BTG Hope

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BTG Community Preceptor
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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2013

Children & Youth

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Artology Camp: An Interdisciplinary Summer Learning Experience

Student Interns:
Druv Das, Drexel University College of Medicine
Jinna Deslandes, Drexel University College of Medicine
Seth Laucks, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Julianne Siracusa, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Academic Preceptor:
Florence Ierardi, MM, MT-BC, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Community Preceptors:
Vivian Nix-Early, PhD, BuildaBridge
Jamaine Smith, BuildaBridge

The Community Site:
Artology, an art and biology summer camp of BuildaBridge, is an interdisciplinary, dynamic educational experience connecting artistic and scientific discovery to sharpen students’ creative proficiency, stimulate investigative inquiry, and deepen a sense of public responsibility. Artology sparks students’ curiosity through a curriculum that integrates natural sciences and the arts and utilizes Philadelphia’s vast natural splendor as a vibrant, evolving classroom. The camp serves youth coping with homelessness and poverty from BuildaBridge’s partner sites in North, West, and Northwest Philadelphia, and is open to other interested Philadelphia-area youth. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Environmental Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked as group leaders for the Build-a-Bridge Artology summer camp. Each intern was responsible for assisting a group of campers — called Artologists — during their art projects and science experiments. As group leaders, the interns served not only as role models and counselors for campers, but also as caring adults who encouraged and supported the youth through their Artology experience. Many of the Artologists were facing challenges stemming from homelessness, poverty and/or learning/mental disabilities. The interns provided an essential component in creating a safe and motivating learning environment that promoted resilience and healing from trauma. Druv reflects, “Working as a BTG intern has been exciting because the children are truly wonderful. Professionally, I believe that I have gained a good understanding of how to be friendly with children while setting appropriate boundaries. Personally, I have been deeply humbled by each child’s resilience in the face of adversity.” Jinna says, “Artology Camp has truly been a humbling experience. My primary role has been to support the kids and be a caring adult in their lives. I have had the opportunity to witness resiliency and help the Artologists foster their strengths. I have faith that every Artologist has the ability to accomplish his or her goals.” Julianne notes, “Artology has been a moving and transformative summer experience. Every day I strived to utilize the strengths and interests of each camper to best address their experience and behavior. I was also continuously impressed by the thoughtful and sensitive structure of the camp in ritual, rewards, mottos and staff interactions. This program teaches kids and adults the importance of doing our best, taking responsibility and both seeing and providing what these kids need and deserve. Being a supportive and caring adult in these children’s lives has been truly enriching—it will surely be hard to say goodbye!” Seth notes, “Although I have learned to look more deeply at the environmental and psychological context from which each child has emerged, and to consider his or her behavior within the framework of this context, I have also become acutely aware of how structure and consistency provide a common ground for learning in all children, regardless of background. At Build-a-Bridge/Artology, I have learned how to introduce structure into the lives of children who face multiple life challenges in a way that fosters their strengths and supports positive, healthy, creative expression from each child. The founders and developers of this program have clearly dedicated a lot of time and care to researching the precise ways to encourage the natural resilience of each child, and the fruits of this labor are evidenced by the effluence of positivity and creative expression we see in every single child at Artology.”

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Laughter, Resilience, Dancing and Joy: Recipe for Happiness in the Goodlands

Student Interns:
Paul Gomez, Drexel University College of Medicine
Eileen Moran, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Samia Moughanni, Drexel University College of Medicine
Stephanie Santana, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Daniel R. Taylor, DO, FAAP, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Angela Jubinville, MSEd, Centro Nueva Creación

The Community Site:
Centro Nueva Creación’s Goodlands Summer Camp promotes resiliency in young people through educational enrichment and engagement with the arts and Latino cultures. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The theme for the 2013 Goodlands Camp was “Healthy Kids.” The BTG student interns led cooking/nutrition, sports/physical education and creative movement classes for all of the children at Centro Nueva Creación. Classes focused on cardiovascular health, oral health, healthy eating and physical activity to help the campers develop healthy lifestyle choices. These activities furthered the camp’s goal of enhancing the children’s physical, mental and spiritual health. Moreover, the interns built meaningful relationships with the children through individual and group interactions. Paul comments, “Spending the summer at Centro Nueva Creación was a great experience that allowed me to learn about an area of Philadelphia that is unfortunately known as the ‘Badlands.’ It was inspiring to see the passion of everyone that works at Centro and how happy and upbeat all the children were every day. Throughout the summer I was able to build some great relationships and learn about the unique culture found in this area of North Philadelphia. I will always remember not to judge a place by its stereotype because many positive things can always be found if you take the time to look. … As Centro continues to work towards their goals I am confident they can break boundaries and turn the area into the Goodlands.” Eileen reflects, “My time with the staff and children at Centro Nueva Creación has reminded me of the complexity of the individual. Before this experience, North Philadelphia was, for me, an area full of statistics: statistics on poverty, on violence and on crime. Now, this area is full of stories, some of which speak of the problems this community faces, while others speak of unique individuals, of strength, of spirit, of openness and of love. Each child has given me the gift of sharing pieces of their stories, of teaching me. The value of the individual is something I will hold onto, both in my personal life and in my work with clients in a clinical setting.” Samia comments, “Working at Centro Nueva Creación has allowed me to become an insider of another culture that I was not initially aware of, which certainly has changed my view on what people in the Goodlands live through. This experience has already made me more aware of the differences that each person faces and to be more open-minded because of that. I have also been able to develop close and loving relationships with many of the children in the camp, which has reminded me the power of community, love and patience.” Stephanie notes, “Coming to Centro Nueva Creación was a gratifying yet therapeutic experience for me because it affirmed and strengthened my desire to work with children, while still allowing me to interact with such a culturally rich neighborhood. The beautiful souls that man the camp and keep these kids off the streets have truly humbled me, and I hope to work with that same passion in my field, as the teachers and mentors have done with these children.”

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Healthy Habits for Happy Kids

Student Interns:
Nina Kim, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program
Jihae Lim, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptor:
Nancy Rothman, EdD, RN, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Nursing

Community Preceptors:
Alexis Brown, MBA, Community Women’s Education Project, Early Learning Center
Christina Pickett, MEd, Community Women’s Education Project, Early Learning Center

The Community Site:
The Community Women’s Education Project (CWEP), located in Kensington, is a community-based educational facility addressing the social and economic inequities affecting the community’s at-risk families. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns created and presented age-appropriate health sessions for the preschool children at the Early Learning Center. They focused on cardiovascular health, oral health, healthy eating, physical activity and general hygiene through games, circle time, songs, books, crafts and interactive play. The interns also provided additional resources for parents to assist their children in practicing these healthy habits at home. Jihae reflects, “Through BTG, I was given an opportunity to work with a community in North Philadelphia that I wasn’t familiar with. Getting to know the community has allowed me to gain an appreciation and understanding of all the different cultures in Philadelphia. Working with children was challenging, but I learned that each child is unique and has their own story to share.” Nina adds, “BTG has been an eye-opening experience to be working with children in North Philadelphia. I had the opportunity to learn more about other cultures as well as enabling me to work in an interdisciplinary team. Being able to work with children in North Philadelphia has helped me to feel closer to the community.”

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Healthy Choices for a Healthy Future

Student Interns:
Sarah Bach, Drexel University College of Medicine
Jamie Kramer, Drexel University College of Medicine
Shari Orenstein, Drexel University School of Public Health
Patrick Powers, Drexel University School of Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Suku John, PhD, East Park Revitalization Alliance

The Community Site:
East Park Revitalization Alliance (EPRA) aims to empower residents to revitalize the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood through the arts, environment and education. EPRA joined with the Mander Recreation Center to present the Healthy Choices Summer Camp for children aged 5 to 12 from the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The primary responsibility of the BTG student interns was to supervise the day-to-day operations of the Healthy Choices Summer Camp. They incorporated a variety of health-related activities into the camp schedule to teach the children about ways to improve their health and well-being, including healthy cooking demonstrations, art projects, and oral and dental health presentations. The interns helped develop community gardens and orchards and used them to educate the children about how food grows as well as to improve the children’s access to nutrient-rich foods. Throughout the summer, interns worked to develop trusting and supportive personal relationships with the children of the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. Patrick comments, “Working at EPRA was an incredible experience. I started this project not really knowing what to expect, and I assumed that my biggest role would be teaching the children about nutrition and healthy choices. Although this was an important part of my time at Mander camp, what I found most important and most rewarding were the relationships I formed with many of these kids. I know that these relationships changed my own views as a future doctor. I feel as though I now have a better understanding for the challenges, both health-related and otherwise, that are faced by the children in a community like Strawberry Mansion. Incredible summer, incredible kids and an experience I will never forget.” Shari notes, “Through Bridging the Gaps, I had the privilege of working with curious and adventurous children and caring adults at a summer camp in Strawberry Mansion. This experience enabled me to gain a better understanding of the realities of health and poverty in underserved and marginalized populations. I will be able to be more cognizant of the backgrounds and behaviors of my patients to treat and assist them in my medical and public health career. I have witnessed how many health issues occur throughout generations, and targeting behavior changes of one generation has the potential to improve the health of future generations. Bridging the Gaps has been an eye-opening and rewarding opportunity that has taught me lessons that will benefit me personally and professionally.” Jamie reflects, “Working at EPRA has given me a real appreciation for a child’s resilience and the impact that a caring, supportive adult can have on a child’s well-being. The skills I have taken away from this summer, both personally and professionally, in working with an underserved population will be paramount in my career as a physician. I feel lucky for the opportunity to become so closely intertwined with the Strawberry Mansion community, and know that this experience will be invaluable in helping me connect with many of my future patients.” Sarah states, “Working with the kids through EPRA’s Healthy Choices Summer Camp has definitely changed how I see the world. Seeing the kids grow and change throughout the summer has shown me just the kind of impact one person can have on another person’s life, whether it is the impact that the BTG interns had on the kids or the impact the kids had on us. These kids have taught me just how precious each moment is and how to be more present in everyday life. They have taught me that nothing can be taken at face value and that there is so much more to a person if you take the time and put some love and care into it. I definitely think that this will help me be more present with my patients and will allow me to see past the things that ail them and treat them more wholly as a person.”

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Promoting Health, Fitness and Nutrition in North Philadelphia’s Youth

Student Interns:
Meghan Hubert, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Eliz Uricoechea, La Salle University, Nursing Program

Academic Preceptors:
Ronald Allen, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Oliver Bullock, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Denise Pruskowski Kavanagh, MSN, RN, La Salle University

Community Preceptor:
Victoria Hoppes, Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia
Andrew Kellner, MA, Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia

The Community Site:
St. James School is a faith-based middle school in the Episcopal tradition, committed to educating traditionally under-resourced students in a nurturing environment. St. James School develops students’ moral and spiritual identities as well as their intellectual, physical and creative gifts. The Summer Camp is open to all community children entering the 2nd through 5th grades and emphasizes reading and mathematics, music, arts and crafts, and outdoor activities — all designed to teach the value of living in a healthy and hopeful community and to encourage friendship and personal growth. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns collaborated with the staff at St. James School Camp to incorporate health, fitness, nutrition and oral hygiene into the camp’s curriculum for the children aged 7 to 12. They used presentations, group activities and interactive discussions to engage the campers and give them a deeper appreciation and understanding of health and well-being. They introduced the children to a wide range of health topics, emphasizing the importance of proper diet and nutrition, oral hygiene and physical fitness. Each week at morning gatherings, the interns presented a Health Tip of the Week and Healthy Food of the Week session during which the children were encouraged to participate by answering and asking questions. At the end of each week, the interns held a cooking class to teach the children easy, heart-healthy recipes to make at home. Most of the campers were very receptive to the health lessons and were excited to live a healthier lifestyle. Meghan reflects, “This summer as a BTG intern has been a very rewarding and inspiring experience. It has been both a privilege and a challenge to work with children in a community that is considered an ‘underserved population,’ but I can honestly say I have never met such an energetic and confident crew of kids in my life. While the children may face many challenges in their home life, it is apparent that St. James School is a safe haven that provides a nurturing and hopeful environment that the youth of North Philadelphia needs to create the foundation for a healthy and bright future.” Eliz notes, “Going into Bridging the Gaps, I had the idea that I wanted to give back to my community, but little did I know I would gain so much more. BTG gave me the opportunity to be upfront and personal with the community and allowed me to make some kind of change within it, whether it be through health-based discussions or just plain conversation.”

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Engaging Children Through Fitness and Health

Student Interns:
Michael Le, Drexel University College of Medicine
Jeremy Neese, Drexel University College of Medicine
Samiah Rahman, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Stacy Ellen, DO, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Preceptor:
Alexis Kiesel, MS, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology
Kristyn Stewart, MS, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology of Foundations, Inc., holds a summer camp for school-aged children (aged 6 to 16) that teaches students about science, technology, engineering, math and the arts (including dance and music). Children and teens attend the summer camp and stay active while learning about career opportunities. The camp offers academic and career guidance as well as field trips to Philadelphia sites and daily recreational activities. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The main focus of the BTG student interns’ work at the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology was enhancing the children’s knowledge about health and healthy lifestyles. The three interns served as full-time camp counselors, leading morning meetings, health lessons, team challenges for character development, and reflections for personal growth. In addition, the interns focused on physical fitness through sports and recreation, highlighting the health benefits of exercise. Along with these duties, interns acted as conflict mediators and ran post-camp enrichment activities including arts/crafts and martial arts. The interns gained valuable insight regarding the administrative aspect of running a nonprofit organization, educating urban youth and serving as role models for campers. Michael notes, “I recognize the great challenges that urban youth face in modern society, but I also found a strong hopefulness in the resiliency, creativity and morality of the youth with whom I worked. I have gained a deeper understanding of health care and now recognize that good health starts and ends outside of a hospital.” Jeremy comments, “Through my placement at PCAT, I have broadened my appreciation and understanding of educational programs while enhancing my personal and professional development. This experience has made me more aware of my personal limits and the challenges in health education and promotion.” Samiah reflects, “Before immersing myself with the children and teens, I only had a superficial understanding of their lives, attitudes and the issues affecting them. After this BTG experience, the terms ‘at-risk,’ ‘urban’ and ‘underserved’ have a newer, more honest meaning, since I have seen firsthand the gravity of the implied disparities. This experience also demonstrated the way some nonprofit organizations are run. Observing the administrative aspect of what goes into serving this population was valuable insight to gain as well.”

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Mixing, Dancing, Moving Throughout Our Summer

Student Interns:
Kelly Flores, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Kevin Mukalel, University of the Sciences, Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

Academic Preceptors:
Ronald Allen, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Oliver Bullock, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Mary Kate McGinty, RPh, MS, University of the Sciences

Community Preceptor:
Deborah Thomas, Institute for the Development of African American Youth (IDAAY), Inc., Out of School Time Summer Program, Ellwood Elementary School

The Community Site:
The Institute for the Development of African American Youth (IDAAY) Out of School Time Summer Program at Ellwood Elementary School offers education/training, prevention/intervention and social service programs that are uniquely designed to equip youth to combat deeply rooted social ills endemic to the urban experience; encourage youth to view their well-being as critical in their development and as a catalyst for family unity and community change; engage youth in positive thinking and communication activities to help them see challenges as opportunities; and empower youth to become part of the solution in their community through knowledge, skills development and self-awareness. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns led discussions on nutrition, exercise and self-awareness with Ellwood campers aged 6 to 10. Activities included conversations about and demonstrations of healthy food options, yoga and yard play games, and discussions about anti-bullying. The interns also led activities with children aged 4 to 6, including arts and crafts focused on cardiovascular and oral health, lessons on the necessity of limiting unhealthy foods and replacing them with healthy alternatives, and physical activities such as yoga and outdoor play. Kelly notes, “The individuals I met at the camp made the experience worth it. I built relationships with the teachers that have grown to friendships, for which I am grateful. I learned about the hardships of educators who work in areas where the phrase ‘do a lot with what little you have’ is often too common. I thank you all for your work to educate our future.” Kevin comments, “My Bridging the Gaps experience was very informative and challenging. The challenges that I have met have helped me change for the better, realizing that through patience and understanding, it is possible to make a difference. For many people, the difference may be big or small, but any positive change in the life of someone we help is worth it.”

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Small Minds, Big Dreams: Integration of Mental, Physical and Emotional Health

Student Interns:
Fareed Derambakhsh, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Marissa Dziepak, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Brian Fulton, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Britney Thornton, 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
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Roy Wade, MD, PhD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Edna Reddick, Francis J. Myers Recreation Center

The Community Site:
Francis J. Myers Recreation Center, a program of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, is a youth achievement center in Southwest Philadelphia offering affordable, fun and safe summer programming for children aged 2 to 15. On an ongoing basis, the recreation center engages in community outreach and support to help improve the lives of the neighborhood residents by providing meeting space for groups, lectures, after-school care and a farmers market, among other things.

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

The Project:
Last summer, Myers Recreation Center provided an environment for a BTG interdisciplinary student intern team to create and present a community health curriculum. The interns facilitated both morning and afternoon activities on a variety of educational and health-focused topics for the youth. The interns not only spent time engaging the youth, but also worked to build strong support systems and relationships with staff members and parents. Both the interns and the youth enjoyed the journey of improving communication and team-based skills, increasing physical health and fitness, and creating positive self-imagery. Britney reflects, “Knowledge is power. Seldom are we educated on social issues while being provided work opportunities to directly apply our knowledge and skills. I am leaving the Bridging the Gaps experience knowing that I made the biggest impact possible. And this feels good.” Fareed comments, “Being part of Bridging the Gaps and working at Francis J. Myers Recreation, I had the opportunity to fully immerse myself in an underserved community while collaborating with colleagues across the health care spectrum. Although I’m sure the youth I worked with at the recreation center are very appreciative of the help we gave, I am undoubtedly more appreciative for the insight they provided me. The children, along with the adults, showed me how vital community involvement is. Youth development relies on much more than just proper parenting, but also a safe and positive environment. As a future physician, I hope to carry with me this knowledge so that I can better treat not only my patients in the community, but also my colleagues.” Marissa notes, “BTG CHIP and Francis J. Myers Recreation have given me the inimitable opportunity to enhance my interpersonal and leadership skills and to further learn about important socioeconomic community issues. Throughout the past few weeks, working on an interdisciplinary team has opened my eyes to the many other aspects of care and the importance of an interdisciplinary perspective as an integral part of the health of the community.” Brian notes, “Participating in BTG CHIP opened my eyes to the needs and experiences of children in the underserved community and allowed me to make an impact on their lives every day. Working with the kids this summer allowed me to interact with, teach and befriend a great group of kids, as well as reflect on my own life. I look forward to taking my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned from working in the underserved community into my medical practice to better serve my patients in the future.”

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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Soul

Student Interns:
Natalie Petersen, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program
Andrew Stahler, Temple University, School of Medicine
Kaylee Stahler, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program

Academic Preceptor:
Nancy Rothman, EdD, RN, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Monisha Jackson, Temple Health Connection
Eliza Johnson, BS, Temple Health Connection

The Community Site:
Norris Kids, a free summer day camp for youth, is located at the Norris Homes Community Center in North Philadelphia and is supported by the Temple Health Connection and Education Works. The eight-week summer program is geared toward children aged 6 to 13. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The focus of the Norris Homes summer camp was Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Soul. In keeping with this theme, the BTG student interns worked with the youth of the camp to create a cardiovascular scavenger hunt, a nutritional tour of Fresh Grocer and games to educate about oral health. They also visited Temple University’s Medicinal Garden, where they planted vegetables and herbs. Since the key to a healthy body is a healthy mind and soul, the campers also made soap, participated in morning yoga and learned about other cultures during diversity week. The curriculum was designed to engage the children in hands-on and interactive activities while stimulating their minds and imaginations. Natalie comments, “This summer has shown me the importance of providing opportunities for all children. Exposure to new experiences both enlightens the mind and opens new doors to future possibilities. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to embark on this journey over the summer with such young and capable minds.” Kaylee states, “In all health care professions it is crucial to look at the patient as a whole person, and not just a set of symptoms. Bridging the Gaps and specifically Norris Kids allowed me to gain perspective into culture and how much culture impacts everything we do and everything we are. I am excited to take this new knowledge and apply it down the road, show compassion and understanding to the individual, as a working health care professional.” Andrew remarks, “Being able to spend my summer with the people at Norris Kids provided me the opportunity to go outside the walls of the classroom and to see another side of people that would not be apparent in the confines of the doctor-patient relationship. It was really great being able to work with the kids and their community, and I truly appreciate what this experience has taught me.”

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Healthy and Smart at Norris Square Head Start

Student Interns:
Paulina Maida, Temple University, School of Medicine
Megan Webb, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program

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

Community Preceptor:
Manuel Portillo, BA, Norris Square Civic Association

The Community Site:
The Norris Square Civic Association is a community development corporation founded in 1983 by a group of community women who desired to take control of their neighborhood and provide a healthy and safe environment for their children. The mission of the Norris Square Civic Association’s Head Start Program is to prepare young children to enter the school system ready to learn, with a solid knowledge of the Spanish and English languages, Latino culture and ethnic identity. The NSCA Head Start program is a dual-language educational social program for children between the ages of 12 months and 5 years. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked with children aged 3 to 5 at three summer Head Start programs: Norris Square Civic Association Children’s Center, Aldofina Villanueva Center and Little Germantown Center. The interns created a 30-minute lesson plan every week centered on a health topic (the human body, oral health, nutrition, exercise and emotional health). These lessons were presented with educational activities and interactive songs to 20 classrooms (more than 200 children) per week. The lesson plans were organized into a booklet that was distributed to families and teachers at an intern-organized family health fair during the last week of the internship. Paulina states, “I thoroughly enjoyed working with the preschool children this summer! Their desire for knowledge, their capacity to learn and their openness to all individuals have increased my interest to work with children when I am a medical doctor.” Megan remarks, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with the Norris Square Civic Association and their community. The staff, parents and kids of the Head Start Program were all so welcoming. Our partnership allowed me a chance to exchange ideas and knowledge about making healthy lifestyle choices. They taught me the importance of culture and a strong community to the overall health and well-being of the people it serves.”

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Eating Healthy and Living Stronger

Student Interns:
Sarah Barenbaum, Drexel University College of Medicine
Melanie Dabakis, Drexel University College of Medicine
Vede Ramdas, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Leslie Everts, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
John Jacobs, North Light Community Center

The Community Site:
The North Light Community Center, located in Manayunk, is a multi-service center that provides art and recreation programs as well as employment services and emergency support. During the summer, the center runs a full-day children’s camp during which the campers’ time is enriched through music, art and sports. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked with the staff and children aged 3 to 12 at North Light Community Center’s day camp in Manayunk. They spent an hour and a half each day teaching the various age groups (3 to 5, 6 to 9, 10 to 12) basic lessons about health, and spent the remainder of each day as counselors engaged in camp activities. The health lessons focused on oral health, cardiovascular health, healthy cooking, how to garden and grow healthy foods, and healthy mind/healthy body. The interns also engaged the campers in interactive discussions, followed by relevant activities that included gardening, participatory games, oral health activities and other games pertaining to the topic of the day. To have a more lasting impact, the interns strived to make the activities relevant, fun and simple so that the campers could re-create them at home with their families and friends. Sarah comments, “This summer has been incredibly challenging, exciting and rewarding. I was constantly exposed to new scenarios, new adventures and new learning experiences. Learning how to be a mentor, a teacher and a part of the community was at times challenging, but working together with Melanie and Vede to overcome obstacles and to collaborate and excel at our objectives was truly a wonderful experience. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at North Light Community Center, and I am confident that the tools I gained from this summer will help me to excel as a future physician.” Melanie notes, “Working at North Light this summer has allowed me to test my limits and step out of my own comfort zone in not only my capabilities as an educator, but also as a youth leader and role model. I have learned from the youth more about myself than I could have imagined. I feel privileged to be able to have spent my summer working and connecting with an underserved Philadelphia community. As a medical student, the educational tools and communication skills I have acquired through the Bridging the Gaps program will continually be a positive asset in the treatment and care of my future patient population.” Vede states, “BTG summer internship at North Light Community Center was an invaluable experience that will contribute to my development as a physician and a person. This unique program allowed me to become actively engaged in my community and learn about the issues that hinder its progress. Health is an important component of society, and this opportunity enhanced my ability to teach the basic principles of a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, this program also highlighted the importance of collaboration because I would not have been able to accomplish my goals without the gracious help of my fellow BTG interns and the members of North Light. Overall, this experience has made me more capable of making a significant contribution to the community I will serve in the future.”

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Behavioral Therapy in Everyday Activities

Student Interns:
Tiffany Becker, Temple University, School of Medicine
Nina Gornowicz, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, School of Social Work

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

Community Preceptor:
Kevin Weber, Northern Children’s Services

The Community Site:
Northern Children’s Services’ mission is to build the self-confidence and resiliency of at-risk children and their families. Two ways they do this are through the partial hospitalization program and the wellness and resiliency program. For youth aged 8 to 14 years old, both programs offer nonresidential, behavioral-based therapeutic services. The programs foster self-understanding and positive social interactions through structured activities, individual and group therapy, academic enrichment and therapeutic recreation. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns were paired with adolescent girls from the Northern Children’s Services partial hospitalization program and their wellness and resiliency program. Working alongside the girls’ mental health workers, the interns focused on helping the youth improve their physical and behavioral health. They spent a few hours each day engaging the adolescents in physical activities, such as swimming, playing basketball, jumping rope and stepping. The interns also led and assisted with daily academics and structured therapeutic activities. Throughout their time at Northern Children’s Services, the interns helped the girls work through relationship issues, build skills to better manage their anger, employ more positive coping skills, and foster positive social interactions with peers and adults. Tiffany notes, “My time at Northern has been a back-and-forth journey, but ultimately it has been a fantastic experience. During my time there I was able to make a strong connection with my client and earn her trust, something that has been crucial to her well-being this summer. By building a strong relationship with her, I have been able to work with her on academics, creative activities and sports, slowly building her confidence so that she feels that she can set and accomplish goals.” Nina comments, “I have really enjoyed the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program. As a social work student, I was excited to learn more about the current and long-term health needs of my community and to have the opportunity to work with a social service agency committed to addressing these needs. Over the past few weeks, I feel like I have learned so much from the lecturers, fellow Bridging the Gaps interns, and the staff and clients at my community placement site. Seeing the progress the clients have made during my Bridging the Gaps internship has also made the experience very rewarding and inspiring.”

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Improving Literacy Among South Philadelphia Youth

Student Interns:
Kimberly Kleiman, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Janet Sung, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

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:
Esther Morales, MPH, Puentes Hacia el Futuro

The Community Site:
The mission of Puentes de Salud is to improve the health and wellness of the Latino community in South Philadelphia by providing health care as well as by addressing the social factors that influence long-term health outcomes, such as education, literacy and socioeconomic status. The Puentes Hacia el Futuro program is one of the Puentes social services; it addresses these fundamental issues by providing tutoring and literacy support as well as art, culture and health education to children in the community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns established individual relationships with the children in the Southwark summer camp and served as literary skills mentors. They facilitated group discussions designed to foster the children’s social skills, and they collaborated with the other tutors to create an educational atmosphere conducive to learning. They also completed administrative duties such as updating report card grade averages to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Puentes school-year program. Kimberly comments, “There is no way to adequately measure the impact Bridging the Gaps has had on my life, both personally and professionally. Forcing myself to step outside of my comfort zone and rely on my social work knowledge base has been extremely rewarding. Not only has my understanding of the social issues children and families face in urban communities solidified, but my experience at Puentes has directly expanded my cultural effectiveness. I am extremely grateful for this learning opportunity.” Janet remarks, “I am grateful to Bridging the Gaps for the opportunity to address such an important issue as literacy in the overall wellness of a community. Oftentimes in the health professions, we treat health problems but do not get to address the underlying reasons that lead to those and future health issues. Thank you to Bridging the Gaps for the opportunity to face and treat these underlying issues.”

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Investing in North Philadelphia’s Youth at the Red Shield Family Residence

Student Interns:
Diana Huang, Temple University, School of Medicine
Thuy-Trang Pham, Temple University, School of Podiatric Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Michael O’Bryan, BA, Salvation Army, Red Shield Family Residence

The Community Site:
The Salvation Army Red Shield Family Residence, located in North Philadelphia, is an emergency housing shelter for families. In addition to adequate meals and shelter, families are provided 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-age children. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
At the Red Shield Family Residence, the BTG student interns worked with the youth summer enrichment program staff, serving children aged 6 to 14. They were responsible for planning and implementing health and wellness programming every morning and assisting with other activities (such as art, music and yoga classes) in the afternoon. Health and wellness programming included discussions of nutrition, exercise, personal hygiene, oral health, cardiovascular health and stress management. Outside of planned lessons, the interns helped children use the computer, read books and express themselves through art. Interns also assisted with meal delivery at lunchtime and accompanied children and other staff on trips to the movies, Freedom Theatre and the Temple School of Medicine Medicinal Garden. Diana notes, “Working at the Red Shield Family Residence this summer greatly increased my comfort level in working with children and families who are facing the brunt of many social problems, such as homelessness, poverty, racism, violence and poor public education. … I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a supportive adult for these children in their growth, and I am sure the patience and skills I learned will make me a more impactful and caring physician and parent in the future.” Thuy remarks, “The seven weeks I spent working at Red Shield Family Residence were brief, but I have learned lifelong skills, such as patience, teamwork and compassion, which can be applied to my future practice. Working at the Red Shield has made me more comfortable interacting with others in North Philly.”

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Being a Better Me: Health Promotion at Patterson Summer Camp

Student Interns:
Lisa Burkholder, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Rebekkah Merrell, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Abigail Messer, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

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
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Lorraine Thomas, Southwest Community Development Corporation

The Community Site:
The Southwest Community Development Corporation, locally referred to as Southwest CDC, tackles issues facing low-income Southwest Philadelphia residents through services such as utility and rental assistance, housing and employment counseling, family services and economic development planning. Since 1999, Southwest CDC has planned and organized a free summer camp for children at the John M. Patterson Elementary School. The seven-week day camp provides free educational and recreational activities and nutritious breakfasts and lunches for the campers. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked with the staff at the Patterson School Camp, a program associated with the Southwest Community Development Corporation. During the seven-week summer camp program, the theme of Being a Better Me was used to inspire young children to cope with potential personal challenges related to safety, cardiovascular health, stress management and relaxation, nutrition, respect, peer pressure, bullying, stranger awareness, personal hygiene and oral hygiene. The interns used role-playing, discussion, art, physical activity, videos and presentations targeted to various age groups to teach several small group classes. To supplement the weekly classroom sessions, the interns planned and chaperoned field trips to the Franklin Institute, the Mütter Museum and the Mural Mile Tour in Center City. Rebekkah also facilitated four visits from the Penn Smiles Dental Bus to promote oral health. Abby says, “Working in Southwest Philadelphia at Patterson Elementary has been an eye-opening experience for me. While it has been a test in patience and flexibility, working with these children has been overwhelmingly rewarding. Experiencing firsthand the difficulties and obstacles that these children have to face on a daily basis has strengthened my sense of compassion and my determination to adopt the principles of working with and understanding a diverse group of individuals into my future practice of nursing.” Lisa reflects, “Before this BTG experience, the majority of my academic and professional experiences had centered on aging and work with elderly populations. I knew that I needed a new and challenging experience this summer, and my time spent educating and mentoring the children at the Patterson Summer Camp has provided just that. While my patience was regularly tested, I often found myself reveling in those moments of clarity, enthusiasm and promise I witnessed on the faces of these imaginative and resilient children. While I hope the children of the Patterson community have each taken away at least some small lesson from the work Rebekkah, Abby and myself have put into lesson plans and field trips, I know that I have learned so much more about my own strengths and weaknesses, the demands of engaging a young audience, and the challenges faced by this community, which will prove vital in my future career as a well-rounded social worker.” Rebekkah remarks, “Working in the heart of Southwest Philadelphia was an eye-opening and heart-wrenching experience. By attempting to understand the diverse backgrounds, hardships and socioeconomic differences that surround these children, their tenacity and resilience speaks volumes. Listening to their hopes and aspirations to become a professional athlete, singer, policeman, fireman, doctor and dentist inspires me to continue to be a positive role model in these kids’ lives. As a future dental health care professional, this experience has not only taught me about how to be more compassionate, patient and understanding, but also has impacted my professional mannerisms on how to manage and improve the quality of health of my patients.”

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Providing Healthy Recreational Activities and Promoting Community Safety in Urban Philadelphia Day Camps

Student Interns:
Sara Greene, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Michael McManus, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Ethan Sellers,Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Olivia Tchanque, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Mary Hess, PharmD, FASHP, FCCM, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy
Patrick McManus, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
James Plumb, MD, MP, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptors:
Charmaine Sudler Milligan, To Our Children’s Future With Health

The Community Site:
With sites at the Cassidy School in West Philadelphia and the Bethune School in North Philadelphia, To Our Children’s Future With Health provides an enriching, fun and educational summer program for children grades K through 8. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
At their respective sites, the BTG student interns engaged children in games, recreational activities and art projects and led field trips. Health topics addressed through spur-of-the-moment conversations included nutrition, bullying, cardiovascular health and respect for self and others. The interns used arts and crafts, theater, organized sports/games and field trips in their health promotion activities. The interns also engaged in community recruitment and outreach. Sara notes, “Working at the TOCFWH summer camp has been an eye-opening and often challenging experience. I have gained a huge appreciation for teachers and child care workers, and a greater understanding of the challenges the kids and their families face in accessing not only health care, but also positive learning environments and enriching experiences.” Mike comments, “I enjoyed my time working in an urban underserved area. Working with the kids was both challenging and fun. This was a unique opportunity that I will carry with me through my professional career.” Ethan adds, “This experience provided me the unique opportunity to impact the lives of children from a community and culture I may otherwise never have known. More importantly, this experience touched my life on a fundamental level and, I think, will shape the future person I am to become.” Olivia states, “This summer has allowed me to gain a realistic view of the health professions through clinical experiences and gave me the opportunity to become exposed to environments of cultural diversity. I enjoyed my time spent during this summer internship and will use this experience in my future life to help others in need.”

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Literacy Is a Public Health Issue

Student Interns:
Maria Galkin, Temple University, School of Medicine
Debra Rachel Simon, Temple University, School of Medicine
Balg Eun Song, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program

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

Community Preceptors:
Vashti Du Bois, Tree House Books
Michael Reid, Tree House Books

The Community Site:
Tree House Books is a nonprofit organization seeking to grow and sustain a community of readers, writers and thinkers in North Central Philadelphia. Packed with books and homemade art, Tree House is an after-school meeting spot for local children to explore learning in fun, creative ways that encourage a lifelong relationship with education, reading and each other. Tree House offers homework help, publishes its own magazine and hosts a variety of community events. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns served as counselors for three of Tree House Books’ summer reading camps, which are designed for boys and girls aged 6 to 14. The interns’ participation in the camps was intended to promote literacy in the community as well as to encourage campers to explore the connection between reading and health. To achieve this goal, the interns conducted weekly lunchtime presentations with campers, focusing on the topics of heart health, stress reduction, oral health and the immune system. To explore the growth of literacy in the North Philadelphia community, aided by the Words On Wheels Program, the interns also completed a mapping project that pinpointed book resources in the neighborhood. Maria remarks, “The most meaningful part of the BTG CHIP experience for me was learning how to successfully encourage, teach and communicate with children; this will be invaluable to me as a medical student and physician. Young people have a lot to contribute to society both now and in the future, and it was wonderful to be able to foster their creativity and analytical skills. I also had the chance to step into a leadership role, though this was outside of my comfort zone. I firmly believe that physicians should be community leaders, and BTG CHIP allowed me to develop skills I can use in the future.” Debra notes, “I am confident that my summer experience at Tree House Books has immeasurably contributed to my growth into a future physician. Through engaging with campers and leading health-focused discussions, I now possess a clearer understanding of the strong link between health and literacy. I now understand that for an individual to be wholly aware of his or her health, he or she requires not only an ability to read but, more importantly, an ability to comprehend and apply the written word. I am grateful for the opportunity to encourage literacy in the neighborhood, a goal perfectly aligned with the completed mapping project, and I feel ever more connected to the community I will surely serve in my future medical practice.” Balg Eun says, “It was a great opportunity for me to do my BTG internship at Tree House Books. Being a counselor for the day camp, I learned so much about how to interact with children and with colleagues in different professions as a team. The book camp also provided a good understanding of how children view the world and health. I also appreciate the mapping project we worked on; it allowed me to think about public literacy as a health issue and how resources affect our health as well. I believe the experience I had at Tree House Books will be an important resource as a future OT.”

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Courage and Curiosity

Student Interns:
Roozbeh Akhtari, Drexel University College of Medicine
Annalyn Gibson, Drexel University College of Medicine
Nicholas Guido, Drexel University College of Medicine
Christina Lee, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Ben Sanders, MD, MSPH, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Eric Dolaway, Urban Blazers
Danielle Stollak, MRM, Urban Blazers

The Community Site:
Urban Blazers is an innovative agency that uses primary, active experience to stimulate youth to become responsible for their development in education, leadership and relationships. The experiential education program uses socially motivated volunteers to meaningfully affect youth from under-resourced communities in Philadelphia. Programs are typically delivered through outdoor activities that serve as hands-on learning environments.  View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
BTG student interns led indoor and outdoor activities designed to promote exercise and physical wellness in teenagers participating in the Urban Blazers program. Activities included field sports, hiking, rope courses and rock climbing. By incorporating qualities such as integrity and teamwork into all exercises, interns also took on a mentorship role. Each session ended with group feedback, which served to bolster respect and camaraderie. Roozbeh remarks, “Urban Blazers gave me the opportunity to interact with a remarkable group of kids whom I would not have known otherwise. Their resiliency motivated me to go beyond my comfort zone and, by doing so, broadened my perspective of the community while gaining an appreciation for my role in it. I will be a more competent health care provider because of my experiences here.” Annalyn reflects, “Working with Urban Blazers through the Bridging the Gaps internship program fulfilled every hope that I had in the beginning of the summer. I interacted with so many wonderful children from areas and cultures that I normally would have not come across during my years at medical school. The experiences that I will take with me from this summer will only help me continue to grow as a medical professional and as a person.” Christina comments, “Urban Blazers was the perfect opportunity for me to combine my love for the outdoors with my passion for working with kids and the community. Each kid I met this summer helped me learn more about myself as a leader and a team player, and also taught me so much about the hope and determination found in every child. My experiences this summer will help me become a more informed and capable physician.” Nick notes, “Urban Blazers has shown me how much fun, enthusiasm and excitement I can bring to the table. My training in medical school thus far has been quite didactic, but this experience has allowed me to explore my boundaries as a person and develop a sense of humanism, compassion and mentorship. It has also allowed me to appreciate the effect that a child’s environment has on their physical, social and psychological development. Urban Blazers has let me see firsthand how important grassroots societal change is necessary in order to promote healthy living in our society. It is an experience that will forever have left an imprint on my professional development.”

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Growing a Sustainable Community

Student Interns:
Joseph Fulginiti, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy
Alexander Moxam, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Roderick Thompson,Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Mary Hess, PharmD, FASHP, FCCM, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy
James Plumb, MD, MP, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptors:
Skip Weiner, Urban Tree Connection

The Community Site:
The Urban Tree Connection is a community-based urban greening project that transforms abandoned open spaces into community gardens, providing fruit and vegetables to surrounding residents. 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; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
At the Urban Tree Connection, the BTG student interns worked with local high school students on an urban farm and in surrounding community gardens. The adolescents were divided into groups focusing on different projects related to urban gardening, including social media, marketing, garden/landscaping environmental education and construction/farm maintenance. At a new farm site in South Philadelphia, the youth worked on constructing a high tunnel and drafting blueprints. As group leaders, the interns focused on five main goals: community, teamwork/collaboration, courage/self-empowerment, responsibility and initiative. Joseph comments, “People always told me that hard work will build character. It really showed in the teenagers that we were lucky enough to work with this summer. They gave it their best every day and proved it to us and more importantly to themselves.” Roderick remarks, “Spending the summer toiling in the fields with a group of West Philly teenagers was a deeply (and surprisingly) enjoyable experience. Although we attempted to teach our teens about health and nutrition, it was me who learned a thing or two about how people and plants can flourish in a challenging environment.” Alexander notes, “The work has been challenging but the outcomes amazing. I’ve learned so much about community organizing, adolescence and gardening.”

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Connecting With Children from Homes of Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence

Student Interns:
Dallas Beaird, Drexel University College of Medicine
Kristen Davies, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Kelly Loh, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Kristen Ratner, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Mario Cruz, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine
Ellen Schelly-Hill, MMT, BC-DMT, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Community Preceptors:
Arlene Malcolm-Bell, PhD, Women Against Abuse
Maria Tate, Women Against Abuse

The Community Site:
Women Against Abuse (WAA) provides services to victims of domestic violence, including emergency housing for battered women and their children. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
At Women Against Abuse (WAA), BTG student interns planned and led a day camp for the children (aged 6 to 16) of women residing in the WAA emergency shelter. The interns merged health-related topics such as nutrition, oral health and exercise with academic enrichment, violence prevention, games, crafts and field trips. Other non-health-related topics integrated at the day camp included cultural awareness and sensitivity, friendship, and love. The interns used these activities to connect with the children while working to provide models for healthy relationships. Kristen Davies remarks, “Bridging the Gaps gave me an opportunity to work with a population with whom I wouldn’t have otherwise worked. Through this program, I learned to connect and build relationships with children at the domestic violence shelter, but it was difficult to see how much the kids have already been exposed to. I really enjoyed the Wednesday sessions as they provided an opportunity to delve deeper into current issues in health care. Not only will my professional growth be enriched by this program, but I have also matured on a personal level.” Dallas comments, “Bridging the Gaps was a lens which gave me a clear, more accurate view of the community I will one day care for as a future physician. My work with Bridging the Gaps has revealed, to me, the pervasive nature of interpersonal violence. Working with abused women and children has allowed me to appreciate the true magnitude of interpersonal violence in a way that lectures or literature could never convey. I now know that no matter my specialty, as a future physician, I will routinely encounter patients who are victims of abuse. It’s a physician’s job as an advocate for patient health not to avoid awkward conversations and sensitive subject matter, but rather to ask the tough questions and properly screen for abuse.” Kristen Ratner notes, “From my Bridging the Gaps experience, I have learned to be patient and celebrate small successes in working with children, particularly those from backgrounds of domestic abuse. I realize now how beneficial a multidisciplinary approach can be for serving this population. The various disciplines of our Bridging the Gaps team (medicine, music therapy and dance therapy) truly seemed to complement one another. I will be sure to utilize this approach in my future career as a physician. I feel that I have acquired a deeper understanding of the needs and concerns of victims of abuse, and I will be a more sensitive and connected health care provider and member of a community.” Kelly states, “Bridging the Gaps has given me a chance to work with the Philadelphia community at a level that I would not have imagined. As an international student, my approach to the American culture is from an outsider’s perspective. However, after working with the children at Women Against Abuse Emergency Shelter, I’ve found many similarities and pleasant connections with them. I have been humbled from my experience learning from the children as well as my new colleagues and friends from Bridging the Gaps. I have gotten to learn more about the community, in a humanistic perspective, as well as increase my understanding and knowledge of my newly found interdisciplinary colleagues and friends.”

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