BTG Hope

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Philadelphia Consortium Projects

Maternal/Child & Women's Health

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Red Shield Family Residence Summer Youth Program

Student Intern(s):
Jingsi Cheng, Temple University, School of Pharmacy
Amy Orlansky, Temple University, School of Medicine

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

Community Preceptor(s):
Susan Brotherton, MSW, Salvation Army, Red Shield Residence
Kelly Devlin, BA, Salvation Army, Red Shield Residence

The Community Site: 
The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Family Residence, located in North Philadelphia, offers a safe, welcoming emergency housing shelter and services to empower residents to strive toward self-sufficiency. Although the majority of families consist of young mothers with infants, all families, including those with teenage children and single men with children, are accepted.  The Red Shield offers an after school program and a summer program for child and adolescent residents. View Community Partner Web Site   

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Environmental Quality; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use

The Project:  Jingsi and Amy worked with the staff of the Red Shield Family Residence to provide a summer program for the children and teens aged 6 to 17. Integrated into the summer program was a health promotion curriculum, created by the interns. Topics such as nutrition, exercise, personal hygiene, oral health and first aid were included in the daily sessions. All of the activities were designed to be creative and interactive. In the afternoons, Jingsi and Amy participated in a variety of activities, from art to music to field trips around the Philadelphia area. In addition to assisting with lessons, the interns also took the opportunity to have informal conversations with the youth about families, school and their future plans. Jingsi said, “I have always enjoyed working with kids because of their resilience and their pure innocence. From my experience working with the teens at the Salvation Army Red Shield, I’ve learned that kids are generally heavily influenced by the social environment that they are frequently exposed to, because kids can be swayed in doing the right or wrong thing simply by mimicking others.”  Amy noted, “This summer has provided me with a unique opportunity to learn about my community. I hope our daily healthy habits lessons had an impact, but more importantly, I was able to become a mentor for a group of teenagers. While participating in a variety of activities … I was able to interact with each youth individually. I learned about who they are, what they enjoy, and where they hope to be in the future. It is this mentoring role that I believe is my greatest accomplishment after my summer as a BTG intern.”

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Partnering With the Community for Health

Student Intern(s):
Martha Brown, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Emily Comley, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Jemima Louis, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine           

Academic Preceptor(s):
Charmaine Smith Wright, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

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

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 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:  Environmental Quality; Overweight and Obesity; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas:  Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Tobacco Use; Vision and Hearing

The Project: 
At Early Head Start (EHS) Martha, Emily and Jemima developed educational materials for mothers and their families, including information about cardiovascular disease, oral health, smoking cessation, nutrition and exercise. The materials were designed in collaboration with the Heart Smart poster, which serves as an interactive educational game with learning segments that relate heart health to stress, oral heath, weight management, clean air and nutrition/exercise. This information is to be incorporated into the Child Family Advocate’s home visit lesson plans. Together, the interns worked to improve compliance with otoacoustic emissions (OAE) screening and oral health care needs. They created comprehensive lists of all children in the program who were in need of OAE screening and then accompanied Child Family Advocates on home visits to administer the screening. The interns also worked with the staff in planning the Partnering With the Community for Health event, a health fair that was a collaborative effort with EHS’s community partners to provide a comprehensive day of educational opportunities and wellness activities for EHS families. The event covered topics such as community safety, fire safety, heart health, obesity prevention, oral health, positive birthing, healthy start and fitness for children. In addition, Martha, Emily and Jemima arranged for the Ronald McDonald van to be present during the health fair to provide dental care for the children. Martha said, “This internship has helped foster my understanding of the challenges faced by young pregnant women and mothers who have limited access to health care and are trying to provide the best care possible to their children.” Emily reflected, “The internship at Early Head Start gave me hands-on experience working with North Philadelphia families and helped me understand the links between health care, poverty and education. I found the multidisciplinary approach brought by my fellow interns to be key to the success of our project.” Jemima noted, “The BTG internship … provided a lot of insight into the everyday challenges that our families have to deal with, with respect to poverty, community violence and the lack of affordable health care. This internship also allowed me to work with students from other disciplines. … Our diverse educational backgrounds allowed us to be a dynamic group who could successfully collaborate with the women at the site to ensure that our families’ needs were met.”

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Hope Lives Here: Where Families Nurture Our Community’s Future

Student Intern(s):
Rachel Callaway, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Jennifer Olenik, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Courtney Schreiber, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

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

The Community Site: 
Early Head Start (EHS) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is a federally funded community-based program for low-income pregnant women and families with children up to 3 years of age. EHS uses a family-focused approach to provide its families with the tools needed to maximize a child’s developmental potential. Services include child care, home visits, socialization, classes and events for the whole family. View Community Partner Web Site 

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Immunization; Mental Health
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight

The Project: 
Jen and Rachel worked with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Early Head Start (EHS) to organize and assist with multiple events and support the overall functioning of the site. The pair worked to recruit and confirm vendors, participants and business donors for the July 16th Family Wellness Day. In addition to planning, Jen and Rachel each developed and staffed a booth at the event, discussing healthy body image and oral hygiene, respectively. During the seven weeks at EHS, the interns also focused on safety measures, working together to design a Summer Safety handout (provided to parents during a Beach Party socialization event) and a Car Seat Safety Assessment (to ensure that all families have access to and are using the appropriate restraining devices for their children). They also revamped an old project, compiling safety kits to be given to families following a home safety evaluation conducted by the home visitors. The safety kit includes such items as a smoke detector, cabinet safety latches, a fire escape plan and a bathtub thermometer. Toward the end of the internship, Jen and Rachel assisted with recruitment efforts by handing out brochures to organizations in the service area as well as staffing a booth at the Sayre Health Center’s open house (another BTG community site). Jennifer commented, “In my seven weeks at Early Head Start, I gained a deeper level of respect for the power of collaboration between health care professions and between community organizations. … Most notably, BTG infused all of us participating in the program with a fresh dose of energy and idealism, recharging us and enabling us to continue to believe in our communities and ourselves.” Rachel noted, “Having participated in numerous BTG Seminars throughout the year … I felt I understood the program’s goals of linking health and other service professionals with community sites for the underserved and disadvantaged groups in Philadelphia. It was only once I began in the CHIP program and working at Early Head Start that I truly understood the need for this collaboration.”

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Loving Yourself: The Key to Recovery

Student Intern(s):
Amanda Davis, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Julia Tincu, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Academic Preceptor(s):
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptor(s):
Denise Botcheos, LSW, Mercy Hospice

The Community Site: 
Mercy Hospice, located in Center City Philadelphia, offers a comprehensive array of residential and professional social services for women and children without permanent housing. These include the provision of food, clothing, shelter, life skills and job readiness training, a parenting education program, and goal-oriented case management. Another component of Mercy Hospice is a soup kitchen that serves lunch to homeless and underserved women in the community and provides support services to these guests.

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas:  Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use

The Project: 
Motivated by the theme of “loving yourself,” Julia and Amanda designed a summer of improving overall health through leisure and learning. The interns encouraged the women of Mercy to broaden their perspectives by introducing them to new experiences. Weekly outdoor movie nights, spa night, and games helped them learn how to take care of themselves as they continue to make their way through recovery. An educational trip to the Mütter Museum emphasized the importance of lifelong learning. Educational topics that were covered by the interns included cardiovascular health, oral health, nutrition, self-esteem and communication skills. The interns also spent time tutoring a few women in math and reading to prepare for their GED or college-level courses. To improve the physical well-being of the women, trips to the pool were organized, yoga classes were implemented, and walking was encouraged on outings. Julia noted, “As an occupational therapy student … I learned a great deal about the lives of these remarkable women and about the dedicated, warm and caring people who work with them. … What I learned raised as many questions as answers. … This will allow me to practice with an increased sensitivity and understanding for the context of these women’s lives.” Amanda reflected, “The women of Mercy have taught me so much about their lives, their struggles and their resilience through recovery. In doing so, they have touched the lives of all my future patients by showing me the importance of holistic practice. As a medical student, I can apply what I’ve learned and understand why listening to patients nonjudgmentally is crucial for good health and building trust.”

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A Garden Grows in Germantown

Student Intern(s):
Melissa Bertha, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Lillian Taylor, La Salle University, School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Nursing Program

Academic Preceptor(s):
Shelley Johnson, RN, MS, La Salle University, School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Eugene Mochan, PhD, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Stacie Skiffer, New Directions for Women, Inc.

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

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

The Project: 
Lillian and Melissa worked with the residents of New Directions for Women, Inc. (NDFW), to obtain a sustainable source of nutrition through the creation of an on-site garden. To coincide with the development of the garden, the interns developed a curriculum focusing on nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, and the effects of heart disease on the body. Lillian commented, “I have gained an understanding of the legal system and how many struggle to overcome their past mistakes and addictions. It has been an exhilarating experience to leave my clinical skills behind for just a moment and grow in my social and communication skills. Through getting to know the women at NDFW, they have taught me wonderful lessons on perseverance, listening with an open mind and heart, and hope.” Melissa noted, “Working at New Directions for Women … has made me realize that there are many things involved in caring for a person besides treating his/her physical symptoms and that the definition of the word healthy encompasses more than just being free of disease.”

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The Perfect “Formula” for a Baby

Student Intern(s):
Asha Patel, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Grace Yeung, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing           

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

Community Preceptor(s):
Kelley O’Neill, Maternity Care Coalition, Cribs for Kids Program

The Community Site: 
Cribs for Kids, a component program of the Maternity Care Coalition, provides needy families in Philadelphia with cribs, along with education on safe sleeping environments and how to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In addition, Cribs for Kids provides education and training on proper sleep position and sleep environment to health and human service providers and the general public. View Community Partner Web Site 

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Physical Activity; Responsible Sexual Behavior
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Family Planning; Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Oral Health

The Project: 
Asha and Grace worked with the Cribs for Kids (C4K) program to provide various services to Philadelphia residents. As a team, their mission was to provide Pack ’n Plays to individuals who did not have a safe sleep environment for their newborns, and to educate individuals on ways to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and in how to maintain a safe sleep environment for their babies. The interns completed assessment forms for each client, helped organize and conduct various community workshops (at which attendees received educational materials and the Pack ’n Play), and assisted in home visits. In addition, the interns created educational materials that were distributed at the workshops. Asha created an oral health handout that included information on baby-bottle tooth decay, how to improve one’s eating habits and how to find a local dentist. Grace’s handout focused on the causes, symptoms, risk factors and treatment of postpartum depression. As a team, the C4K advocates and BTG interns provided diverse educational workshops that incorporated issues dealing with oral health care, mental health, SIDS reduction and mother-baby relations. Asha commented, “The skills and knowledge I gained through this internship were invaluable and will definitely help me in interacting with my own patients in the future months. As an intern, I was given the opportunity to assist a diverse group of individuals who not only welcomed me into their homes, but also depended on me to provide them with resources and educational material that would influence their lifestyle choices. In essence, I considered this internship to be a wonderful opportunity for me to see the different areas of Philadelphia … because a city is characterized by those who live and build in it.” Grace said, “Interning at Cribs for Kids has definitely been a rewarding experience. Through this program, I interacted with mothers from all over Philadelphia and assisted them in acquiring resources to provide a better environment for their babies. These interactions and experiences helped me reinforce my goal of becoming a nurse so that I can further be of service to others. Overall, this program has taught me a great deal, and I will definitely utilize the skills that I have learned throughout my professional career.”

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Witnesses to Hunger: Facilitating Better Access to Social Services

Student Intern(s):
Asra Azam, Drexel University, School of Public Health
Meghan Fibbi, Drexel University, School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor(s):
Priscilla Killian, RN, Drexel University, School of Nursing and Health Professions

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

The Community Site: 
Witnesses to Hunger is a photo-voice project that provides Philadelphia mothers the opportunity to illustrate their experiences with the challenge of nourishing their children on a limited income. Witnesses to Hunger grew out of research done by Children’s Health Watch, which connects the nutrition of young children to public policy and economic conditions. View Community Partner Web Site 

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Overweight and Obesity; Environmental Quality
Focus Areas:  Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Access to Quality Health Services; Nutrition and Overweight; Public Health Infrastructure; Health Communication

The Project: 
Asra researched the social services available in Philadelphia and created a resource handbook for the women participating in Witnesses to Hunger. The hope is that compiling resources relating to employment, education, child care, housing, mental health and nutrition into one organized handbook will make it easier for the women to navigate the social service system in place in the city. Meghan worked with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in an effort to implement a system for enrolling eligible patients in SNAP (food stamps) during their hospital stays. Although the project is not completed, Meghan developed a plan for its implementation that will be used by interns from the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger and Drexel University who will continue to work on this initiative. Asra said, “Working with Witnesses to Hunger has shown me that hunger is not the result of just one problem, but is influenced by many factors that are part of a person’s life. … As health professionals, it is important for us … to support efforts that attempt to alleviate the detrimental effect that hunger has on a growing child by making sure that every child has access to quality food.” Meghan reflected, “This experience has … provided me an understanding of the structural barriers to accessing social services, as well as a glimpse into the everyday challenges individuals face in obtaining assistance. While facilitating this access is vital, it is not enough. We must also work to reform the policies which are so often the root causes of these disparities if we are to truly end poverty and hunger in the United States.”

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"My internship … has affected me deeply. I have learned about the complexities of substance abuse and the struggles women face to remain clean. Working with a student from a discipline other than my own has helped me to view health issues from another perspective."
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