BTG Hope

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Philadelphia Consortium Projects

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

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Taking Little Steps Toward Healthy Choices in a Big Kid World

Student Interns:
Colleen Bennett, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Colleen O’Neill, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Joanne N. Wood, MD, MSHP, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Community Preceptor:
Nicholas 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 2½ to 5. The Center provides educational, emotional and behavioral health services, including psychiatric services and play and movement therapies. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
Colleen Bennett and Colleen O’Neill worked with the staff of the Therapeutic Nursery at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CcTC). They designed and implemented weekly creative activities that focused on the importance of physical activity, good nutrition, washing hands and oral hygiene. In addition to providing weekly health sessions in all the classrooms, they also assisted the 4-to-5-year-old classroom with structured daily activities that included arts and crafts, journal writing, reading stories, singing, morning circle time, outdoor play, meals and naps. The interns also attended interdisciplinary meetings and read the charts of individual clients to gain a deeper understanding of the children’s histories, diagnoses and treatment plans. Colleen Bennett reflected, “The staff and children of the Therapeutic Nursery at CcTC have taught me more than any textbook could in a short seven-week period. Despite the traumatic experiences that these children have encountered, they exude the same excitement, curiosity, and thoughtfulness as any other child; their resilience is truly inspirational. This summer I have seen firsthand how one’s early childhood environment can shape one’s behavioral, social and emotional development, giving me a deeper understanding of the mental health issues that affect the children of the Philadelphia community. The amazing staff at CcTC showed me how challenging yet rewarding it is to work with children and how creating a safe, positive, caring environment can make an astounding difference in a child’s life. They taught me how to connect with children on a personal level and how to show them that they are respected and appreciated.” Colleen O’Neill reflected, “My experiences with BTG CHIP have truly been eye-opening and life-changing. Through working with children with special behavioral and mental health disorders, I have not only learned of their medical needs, but also of their emotional and social needs. The youth at CcTC, as well as many other children throughout our country, have experienced and are experiencing traumatic events which I could never imagine. BTG has opened my eyes to the reality that is faced by so many people in this world and the impact that it has on all of us, both directly and indirectly.”

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Chestnut Place Clubhouse and Seeds of Hope, Consortium, Inc.

Student Interns:
Isaac Kuyunov, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Lisa Mullinax, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice

Academic Preceptors:
Jeffrey Draine, MSW, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Karen DiTrolio, MPA, Consortium, Inc., Seeds of Hope
Marvin Elias, PhD, Consortium, Inc., Chestnut Place Clubhouse

The Community Site:
The Chestnut Place Clubhouse is a psychiatric rehabilitation center in West Philadelphia. In addition to offering a “work-ordered” day in which 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 dually licensed psychosocial rehabilitation and outpatient treatment program, also in West Philadelphia, that offers psychiatric rehabilitation, community integration, peer support and clinical treatment services. Both are component programs of the Consortium, Inc. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020: 
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Lisa and Isaac’s projects at the Consortium Clubhouse and Seeds of Hope programs involved facilitating weekly seminars about health topics such as oral hygiene, nutrition and smoking cessation. The interns also assisted the members at both sites in their daily activities and support groups. The interns began their work by familiarizing themselves with the members. They spoke, listened and discussed various topics and conducted a short health survey with each individual member, in order to see what health issues were of interest to the members. As result, the interns prepared and presented the oral hygiene, oral cancer screening, tobacco cessation, and healthy nutrition and farmers markets presentations. They also helped the members with shopping, encouraged them to attend more social activities and scheduled medical appointments. In the Clubhouse they worked together with the members on the various assignments that members perform, such as cooking, setting tables, gardening, typing letters and more. Isaac stated, “The sites have introduced me to new experiences while developing my abilities to work collaboratively in a mental health setting. Witnessing successful rehabilitation stories at all stages and on a daily basis, I have watched individuals overcome challenges I have never been exposed to before. More often than not, I enjoyed working and communicating with members and staff, and I am happy for the privilege given to me to interact within these organizations.” Lisa noted, “This program has benefited my overall education by allowing me the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary manner. Working in the field with a partner has allowed me to see things from new perspectives while getting to know and understand all types of communities. The range of mental health services provided by these sites has shown me even more useful resources within the city.”

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Promoting Wellness and Nutrition in a Population Recovering From Substance Abuse

Student Interns:
Sean Connolly, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Sarah Mazanec, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

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

Community Preceptors:
Rhonda Blackson, RN, Gaudenzia, Stabilization Unit
Michele Woltz, MHS, CRNP, CARN, Gaudenzia

The Community Site:
Gaudenzia People With Hope is a three- to nine-month non-hospital residential, intensive program for homeless, HIV symptomatic/AIDS, chemically addicted adults and pregnant women. The program provides individual, couples, family and group therapy; AA/NA/CA 12-step programs; gay and lesbian groups; GED classes; educational seminars; and recreational activities. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020: 
Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse

The Project:
In keeping with the goals of Healthy People 2020, Sean and Sarah designed and implemented a three-part nutrition education seminar for the clients at Gaudenzia’s People with Hope program.Nutrition was selected as it is an important part of recovery and is essential for maintaining wellness and preventing chronic disease. First, Sean and Sarah promoted awarenessof healthy eating by educating clients about proper diet and nutrition. Next, the interns motivated clients to make healthy choices by visiting a farmers market and selecting nutritious food items. Finally, Sean and Sarah demonstrated healthy meal preparation by cooking a dish in the Gaudenzia kitchen. Sarah said, “My time spent with the individuals in recovery at Gaudenzia has given me a new perspective on the disease of addiction. I left each day inspired by their hope and courage despite traumatic experiences, daily challenges and a society that stigmatizes not only their addiction but also their HIV status. As I begin my clinical practice and undoubtedly encounter many patients struggling with addiction, I will always remember the faces and stories of the people I met this summer at Gaudenzia.” Sean said, “As an intern at Gaudenzia, I had the privilege to meet extraordinary individuals. The counselors and clinical staff who devote their life to helping the clients were a model to me as a future physician. … Similarly, the residents of Gaudenzia were an inspiration and a model of hard work and the benefit of introspection.”

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Early Foundations in Wellness: Promoting Mental and Physical Health

Student Interns:
Mallorie Heneghan, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Helen Kwan, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Jared Lucas, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Steven J. Berkowitz, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Paul Giannette, MA, Hall Mercer, Child and Family Unit

The Community Site:
Hall Mercer’s Child and Family Unit’s Children’s Summer Therapeutic Program, located at Pennsylvania Hospital, provides outpatient mental health services for youth aged 3 to 18. The Children’s Summer Therapeutic Day Program, a program for preschool children with behavioral disorders as well as emotional and social difficulties, is designed to help children play and work together. Service and treatment approaches include case management, individual, family and group art therapy, and medication.

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020: 
Environmental Health; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Mallorie, Helen and Jared worked with the Child and Family Unit staff to provide and supervise daily activities for the children attending the summer camp. The interns helped with interactive educational activities and also ensured the safety of the children on trips to the pool, museum and playgrounds. They worked to promote positive attitudes and interactions by emphasizing sharing, communication skills, and the self-soothing techniques needed to prevent and handle disputes, anger, and frustration. In addition, the interns conducted lessons on nutrition and cardiovascular and oral health. The interns also helped organize a therapeutic yoga intervention for the children to participate in three times a week. The yoga class was aimed at providing the children with techniques to handle stress and soothe themselves through breathing and stretching. Jared reflected, “Working at Hall Mercer was a very enjoyable and educational experience. I learned how to communicate and interact with the children to become both a friend and a source of guidance. Although their individual accomplishments may seem small, I know that their development will benefit exponentially as they gain essential foundations for health and wellness.” Mallorie noted, “I found my time at Hall Mercer eye-opening and incredibly rewarding. I particularly enjoyed interviewing the parents in the program about their concerns for their children and the obstacles their families face. While we may have only played a small role in the development of the children at the Summer Therapeutic Day Program, the parents were all incredibly grateful to the program, and I couldn’t help but feel like I had been able to aid in making an impact.” Helen commented, “For the past seven weeks, we have had the pleasure of interacting with and mentoring the children at Hall Mercer. Although the children are young, most of them have already led a more difficult life than I have. … An extraordinary thing about children is that even a simple gesture, the smallest of efforts, can change a child’s entire world. Knowing that I can be a part of impacting a life for the better makes me certain that my time was well spent this summer.”

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St. Columba’s: Empowering the Men Through Constant Support and Encouragement

Student Interns:
Jennifer Gwiszcz, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Occupational Therapy
Callie McGlade, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Nursing

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

Community Preceptor:
Sarah Erdo, Project H.O.M.E., St. Columba’s Safe Haven

The Community Site:
St. Columba’s, a component program of Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care, Education), is located in West Philadelphia and serves chronically homeless men who also suffer from serious mental illnesses and some co-occurring drug use disorders. The smaller size of this 25-resident safe haven sets it apart from larger shelters and encourages a sense of community among residents and case managers that helps to fight the degradation and isolation associated with homelessness. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Substance Abuse

The Project:
While working at St. Columba’s, Callie and Jen were determined to increase the residents’ overall state of health. With the understanding that merely stating facts would not accomplish this, the interns began by gaining the trust of the men and worked to build supportive relationships. Through everyday interactions such as playing games, talking, serving meals and being nonjudgmental listeners, Callie and Jen established mutual trust with the men of St. Columba’s. Using this trust, the interns were able to educate the men about healthy living habits through planned activities and informal conversations. These activities included such things as open discussions about heat safety, TB testing, personal and oral hygiene, and instruction on staying active and mobile regardless of disability. Maintaining a clean living space and attire was also stressed through one-to-one education and demonstration. In addition, Callie and Jen escorted the residents on trips to the library, aiding the men in using its resources, and worked with library staff to organize supplies to make available to the residents. Jen wrote, “The men and staff of St. Columba’s have challenged me to put assumption aside and allow myself to become engrossed in the personal tales or actions of each resident as he depicts his own story. This judgment-free attitude will aid me in my career in building trusting relationships with my clients and working to understand what area of focus is important to them.” Callie noted, “My participation in BTG this summer has truly opened my eyes to many realizations. Working at St. Columba’s has affirmed my decision in choosing a health care profession, and strengthened my commitment to helping others. The remarkable way in which the employees of St. Columba’s dealt with the issues and concerns of the residents has made it clear that people really can make a difference in others’ lives. This experience will stay with me and shape my career as a nursing professional in more ways than I can imagine.”

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Kairos House: Helping Hands at a Healing Home

Student Interns:
Hilary Bollman, Temple University, School of Medicine
Tamatha Franks, Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry

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

Community Preceptor:
Carolyn Crouch, MBA, Project H.O.M.E., Kairos House

The Community Site:
Kairos House, a component program of Project H.O.M.E.’s continuum of services, is a progressive-demand residence for men and women with a primary diagnosis of mental illness. Kairos House is a clean-and-sober environment where residents can benefit from individual case management and medical and financial assistance services. The goal of this transitional housing program is to help and encourage residents to eventually move to more independent housing. View Community Partner Web Site

Bridging the Gaps Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020: 
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Hilary and Tammy worked with Kairos House, Project H.O.M.E., to promote overall health and wellness education through a series of weekly health seminars focused on topics such as diabetes, kidney disease, oral health, cardiovascular health and nutrition. The seminars were interactive and educational experiences, including question-and-answer sessions, games, activities and quizzes to promote interest. The program included a trip to the Temple medicinal garden and making healthy snacks to learn more about diet and healthy eating, as well as a dance party to emphasize the fun and importance of regular exercise. Hilary and Tammy also scheduled and accompanied residents to their physical and mental health appointments, and assisted them with legal and financial issues. This service not only benefited the residents, but also gave the interns firsthand education and experience with the workings of medical, social, legal and financial centers serving the low-income, urban population. In addition, Tammy and Hilary arranged for visits from a mobile dentist, eye and foot doctor to their site to increase the residents’ access to health care. Hilary commented, “My experiences through BTG have opened my eyes to the fact that homelessness is an outward symptom not just of poverty, but also of a deeper struggle—whether it be physical or mental illness, exposure to violence and trauma, or a battle with addiction. Truly combating homelessness is not just about providing food, clothes and shelter. It is also about treating every person with dignity and respect, about providing them with the tools they need for healing and recovery, and, most importantly, about believing in them so that they are able to believe in themselves again.” Tammy reflected, “Through this seven-week internship, I have had the privilege and opportunity to be immersed in an organization to see the uncensored daily struggles of homelessness, severe mental illness and access to health care. … As well, this internship has allowed me to explore and develop knowledge of other professions and understand the importance and value placed in communication between such professionals so that they can better serve the individuals at hand. I am thankful for this unique learning experience, and feel as though I have become more knowledgeable, understanding, and compassionate about the population I will one day serve as a professional.”

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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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