BTG Hope

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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2012

Maternal/Child & Women's Health

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Instilling Wellness Where There Is Already Greatness

Student Interns:
Alyson Sczepanski, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program
Cori Shollenberger, Temple University, School of Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Sheila Dickens-Mosley, MSW, LSW, Salvation Army, Red Shield Family Residence

The Community Site:
The Salvation Army Red Shield Family Residence is an emergency housing shelter for families located in North Philadelphia. In addition to adequate meals and shelter, the residence provides families with education and assistance on issues pertaining to parenting, health and wellness, trauma and self-sufficiency. After-school services are also in place for school-aged children. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG 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:
At the Salvation Army Red Shield Family Residence, Aly and Cori worked primarily with the summer camp program for children aged 5 to 16. They implemented two-hour lesson plans each morning pertaining to topics such as nutrition, diet and exercise, personal hygiene, oral health, cardiovascular health, and art and music. The interns also aided other staff members in organizing various trips for the children to places such as the Mütter Museum, The Mann Music Center, the beach and the local swimming pool. In addition, Aly and Cori organized a women’s group to discuss issues pertaining to women’s health and wellness. Aly said, “My BTG experience this summer has taught me more about the various societal issues that we do not think about on a daily basis. I learned that each individual is very unique and has something to offer to other individuals and the community at large. The most important thing I learned is that getting to know someone through listening and then engaging in conversation with him or her is not only important but integral. I am extremely glad to have had this experience with each and every individual I encountered throughout the program at my site.” Cori explained, “Working at the Red Shield Family Residence made me realize firsthand the profound resilience that children exhibit. Regardless of their external circumstances, when the kids were in our classroom they were usually willing and eager to learn. … Through the women’s group, I learned that sometimes providing a safe haven where women can discuss problems with one another is more useful than providing them lists of information. I also learned that the women in the residence face issues on many levels, including financial issues, lack of support, lack of education and job readiness skills, etc., and so there is a need to tackle problems in a holistic way. I believe the Red Shield Family Residence excels at providing methods for families to become self-sufficient.”

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Asthma Health Care Institute

Student Interns:
Christine Chang, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Meredith Davis, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Allison Rosenbloom, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Charmaine Smith Wright, MD, MS, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Kate Harton, RN, BSN, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program, Franklin Site
Ayeisha Patterson, MEd, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program, Frankford Site
Tinesha Sallard, BA, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program, Frankford Site

The Community Site:
The Health Federation of Philadelphia’s Early Head Start (EHS) Program 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 families. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities Conditions; Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health

The Project:
The Asthma Health Care Institute (HCI) was created to educate caregivers of children who have asthma about asthma triggers, symptoms and interventions. Using the easy-to-read book “What to Do When Your Child Has Asthma,” Allison, Meredith and Christine worked with the Early Head Start staff to develop an asthma education curriculum. The interns accompanied child and family advocates on home visits in order to implement the curriculum. During home visits, interns reviewed important chapters in the book, informed caregivers about childhood asthma resources in the Philadelphia region, and when appropriate provided an asthma action plan for families. To incentivize participation in the Asthma HCI, caregivers were invited to an asthma luncheon. The interns successfully secured catering donations and two free tickets to Sesame Place as raffle prizes for this event. In addition to the Asthma HCI activities, Allison, Meredith and Christine also participated in a prenatal group and socialization sessions, conducted outreach activities for recruitment in the Frankford area, and assisted in the administration of a parent satisfaction survey. Allison noted, “Working at the Health Federation’s Early Head Start has greatly impacted my professional and personal development. I have particularly enjoyed working in the Frankford community because it has taken me out of my ‘comfort zone’ of Center City and University City and shown me an entirely different aspect of Philadelphia. Additionally, it has been wonderful getting to work with Christine, a medical student, and Meredith, a nursing student. We each brought unique skills and experiences to the project work. I think the multidisciplinary team was the key to our success in developing a comprehensive asthma curriculum.” Christine stated, “Through the BTG program, I was able to achieve the personal and professional goals that I set for myself this summer. First, I was able to become more familiar with the North Philadelphia community and to interact closely with its residents. Second, I learned more about the daily operations of Early Head Start (EHS) and how EHS’s projects help support its targeted population. Third, I was able to experience working closely with an interdisciplinary team of staff members and students. Lastly (and most importantly), I was able to assist the EHS staff, namely through developing and implementing the curriculum for the Asthma Health Care Institute with the other BTG interns.” Meredith noted, “My BTG experience at the Early Head Start Program helped me to understand the challenges that many families face in Northeast Philadelphia and showed me a new strategy for addressing these challenges via a home visitation model. My time with BTG helped me to understand the importance of early childhood development and of fostering the bond between caregiver and child. This internship allowed me to expand my therapeutic communication skills and experience as I provided health education to caregivers of children with asthma.”

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Breastfeeding and Oral Health Awareness for Prenatal Moms

Student Interns:
Carrie Miller, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Maris Mosley, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
Ann L. O’Sullivan PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Courtney A. Schreiber, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Theresa McKelvy, RN, MS, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program, Franklin Site

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 183 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
Carrie and Maris worked on evaluating and expanding breastfeeding, general health and oral health education with the Early Head Start prenatal and breastfeeding moms. They developed brochures to promote healthy postnatal nutrition and exercise, counseled pregnant moms on oral health during home visits, and interviewed moms about their breastfeeding challenges and successes. Their outreach around breastfeeding culminated in a citywide event for World Breastfeeding Week during which they organized and ran the Early Head Start table, providing information and resources to local families around breastfeeding. Carrie and Maris also completed a community assessment that aimed to reach every parent enrolled in the program via telephone surveys, and streamlined the compilation of the 2012 operations manual for the EHS office. Maris noted, “BTG was a great experience for me this summer. The lessons learned at my community site, as well as in the Wednesday sessions, illustrated to me that caring for a person’s health extends beyond the confines of a hospital or health practitioner’s office. The patient’s health is intricately tied to their environment, safety and emotional well-being. I also enjoyed working with students from different disciplines—through conversations and teamwork we were able to learn about the unique perspective each individual person brings to health care.” Carrie commented, “I had a wonderful summer in North Philadelphia’s Early Head Start (EHS) program and BTG. I learned so much from the staff at my community site, from the moms involved in the program and from the Wednesday sessions about Philadelphia. Most importantly, I gained an appreciation for the overwhelming array of factors that can influence an individual’s health decisions. EHS showed me that it is important to celebrate small successes on the way to living a healthy life.”

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An Early Head Start: Health Education for Pregnant Women, Children and Families in West Philadelphia

Student Interns:
Hannah Burgin-Young, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Elizabeth Yang, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Peter F. Cronholm, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice

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

The Community Site:
Early Head Start (EHS) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is a community-based program for low-income pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers living in the West Philadelphia area. The EHS mission is to “provide quality early childhood learning experiences and comprehensive family support services that enable families to be successful in the role of being their child’s first teacher.” Services include weekly home visits with hands-on child development activities, parent-child socializations, prenatal education, support and referrals, community resource referrals, health and nutrition education, mental health and substance abuse education, parenting classes, job readiness services and enrichment activities for children with disabilities. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Environmental Health; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
Hannah and Elizabeth performed many activities to aid in the functioning of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Early Head Start (EHS) Program. They attended numerous home visits and participated in socializations (parent-child play groups that facilitate child development) in an effort to meet program families and better understand their needs and circumstances. Hannah and Elizabeth provided health presentations and activities on a variety of topics including oral health, nutrition and sexually transmitted disease (STD) awareness. They also coordinated prenatal education materials. Hannah and Elizabeth were involved in other health-focused activities including health status prenatal and child chart checks to ensure that children were up to date with well-child visits and that all families had access to dental care. Hannah reflected, “Interning at EHS at CHOP has been a great learning experience for me as a future social worker. Social work emphasizes the impact the environment can have on a person, which I was able to see firsthand through my work at EHS. Seeing the support these families received, the way they connected with the EHS staff and the way the staff worked together to make a difference in these families’ lives was inspiring and clearly showed me the importance of teamwork, both within an organization and with clients in the community.” Elizabeth noted, “Through my internship at EHS at CHOP, I gained valuable insight into the lives of many families in West Philadelphia and to better understand the social and environmental contexts that shape their health. My experience was eye-opening, and it really challenged me to think about the realities of health and wellness in underserved populations after having spent my first year of medical school focusing on the biological basis of health and disease. The home visitors’ and health educators’ commitment to empowering these families was inspiring, and EHS will always serve as a model for effective community health advocacy and partnership to me. My experience as an intern at EHS at CHOP has been incredible, and it will undoubtedly guide my interactions with future patients.”

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Philadelphia Ujima BTG Experience

Student Interns:
Shawn Mattson, Drexel University College of Medicine
Shayna M. Patel, Drexel University College of Medicine

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

Community Preceptors:
Serita Reels, MPH, Drexel University College of Medicine
Candace Robertson-James, DrPH, MPH, Drexel University College of Medicine

The Community Site:
Philadelphia Ujima is sponsored by the Drexel University College of Medicine Women’s Health Education Program. Ujima is a collaborative partnership between several schools, workplaces, organizations and communities in and around Philadelphia. Their goal is to improve health outcomes for underserved groups in Philadelphia. The vision of Ujima is to create a diverse, robust macro-community of caring that is engaged and that promotes self- and group advocacy in wellness and health for the individual, family and community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; HIV; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Vision and Hearing

The Project:

This summer at Ujima, Shawn and Shayna worked on health education projects geared toward a variety of age groups. This involved both creating presentations that served an interactive purpose and designing curriculum that can be used by Ujima in the future. Specifically, the interns designed and gave presentations on nutrition and on advertising’s impact on health to high school-aged social media interns. Each Thursday Shawn and Shayna went on a community site visit to a church in West Philadelphia and delivered presentations on women’s sexual health, including sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, menopause, urinary incontinence and the effects of certain medications. Additionally, they worked on the design and content of a worksheet aimed at studying the ways in which current health behaviors might be linked to certain key life events, with the ultimate goal of helping people recognize those connections. Shawn said, “I have really appreciated the BTG experience for numerous reasons. To begin with, I have enjoyed the perspective this program has given me on Philadelphia. BTG is also amazing in that you have the opportunity to interact with students from different schools as well as different disciplines. I loved Wednesdays for these reasons: I learned about Philadelphia from people who have been here for ages, and I heard from my peers about what their perspectives and experiences have been. And that is pretty great!” Shayna commented, “Working at Philadelphia Ujima has shown me how to work well under a time crunch, and to improvise in a setting where there may not be the resources or the crowd that you expect to encounter. I always used to feel that the way I work and study is so structured, so this really taught me to be more creative and flexible in terms of the way that I was working and presenting information. In addition, it was a great feeling to find that many of our audiences were engaged and ready to learn. It is very rewarding when you find that you are able to impact a community, whether the gesture is a large or a small one.”

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Sleeping Safely With Cribs for Kids

Student Interns:
Michele Khurana, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Arya Singh, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

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

Community Preceptor:
Mary Texidor, MSW, MPH, 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Environmental Health; Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Preparedness

The Project:
Michele and Arya worked in a division of the Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) called Cribs for Kids (C4K). The objective of C4K is to provide a safe sleep environment for infants in needy families in the form of Pack ’n Plays, in order to reduce the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in Philadelphia. The interns conducted client interviews to assess eligibility for the program, tended to hotline calls, and performed follow-up assessments for those who had completed the program. Clients received Pack ’n Plays either at workshops or during home visits. During these client interactions, the interns provided safe sleep education and information on infant care. Michele and Arya feel that this summer experience has allowed them to better understand their prospective patient population, and they plan to apply their newfound skills as future health care professionals. Michele said, “During my time at Cribs for Kids, I learned so much about the difficulties faced by many people that inhabit various communities in Philadelphia. I felt that I was truly making a difference in people’s lives by providing them with safe places for their babies to sleep and education on how to care for their infant. This was an incredibly rewarding experience for me, and I am thankful for the time that I was able to spend this summer at Maternity Care Coalition.” Arya commented, “I have loved every second of my experience with Cribs for Kids. Knowing that the few preventative and interventional measures we are currently taking will benefit numerous, and maybe even save, lives is such an empowering feeling. I am grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in social work, a crucial aspect of health care that I would not otherwise have known. The memories and skills I have developed and improved over the past seven weeks will last me a lifetime.”

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Social Media and Communication for Witnesses to Hunger

Student Interns:
Megan Prilutski, Drexel University College of Medicine
Patrick Wiggins, Drexel University School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor:
Candace Robertson-James, DrPH, MPH, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Amanda Breen, PhD, Center for Hunger-Free Communities
Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH, Center for Hunger-Free Communities
Victoria Egan, Center for Hunger-Free Communities

The Community Site:
Witnesses to Hunger, a project of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities of the Drexel University School of Public Health, 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. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Environmental Health; Health Communication; Injury and Violence Prevention; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
Megan and Patrick used social media to strengthen the dialogue on advocacy, policy changes and their implications, as well as to build on the relationship between the Center for Hunger-Free Communities and its Witnesses to Hunger project and participants. The interns helped identify and develop a number of social media strategies to improve the Center and Witnesses to Hunger communication. Through the use of GroupMe, a free mobile application allowing group text messaging, the Center can readily disseminate information to all the Witnesses. The interns created Facebook groups to connect Witnesses within and between each city. These groups will serve as a forum for Witnesses to build rapport and update each other on their lives. The interns developed the initial stages of a wiki to allow for a collaborative space for those interested in looking at solutions for hunger and poverty; at the same time, they created clips from a recent Center conference and uploaded them to the Center’s Web site to enhance awareness of the experiences of those facing hunger and poverty. Lastly, a quarterly newsletter will be mailed to Witnesses, regardless of Internet access or phone capabilities, to highlight updates with Witnesses, the Center for Hunger-Free Communities and the staff. Megan noted, “BTG has taught me innumerable lessons that have both enhanced and deepened my understanding of health disparities in the city of Philadelphia. This experience has expanded my awareness of the issues that face those experiencing food insecurity. … [It] has given me the time to become familiar with a variety of policies and safety net programs that aid those experiencing both hunger and poverty. I know that I will use my heightened knowledge about the impact of health disparities on both the individual and community level throughout my career.” Patrick said, “The BTG internship taught me to deeply consider the socioeconomic and environmental factors that could impact any program implementation efforts. The Witnesses to Hunger not only experience hunger and poverty, but also housing and energy insecurity, trauma and violence. By understanding the social determinants of health, I have learned that it is most important to take the time to understand the individual, the community and the policies that interplay in one’s life. I will always take this knowledge with me as I move forward to help the community any way I can.”

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Health Education to Foster Independence and Self-Empowerment

Student Interns:
Rachel Masel, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Renee Stanco, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Joanne Muir Behm, MSS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Eugene Mochan, DO, PhD, FACOFP, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

The Community Site:
New Directions for Women, Inc. (NDFW), located in Philadelphia, 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases); Heart Disease and Stroke; HIV; Nutrition and Weight Status; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Rachel and Renee worked at New Directions for Women (NDFW) to identify and create programs to meet the health education needs of the residents. The interns’ first project was to gain an understanding of which health-related topics were most important to the women. Then, in collaboration with the staff and residents, the interns conducted several exercises focusing on preventive medicine and healthy behaviors. They facilitated sessions exploring cardiovascular health, stroke prevention, smoking cessation, nutrition and exercise, diabetes, hypertension, and HIV. In addition, Rachel and Renee organized a guest speaker from Circle of Care Philadelphia to speak on HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and responsible sexual behavior. Rachel commented, “My time spent at New Directions for Women, Inc., afforded me the opportunity to work with an urban patient population. … During my time at NDFW I aimed to provide the women with tools and strategies necessary for lifestyle modifications.” Renee noted, “This experience has broadened my understanding of women’s health in relation to the criminal justice system in Philadelphia. Using topics that interest me, I was able to share my knowledge of nutrition, exercise and preventive medicine to educate the women on various topics specific to their needs. My goal was to provide the women with a basic understanding of these topics to guide their future lifestyle decisions after leaving the NDFW facility.”

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BTG 20 Years Video
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."
BTG Student Intern
BTG 20 Years Video
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