalle University, School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Nursing Program
Corinne Miklas, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ivy Reroma, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, College of Health Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy

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

Community Preceptor(s):
Ronald Allen, Cambria Healthcare Center
Suzanne Walker, Cambria Healthcare Center

The Community Site:
The Cambria Healthcare Center provides family medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, podiatry, dermatology, nephrology and rheumatology services, along with a pharmacy. View Community Partner Web Site 

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Overweight & Obesity; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Injury and Violence
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Project:
The interns provided a comprehensive, interactive presentation for teenagers, geared toward STD prevention and self-worth. They also created innovative cardiovascular and oral health programs to encourage children to build healthy habits at an early age. Recognizing the need for appropriate reading comprehension, the interns developed and distributed community literacy resource guides for both children and adults, while promoting the Reach Out and Read program at the Cambria Healthcare Center. To address the problem of violence, the interns focused on activities that could empower the youth to channel their energy toward future goals and leadership.  

Samantha noted, “Regardless of the barriers and perceived hardships they [the Cambria community] face, they have a level of interpersonal skill and joy that can make anyone feel at home. Their appreciation demonstrated a level of gratefulness for opportunities we often take for granted.” 

Patience said, “For me, the BTG Cambria site reinforced the amazing character of hope … Their willingness to tell their stories and encourage us in our efforts spoke highly of them and will forever leave a lasting imprint on my heart." 

Corinne said, “This experience pulled me right out of my little medical school box and into the reality that surrounded me.  It was amazing not only to discover things about the people in the community, but about other disciplines within health care.  My eyes have been opened.”  

Jasmine reflected, “I live in the Cambria area and thought I knew a lot about my own neighborhood. Through this unique experience, I was able to see my community in a whole new light.” 

Ivy noted, “I have always had a difficulty finding a connection with children, but after this experience with BTG, I have a new appreciation for the carefree and beautiful spirit of children.”

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Outreach Work: Promoting the Health of Our Communities

Student Intern(s): 
Stacy Barron, Temple University, School of Medicine
Kathy Lynch, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptor(s):
Nancy Rothman, EdD, RN, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Nursing

Community Preceptor(s):
Eliza Johnson, BS, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Nursing

The Community Site:
Temple Health Connection (THC) is a nurse-managed wellness center that provides a variety of community/public health services for children, teens and adults in North Philadelphia. View Community Partner Web Site 

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Environmental Quality; Overweight and Obesity; Tobacco Abuse; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Environmental Health; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Stacy and Kathy recruited and educated participants of the Lead Safe Babies and Go Red Philly programs.  Each day, the interns educated the mothers at the Temple Maternity Ward about lead poisoning and the simple yet effective methods to prevent young children from becoming poisoned. They distributed “lead buckets” filled with cleaning supplies to reinforce the importance of household cleaning, which is the best method to prevent children from ingesting lead. Approximately one month after the initial visit, they called participants to administer a post quiz to determine if there was any increase in knowledge regarding lead poisoning prevention. At the same time, they scheduled visits for families who agreed to have their homes tested for lead. The interns also enrolled women in the Go Red Philly program, an awareness-raising program about the risk of heart disease among women. Enrollment included an educational booklet, a risk factor report card, a pin and the opportunity to get more involved with the program through e-mail alerts about upcoming programs. 

Stacy noted, “I have learned that it is important to not only educate clients about health, but also help them find resources to really take control of their health issues.  Education and awareness about disease and nutrition is just the first step, but it is important to follow up and see what concrete steps the client can take to have a healthier life.” 

Kathy said, “I was shocked to learn that the majority of homes in Philadelphia are contaminated with lead and that lead poisoning continues to cause otherwise preventable health and developmental problems for children in these communities. All the parents I encountered wanted the best for their child, but many were unaware about the risk of lead poisoning and the simple strategies to prevent poisoning.  Traveling to homes in North Philadelphia to conduct home-based lead tests allowed me to see firsthand that a patient whom you see within the context of a health-care setting is part of a community and that patient's health is affected by many factors that extend beyond what can be gathered in that context. The most striking thing I have observed this summer was how great a need there is for services in the North Philadelphia community. I think a marker that these communities are so underserved is the level of receptiveness and appreciation expressed by our participants.”

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WorkReady and LifeReady: Educating Youth About Basic Health

Student Intern(s):
Claire Hoppenot, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Peter Ryg, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptor(s):
Robert Winn, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptor(s):
Rita Genovese, CPC, PCS, Mazzoni Center

The Community Site:
The Mazzoni Family and Community Medicine Center, located in Center City Philadelphia, provides compassionate, comprehensive primary health-care services focusing on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Responsible Sexual Behavior; Mental Health; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas:  Nutrition and Overweight; HIV; Oral Health; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Tobacco Use

The Project: 
Claire and Peter spent the majority of their time working with school-aged interns at the Mazzoni Center. These interns were participating in the Work Ready program through the Philly Youth Network (PYN). The Mazzoni Center staff was charged with teaching the youth life skills and basic jobs skills. Claire and Peter were asked to create and teach the youth lessons about health care. Claire and Peter developed curricula regarding basic nutrition and advanced nutrition, oral health, and safe sex, which they taught each Friday.  The curricula they developed will also be taught during Adolescent Health Nights offered at the Mazzoni Center. In addition, Claire and Peter worked with the clinic’s medical staff and observed the daily operations of a community clinic. They talked with and learned from patients and gained insight into the unique health concerns of the populations served by the Mazzoni Center. 

Peter said, "Learning how much outreach happens to get at-risk populations to seek health care and then seeing some of those people come into the clinic for care was an amazing process to witness."  

Claire said, "I loved the lessons with the youth—their curiosity and engagement were contagious, and it was a chance to teach something I've learned in the last year.  I was also glad to spend time with patients and to understand some of the challenges still facing the gay community in Philadelphia.”

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Assessing the Impact of an Integrated Medical, Psychosocial and Educational Approach to HIV/AIDS Care

Student Intern(s):    
Katy Baker-Cohen, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Juan Kusnir, Temple University, School of Medicine
Amy Raphael, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Padma Sundaram, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):    
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Amy Heath, PT, DPT, OCS, Temple University, School of Medicine
Caryn R. Johnson, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Health Professions (Occupational Therapy)
Ann L. O'Sullivan, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor(s):
Terry Trudeau, MEd, Philadelphia FIGHT

The Community Site:  
Philadelphia FIGHT (FIGHT) is a comprehensive AIDS service organization providing primary care, consumer education, advocacy and research on potential treatments and vaccines.  FIGHT was formed as a partnership of individuals living with HIV/AIDS and clinicians, who joined together to improve the lives of people living with the disease. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010: 
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Mental Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; HIV; Oral Health

The Project:  
The BTG interns conducted surveys assessing the services offered by FIGHT, patient perceptions and community benefit. The surveys were used to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to provide data that would support future grant proposals. The surveys assessed the LAX Center, the AIDS Library and Project TEACH. The interns also developed an oral-health teaching module to be included in Project TEACH curriculum, and they performed research and interviews to determine issues with accessing proper oral health care for patients with HIV/AIDS.

Katy noted, “I've learned that HIV is not a death sentence, but a treatable illness. My ideas surrounding the stigma of HIV/AIDS have been radically reconstructed. I hope to treat the person, rather than the disease, in my future work.”

Amy stated, “This experience has taught me to better communicate with clients from different populations. It has opened my eyes, preventing me from making snap judgments about people based on their diagnosis.”

Juan said, “BTG has, in a short period of time, contributed to my growth as a health-care professional as well as contribute to the development of my person and character. This summer has truly been a unique and enriching experience.” 

Padma said, “My understanding of a health-care provider's responsibility to her patients and community has been transformed by this experience. To treat all people with the dignity and respect they deserve, to give them the same patience, time, empathy and understanding you would give to your dearest friend or relative and to tenaciously seek the best possible treatment for them are the standards I seek to uphold in my professional career.”

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On the Way to Bridging the Gap

Student Intern(s):
Rachel Gucwa, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Therapeutic Recreation
Hanna Weintraub, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

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

Community Preceptor(s):
Beth Lewis, DSW, LCSW, Project H.O.M.E., Outreach Coordination Center
Jose Benitez, MSW, Prevention Point Philadelphia

The Community Site: 
Project H.OM.E.’s Outreach Coordination Center (OCC) coordinates outreach for individuals living on the streets of Philadelphia. Outreach teams aim to develop trusting relationships with individuals living on the streets and such relationships may gradually lead to the openness to, or acceptance of, services. Along with attempting to bring homeless people indoors, outreach workers also give referrals for other services such as drug rehab. Prevention Point Philadelphia is a multi-service public health facility located in the Kensington section of the city. Along with a health clinic and syringe exchange, Prevention Point Philadelphia also provides social services and referrals to drug treatment programs. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010: 
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Mental Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Care; HIV/AIDS; Sexually Transmitted Disease; Substance Abuse

The Project: 
Rachel and Hanna worked with Project H.O.M.E. Outreach Coordination Center (OCC) and Prevention Point Philadelphia to map possible routes for the quarterly homeless street count in Kensington and North Philadelphia. They also carried out a needs assessment of the homeless population in Kensington by distributing surveys to over 200 individuals. Questions on the survey included demographics, current living status, income, incarceration history, health care and general needs of the community. Rachel and Hanna spoke with community leaders and residents of Kensington and gathered thoughts and opinions concerning the problem of homelessness, drug and alcohol use, the need for housing, and the general needs of the neighborhood and its residents. Survey data were graphed and the report was presented to staff at Project H.O.M.E. and Prevention Point Philadelphia, along with hospital workers, outreach personal, and representatives from city departments in the area of health and housing services for Philadelphia’s homeless population. 

Hanna noted, “The last few weeks have challenged the way that I perceive the homeless and drug users in a community. After weeks of talking and getting to know many people who are currently without a home and use drugs, I have seen them for who they really are. They are amazing people with a very difficult life and they live each day at a time.”

Strangers in a Strange Land: Orienting Refugees to Their New Lives in America

Student Intern(s):
Emefa Amartey, Drexel University College of Medicine
Mona Vashi, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):  
Nina Cheung, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine 

Community Preceptor(s):
Chinemelu Oguekwe, MSW, Lutheran Children and Family Service, Refugee Resettlement Program

The Community Site: 
The Lutheran Children and Family Service, Refugee Resettlement Program provides housing assistance, health-care access, educational programs, counseling and a variety of other services to newly arrived refugees. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project: 
Emefa and Mona worked specifically with six families that had recently come to the United States from Sudan, Iraq and Bhutan. They assisted in finding housing, preparing homes and searching for furniture for the families. They visited them at their homes to set up phone service and to assist them, in general, with community orientation. They also helped the clients obtain public health benefits and social services, and helped the children enroll in summer programs in order to become acclimated to American life. 

Mona noted, “Working at LCFS this summer has opened my eyes to an entire group of people that I never thought about. It has been an extremely rewarding experience being able to help them in their first months in America. It has also helped me understand how difficult our system is here. Having to enroll them into health insurance and show them how to get medical help has been difficult and confusing for me to figure out, much less for them on their own.” 

Emefa commented, “Before I started working at LCFS, I had no idea what to expect. Within the first week of working there I knew I was going towards the right profession, a career in medicine. I think medicine is about making someone’s life better, if not, then richer … this is what working at LCFS has made me see.”

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Empowering Refugees to Take Charge of Their Health

Student Intern(s):
Monique Chabot, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Oksana Chupryna, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Nursing
Hanna Kim, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Bridget Liu, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptor(s):
Marc Altshuler, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptor(s):
Kim Johnson, MPH, Nationalities Service Center

The Community Site: 
Nationalities Services Center (NSC), located in Center City, provides an array of resettlement services including housing, health care, and employment for immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia area. NSC works in partnership with Jefferson University’s Family Medicine Department and other city health clinics. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project: 
Monique, Oksana, Hanna and Bridget worked on several health-related projects for refugees at the Nationalities Service Center (NSC). The projects included creating a health education curriculum for the summer school ESL classes for newly arrived refugees, developing a community action team among the Karen-Burmese youth, and helping connect refugees with health services. The interns were in charge of designing the health education curriculum, covering topics such as diet and nutrition, cardiovascular health, oral health, cooking, medications, and emergencies. They developed a list of resources available to help the at-risk refugee youth population. The interns mentored and advised Karen-Burmese youth on how to be leaders and reference points for their community. Topics for the youth leadership program covered transportation, medical appointments and emergencies, and banking. The BTG student team also accompanied refugees to their medical appointments at health centers, and created health education materials for the NSC’s lobby. 

Monique said, “This summer opened my eyes to the struggles and changes in daily activities faced by refugees when they move to a country. I gained the valuable skill of connecting with people across a sometimes significant language barrier and learned about cultures with which I have never come into contact. These lessons, combined with the realization of how difficult the adjustment process may be for people, will stay with me.” 

Oksana commented, “BTG provided me with the new experience … Working at NSC helped me to understand how difficult it is for refugees and immigrants to adapt to a new country and its culture. It was a great experience during the seven week program.” 

Hanna commented, “Working at the NSC gave me an in-your-face experience of challenges encountered by both service providers and newly arrived refugees and asylees in Philadelphia. Not only was I reminded of the emotional and cultural struggles refugees face coming to America, but also of their great courage and resilience. I’ve also gained a great deal of respect for those working to help those in need, in particular working in a high stress environment and persevering in the midst of a very trying system, in terms of health care, housing, welfare, and otherwise.” 

Bridget stated, “Working at NSC allowed me the opportunity to work with refugees and to personally share in the frustrations that they experience from moving to a new country, not speaking the English language, and navigating through the U.S. health care system. Above all, my work at NSC brought me to the frontlines in order to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.”

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The Newcomers’ Health Project: Improving Access to Health Care for the Uninsured Immigrant Population in Chinatown

Student Intern(s):
Jennifer Huang, Drexel University College of Medicine
Andrew Ip, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Brian Kho, Drexel University College of Medicine
Elizabeth Yim, Drexel University, School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor(s):
Vincent Zarro, MD, PhD, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions

Community Preceptor(s):
Regina Linehan, RN, MS, CDE, Pennsylvania Hospital

The Community Site: 
The Newcomers’ Health Project Chinatown Clinic is located at the Holy Redeemer Church in Chinatown. The clinic provides primary health-care services to the under- and uninsured populations of Philadelphia and the surrounding area.  The clinic also collaborates with Community Legal Services to help immigrants with serious medical conditions obtain medical assistance. View Community Partner Web Site  

Healthy People 2010:   
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Immunization; Overweight and Obesity
Focus Areas:  Diabetes; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Immunization and Infectious Disease; Public Health Infrastructure

The Project: 
Jennifer, Brian and Andrew provided medical interpretation services, prepared translations of documents for non-English-speaking patients and assisted in all aspects of the clinic’s operation. Jennifer assisted at the Women's Care Center, with which the Chinatown Clinic partners.  Brian and Andrew worked to improve the diabetes treatment protocol, which included developing an organized system to accurately track drug usage. Brian also created a Web site to provide a centralized location where Clinic staff could access information and pertinent documents. Elizabeth worked with Community Legal Services (CLS) to help patients requiring immediate medical attention obtain emergency medical assistance (Medicaid) in order to access needed medical services outside the clinic. All four interns began development of a comprehensive manual documenting how each of the Clinic's departments operates. 

Jennifer stated, “By working with the patients of the Chinatown Clinic … I’ve realized how difficult access to health care can be.  Simple things that many people take for granted—like making appointments or registering at the front desk—are next to impossible for the uninsured or the non-English speaking. Throughout this internship, I’ve learned to coordinate with patients and health-care professionals to work around barriers and ensure continuity of care.” 

Andrew noted, “This experience has greatly opened my eyes as to the extreme barriers that many immigrants, Asians notwithstanding, are subjected to just to get quality access to health care. It was readily apparent that there was something wrong with many health-care systems in our surrounding area that do not offer simple translators to non-English-speaking patients. The work that the other three interns and I accomplished was satisfying, yet left me with a greater desire to try and improve access to culturally sensitive health care for immigrant populations.” 

Brian said, “Through my work and personal interaction with the patients, I was offered a glimpse into the lives of the millions of uninsured Americans who struggle to receive even the most basic health care.  My eyes were opened to the innumerable hurdles members of our population must overcome due to language barriers, lack of cultural understanding, and many overwhelming impediments that result from a complex health-care system. This internship has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the gaps in our health-care system so that I can work to provide better and more sensitive care to future patients.”

Elizabeth reflected, “I am very grateful for the opportunity to … learn of the public benefits and resources that are available to both documented and undocumented immigrants. While assisting immigrants in obtaining medical assistance, I have become more aware and frustrated by the many language and cultural barriers immigrants may face in accessing health care.  I have often found myself spending an entire afternoon making calls to physicians and HMO’s to ensure a patient had access to care. This internship has not only allowed me to learn of the clinical and legal aspects of medicine, but also has made me a creative thinker and advocate.”

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South Philadelphia Latino Community Outreach

Student Intern(s):
Lauren Katzel, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Anita Lyons, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Kenny McKinley, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Morgan Sellers, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Jess Spivey, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Carmen Guerra, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Matthew O’Brien, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Iris Reyes, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine 

Community Preceptor(s):
Sr. Maria Lauren Donohue, MSBT, South Philadelphia Hispanic Outreach, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

The Community Site: 
The South Philadelphia Hispanic Community Outreach Project provides social services, education and spiritual guidance to the South Philadelphia Mexican Community. Puentes de Salud uses a public health model of health promotion, disease prevention and education to build community power and provide direct health services, such as the walk-in free clinic. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010: 
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Mental Health; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; Oral Health; Public Health Infrastructure

The Project: 
In conjunction with the Hispanic Ministry at Annunciation Church, Anita, Jess, Kenny, Lauren and Morgan taught English classes for Spanish-speaking adults and planned and presented weekly workshops addressing health topics relevant to the community. Jess, Lauren and Anita taught math and reading at the ministry's children’s summer camp. In addition, the interns led a youth group, attended women’s group meetings and compiled various lists of resources (dental, education, fitness) available to South Philadelphia Latinos. They also worked at the Puentes de Salud clinic on Thursday evenings, coordinating student volunteers, managing patient flow, providing waiting room education and referrals, and assisting the staff as needed. 

Morgan said, “During the year, I'm one of the student coordinators for Puentes so I've had some opportunities to interact with the Latino community in South Philly, but this summer has given me a much richer experience than the clinic possibly could. I've learned so much, and it will absolutely inform the work I do in the clinic this fall.”  

Lauren remarked, “These past seven weeks have really opened my eyes to see what health care is all about, especially to the immigrant population here in South Philadelphia. I have noticed an abundance of friendship, trust, and community in a neighborhood where there is unfortunately a lack of health care and other resources; and this just makes me want to dedicate my future to helping this inspirational community.”  

Anita said, “My experience … has made me all the more aware of the difficulties and discrimination faced by immigrants to the United States. I was also able to see how this community rises above these challenges on a daily basis through mutual support and sheer determination. I'm excited to develop my own skills as a physician in order to provide care to this highly underserved, and very deserving, population.”  

Jess said, “I was given a valuable opportunity to gain a bit of insight into a caring and productive community that often goes unrecognized by others, in large part due to the stigma associated with being an immigrant and/or undocumented.  Many Philadelphians are unaware that there is a burgeoning Mexican immigrant community in the city, and I believe that the tremendous potential of this community can only be fully tapped once the city begins to embrace some of its newest residents.”

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Victim Services and Community Health

Student Intern(s):
Stephanie Hoffmann, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Kenny McKinley, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Iris Reyes, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):    
Alison Sprague, MSS, Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia

The Community Site: 
Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia (V/WSSP) is a nonprofit organization serving crime victims, witnesses and their families. V/WSSP staff work in the community to emphasize crime prevention, raise awareness about services available and support coalitions working for change in Philadelphia. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:  
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Injury and Violence; Mental Health
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Disability and Secondary Conditions; Educational and Community-Based Programs

The Project: 
Kenny and Stephanie shadowed and assisted victim advocates as they attended preliminary hearings, accompanied victims and witnesses to court, met with clients regarding their cases, conducted home visits for clients with low mobility, and presented at community events. The interns researched and drafted reports along with a sign-on letter to Mayor Michael A. Nutter on police department interaction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) programs. They also attended strategic planning coalition meetings on the topic. In related work, they compiled data on language access available to Limited-English-Proficiency (LEP) residents when they interact with the police. To further support the organization, Kenny and Stephanie wrote and edited an issue of the V/WSSP Newsletter (sent out in August 2009), and built V/WSSP’s first comprehensive Web site, which went live in July 2009.

Stephanie commented, “Working with V/WSSP and BTG has given me a broader sense of how much our everyday lives impact the health of our families and communities. Where a person lives, their family life, the school they attend, the job they have, how they move from place to place—all these things can have a huge impact on a person’s health. When someone is a victim of crime, these elements factor into how well they can cope.” 

Kenny reflected, “This summer proved incredibly valuable learning to mesh two internships into one quick seven weeks.  My experience with V/WSSP gave me an appreciation for some people's struggles with violence on an individual level.  The organization also gave me a macro view of what was happening with immigrants I worked with throughout South Philadelphia in my other internship with BTG.”

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Youth Action Scholars: Youth Voices in the Community

Student Intern(s):
Lorie Stumpo, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Daniel R. Taylor, DO, FAAP, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Catalina Gonzalez, Temple University Community Collaborative of Philadelphia

The Community Site: 
The purpose of the University Community Collaborative of Philadelphia (UCCP) is to develop youth leaders and to encourage civic engagement in their communities. Youth Action Scholars is a program of UCCP that works to give youth a voice in media, politics and health education. View Community Partner Web Site 

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

The Project: 
Within Youth Action Scholars, Lorie worked with the health focus group and facilitated and guided the youth through planning their project. The youth were concerned that health education in their communities was inadequate and incomplete. Their goal was to develop and implement health workshops in local recreation centers and schools.  These workshops would supply information about common health problems and include a discussion about the multiple dimensions of health. The youth identified five important health dimensions: physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional. Their group was named H5D, which stands for Health in Five Dimensions. Lorie assisted the youth in developing their workshop topics and understanding how one health problem may be related to many other dimensions of health.

Lorie commented, “I appreciate the opportunity to be involved with the Youth Action Scholars this summer. This was my first experience working with urban youth in Philadelphia. I was able to get to know the participants and understand their views and goals.  As a result of this experience, I feel that I will be able to show more empathy and understanding when treating young urban patients in my future medical career.”

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Patient Assistant Program

Student Intern(s):
Erin M. Andrews, Drexel University, School of Public Health
Emmanuel S. Jeffrey, Jr., Drexel University, School of Public Health
Dashe Jeffries, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Nursing
Malyha Mannan, Temple University, School of Pharmacy
Lindsey Myers, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Nashanda Needham, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Nursing
Naa Sackey, Drexel University, School of Public Health
Megha Vaid, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Population Health  

Academic Preceptor(s):
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University School of Medicine
Neal Handly, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine
Arlene Rivera Finklestein, JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Robert Simmons, DrPH, MPH, CHES, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Population Health

Community Preceptor(s):
Sara Enes
, MSW, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

The Community Site: 
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health operates eight health centers located in neighborhoods throughout the city. It is the mission of the health centers to provide high-quality, comprehensive health care to all Philadelphians, regardless of their insurance status. The services provided by the health centers include primary and preventive care for adults and children, along with key public health services. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health aims to protect and promote the health of all Philadelphians through the delivery of services at the health centers. View Community Partner Web Site

Within each of the health centers, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health provides Patient Assistance Program (PAP) services, which assist patients with access to free medication. The PAP program has been operational for the past four years and in that time, has collectively saved the city nearly $4.5 million by providing hundreds of patients with free medications. Patient advocates work with patients, doctors, nurses, and other health center staff to promote the program, enroll new patients, complete applications, distribute and document medications, and of course, advocate on behalf of the patients whenever necessary to ensure that they receive needed medications.

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Overweight and Obesity; Environmental Quality
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Diabetes; Heart Disease and Stroke; Public Health Infrastructure; Respiratory Diseases

The Project: 
Each of the eight BTG interns was assigned to one of the Department of Public Health’s Community Health Centers to work in the Patient Assistance Program (PAP) office. Although each BTG intern had a slightly different experience, the overall process is the same in each office. Patients are referred to PAP when their doctor prescribes a medicine that is outside the usual health center pharmacy formulary. The patient advocate then helps the patient complete an application for the medication. Sometimes, the application process requires nothing more than a brief interview and paperwork (in some instances), while at other times, the application may require additional documents. The advocate's job is far from over once the application is complete. The application status is tracked and phone calls or follow-up letters are sent when needed. Medications that arrive at the PAP office must be tracked and properly distributed; thus, attention to detail is a crucial safety requirement. Obtaining refills, program promotion and working with health center staff on other projects when needed were also part of the interns’ PAP experience. Some patients also needed help sorting out their disability, Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security assistance. Other patients needed help understanding the prescriptions themselves and overcoming the challenges of medical literacy. Many seemed grateful just to have someone to talk to about their current hardships.

Dashe commented, “My participation in the Patient Assistance Program and the interaction with the diverse population at Health Center #10 has had a considerable influence on how I view the health-care system in the US by showing me that this country needs to invest more in the prevention of disease.”

Erin noted, “This internship has helped shaped my public health career by offering the opportunity of working directly with the community and with large agencies promoting public health initiatives.”

Naa said, “I am very appreciative of my experience as an advocate through PAP. I have learned that in order to fully help people or be there for them, it is very imperative that [I] reverse roles [in some cases] to fully understand the depth and scope of their needs and how best those needs can be met.”

Emmanuel commented, “BTG gave me the privilege of direct contact with patients and an opportunity to play an instrumental role as a health-care advocate for patients.”

Lindsey said, “What I did not expect … was the gratitude and joy expressed by patients who seem unaccustomed to being treated with respect. Almost every day, at least one patient would say, ‘That was the least painful part of my day, thank you for making this all a little easier.’”

Megha noted, “It … gave me a chance to learn about issues in far greater perspective than I could have ever hoped to understand within the confines of a classroom.”

Malyha commented, “Though the program is stressful due to the paperwork involved and getting proper financial documents, there are so many patients improving the quality of their lives due to Patient Assistance.”

Nashanda said, “Working at the health center has been a wonderful and eye-opening experience for me. It has brought reality to the million of uninsured statistics I read in textbooks and has showed me how the worry of not being able to get medical attention takes a toll on one’s health.”

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What BTG Means to Us

"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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