BTG Hope

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BTG Community Preceptor
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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2012

Community Health (including HIV/AIDS)

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Laying Down Roots in West Philadelphia

Student Interns:
Laurel Lee, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Nicole Oakman, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Alia Walker, Earth’s Keepers, Inc.

The Community Site:
Earth’s Keepers, Inc. (EK), is an urban farm in Southwest Philadelphia that supports the community’s right to food sovereignty and justice. EK aims to establish a sustainable and healthy food source for those who otherwise cannot access or afford to purchase fresh, culturally appropriate organic foods. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
Nikki and Laurel worked with high school students at Earth’s Keepers (EK) to grow, harvest and sell fresh organic produce. They also led discussions and hands-on exercises related to nutrition, food sovereignty, health, cooking and guidance counseling. The interns’ work culminated in the production of a colorful mural on the side of the garden’s greenhouse. Nikki commented, “Interning at Earth’s Keepers was an excellent way to spend my summer. I was able to learn about West Philadelphia by working with teenagers and adults in West Philadelphia. This experience has helped me realize the benefits of offering educational employment opportunities to adolescents. I also realize the challenges of obtaining nutritious food in areas of Philadelphia and how urban farms can help support communities that lack access to culturally relevant and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.” Laurel noted, “I have really enjoyed my weeks at Earth’s Keepers. I have loved being outdoors, experiencing the satisfaction of growing many flourishing crops, and having the opportunity to hear about the teenage experiences of adolescents in Southwest Philly. Their personal goals and aspirations are unique, and I truly hope our summer together has helped them further define themselves. Seeing the interest people in the community have to come to the farm to volunteer, ask questions or purchase fresh produce reinforces my belief that food can bind a community, and reaffirms the importance of having local farms within otherwise food-poor neighborhoods.”

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Farm to Families Program Facilitation and Evaluation

Student Interns:
Amy Chrisfield, Drexel University School of Public Health
Michel Medina, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Jeremiah Goldstein, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Hans Kersten, MD, FAAP, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

The Community Site:
Farm to Families is part of a larger mission to reduce hunger among families at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children by providing healthy produce from local farms at a reduced rate. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
Amy and Michel were tasked with finding creative ways to streamline the Farm to Families program, facilitate its continuation and encourage further growth. During the internship, they worked closely with both the program coordinator overseeing the program’s grant status and the program’s clients. The interns assisted with the distribution of weekly produce boxes, performed administrative duties to prepare weekly orders, followed up on prescriptions written as part of the Fresh Rx program, recruited families for the program, updated the program’s new electronic database, analyzed data on the program’s first year of operation, and observed clinic proceedings with staff of the Grow Clinic for children who had failure to thrive. Amy said, “My BTG experience … provided me with an opportunity to apply my classroom knowledge in a community setting. I was able to confidently approach the challenges facing the program with the background knowledge I had, but my skills were greatly sharpened as I dealt with novel situations and unique obstacles. BTG gave me the opportunity to … directly address the serious problem of food insecurity in the 1st Congressional District. My time at Farm to Families has given me valuable experience in working under a grant-run program, communicating with an at-need population, coordinating with interdisciplinary health care professionals and evaluating intervention outcomes.” Michel commented, “The Farm to Families program has opened my eyes to the food deserts of Philadelphia. I have learned, on a personal level, the struggles that these families face with accessing healthier foods and the detrimental effects that it has on their overall health. This experience will leave me with a valuable life lesson that sometimes people may have the intention to better their lives, but their goal may still be out of reach because of circumstances out of their control. I’m glad I participated in a program that reduces hunger among families at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children by bridging the gap between families living in food deserts and their access to healthier food.”

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Bridging the Pap: Women’s Health and Community Outreach at Sayre Health Center

Student Interns:
Melissa Krechmer, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Daria Murosko, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Jeane Anne Grisso, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania, Schools of Medicine and Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Kiasha Huling, LSW, Sayre Health Center

The Community Site:
The Sayre Health Center (SHC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) at Sayre High School. The SHC aims to provide health promotion, disease prevention and primary care services to Sayre students and residents of the surrounding community. It also seeks to provide educational opportunities for high school, undergraduate and graduate students. The SHC is a cooperative effort of the University of Pennsylvania, Sayre High School (located at 58th and Walnut Streets) and the West Philadelphia community surrounding the school, including students and their families and other community members of all ages. 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; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
This summer, Melissa and Daria were part of the social health team at Sayre Health Center. Their first project was to plan a storytelling event for children and their families, including interactive storytelling; crafting; healthy snacks; a discussion about nutrition, safety and what to do when lost; summer reading suggestions; and take-home handouts for parents. Their next project focused on aspects of women’s health, particularly in planning a free Pap Smear Screening Day for Sayre patients. Melissa and Daria worked as a team to contact female patients and enroll them in insurance plans. They also coordinated with several outside agencies to provide education and resources for patients. Their ongoing projects included a weekly walking club and a biweekly yoga class. Each week, they also participated in bingo at the nearby Sunshine Senior Center, where they were able to engage with some of the seniors in the community. Melissa and Daria also helped to plan and execute other social health events, such as Flowerpot Gardening, which taught seniors to grow their own vegetables and herbs, and the Family Field Day, which brought families together to spend the day in outdoor activities. They organized the Picky Eater event, which focused on nutrition and compared traditional unhealthy meals with healthier and cheaper alternatives. Melissa and Daria promoted many of these events through direct community outreach, which allowed them to interact directly with the surrounding neighborhoods. Melissa noted, “Working at Sayre this summer has given me the opportunity to work within the West Philadelphia community. It has been an invaluable experience. I have been able to gain insight and increase appreciation of the community and other disciplines.” Daria commented, “The most unique and enlightening part of BTG was the interdisciplinary component. I had a chance to step outside the ‘med school’ bubble and to work with and learn from peers and supervisors who had a different type of training—and thus a different perspective—than I did. This summer, I came to understand that the social determinants such as poverty, access to health care, age and literacy level greatly affect the overall health of the patient. Throughout the rest of my career, I will strive to be cognizant of these factors in all of my patients, and I will use what I learned through BTG to refer them to my colleagues and to help find the resources they need.”

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Overcoming Barriers: Helping Patients with Special Health Care Needs and Their Families

Student Intern:
Karen Bernabé, Drexel University School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor:
Jeremiah Goldstein, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, Drexel University College of Medicine

The Community Site:
The Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CCYSHCN) of St. Christopher’s Hospital provides coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered medical care that improves access to services, community resources and advocacy to ensure that children obtain the support they need while promoting their independence. The CCYSHCN’s medical home model effectively provides resources and addresses the barriers that would otherwise prevent a patient and his or her family from living out a healthy life. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Disabilities Conditions; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
As many of the families at the Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CCYSHCN) of St. Christopher’s Hospital are Spanish-speaking, Karen provided interpretation of medical procedures, treatments and medication instructions, caregiver and patient questions and concerns, and information on further medical and social resources. Karen’s other activities included helping with the Reach Out and Read program, which encourages reading for children and teaches parents the importance of reading to them; creating a welcome packet for new families and patients entering the Next Steps Program; doing chart abstractions on patients with fetal alcohol syndrome to gather vital information to help supplement grants; and helping to create a needs assessment survey to identify the type of educational and social support groups families were seeking. The largest summer project Karen assisted in was the Back-to-School Carnival. This event provided patients and families with new school supplies, health information, community resources, and food and games. Karen said, “This experience has taught me how medicine and public health come together to help the community at large and meet their needs when resources are not readily available to them. It’s a humbling and rewarding experience to see how everyone comes together as a team to best meet the needs of the patients and their families using each skill set they have. … It reaffirms my passion to become a public health nurse to combine both medicine and public health to help overcome the barriers to better health care.”

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Footprints of Change: Bridging the Gap with Health Literacy

Student Interns: 
Heidar Albandar, Temple University, School of Medicine
Michael Drapala, Temple University, School of Medicine
Adrianna Hitchins, Temple University, School of Medicine
Carmen Maldonado, Temple University, School of Podiatry
Jenny Mosier, Temple University, School of Medicine
Sasha Valdizan, Temple University, School of Podiatry

Academic Preceptors: 
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine
Kathleen Reeves, MD, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Marla Davis-Bellamy, JD, MGA, Temple University, Center for Bioethics, Urban Health and Policy
Majeedah A. Rashid, Nicetown Community Development Corporation

The Community Site:
The Temple University Center for Bioethics, Urban Health and Policy, located in Temple University’s School of Medicine, comprises a multidisciplinary team of academic and community representatives committed to increasing access to quality health care and to supporting the healthy development of vulnerable and underserved communities. 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.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Environmental Health; Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness

The Project:
The interns worked with the Temple University Center for Bioethics, Urban Health and Policy on a variety of projects. Jenny worked with the leaders of the Nicetown community and the Community Development Corporation to expand and promote the Nicetown Community Garden. Jenny’s activities included testing the soil for lead and other heavy metals, securing lumber and plant donations, and organizing two community days and making garden beds. She also made a poster to promote the garden and invited community members to sign up for their own garden bed at Nicetown’s community Give Back Festival. To promote awareness of proper foot care for diabetics, Carmen and Sasha visited three senior centers in the Philadelphia area and gave presentations on proper foot care for diabetics and the services podiatrists render; they invited a podiatrist to address questions and concerns from seniors. They also created two pamphlets on the Affordable Care Act, one addressing what the act means for Medicare recipients and the other explaining the individual mandate and insurance options. Because raising awareness about the Affordable Care Act will be an ongoing process, digital files of these fliers and a companion PowerPoint were packaged together and made available for use at health fairs and other community outreach opportunities. Mike and Heidar conducted interviews and led discussions with community members and leaders, physicians, social workers and directors of senior organizations to learn more about the personal and institutional barriers that prevent utilization of hospice and advance directives in the North Philadelphia community. The interns spoke with dozens of individuals at outpatient clinics, community centers and recovery houses and provided basic education on the purpose of hospice and the importance of advance directives. Individuals who showed interest in learning more about an advance directive were referred to their physicians or community case managers. Mike and Heidar also helped to establish a new partnership between Temple’s medical and law schools that will allow students from both disciplines to continue education and outreach about advance directives throughout Philadelphia well after BTG ends. Additionally, after speaking with a number of community members and leaders about the needs of individuals in the areas surrounding Temple’s School of Medicine, Mike and Heidar also put together a condensed resource list to provide seniors with information on a number of available vital community, health and financial resources. Carmen reflected, “Working in the community of North Philadelphia this summer has provided me with great insight into the intricacies and structure of the area in which I currently live. … My experiences in BTG this summer have inspired me to get more involved in the community.” Sasha noted, “The BTG internship was an eye-opening experience. I have lived in Philadelphia for a year and feel I have had a narrow perspective on poverty and underserved communities. This summer I have learned that community problems are not stagnant but constantly evolving and changing. I have also come to appreciate the people in North Philadelphia that are trying to change their community and environment.” Heidar reflected, “My interactions with the elderly have had a profound impact on my thinking and outlook. It is difficult for a person as young as I am to appreciate how health issues truly evolve as one ages. It is one thing to theoretically ponder over the declining health, increased dependence and increased introspective nature of the elderly. It is another thing entirely to speak to a 92-year-old individual. … In addition to learning from patients, I have had the privilege of talking to elderly, mentally challenged and substance-abuse patients on the concept of a living will and advance directives.” Mike stated, “I came into the summer with a somewhat resolute and narrow perspective on end-of-life issues, and speaking with seniors in North Philadelphia has given me great insight into the complex social, emotional and financial factors that shape people’s feelings toward life and death. Additionally, the program has allowed Heidar and I to build relationships with community leaders, senior centers, physicians and other professional schools here at Temple, and it’s exciting to know that we will continue to be able to participate in community education and outreach after the summer and BTG ends.” Jenny said, “My time working with Nicetown Community was a wholly rewarding experience. I learned that no matter how rough and tough a neighborhood may seem, there are many, many wonderful people who are trying to make their neighborhood a better place. I was honored to have the opportunity to help build a garden for this community because they were so thankful for it and so genuinely excited for the opportunity to plant their own foods. … After this experience … I feel more culturally competent as a person and a future physician.”

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Overcoming Adversity

Student Interns:
Mohamed Hagahmed, Drexel University College of Medicine
Doreen Panzarella, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Steven Rosenzweig, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Theodore Corbin, MD, Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice
Linda Rich, MSW, Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice

The Community Site:
The Healing Hurt People (HHP) program of the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, located at Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, is a trauma-informed, hospital-based violence intervention program. It is designed to intervene in the lives of injured patients after a violent and often life-changing moment. HHP is a community-focused program that seeks to reduce violence among individuals aged 8 to 30 through immediate and relevant opportunities for healing and connection. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:  
Access to Health Care; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Doreen and Mohamed were in direct and personal contact with the Healing Hurt People clients. The interns were privileged to become intimately involved with the young people’s road to recovery and the long path to a successful future. Doreen and Mohamed attended the S.E.L.F. (Safety, Emotions, Loss, Future) group and discussed current issues and challenges that clients face on a daily basis. They were also in charge of designing the Service Learning Day, which aimed at educating high school students about the various aspects of public health with an emphasis on the dire consequences of chronic exposure to violence to individuals and to society as a whole. Doreen noted, “My experience at BTG has given me the opportunity for professional and personal development that I could not have possibly gained elsewhere. I’ve learned the value of storytelling and compassion. I now understand in many situations in my private and professional life that there is more I can learn than teach.” Mohamed commented, “As a previous refugee and victim of violence myself, I was able to relate to our clients at so many different levels. I realized that I took many things in my life for granted. … I commend my clients for their resilience and strong survival instinct, but it’s eventually the responsibility of the entire society to provide them with the support and guidance that would enable them to overcome long-lasting adversity. After all, it takes a village to raise a man.”

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Ryan White Certification:
Enabling Access to Care for HIV-Positive Patients

Student Interns:
Chris Park, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy
Ann Vale, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Mary Hess, PharmD, FASHP, FCCM, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy
Robert Winn, MD, MS, AAHIVS, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptor:
Virginia Austin, Mazzoni Center

The Community Site:
Mazzoni Center Family and Community Medicine is located in Center City Philadelphia and provides compassionate, comprehensive primary health care services focusing on the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; HIV; Immunization; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Ann and Chris worked on several projects at the Mazzoni Center. Their community outreach project focused on identifying HIV-positive patients who were eligible to receive Ryan White funds for HIV care and related services. Ann and Chris contacted more than 650 patients with HIV to verify their eligibility. If a patient met the criteria and was deemed eligible, Ann and Chris scheduled a meeting with the patient to complete the Ryan White certification process. In the clinic, they supported the medical assistants by checking patients into rooms and providing various clinic and lab activities. Chris reflected, “My internship at the Mazzoni Center has been both educational and eye-opening. I was able to build upon the clinical skills I learned in school, but more importantly, I was exposed to a unique population that is largely underserved in the health care community. Through each patient interaction, I gained insight into the various issues that affect the LGBT community. … I am grateful to have had the opportunity to help serve this community because it will prepare me to become more compassionate and better informed not just as a clinician but also as a person.” Ann said, “Working in a collaborative family medical practice this summer has been an invaluable experience. I have learned so much about primary care and have seen firsthand some of the struggles members of the LGBT community face when accessing medical services. The BTG program has helped me practice the skills and demonstrate the compassion necessary to be a successful practitioner in today’s health care system.”

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Do One Thing

Student Interns:
Mara Gordon, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Jennifer Lydic, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice, Fels Institute of Government
Beth Rutstein, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Brendan G. Carr, MD, MS, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Helen Koenig, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Danielle Parks, MPH, Philadelphia Outreach Workers, HIV Outreach
Stacey Trooskin, MD, PhD, Philadelphia Outreach Workers, HIV Outreach

The Community Site:
Philadelphia Outreach Workers (formerly Penn Presbyterian Outreach into West Philadelphia) trains health-professional students to provide HIV and HCV testing in the community. In doing so, it teaches future physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and public health practitioners the importance of incorporating HIV and HCV screening and education into their practice. In addition, it provides them with the enriching opportunity to move beyond their hospitals, lecture halls and campuses to serve the communities in which they work and live. The Do One Thing Campaign is an innovative and exciting HIV and Hepatitis C testing campaign in Southwest Philadelphia that aims to raise awareness and promote testing. It includes a large-scale social marketing and media promotion plan, massive mobilization of community leaders and local institutions to promote and destigmatize testing, a block-based HIV and HCV testing campaign, and a tight partnership with a local federally qualified health center.

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health Communication; HIV; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
Mara, Jennifer and Beth were integral in establishing the Do One Thing (D1T) testing and outreach activities in the Southwest Philadelphia community, particularly in the 19143 zip code. The interns provided testing services at community sites, including in the D1T mobile testing van; outreach and education to local businesses and community partners; and linkage to care and treatment for those who tested positive. Each intern worked on a certain aspect of the Do One Thing media campaign: youth outreach, male-oriented business outreach, and developing material for the Web site. Beth reflected, “I believe that this BTG experience has been invaluable in my learning as a clinician, particularly with troubled, or difficult, clients and/or patients. I have learned to be both a better and more active listener, as well as a better counselor in respect to both advice and empathy. In contrast to being in a classroom all day, I have been able to develop my interpersonal skills and feel as though I am much better prepared for the clinics next year. On a personal level, this particular BTG internship has exposed me to a way of life that I had not been previously familiar with and I now feel as though I can better relate and understand my future patients as I have been immersed in their lives, even if for such a short period of time.” Jenn noted, “Doing outreach and testing with BTG this summer has been an exciting and eye-opening experience. Learning how to better talk with people in their community about HIV has proven both challenging and rewarding. In particular, I have come to realize that though a stigma still very much exists around HIV, the need to be tested is important. … Additionally, I have loved outreaching to businesses that target men. In speaking with store owners, I have gained insight both into the needs of the community and its perceptions of HIV, as well as into creative ways to engage men to get tested for HIV in the future.” Mara commented, “Being a part of the Do One Thing campaign has cemented for me how fascinating primary care and preventative health can be. It’s been exciting to be part of such an innovative project, one that links community-based education and screening with a federally qualified primary care center, and it has motivated me to start thinking beyond our existing models for primary care. Working as an HIV counselor has also been a very humbling experience; I feel continually challenged by the work of respecting both patients’ autonomy and the larger societal factors that shape their lives. Learning to navigate the line between the two has been one of the greatest learning experiences of this summer, and will undoubtedly continue to be throughout the rest of my career.”

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Improving Quality of Life at Philadelphia FIGHT:
Serving Those Living With HIV/AIDS

Student Interns:
Aureen Baksh, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Kari Hexem, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptor:
Terry Trudeau, MEd, Philadelphia FIGHT

The Community Site:
Philadelphia FIGHT is a comprehensive AIDS service organization providing primary care, consumer education, advocacy and research on potential treatments and vaccines. FIGHT was formed as a partnership of individuals living with HIV/AIDS and clinicians, who joined together to improve the lives of people living with the disease. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Health Communication; HIV; Mental Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Initially, Aureen and Kari gained an understanding of FIGHT’s different departments and programs through engagement and participation in each of the key facets of the organization. This included attending program and department staff meetings. The interns then developed a consumer satisfaction survey to collect extensive demographic information about the individuals using FIGHT services and to gauge their satisfaction regarding those services. Aureen and Kari gave presentations that focused on the importance of maintaining oral health and practicing proper nutrition. To expand on the existing picture biography project at FIGHT, Aureen and Kari conducted a number of interviews with exceptional clients. This project aims to provide FIGHT clients with relatable and inspirational stories of others living with HIV/AIDS. These biographies decorate the walls of the facility for viewing by FIGHT clientele and staff. Kari reflected, “This has been a great experience for me to work in an actual community site. Even though I’ve had a lot of ‘public health’ experience, it has all been in either hospitals or state health departments. FIGHT is such an inspiring place. The patients really seem to like it here, and the atmosphere is really welcoming.” Aureen commented, “This is my first time doing anything in a public health setting, and I absolutely loved it. FIGHT helped me gain a much better understanding of so many of the complicated and intertwined variables that influence an individual’s access to care, which I think is enormously necessary for anyone working in health care. FIGHT is a great place, and provides such an open and accepting environment for its clients and staff.”

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Fostering Strength in Family and Community

Student Interns:
Katherine Romelfanger, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Sarah Trotta, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Myra Brown, MBA, Intercultural Family Services, Inc.

The Community Site:
Intercultural Family Services, Inc., located in West Philadelphia, provides more than 18 programs to Philadelphia individuals and families to stabilize, strengthen and unite families and diverse communities. Programs provided by Intercultural include in-home case management involving case managers and home visits, parenting skill enhancement classes, a WorkReady program for high school students, housing counseling, interpretation and translation, and a Music and Mentorship program for children. Intercultural also operates two outpatient behavioral health clinics providing psychological testing, evaluations, and individual as well as family-based and functional family therapy. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Oral Health; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Katie and Sarah worked with Intercultural Family Stabilization Services. They jointly managed two cases and focused on enriching the families’ well-being by encouraging stable housing and employment; healthful nutrition; school attendance for children; counseling for mental health, substance abuse, and family dynamics; academic, financial, and sexual responsibility; and general and oral health for parents and children. To better serve families, Sarah and Katie needed to be keenly aware of Philadelphia’s community resources. This aspect of their work required them to review, update and reorganize the agency’s extensive directory of citywide community resources. Finally, Sarah and Katie created presentations for parenting classes about postpartum depression/birth-related PTSD and oral health for parents and children. Katie realized, “It’s not enough to give someone information about a service or tell them they need to do something. … I’ve seen aspects of life impacting and lessening one’s commitment to health, which I never seriously considered. My most important lesson has been that we, professional to professional and professional to client, learn mutually from each other, and collaboration is necessary to ensure a patient’s holistic well-being.” Sarah reflected, “There is extraordinary need in Philadelphia—need that extends beyond what we can even comprehend. It has truly been a privilege to work with individuals who are committed to bettering their lives, despite vast institutionalized oppression. I’ve had the opportunity to witness the resilient nature of the human spirit and the strength that creates vibrancy and life in underserved communities.”

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Nice to Meet You

Student Intern:
Daniel DeFrancisco, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Vincent Zarro, MD, PhD, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions

Community Preceptor:
Chinemelu Oguekwe, MSW, Lutheran Children and Family Service, Refugee Resettlement

The Community Site:
The Lutheran Children and Family Service (LCFS) Refugee Resettlement Program, located in Northeast Philadelphia, provides housing assistance, health care access, educational programs, counseling and a variety of other immigration-related services for refugees and asylees. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
At the Lutheran Children and Family Service (LCFS) Refugee Resettlement Program, Dan coordinated the medical care of newly arrived refugees. This included scheduling and escorting clients to their appointments, and making sure prescriptions were filled and treatment plans were followed. Language and cultural differences presented challenges to the process. Dan found that interpreters, humor, respectful and creative methods of communication, and patience were all tools that helped ease those barriers. Dan said, “I became interested in international health, specifically refugees, while studying public health as an undergraduate, but it was not until this summer working for LCFS that I came to understand the unique challenges faced by these populations in accessing health care. I saw firsthand the impact that a patient, caring physician can have on the lives of their patients. I really could not imagine having had a better experience this summer, and know that I will always carry with me a soft spot in my heart for refugees.”

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Helping Refugees Navigate the Health Care Maze

Student Interns:
Jenna Fox, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Andrew Kay, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Marc Altshuler, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
James D. Plumb, MD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptors:
Natasha Kelemen, Nationalities Service Center
Gretchen Wendel, Nationalities Service Center

The Community Site:
Nationalities Service Center (NSC), located in Center City, provides an array of resettlement services, including housing, health care and employment, for immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia area. NSC works in partnership with Jefferson Family Medicine Associates and other health clinics throughout the city of Philadelphia to provide refugee health services. 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; Immunization

The Project:
Jenna and Andy worked on a variety of health-related projects at the Nationalities Service Center (NSC). Both students helped escort refugee patients to their initial health screenings, appointments with medical specialists, follow-up tests and dental care appointments, and aided them in accessing translation services. Individually, Jenna collected data on health care access for NSC outcomes assessment and grant writing, helped refugee clients apply for Social Security disability income, and developed a patient education sheet to address the growing Bhutanese refugee population coming into Philadelphia with rheumatic heart disease. Andy researched health care information relevant to the refugees and presented it to the Iraqi community, along with handouts he created detailing ways to receive free or low-cost medical services. Jenna reflected, “Working at NSC during my BTG experience this summer has afforded me the unique opportunity to observe firsthand the challenges that refugee patients face in navigating the United States health care system. It has been a wonderful springboard to my further involvement with the Philadelphia refugee population through work with the Refugee Health Partners group at Jefferson.” Andy noted, “My experience at the NSC has shown me some of the tremendous challenges refugees face both for receiving medical care and adjusting to life in a new country. Despite these obstacles, it is wonderful to see these families thrive and pursue the American dream. I have found a newfound appreciation for refugees that will stay with me throughout my medical career.”

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Sudanese Women’s Group

Student Interns:
Eunice Chay, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ijeoma Chinwuba, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
 
Academic Preceptors:
Joseph Metmowlee Garland, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Sarah Peterson, MSW, HIAS and Council Migration Service of Philadelphia
 
The Community Site:
HIAS and Council Migration Service of Philadelphia works to resettle, reunite and represent immigrants and refugees of limited means residing in the Delaware Valley. The agency seeks the fair treatment and integration into American society of immigrants from all backgrounds. HIAS Pennsylvania is a partnership with Penn Center for Primary Care and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 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:
Ijeoma and Eunice facilitated a biweekly women’s group for recently resettled Sudanese refugee women living in Northeast Philadelphia. Each meeting focused on a particular health topic or life skill, such as family planning, nutrition, oral health and financial literacy. Learning activities took place in clients’ homes as well as at various sites in the community, such as health clinics and grocery stores. Guest speakers were invited to present on pregnancy, personal safety and women’s health. Individually, Ijeoma worked to establish a link between the Drexel Women’s Health Center and the Penn Center for Primary Care in order to provide longitudinal care. Eunice assessed the need for improved access to pediatric dental care by identifying community resources and patterns of utilization. In addition, both Ijeoma and Eunice served as liaisons between patients and medical and dental clinics, as well as between the clinics and HIAS, by acting as patient escorts, scheduling appointments, securing interpretation services, and communicating messages and health information between patients and their caseworkers at HIAS. Eunice noted, “Working at HIAS and with refugee families this summer gave me a glimpse of the complex issues that refugees face in the United States. Their health is affected by their housing situation, finances, language barriers, culture, etc. … It was truly an honor to get to know these families and their advocates at HIAS. I am humbled by the resilience of their collective human spirit. This experience has inspired and challenged me to want to do more for them as a dental professional and community advocate.” Ijeoma said, “Working with HIAS and our clients has been an endlessly gratifying experience. I believe the women’s group represents many of the concepts we learn about and hope to address in the future. Much like our future patients, our clients are already resilient and inspirational women—our task was to share the resources and knowledge needed to help them attain increased safety, health, education and financial independence. I am thankful that we were given the opportunity to begin doing this type of work so early in our careers, and I am even more grateful to have accompanied our clients through part of their journey.”

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A Look at Health Care Through the Eyes of Asian Immigrants

Student Interns:
Jenny (Ying) Jiang, Temple University, School of Medicine
Baofang Zhao, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

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

Community Preceptor:
Vincent Zarro, MD, PhD, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions

The Community Site:
Newcomers’ Health Center is a free clinic located at Holy Redeemer Church at 10th and Vine Streets. The clinic is run entirely by volunteers, which includes a team of doctors, registered nurses, students and many other health care professionals. It serves predominantly Chinese- and Indonesian-speaking immigrant populations in the Philadelphia area, many of whom lack access to adequate health care due to barriers such as language, lack of insurance or immigration status.

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
Jenny and Baofang worked with the Newcomers’ Health Project team. They developed a basic interpreter training program that is accessible entirely online and is suitable for long-term use by the clinic. Their training program includes a PowerPoint presentation, YouTube videos and a reference video of a mock patient encounter through a Mandarin interpreter. Jenny and Baofang also began the process of converting the clinic’s medical records to an electronic system and revamped the check-in process to accommodate this process. Through their volunteer experience at the clinic as interpreters and front desk staff, they developed a greater understanding of the needs of the Asian immigrant population of Philadelphia as well as the problems that many immigrants face particularly in accessing adequate health care. Baofang noted, “Our parents are immigrants and we are immigrant ourselves. BTG has provided us opportunity to understand better the need of this community we live in. It gave us better idea of serving the populations in this community.” Jenny stated, “I never anticipated how much the program would affect me. The summer has helped me understand the variety of struggles the Asian immigrant population face. It has highlighted the more personal aspect of the immigration debate.”

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South Philadelphia Mexican Outreach – Proyecto Mexicano del sur de Filadelfia

Student Interns:
Mariana Girón, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Ryan Keating, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
John E. Nawn, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Hillary R. Bogner, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Sr. Maria Lauren Donohue, MSBT, South Philadelphia Latino Community Outreach
Mirna Ramirez, Casa Monarca

The Community Site:
South Philadelphia Latino Community Outreach, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, provides social services, education, spiritual guidance and advocacy opportunities to the Latino community in South Philadelphia.

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Through the Hispanic Outreach Ministry, Mariana, Ryan and John participated in a variety of activities, including teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at two locations in South Philadelphia. To improve community health literacy, the interns coordinated several presentations on health care topics of critical importance to the Latino population, including mental health, substance abuse and safe sleeping practices for infants. In addition, they organized library visits to familiarize their students with the public library system, offered basic computer skills training, and traveled with their students to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Outside of their work with the Hispanic Outreach Ministry, the interns planned and led a biweekly book club in the St. Thomas Aquinas parish aimed, in part, at exposing children to different cultures and improving their mathematics skills. They also provided recreational activities and chaperoned field trips at a summer camp offered by Casa Monarca, a community organization that encourages immigrants and their children to learn more about their Hispanic heritage. In conclusion, the students collaborated with the Hispanic community of South Philadelphia in order to better equip them to advocate for themselves and others. Mariana reflected, “After working with the Latino community of South Philadelphia this summer, I will always remember that this population faces many special challenges: language barriers, undocumented legal status, poverty and all the issues that come from living in a foreign culture. Although my family has faced some of these obstacles, it was very powerful for me to witness them in another community away from home. I was reminded that these challenges are not specific to my family but are present in all the Latino immigrant communities in the United States. Being fully aware of these issues will allow me to better understand and serve this population in the future. Finally, I understood the importance of being able to link patients with the resources that they need, especially for the problems that I will not be able to directly address as a physician.” Ryan noted, “Working with the Hispanic community in South Philadelphia has been one of my most fulfilling positions. After teaching English, I have realized that speaking a language can mean much more than just communicating at the store or market. To many people, the ability to speak English means being a voice for their family and community. I have been inspired by the hard work and generosity of the people I have met, and I consider myself lucky to be a new member of this wonderful community.” John commented, “Working in South Philly this summer gave me an excellent opportunity to see the importance of building communities that can advocate for themselves, both in regards to their health and otherwise. Having long desired to volunteer in a community setting, it humbled me to work alongside individuals who worked diligently to care for their families and community. Working in the Hispanic community sharpened my awareness of the importance of building strong relationships that better allow individuals to gather the specific skills they need. The love among members of the community that they shared with us, the interns, spurred me in turn to work harder with them: Their compassion encouraged my compassion. In learning how to partner with the community to improve their health care access and understanding, I’ve learned a lesson that will influence my future clinical practice.”

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Emergency Preparedness: Everybody Ready 2.0

Student Interns:
Danielle Barth, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Caitlin Mooney, 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

Community Preceptor:
Chad Thomas, MPH, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Program

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Outreach Program focuses on efforts to incorporate vulnerable populations and community engagement in emergency planning. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Health Communication; Immunization; Mental Health; Preparedness

The Project:
During the internship, Caitlin and Danielle contacted community and faith-based organizations in Philadelphia and encouraged the organizations to register for emergency preparedness training (Everybody Ready 2.0: Health and Emergency Planning for Individuals, Families and Caregivers). The focus was on community sites that served vulnerable populations such as children; older adults; and blind, deaf and non-English-speaking individuals. Caitlin and Danielle visited the agencies/groups that registered for the training and conducted assessment interviews to identify what needs these communities would have in an emergency situation. The assessment interviews were also a way to establish a working relationship with the community agencies/groups so that they could give outreach materials to community members on an ongoing basis. Caitlin, Danielle and Chad Thomas returned to the sites to assist with the Everybody Ready 2.0 emergency preparedness training. Caitlin noted, “During my internship … I learned about many community organizations and the needs of the communities these organizations serve. Also, I learned a lot about preparing for emergencies and the importance of having the tools necessary to adequately prepare for any type of emergency. This internship gave me insight into the needs of vulnerable populations that I will carry over to my career as a social worker.” Danielle commented, “My experience … provided me with a greater understanding of many of the different community-based organizations in Philadelphia and the populations that they serve. … I also know how to prepare for a health-related emergency and can pass this information on to my future clients as a nurse so that they may be prepared. … This internship also helped me develop my skills in interacting with professionals in the community and finding the resources that I need to complete my projects.”

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Patient Assistance Programs: Improving Medication Access for Uninsured Philadelphians

Student Interns:
Elisa Boody, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University
Lauren Finn, Drexel University School of Public Health
Molly Knowles, Drexel University School of Public Health
Anais Mahone, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, School of Social Work
Joshua Prasad, Drexel University School of Public Health
Sarah Windt, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice

Academic Preceptors:
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Amy Montemarano, JD, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University

Community Preceptor:
Sara Enes, MSW, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health operates eight health centers in neighborhoods throughout the city. It is the mission of the health centers to provide high-quality, comprehensive health care to all Philadelphians, regardless of their insurance status. The services provided by the health centers include primary and preventive care for adults and children, along with key public health services. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health aims to protect and promote the health of all Philadelphians through the delivery of services at the health centers. 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.); Mental Health

The Project:
The Patient Assistance Program serves low-income uninsured health center patients who are prescribed medications that are not available in the health center pharmacy. Each BTG intern was assigned to a different health center, helping patients fill out applications to receive free medications through philanthropic programs at the pharmaceutical companies. Navigating the applications can be complex, since each pharmaceutical company requires different documentation. The interns helped patients with enrollment applications, compiled required documents, wrote advocacy letters for patients, tracked refills and distributed medications. This program assists patients who would otherwise not be able to afford their medications. Elisa stated, “As a law student interested in pursuing health and medical law, this internship has taught me a great deal about what kind of attorney I would like to be. … This will include helping people navigate the ever-confusing and changing world of health care. As an attorney, I can become a true patient advocate inside and outside of the hospital setting. My experience with the Department of Public Health has equipped me with a better understanding of what a client or patient needs beyond traditional medical care.” Lauren commented, “Acting as an intern for the Patient Assistance Program has really opened my eyes to the huge gaps present in health care for those who are uninsured or underinsured. It has been really inspiring to have the opportunity to provide access to critical medications to these patients who are in great need. Only through the provision of access to care for all patients, regardless of income or insurance, can we ensure the health and well-being of all Philadelphians.” Molly said, “It has been a privilege to be a part of this program that provides essential medications to people who would otherwise go without. I have learned so much about the enormous struggle to access programs for low-income and uninsured patients, and how the fragmentation of the health care system jeopardizes continuity of care for so many. I am amazed by patients’ determination during this often frustrating process. This experience has helped me to have a better understanding of the health care resources available and the obstacles to their use, and it will inform my future advocacy for health care access and equity.” Anais commented, “I greatly valued learning about the resources available for uninsured Americans through the Patient Assistance Program. This experience has enabled me to become a better advocate, an educator and active participant in our nation’s journey toward better health care. I have been truly blown away by the resiliency and courageousness displayed by the community members I have worked with. They have positively impacted me, and I am very grateful for this experience.” Josh said, “Working as a patient advocate has been almost a combination of various previous job experiences for me. I’ve been able to use my previous experiences working in a pharmacy, in an office and in a hospital towards better understanding this position. But also, I see myself using the experience from this job in the realm of future public health education and jobs. We learn a lot about ‘high-risk’ populations and other various buzzwords in class, but actually being able to interact with and serve them is a completely different ball game.” Sarah commented, “As a patient advocate, I observed the importance of receiving quality health care regardless of one’s socioeconomic status. To be a part of aiding this community in sustaining a healthy and active lifestyle while being uninsured or having a small amount of coverage has been a rewarding experience. Each day provided me with the opportunity to meet individuals of various cultures, who often spoke first languages other than English. Through the Patient Assistance Program, I was happy to be involved with these patients ensuring them free or discounted medications.”

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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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