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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2012

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

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Weekly Seminar Helps Promote Health, Hope & Happiness in HIV-Symptomatic Individuals in Rehabilitation

Student Interns:
Rachel Sachs, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Louise Vlachos, 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:
Rhonda Blackson, RN, CARN, Gaudenzia, People With Hope
Malcolm Ennels, BA, Gaudenzia, People With Hope
Michelle Woltz, MHS, CRNP, CARN, Gaudenzia, People With Hope

The Community Site:
Gaudenzia’s 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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Heart Disease and Stroke; HIV; Mental Health; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use

The Project:
Louise and Rachel were welcomed into the Gaudenzia People With Hope “family,” where they learned about recovery and treatment options for chemically dependent adults with co-occurring HIV/AIDS. The interns also assisted with daily recovery meetings and led seminars on health-related topics such as smoking, HIV and related diseases, cardiovascular health and nutrition. In addition, Louise and Rachel led a trip to the Mütter Museum and assisted the residents in making a healthy meal with vegetables from the farmers market. Rachel commented, “BTG has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have participated in, in my path to my career as a physician. I learned how to express my feelings and some coping skills that will help me during the ups and downs likely to occur throughout school and my career. The most important things I learned from BTG are the power of listening and to not make generalizations or assumptions based on a person’s race/sexuality/ethnicity/gender.” Louise noted, “My experience at Gaudenzia through BTG … has allowed me to learn firsthand the value of patience, building relationships, mutual respect and communication. Most importantly, though, it has taught me to never underestimate just how much showing care can positively affect the outcome of a situation. My time spent working through BTG was both rewarding and inspirational, along with being a great reminder of why I decided upon a career in medicine.”

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Consortium: Community Mental Health and Wellness

Student Interns:
Miriam Ciner, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Alyssa Hansen, 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 Preceptors:
Marvin Elias, PhD, Consortium, Inc., Chestnut Place Clubhouse
Raymond Harrod, Consortium, Inc., Seeds of Hope

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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Throughout the summer, Miriam and Alyssa worked with the Consortium Clubhouse members specifically in the area of health and wellness. Workshops on nutrition, oral health and back-to-work wellness encouraged members to lead a healthy lifestyle. At Consortium’s Seeds of Hope, a recovery program for individuals with severe mental illnesses, Miriam and Alyssa focused on women’s health and relationship recovery. Alyssa commented, “My experience this summer has been amazing. After working with individuals with severe mental illnesses, it has become apparent that autonomy and accountability are important to the recovery process as well as the overall health of individuals in the programs. The individuals at both of the Consortium programs have been extremely accepting of us and open to sharing their experiences with us. I really appreciate and value the relationships I have formed through this opportunity!” Miriam noted, “This summer has been very instrumental in helping me to have a better understanding of different communities and the challenges they face. Speaking with members and learning about their pasts has introduced me to a whole new facet of society that I had never been exposed to before. It was especially helpful to work with two different branches of the Consortium and compare the programs that they each offer to their members. I enjoyed learning new methods of working with individuals who have mental illnesses both from the sites as well as from the perspective of my partner, who is of a different discipline.”

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Small Feet, Big Strides

Student Interns:
Eric Abhold, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Andrea Aduna, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Cindy W. Christian, MD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Nutrition; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The main focus for Eric and Andrea at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CcTC) was to build relationships with both children and staff by assisting in the classroom and acting as positive role models. The core of CcTC’s philosophy is the Sanctuary Model, which promotes positive reinforcement and nonviolent solutions. The interns’ daily schedule included assisting in circle time, arts and crafts, water play, reading children’s books, dancing and mealtime. In addition to these roles Andrea and Eric also implemented weekly health-related activities to teach the children about proper hand washing, germs, oral hygiene, cardiovascular health, nutrition and exercise. Andrea explained that her experience at CcTC over the course of the summer has been “extremely rewarding and inspirational. The children and staff at the Therapeutic Nursery taught me the importance of implementing a constructive, safe and supportive program for children. I am amazed by the energy, curiosity, honesty and resilience from these children. … I am truly grateful for the opportunity and the insight CcTC has given me into the mental health issues associated with trauma in the pediatric population.” Eric summarized his time at CcTC as “the perfect summer experience for a starting medical student. It was an extremely fun and rewarding experience, but also a unique hands-on experience in dealing with behaviorally and emotionally troubled children. … Forming bonds with the children proved to be a fairly easy task; it was the maintenance and emotional toll that these bonds took on me that was difficult to deal with. … The children are amazing.”

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Modifying Behavior While Promoting Wellness and Having Fun!

Student Interns:
Andrea Barberio, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Cherilyn Cecchini, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Katlin Luu, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Sara B. Kinsman, MD, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, 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, 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 children aged 4 to 7 with behavioral disorders as well as emotional and social difficulties, is designed to help children play and work together. Service and treatment approaches include group activities and art therapy, individual and family therapy, case management and psychiatric services. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
Cherilyn, Andrea and Katlin assisted the staff at Hall Mercer in the Therapeutic Day Program. The interns aided in teaching the children how to appropriately change their behavior through redirection, reward and self-soothing techniques. The interns also helped to supervise and engage the children on their trips to the park, pool and museums. The second part of their project focused on educating the children at Hall Mercer about the importance of oral health. Using an educational puppet, they modeled the proper way to brush and floss teeth. They also distributed floss and toothbrushes to the children, so that they could continue to care for their teeth at home. By providing this demonstration and these supplies, the interns aimed to increase awareness about the importance of brushing and flossing teeth adequately both at a young age and throughout life. Cherilyn said, “BTG has demonstrated the importance of teamwork and communication across various disciplines when working within the community. My experiences have proven both challenging but absolutely rewarding. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the BTG program and to have provided guidance and support to disadvantaged youth.” Katlin noted, “My time with BTG has been truly amazing and enriching. Not only have I received the opportunity to interact with different disciplines, but I also have been able to better connect with my community. Through this experience, I have also learned the importance of building the community and the community’s positive relationship in maintaining good health. This summer has really been rewarding and has motivated me to stay involved.” Andrea commented, “Throughout my experience with BTG I have enjoyed getting to work with students in other disciplines and schools. It has been a great opportunity to work on teamwork and communication, while also giving back to my community. It was very rewarding to be able to help out in a community center. I was able to help where help was needed and also gain a very powerful experience. There were many challenges throughout the summer, the biggest of which was saying goodbye at the end of the summer. I loved my time with BTG and will definitely treasure what I’ve learned in my future career.”

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