BTG Hope

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Philadelphia Consortium Projects

Maternal/Child & Women's Health

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Red Shield Summer Youth Enrichment Program

Student Interns:
Annie Hong, Temple University, School of Medicine
Emily (Annie) Weitberg, Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry

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

Community Preceptor:
Susan Brotherton, MSW, Salvation Army, Red Shield Residence

The Community Site:
The Salvation Army Red Shield Family Residence is an emergency housing shelter in North Philadelphia that provides families with meals, temporary housing and a supportive environment as they work toward becoming self-sufficient. Services include after school and summer enrichment programs for school-age children and parenting classes, life skills education and comprehensive social work services (via case managers) to meet the individual needs of families. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Annie and Emily (Annie) worked with children and teens aged 6 to 16 in Red Shield’s Summer Youth Enrichment Program. Each week, they prepared two-hour lesson plans on health topics such as nutrition, exercise, cardiovascular health, genetics, oral health and first aid. The interns collaborated with other staff members to organize field trips in Philadelphia and incorporated healthy activities such as yoga, swimming and outdoor sports into the program. In addition, the interns organized an adult health workshop that covered topics such as healthy eating habits, oral health, grocery shopping and cooking tips, and infant bottle-feeding practices. Annie said, “My BTG experience this summer has left me with new insight into some of the challenges that children and families face in North Philadelphia. Despite adverse circumstances, the children that we worked with demonstrated incredible resilience. I feel very privileged to have been able to spend time getting to know the children here, and I have learned a lot about myself and the future patients that I will see through working with the residents and dedicated staff at Red Shield. It has been a wonderful experience!” Emily (Annie) commented, “Through my experience as a BTG intern I gained awareness of the layers of challenges faced by many members within the Red Shield community. This awareness will not only contribute to the compassion and sensitivity I will demonstrate as a health care provider; it will serve as the first step in my effort to discover how lasting changes can be achieved for those who are underserved. On a personal level, I was touched by the openness and welcoming nature of the children I met. It was refreshing to take a break from a fast-paced academic environment to one where I could laugh and play with kids.”

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Hope Lives Here: Helping Mothers and Children Prevent Tomorrow’s Diseases Today

Student Interns:
Marisa Gilstrop, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Leah Leinbach, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Courtney Schreiber, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

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

The Community Site:
Early Head Start (EHS) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is a 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 home visits, parent-child playgroups, prenatal education, support and referrals, health and nutrition education, mental health and substance abuse education, and support for families with children with disabilities. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Immunization; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Oral Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Tobacco Use

The Project:
At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Early Head Start (EHS) program, Marisa and Leah engaged in a variety of activities to assist in the daily function of the organization. One of the primary goals of Early Head Start is to encourage children to develop age-appropriate social and motor skills through programs called “socializations.” Over the course of the summer, Marisa and Leah attended socializations and went on home visits to meet with families enrolled in the program. They also helped to provide nutrition education, completed nutrition assessments, and recruited and enrolled new families to fill vacancies in the program. Marisa and Leah were involved in several other health-related activities, including checking charts, assembling safety kits for the site’s annual Family Day, putting together a list of resources for pregnant women and creating bulletin boards. During the chart checks, they were able to learn more about the overall health status of the families, the range of services offered by Medicaid and the difficulties some families encountered in obtaining care. They assembled a list of resources for pregnant women, including where to get prenatal screenings, the signs of postpartum depression, and how and where to get cribs. They also researched and designed two bulletin boards providing information on UV safety and tobacco cessation. In addition, Marisa and Leah gave a presentation on STDs, women’s cancers and oral health, as they relate to new and expectant mothers. The women’s cancers section united cancers, STDs and pregnancy into one presentation on prevention for expecting and new mothers. Information on the most common STDs in America, STDs that may lead to cancer, and how to protect yourself from HPV-derived cervical cancers was given to mothers during this presentation. The oral health aspect of the presentation was designed to inform women of the importance of regular visits to the dentist, not just for themselves but for their babies, and also provided information on the connection between chronic gingivitis and periodontitis and premature labor/low-birth-weight children. Marisa commented, “Being an intern at CHOP EHS has been an amazing experience. I have gained many skills as well as an extremely valuable insight into lives of many families in the West Philadelphia community. Towards the end of my seven-week internship, I felt as though I truly understood the goals of this organization and the importance of the impact it makes on this community. The overall theme of partnership is a major lesson that I will carry throughout my professional career.” Leah noted, “At times, dentistry can seem rather one-dimensional, but my time at CHOP EHS has reminded me that trying to understand the person in the chair is just as important as treating their pain. Seeing friendships form and families thrive over the last seven weeks even in the face of some tough situations has taught me just how powerful encouragement, faith and perseverance can be. As a dentist, I will be able to extend these values in order to be a more thoughtful, reflective and compassionate practitioner.”

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The Importance of Early Childhood Development: Early Head Start Frankford Site

Student Interns:
Brenda Achille, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Obiangelis Fonseca, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Rong Hu, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Jeffrey Draine, PhD, MSW, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Joel A. Fein, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptors:
Ayeisha Patterson, MEd, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program, Frankford Site
Tinesha Sallard, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program, Frankford Site

The Community Site:
The Health Federation of Philadelphia’s Early Head Start (EHS) Program, Frankford Site, 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

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
At Health Federation’s Early Head Start (EHS), Brenda, Obiangelis and Rong worked on a number of projects. One of the projects was the oto-acoustic emissions (OAE) test, a hearing screening that should be completed within 45 to 60 days of a child’s entry into the program. To complete this project, they planned, organized and executed an OAE Day at the Frankford Site in addition to doing the screening on home visits. Another project was the Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS), which is aimed at measuring the effectiveness of parent and child interactions during play. To complete this project, they became trained and certified in KIPS and filmed/evaluated 15-to-20-minute videos of parents interacting with their children. The third major project was aimed at women’s health and focused on mental health and stress management. They planned a Nurturing the Nurturer event focused on giving parents an opportunity to relax at the Frankford site and giving them coping strategies to take home. Finally, they also planned group and individual lesson plans for cardiovascular and oral health to be executed at future group socializations and home visits. Rong reflected, “While EHS focuses on early childhood education, it has truly exposed me to the complexity of issues faced by impoverished communities—you can’t begin to talk about education without proper housing, food, electricity, etc. But while at times the challenges seem too many and too great, it has been empowering to see EHS succeed. As corny as it sounds, they have shown me that a group of people with a love for the community really can make a difference.” Brenda noted, “EHS has taught me the importance of understanding both the needs of a community and its members. As each community organization carries out its own agenda, it is important to reflect upon the salient issues within the community and if there are accessible resources set in place for those members. As a soon-to-be professional, I hope to remember that each patient has their own individual circumstances that affect their health outcomes; therefore you should always meet them at their level.” Obiangelis commented, “EHS is often one of the few resources or support systems that the families served by the program have. I was able to experience firsthand the importance of early intervention, education and prevention to provide children the opportunity to reach their full potential. All staff members seem committed to ensure the children and families’ well-being, which is no easy task when the families enrolled struggle with a myriad of social problems, as well as individual issues that affect their parenting. It has been a great experience overall, and I feel part of the Early Head Start family.”

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Nurturing Resilience and Empowering Futures

Student Interns:
Melissa Nelson, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Jessica Traylor, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Charmaine Smith Wright, MD, MSc, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Katherine Harton, RN, BSN, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program, Franklin Site
Theresa McKelvy, RN, MS, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program, Franklin Site

The Community Site:
The Health Federation of Philadelphia’s Early Head Start Program, located in the North Philadelphia Empowerment Zone, promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services for pregnant women and families with children from birth to age 3. The program connects families with community resources that can engage parents in their children’s learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020: 
Access to Health Care; Injury and Violence Prevention; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
Melissa and Jessica worked closely with Health Federation’s Early Head Start (EHS) Franklin Site staff to assess the needs of the client families. After learning about the families, the North Philadelphia communities in which they live, and the essential role EHS plays in supporting its families, the interns were able to contribute in several ways. Melissa helped by administering the oto-acoustic emissions (OAE) hearing screening to the young children to detect early hearing loss. She provided parents with information about the advantages of a yearly screening and a brochure to increase their knowledge. To encourage parent empowerment, Melissa created a Hearing Screening Contract and reminder form to help parents take the initiative in their child’s health care. The screening contract allowed the parents and home visiting staff to reaffirm their commitment to annual hearing screenings. Jessica helped identify how EHS could better track its services to pregnant women. Jessica updated a prenatal timeline with information based on prenatal care guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as the prenatal curriculum used by EHS, Partners for a Healthy Baby. To enhance the prenatal medical education provided to pregnant women by the home visiting staff, Jessica created pamphlets that concisely described some common prenatal screening tests. These pamphlets were correlated to an existing resource that the program provides to its pregnant women so that the information is conveyed verbally, in written form and visually. These added resources work toward EHS’s goals to assist pregnant women in accessing comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care and to promote healthy pregnancies. In addition, Jessica and Melissa also used time during home visits with the home visiting staff to speak with families and provide resources about safe sleep, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and oral health. They also contributed to a health and nutrition status update that is a major component of the Health Federation’s Early Head Start grant, which provides the program with funding. Melissa reflected, “My experience as a BTG intern at the EHS has taught me about the resilience in the EHS participants. As a future health care provider, it is important to also concentrate on the positive aspects of a child’s development. EHS has taught me to meet the client where they are. As a future health care provider this is an important lesson because it’s one of the many ways to make an everlasting impact.” Jessica stated, “The BTG CHIP experience has had a profound impact on both my professional and personal development. This summer’s internship has introduced me to communities, experiences, ideas and individuals that have provided me with invaluable insight that will forever reshape the lens through which I view the world. I could not imagine working with a more genuine and dedicated group of individuals than those at the Health Federation EHS, who are truly committed to empowering their families. Finally, I know that this internship has broadened my scope of reasoning and prepared me for the future to engage and provide better care for patients from diverse backgrounds and communities.”

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Promoting Safe Sleep with Cribs for Kids

Student Interns:
Sara Davis, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Karly Wirth, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
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 and education on safe sleeping environments. Cribs for Kids also provides education on how to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020: 
Environmental Health; Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health

The Project:
Karly and Sara worked with the Maternity Care Coalition’s (MCC) Cribs for Kids (C4K) Program. The C4K program provides safe sleep education and new Pack ’n Plays to mothers who otherwise do not have a safe place for their newborns to sleep. Karly and Sara were involved in completing initial assessment intake forms, enrolling and scheduling clients, attending community workshops and educating clients during home visits. Karly and Sara also researched various topics ranging from reproductive anatomy and family planning to infant development to help create a reference guide to accompany the MCC manual given to new advocates. The guide provided advocates with additional resources to further their own and their clients’ knowledge on a specific topic as well as important referral sites in the Philadelphia area. Karly commented, “Working with the C4K team has proved to be a fantastic learning experience. I find it incredible how such a small team of people impacts thousands of families in the city each year, with service and advocacy extending further than just providing a safe place for their babies to sleep. We help to connect mothers to the resources they need to improve and promote a healthy lifestyle for their families. Through the time spent at C4K, I gained a better understanding of the social and cultural disparities affecting Philadelphia communities, especially young women and families.” Sara noted, “The opportunity I have had this summer at C4K has been incredible. I am so grateful to have had this brief exposure to the maternal and infant community in Philadelphia from a social service perspective. I learned from both my co-workers and clients the importance of having an open mind—and I will certainly take this with me as I continue on the path to becoming a physician.”

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Empowering Women to Adopt Healthy Lifestyles

Student Interns:
Kamun Chan, MPH, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Megan Morris, MPH, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

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

Community Preceptors:
Shekima Murray, New Directions for Women, Inc.
Stacie Skiffer, New Directions for Women, Inc.
Carolyn Stewart, New Directions for Women, Inc.

The Community Site:
New Directions for Women, Inc. (NDFW), provides residential services as an alternative to incarceration for female offenders. The residents are from Philadelphia County prisons and are eligible for early release. The 25-bed licensed facility provides a home-like atmosphere for its residents. NDFW’s programs promote self-sufficiency, empowerment and a crime-free lifestyle. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020: 
Health Communication; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Kamun and Megan spent time listening to the residents at New Directions for Women, Inc. (NDFW), to understand their unique perspectives and learn from them about what they need to lead healthier lifestyles. All of the women are in the criminal justice system, and many are victims of domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness and low self-esteem. Kamun and Megan conducted several empowerment exercises for the women, including “Dress for Success” and “Act for Success” programs. Most of the women will be homeless and in search of a job upon release from NDFW, and in these difficult economic times, it is essential that they receive support to find employment and to establish themselves as independent women; both of these factors are important to becoming sober and maintaining themselves in the community. After gaining acceptance into the NDFW family, Kamun and Megan presented information on oral hygiene, nutrition and fitness so the residents could integrate this knowledge into their new lifestyles. Kamun noted, “Interning with NDFW has been an enlightening experience. … I gained an appreciation for the justice system, the complications surrounding health insurance coverage and social service. … Working with the residents has provided me with the opportunity to interact with diverse individuals and enhanced my ability to cross cultural boundaries as a health care professional.” Megan stated, “Each woman that I worked with had a different story, but there were common themes of substance abuse, mental illness and violence. … I have greater insight into the vicious cycle of incarceration, and I understand the importance of reaching out to this vulnerable population. The women at NDFW are inspiring, given all that they have endured. They have taught me not to take anything for granted and to be nonjudgmental.”

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The Real Cost of a Healthy Diet, 2011

Student Interns: 
Elizabeth Nobis, Drexel University, School of Public Health
Andrea Youngfert, Drexel University, School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor:
Rashida T. West, JD, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University

Community Preceptor:
Amanda Breen, PhD, Drexel University, the Center for Hunger-Free Communities

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 HealthWatch, which connects the nutrition of young children to public policy and economic conditions. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Environmental Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
Andrea and Lizzie worked with Witnesses to Hunger to conduct an updated assessment of the Real Cost of a Healthy Diet (RCOHD), originally performed in 2008. The goals of RCOHD are twofold: 1) to assess whether the current maximum food stamp allotment for families in Philadelphia is sufficient and 2) to examine the accessibility of healthy foods. This research will provide evidence of the financial hardship placed on families who rely on food stamps, and ultimately will be used in the Farm Bill 2012 debate to advocate for an increase in the maximum food stamp allotment. Data were collected at two corner stores, a midsize store and a supermarket in the Philadelphia neighborhoods of Grays Ferry, Mill Creek, Hunting Park and Strawberry Mansion. Andrea and Lizzie collected data on specific food items, derived from the Thrifty Food Plan market basket as outlined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provides the basis for the maximum food stamp allotment. Andrea commented, “My experience this summer with Witnesses to Hunger, through BTG, has been invaluable to my professional and personal growth. The passion that the staff of Witnesses to Hunger has for the work that they do is inspiring and motivating. Through data collection in various Philadelphia neighborhoods this summer, the true barriers to food security have been illuminated for me.” Lizzie stated, “Working on this project gave me an opportunity to see many Philadelphia neighborhoods, their different atmospheres and lack of access to affordable healthy products. Through interacting with the individuals who live in these areas, I was able to see the immense stress put upon them to provide for their families and the struggle to best utilize their food stamps so their children will not go hungry. Overall, I came out of this summer with a better understanding of how poverty is interrelated with so many areas of life on both a community and individual scale.”

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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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