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Philadelphia Consortium Projects

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

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Getting a Head Start in Healthy Behaviors the Fun Way

Student Intern(s):
Sharon Chang, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Woonghee Jason Lee, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

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

The Community Site: 
The Children’s Crisis Treatment Center Therapeutic Nursery, located in Center City Philadelphia, is a structured full-day preschool program for children aged 3 to 5. The Center provides educational, emotional, and behavioral health services, including psychiatric services, play, and movement therapies. 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; Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Oral Health

The Project: 
Sharon and Jason worked with the Therapeutic Nursery staff at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CcTC).  The interns designed and conducted a series of weekly health-related workshops for the 3- to 4-year-olds.  These workshops included lessons on knowing your body, keeping your heart and body healthy, the importance of daily exercise, and what germs are and how to avoid them with good hand washing techniques. In addition to the workshops, the interns reviewed the children’s histories to gain greater insight into their specific treatment needs and how to enhance their daily interactions with the children. Sharon and Jason also assisted the teachers with other daily activities of this structured therapeutic preschool program. Jason reflected, “From this summer’s BTG internship program, I learned how to connect with the members of the community, especially with children. This experience has taught me how to understand some of the problems that people in the community face on a daily basis, and how to work together with my intern partner to promote the overall mental health of our clients. Lastly, I hope to apply the skills I learned from this internship toward my future career in dentistry, where personal interaction with children will be crucial in forming strong patient-to-doctor relationships. By understanding the socioeconomic status and the mental health of my patients, I will be better able to develop a treatment plan that is both relevant and beneficial to the patient.” Sharon noted, “I have gained so much from my experience at CcTC, which has underscored the importance of understanding children’s’ backgrounds and social environments when dealing with behavioral, psychiatric, and other aspects of their life. I really enjoy the opportunity to get to know each of the children I work with on a personal level, so I could better appreciate their histories and help them individually and uniquely gain more from this educational program. I hope that as a physician, I can achieve the patience and insight for the backgrounds of the children I have seen from the staff at CcTC, which truly helps foster a safe and educational environment for the children.”

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Whole Child Wellness: Promoting Health of the Mind and Body

Student Intern(s):
Darryl Powell, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Christina Sanchez, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptor(s):
Anne L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, 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 mental health services for youth aged 3 to 18. The Summer Day Program, a program for preschool children with behavioral disorders, is designed to help children play and work together. Service and treatment approaches include case management, individual, family and group art therapy, and medication.

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

The Project:  
Christina and Darryl worked with the Child and Family Unit Summer Camp staff to provide and supervise daily activities for the children. The interns helped with interactive educational activities and also ensured the safety of the children on trips to the pool, museum, and playgrounds. The interns worked to promote positive attitudes and interactions by emphasizing sharing and the communication skills needed to prevent and handle disputes, anger, and frustration. Christina conducted lessons on nutrition and conflict resolution, and Darryl conducted lessons on exercise and oral health. Other activities included lessons on germ prevention, using “Germs Make Me Sick!” (Melvin Berger); on cardiovascular health, using “Hear Your Heart!” (Paul Showers); and on basic body function, using “My Body, Your Body” (Manning and Granstrom).  Christina noted, “Children are the most curious and vivacious people. To satisfy their curiosity, they have taught me how to deliver lessons in a more creative manner that was appropriate for their developmental level. The knowledge and skills to leading a healthy lifestyle start at a young age and I am honored I had the opportunity to help create this foundation of knowledge.” Darryl commented, “While definitely challenging at times, I enjoyed bonding with the kids and getting to know their different personalities. Early intervention programs such as this can hold much promise for success, and I consider it a privilege to have served a small role in the positive behavioral and physical development of these kids.”

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Community Mental Health: A Summer With the Consortium

Student Intern(s):
Anna Hunt, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Dana Kozubal, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Jeffrey Draine, PhD, MSW, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Cabrina Campbell, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Marvin Elias, PhD, Consortium, Chestnut Place Clubhouse
Karen DiTrolio, MPA, Consortium, Seeds of Hope

The Community Site: 
The Chestnut Place Clubhouse is a psychiatric rehabilitation center in West Philadelphia. In addition to offering a “work-ordered” day whereby members divide themselves into units and work collaboratively to run the Clubhouse, it also offers temporary employment opportunities to acquaint members with jobs within the community and to prepare them for stable, longer-term employment. The Seeds of Hope program is a psychosocial rehabilitation program, also in West Philadelphia, that offers peer support in the form of recovery groups and outpatient services. Both are component programs of the Consortium, Inc. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas:  Diabetes; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use

The Project:
After surveying Consortium members about health topics of interest, Anna and Dana designed a series of workshops addressing these topics, including nutrition and exercise, diabetes, smoking cessation and oral health. The workshops were conducted at both the Chestnut Place Clubhouse and the Seeds of Hope programs. At the Clubhouse, in addition to the workshops, the interns participated in unit activities, such as assisting with the newsletter, prepping lunch and locating equipment for a new fitness unit. At Seeds of Hope, they joined the peer support groups and organized community integration activities. Anna and Dana also rallied alongside the members at city hall to protest budget cuts to mental health services. Anna reflected, “I learned a lot from the people I met this summer, not only about the barriers facing those who deal with mental health issues, but also about the best way to serve and work with this population. … I learned from the relationships I formed at the Clubhouse never to view an individual as his or her diagnosis, but as a person with dreams, desires and passions, just like any other. My experience as a whole was memorable; this will be a summer that I won’t easily forget.” Dana commented, “When I was greeted with hugs on my first day at the Clubhouse, my insecurities faded away. The friendliness and openness of the members actually helped to draw me out, teaching me about the importance of community relationships. … I learned that while I can help provide resources or construct a foundation for change, it is the responsibility of the individual to advocate for his own health and take the real steps toward wellness.”

 

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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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