BTG Hope

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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2013

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

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Healthy Beginnings for Happier Lives

Student Interns:
Winnie Lin, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Krushan Patel, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Cindy W. Christian, MD, 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 is a structured full-day preschool program for children aged 2½ to 5. The Center provides emotional and behavioral health services, including psychiatric services, group therapy and educational activities. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns focused on one classroom in the Therapeutic Nursery and assisted the staff in carrying out their daily activities with the children. The interns also created and presented an age-appropriate health education/promotion program. The day-to-day activities consisted of playtime, story time, circle time, nap time and meals. The interns engaged the children in a daily routine of hand washing before mealtime in order to help them develop healthy habits as well as to slow the spread of illness within the class. In addition, the interns taught weekly lessons on various health-related topics, such as toothbrushing, heart health and nutrition. Krushan comments, “Spending the summer at CCTC with the children was a very eye-opening experience for me. My time there helped me realize my passion for working with children. … Working with the children at CCTC for the long time period made me appreciate the importance of a healthy upbringing in determining the success of an individual. The BTG program offered me life lessons I would never have obtained anywhere else and changed my perspective toward life and my field of study.” Winnie notes, “Working with the children at CCTC inspired me to think about early adversity as an opportunity for children to develop resilience. The children in the Therapeutic Nursery were so eager to learn and play despite all that they had been through, and I saw it as my role to help foster their strengths. It was a rewarding experience to plan the health and hygiene lessons for them, but ultimately my ordinary day-to-day interactions with the children were the most meaningful part of this experience. This internship helped me confirm that I would like to focus on pediatric mental health in my future medical career.”

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Tapestry of Hope: Inspiration and Victory in the Face of Adversity

Student Interns:
Anna Bossert, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Amy Surti, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Ronald Allen, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Oliver Bullock, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Malcolm Ennels, BA, Gaudenzia Inc., People With Hope
Dorothy Gibbs, RN, Gaudenzia Inc.
Toye Green, Gaudenzia Inc., People With Hope
Theodore Howard, Gaudenzia Inc.
Michelle Woltz, MHS, CRNP, CARN, Gaudenzia Inc., People With Hope

The Community Site:
Gaudenzia is a drug rehabilitation facility that helps people affected by chemical dependency, mental illness and other co-occurring illnesses to achieve a better quality of life, allowing them to live as productive and accountable individuals. This is accomplished through the Therapeutic Community treatment model, which uses comprehensive treatment and prevention methods, guided by a philosophy of mutual concern and responsibility, and peer-assisted recovery. People With Hope is a residential program for adults who have HIV/AIDS. Established in 1989, and one of a few programs of its kind in the United States, the program provides 90 to 120 days of drug and alcohol treatment, medical care, seminars on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and education on health services available in Philadelphia. It serves approximately 120 individuals annually at its Philadelphia site. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns participated in the daily routines of the People With Hope unit to learn about recovery and the program’s philosophy. They also worked with the staff and residents to identify and address the current health needs of the unit’s residents. They then developed a series of reproducible health education seminars revolving around topics of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, diabetes, cardiovascular health, mental health and nutrition. The interns gave weekly health seminars and created educational games to review the information presented. The games, including Health Jeopardy and Hepatitis C Bingo, can be employed to educate future clients on relevant health issues. The interns worked directly with clients to promote self-advocacy in a health care setting; this included escorting clients to physician visits around the city and helping them learn to advocate for themselves. The interns also researched and presented various community resources available to clients; these resources may support maintaining sobriety as well as effectively managing their HIV and mental health outside of an inpatient setting. Anna remarks, “My time at Gaudenzia has quickly eliminated the bubble I previously resided in and given me invaluable insight to community-based and city medicine. Issues like HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and mental illness are not always given the advocacy that they really need, and I know my time at Gaudenzia has provided me with countless tools on interacting with patients from these populations. I’ve also learned that sometimes a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on can work wonders, that respecting someone is worth more than admiration, and that coping skills are a necessity in the field of medicine.” Amy states, “It is well known that access to health care in the United States can mean the difference between life and death. Lack of insurance forces many people in need to be turned away from seeking help and treatment. Unfortunately, the populations most vulnerable to severe health problems are those that do not have health insurance and other resources to seek help. The BTG program allowed me to work with and learn about the hardships faced by a particularly vulnerable population in Philadelphia. … It is imperative that underserved populations know about healthy lifestyles so that one can participate in their own health maintenance and learn to advocate for personal care among health care professionals. BTG helped me realize the diversity of patient populations in Philadelphia and that each demographic has specific needs that must be acknowledged, dealt with and monitored so that patient care is available to all regardless of financial ability, making medical vulnerability a thing of the past.”

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Substance Abuse Recovery: Mind, Body and Soul

Student Interns:
Chinwendu Opara, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Aisha Uddin, University of the Sciences, Doctor of Pharmacy Program

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

Community Preceptor:
Sharon Herbert, RN, Gaudenzia Inc.
Michelle Woltz, MHS, CRNP, CARN, Gaudenzia Inc.

The Community Site:
Gaudenzia helps people affected by chemical dependency, mental illness and related conditions to achieve a better quality of life, allowing them to live as productive and accountable individuals. This is accomplished through comprehensive treatment and prevention methods, guided by a philosophy of mutual concern and responsibility and utilizing the Therapeutic Community modality. The Women’s Co-Occurring Program is a residential treatment program for chemically dependent adult women who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. In addition to drug and alcohol treatment, medical care and educational services, the program can include transitional housing, prevention programs for children, ABE and GED education services, nutrition, life skills, and domestic violence and crime prevention services. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns facilitated health education and psychosocial seminars for the clients at Gaudenzia. As part of a heart-healthy initiative, the interns instituted a weight loss program that consisted of daily workouts, such as dance, circuit training and walking. The program also included a learning component where the interns educated the clients on nutrition, weight loss, and cardiovascular and mental health. Additionally the interns performed biopsychosocial assessments for incoming clients and aided staff in daily duties. Chinwendu remarks, “My experience at Gaudenzia has opened my eyes not only to the multiple dimensions of addiction, but also to the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in any successful treatment plan. I have learned that addiction cripples the lives of real people, real mothers, real children, and that one must always look at each individual story as unique. Professionally, I know my experience with the BTG CHIP will help mold me into a physician who is sensitive to the clinical needs of my future patients, but also one who can equip them with tools to address practical challenges they might face day to day.” Aisha states, “It has been a privilege to be welcomed into the clients’ lives and trusted with their stories. Witnessing firsthand trauma, adversity, resilience and recovery has been eye-opening and motivates me to work to become a compassionate professional that is best equipped to meet my patients’ needs.”

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Playing Our Way to Healthiness

Student Interns:
Courtney Gallagher, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Stacey Pham, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Laura Smith, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Chén Kenyon, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
James Plumb, MD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

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 is designed to help children play and work together. The program targets children aged 4 to 7 with behavioral disorders as well as emotional and social difficulties. Service and treatment approaches include group play, art therapy, individual and family therapy, case management and psychiatric services. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns assisted the staff at Hall Mercer in the Therapeutic Day Program in using redirection, reward and self-soothing techniques to encourage the children to appropriately change their behavior. The interns helped to supervise and engage the children during group play and on their trips to parks and the pool and on field trips throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey. Additionally, they focused on educating the children about the importance of oral and cardiovascular health. Using an educational puppet, they modeled the proper technique to brush and floss teeth. They also distributed floss and toothbrushes to the children so they could practice good oral health at home. They did art projects focused on keeping a healthy heart through exercise, on nutrition and on general well-being. By performing these activities, the interns aimed to increase awareness about the importance of maintaining oral and cardiovascular health at a young age and throughout life. Stacey notes, “My experience with BTG has been truly unique and unlike anything that I had imagined it to be. BTG has introduced me to countless individuals whose drive and passion have inspired me to care and to take responsibility in bettering my community. Through working with the other interns and interacting with my clients, I’ve learned to become more culturally sensitive and am more aware of the issues that the community faces. This new enthusiasm and knowledge will be valuable resources for me in my future career.” Laura states, “Being an intern at Hall Mercer has been a very rewarding experience. Working in a community behavioral health center gave me the opportunity to learn more about pediatric mental health and the variety of factors that influence a child’s behavioral health outcomes. I feel that the lessons learned at Hall Mercer will benefit me, the other interns and the children for years to come, and I’m grateful to have been a part of the experience.” Courtney remarks, “My BTG CHIP internship forced me to recognize the difficulties of improving the health of young children, as so much of their health is impacted by their environment and caregivers. However, it also gave me a chance to experience firsthand the positive impact that a constant adult role model could have on a growing child, especially one that has few other sources of stability in his or her life. … Additionally, through my placement at Hall Mercer, the various lecture series and a number of conversations with my academic preceptor, BTG CHIP has served to deepen my interest in community health and health policy, which I am now more driven to pursue.”

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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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