BTG Hope

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BTG Community Preceptor
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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2013

Community Health (including HIV/AIDS)

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“Breast Fest” Community Health Fair

Student Interns:
Brittany Lahoda, , University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ji Lim, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Antoinette Johnson, MPH, Bebashi-Transition to Hope
Lauren Tankersly, Bebashi-Transition to Hope

The Community Site:
Bebashi~Transition to Hope is stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STIs in the urban community and helping those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS truly transition into hope. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; HIV; Sexual Behavior

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked with the Bebashi staff on the Our Bodies program, which focused on educating primarily African-American women in low-income areas about breast health and breast cancer. The interns were assigned to visit community residential facilities to host breast health workshops during which attendees were taught how to properly conduct a breast self-exam and were given information about where they could receive a free or low-cost clinical breast examination or mammogram. The interns also participated in local health fairs to recruit women to sign up for the Our Bodies program and encourage them to visit their health care providers for an annual breast examination. The interns also helped organize Breast Fest, a community health fair to increase breast cancer awareness and promote the importance of routine screenings and preventive practices. Ji reflects, “Being in the BTG program this summer, my desire to continue to serve my community was only strengthened. Seeing the impact that dental students could have in an organization focused on breast health and HIV/AIDS and being able to observe students from different disciplines come together for a united cause, I learned about the effects of collaboration on improving the overall health of the community. Lessons such as this can only be learned through opportunities such as Bridging the Gaps, where pre-professionals gain insight about the effects of community factors on health from multiple dimensions when they get to interact with other students from different schools in different community health-related sites. Overall, this experience led me to think of health care not only from a dental student’s point of view, but also from a universal perspective.” Brittany notes, “For me, Bridging the Gaps fortified the significance of all health professions to work together in a cohesive environment in order to best serve populations, especially in an urban setting. … As a dental student there were tools I gained from this hands-on experience which will only better my relationship with my future patients, such as communication, respect and empathy. Bridging the Gaps was such a fulfilling experience both professionally and personally.”

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Do One Thing, Change Everything

Student Interns:
Martinique Akinfosile, Drexel University School of Public Health
Katrina Castille, Drexel University College of Medicine
Charlotte Roberts, Drexel University College of Medicine
Laura Trueman, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Annette Gadegbeku, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine
Helen Koenig, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Ladonna Smith, Do One Thing
Stacey Trooskin, MD, PhD, Do One Thing

The Community Site:
The Do One Thing Campaign is an innovative, exciting HIV and hepatitis C testing and awareness initiative in Southwest Philadelphia. It includes a large-scale social marketing and media promotion plan, massive mobilization of community leaders and local institutions to promote and destigmatize testing, a block-based HIV and HCV testing campaign, and a tight partnership with a local federally qualified health center. This campaign provides future physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and public health practitioners with the enriching opportunity to move beyond their hospitals, lecture halls and campuses to serve the communities in which they work and live. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
Do One Thing is an HIV and hepatitis C testing program run out of a mobile van that travels throughout the 19143 zip code in Southwest Philadelphia. BTG student interns provided support for the project by performing community outreach activities. They did street outreach and knocked on doors in the blocks surrounding the mobile van’s location, with the goals of encouraging people to be tested and increasing community members’ knowledge about these diseases. Interns also increased local businesses’ awareness of the impact of HIV and hepatitis C on Southwest Philadelphia communities, worked with youth to encourage and destigmatize testing, and compiled a list of free and reduced-cost health and social service resources. Martinique remarks, “The Bridging the Gaps experience this summer has broadened my knowledge and awareness of the vast challenges different groups/communities face every day. Working with Do One Thing allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and interact with people I would never have the chance to meet otherwise. I was also able to see how much of an impact you can have by just talking with community members and passing on information. Before working with Do One Thing, I never realized how important community engagement can be to improving the health status of individuals. I plan to use the knowledge and skills I have acquired by being a BTG intern this summer to continue to advocate for and educate communities throughout my career.” Katrina notes, “The unique experience provided by Do One Thing brought me to the startling realization that we as a community still have a great deal of work to do in the fight in controlling and educating society about the spread of HIV. It was thrilling to be part of a program that brought about such a direct change in people’s lives. I love how Do One Thing got me out of the classroom and onto the pavement, where it was easy to forget that I was a medical student. … The experience was humbling, exhilarating and demanding. I cannot imagine moving forward in my career without it.” Charlotte reflects, “Working with Do One Thing has opened my eyes to the social factors affecting the health statuses of the people of the 19143 area. Going to speak to unknown people of foreign communities really forced me out of my comfort zone. Surprisingly, it was quite easy to engage people. I found that being genuinely concerned for the welfare of others provides one with the tools to gain an attentive audience even among strangers and the initially uninterested. It felt really amazing to see people get tested simply because the Do One Thing team and I provided them with the opportunity.” Laura comments, ”Working with Do One Thing allowed me to better understand some of the social dynamics unique to Southwest Philadelphia that impact provision and receipt of health care in these communities. I learned about residents’ understanding of HIV and hepatitis C’s impact on their communities, as well as their perception of risk as it pertains to these diseases. I gained a greater appreciation for the fact that residents were interested in testing when offered. I developed a deeper understanding of some of the barriers to people receiving routine sexual health care. I learned about residents of Southwest Philadelphia’s perceptions of health workers, gentrification and local business owners. Additionally, I gained an understanding of health and social service workers’ perceptions and assumptions about the people who they serve.”

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Developing Future Leaders

Student Intern:
Anna Leigh Jamison, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

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

Community Preceptor:
Theodore Corbin, MD, Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice

The Community Site:
The mission of the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice is to promote health, nonviolence and social justice through trauma-informed practice, research, professional development and advocacy for policy change. The cornerstone program of the Center is the Healing Hurt People program, a trauma-informed violence intervention program that serves victims of violence at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Hahnemann Hospital. Through the direct service work of Healing Hurt People and the advocacy and policy change upheld by the center, the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice promotes the creation of trauma-informed services that support the healing of individuals and communities. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health

The Project:
The BTG student intern developed a curriculum to foster professional development, trauma-informed peer education and advocacy in clients who are ready to graduate from the Healing Hurt People (HHP) program. Leigh worked directly with young adults being served by the program to gain an understanding of the tools they need to be successful in professional settings and to become leaders in their communities. She was able to pilot lesson plans with HHP clients and make adjustments to the curriculum according to their needs. This curriculum will be used to enrich the current services offered and support the professional growth of HHP clients so that they are prepared to be advocates for trauma-informed practice in their communities. Leigh remarks, “This summer, I learned about the careful planning and attention to detail that is required to develop a program that meets community needs. I was challenged to think of creative ways to foster professionalism and leadership skills in the young adults I was working with. While this work is challenging, I am also continuously inspired by the resiliency of the young people Healing Hurt People serves. Despite the trauma and adversity that many of the youth have experienced throughout their lives, they have the incredible capacity to heal and desire to support the healing of others. I am confident that these young people are capable of being leaders in their communities and advocates for trauma-informed care.”

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Lettuce Beet Poor Nutrition as a Bunch

Student Intern:
Emma Bergman, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Ricky Patel, 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:
Sister Alia Walker, Earth’s Keepers Inc.

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

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Adolescent Health; Heart Disease; Immunization; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked with the Earth’s Keepers staff and a group of high school students to further extend the adolescents’ knowledge and understanding of healthy eating. They worked with the teens to create colorful signs that identified the crops and supplied nutritional information. The teens used the information on these signs to help educate their many visitors on how certain foods can have tremendous benefits to their health. Emma and Ricky also worked with Earth’s Keepers Inc. to create a community cookbook. With recipes supplied by students and community members, this cookbook encourages visitors to incorporate new fruits and vegetables into their diets. Ricky notes, “Working with Earth’s Keepers has been a unique and rewarding experience. I was able to share my first six-mile hike through Hawk Mountain with the students, an adventure I may have never experienced on my own. The best part about Earth’s Keepers has been working with the students. The personalities and stories they have shared with me has made my time at the farm that much more enjoyable. … I was sent to the farm to share my knowledge of healthy living with the students, but I must say I took every opportunity to learn from them as well.” Emma comments, “Spending this summer working with Earth’s Keepers Urban Farm has been educational and rewarding in ways that I never would have expected. From sowing seeds to harvesting whole eggplants to picking harlequin beetles out of the collard greens, I found that the farm lent itself neatly to great conversations about nutrition, health, food justice, cultural practices and many other such contentious topics. … I found the experience to be exhausting, exhilarating and energizing all at the same time. The students were so willing to share their lives, thoughts and feelings with us. … I am also thankful to have worked with an incredible community leader … who taught me not only about the benefits of using salt hay and pulling suckers out of the tomato plants but about organizing and communication amongst community members. … I hope to continue to be involved in this project and supportive of the mission for a long time to come.”

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Pounding the Pavement

Student Intern:
Brian Kramer, 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:
Carol Rogers, Healthy Philadelphia

The Community Site:
Healthy Philadelphia’s mission is to make high-quality health care available to all Philadelphians by bringing together the community, health care providers, businesses, government, and grassroots leaders to develop coordinated and integrated systems of care. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG intern worked to aid and address several ongoing projects at Healthy Philadelphia. Brian gathered signatures for a petition to be delivered to city council members about the need for a new health care center in Lower Northeast Philadelphia. He attended meetings of related organizations with the aim of having Pennsylvania’s legislature accept the Medicaid expansion and attended other meetings dealing with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Brian also drafted literature about the indications of stroke and heart attack and when to seek care in the emergency room. In addition, he created surveys to generate feedback on the Transitions in Care bus tour that took many health care professionals to the health care centers to educate them on the resources available to patients leaving the hospital. Brian remarks, “The time spent with Healthy Philadelphia was a reminder of the hurdles that so many of our neighbors face in gaining access to health care. It is good to know that there are passionate folks out there fighting for those who need health care the most and who could benefit from services that they are currently denied or unable to afford. Being a physician requires more than just knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology, but an astute awareness of procedural, political and administrative boundaries to receiving the care with good outcomes.”

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Better Your Health, Better Yourself

Student Interns:
Andrew Bromley, Temple University, School of Medicine
Nicholas Nowotarski, Temple University, School of Medicine
Heather Winn, Temple University, School of Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Doris Phillips, HERO (Helping Energize and Rebuild Ourselves) Community Center

The Community Site:
HERO (Helping Energize and Rebuild Ourselves) Community Center, in the Nicetown section of North Philadelphia, aims to help community members in need, especially children and seniors. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The HERO Community Center’s annual summer camp enrolls local youth aged 3 to 15 from the Nicetown neighborhood in North Philadelphia. The BTG student interns worked to develop this year’s camp theme — Better Your Health, Better Yourself — with the goal of educating and increasing awareness about the importance of healthy eating and proper exercise in everyday living. They planned daily lunchtime lessons about topics ranging from asthma to diabetes, oral health and immunizations. They also compiled a photo project in which the children took photos of each other and assembled them for a display that now hangs on the walls of the community center. Nicholas remarks, “I enjoyed getting to know the campers at HERO and witnessing a summer camp environment. … Miss Doris Philips and her helpers do a fantastic job fostering many important morals and values into the campers starting at a very young age. It was a privilege to be a part of that.” Andrew adds, “Spending the summer working with children from the Nicetown community allowed me to interact with North Philadelphia in ways not previously afforded. Although poverty and drug culture continue to plague Nicetown, I truly believe that the children involved with the HERO Community Center will help to brighten the neighborhood for years to come.” Heather notes, “Working with the resilient youth at HERO was a refreshing experience that allowed me to capture the true spirit of their community. Being able to deliver healthy meals twice a day, create structure and maintain organization in their lives was incredibly rewarding. All of the campers impressed me with their stories and experiences that I am sure to hold with me in my future career.”

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Oy Vey: Refugees in the American Health Care System

Student Interns:
Samantha Tagerman, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Elise Taylor, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
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:
Sarah Amazeen, LSW, HIAS Pennsylvania
Sandra Moïse, HIAS Pennsylvania

The Community Site:
HIAS Pennsylvania works to resettle, reunite and represent immigrants and refugees of limited means residing in the Delaware Valley. The agency seeks the fair treatment and integration into American society of immigrants from all backgrounds. HIAS Pennsylvania is a partnership with the Penn Center for Primary Care and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health

The Project:
As key members of the Refugee Health Care Team, the BTG student interns aided refugee families in navigating the American health care system. They spent much of their time scheduling various health appointments, ranging from routine checkups to more invasive procedures. Samantha and Elise ensured that clients were well informed about all upcoming procedures and treatment plans. The interns accompanied clients to health appointments throughout the city, advocating for patients’ rights and facilitating communication between health professionals and patients. In addition, the interns compiled a database detailing the hepatitis B status of current and past clients. HIAS Pennsylvania will use this record to identify those clients most in need of continuing care. The team also collaborated with two other local resettlement agencies to explore the impact of the Affordable Care Act on refugee health in Pennsylvania. From this research, they developed and updated the health orientation presented to refugees when they arrive in the United States. Elise says, “This summer I have lived as a student in more ways than one. I have been taught by my colleagues on interdisciplinary thinking and teamwork. I have been educated by the academic preceptors concerning the complexities of health and environment. I have learned from the staff at HIAS Pennsylvania as I have watched them respond to clients with grace and creativity. I think I have grown most, however, through my interactions with the refugee community. Their humility, their resilience, their willingness to know and be known astound me daily. These are lessons I have still to learn and hope to master further as I train to be a nurse.” Samantha remarks, “My time at HIAS Pennsylvania this summer has been a truly humbling, educational and inspiring experience. The lessons that I have learned as I got to know the clients and witnessed their utmost strength and resilience as they begin their new, and very different, lives in the States will undoubtedly stay with me throughout my future career as a dentist. I can honestly say that I have a whole new respect for refugees trying to adapt to our culture and access our health care system. I will make a sincere effort to continue to work with different immigrant groups in the future and am certain that I will utilize the insight and compassion that I was fortunate enough to obtain at HIAS Pennsylvania throughout my life.”

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Keystone First Health Plan

Student Interns:
Kelby Okada, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ariel Slavin, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

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

Community Preceptors:
Ellen Baker, Keystone First Health Plan
Meg Grant, Keystone First Health Plan

The Community Site:
Keystone First Health Plan is Pennsylvania’s largest Medicaid program. They are dedicated to making health care accessible to the community. They run programs such as Bright Start (for high-risk pregnant women) and Healthy Hoops (to help with childhood asthma). View Community Partner Web Site 

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Dental Health; Health Communication (For Your Kids Care Education Course); Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked in the Public Affairs and Marketing departments of Keystone First, a member of AmeriHealth Caritas. Ariel and Kelby each worked in one of Keystone First’s special programs, Cribs for Kids and Chester Smiles, respectively. Both worked closely with employees in the Public Affairs and Marketing departments, who guided them through the process of program execution within the company. This entailed collection of relevant clinical information into brief proposals suitable for meetings, working with departments such as Legal to ensure that projects properly represented all departments in the company, and revising documents based on such meetings or discovery of new information. The interns felt that this summer experience allowed them to better understand the functioning of a Medicaid company, particularly the priorities of a company in preventive treatment and the timescale in which projects unfold. Ariel notes, “This summer has certainly been a great learning experience for me. I have learned a lot, not only about how big companies, specifically health care companies, work, but also about myself and what I want for my future. I will definitely take what I learned this summer and use it in my future as a physician.” Kelby comments, “I never realized the full extent to which a Medicaid company can go to ensure their members receive quality medical and dental care. It is refreshing to know that such a large company can remain committed to helping those less fortunate. This is an experience I will take forward. … It is a unique way to spend my non-clinical summer of dental school, and I am fortunate to have been given this opportunity.”

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One Summer, Many New Families

Student Interns:
Olumayowa Azeez, Drexel University School of Public Health
Alexis Duecker, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University

Academic Preceptor:
Amy Montemarano, JD, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University

Community Preceptor:
Victoria Harris, Lutheran Children and Family Services

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

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns working at the Refugee Resettlement Program escorted newly arrived refugees to various health appointments, advocating on clients’ behalf to address health concerns and ensure accurate interpretation and communication with health care providers. In attending both the orientations for newly arrived refugees and exit interviews for more established refugees, the interns were exposed to the great strides made by refugees. To hasten the practical assimilation of newly arrived refugees, the interns accompanied and advocated for refugees to acquire state identification cards, Social Security cards and welfare benefits (to which refugees are entitled). In addition to working closely with each other, the interns worked with each of the caseworkers in the Refugee Resettlement clinic, learning their unique styles and strengths and successful advocacy strategies. Alexis comments, “My internship at LCFS this summer changed my path profoundly. Working with the staff at LCFS was enjoyable and inspirational, and getting to know our refugee clients was rewarding in ways I could not have imagined. This summer opened my eyes to the responsibility I have to help others to the greatest extent possible. I plan to study refugee and asylum law, and perhaps work abroad to mitigate some of the situations that cause refugees to flee their homes.” Mayowa notes, “I came into LCFS knowing that I wanted to work with global populations by helping them to access resources that would be difficult for them to attain on their own. The time that I spent at LCFS was filled with many learning experiences that I will carry with me through my career. It was my pleasure to take part in such community work while working with people who value what they do.”

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T.R.U.E. Care Clinic: Linking Trans* Patients to Care

Student Interns:
Montida Supanya-Fleming, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Sarah Waxman, Bryn Mawr College, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research

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

Community Preceptor:
Virginia Austin, Mazzoni Center
Robert Winn, MD, MS, AAHIVS, Mazzoni Center

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

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked on several projects at Mazzoni Center. Their work focused on the mission of Mazzoni Center’s T.R.U.E. (Trans Resources, Unity, and Education) Care Clinic, a free drop-in health clinic for uninsured transgender individuals. The ultimate goals of the T.R.U.E. Care Clinic are to provide a safe and compassionate access point for supportive health care, and to encourage continuing care at the Mazzoni Center. At the clinic and the general practice, the interns supported the staff by assisting with various administrative tasks, checking patients into rooms, performing biopsychosocial intakes and assisting medical case managers in linking patients to social service resources. Additionally, the interns helped with an administrative project that increased the efficiency and productivity of the practice by encouraging patients to attend or cancel their appointments in a timely manner. Mai notes, “My internship at the Mazzoni Center has been an invaluable experience, which has exposed me not only to unique barriers faced by the LGBTQ community in accessing health care, but also the value of an interdisciplinary, comprehensive health care practice that can provide all manner of services for its patients. It has been amazing to see the way in which a practice can run so efficiently to provide fundamental services to patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, to keep those patients healthy and happy. I have seen firsthand how compassionate health care — from the front desk, to the medical assistants, to the case managers, to the practitioners — can promote both individual and community wellness, and hope to incorporate the lessons I have learned into my future practice as a clinician.” Sarah reflects, “My internship at Mazzoni instilled in me a new level of sensitivity for the unique issues that affect the LGBTQ population. I witnessed firsthand how Mazzoni’s approach to health care, that defines health and wellness in the broadest of terms and involves a collaborative team of interdisciplinary professionals, provides a continuum of services for the LGBTQ community that successfully and effectively meets their physical, emotional and social health needs. I am appreciative of the opportunity I had to serve and learn from this community and know my experience this summer will prepare me to become a more informed and compassionate social worker.”

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Improving Refugee Access to Health Care

Student Interns:
Nadine Baker, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy
Preethi Rajendran, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptor:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptor:
Gretchen Wendel, Nationalities Service Center

The Community Site:
The Nationalities Service Center (NSC), located in Center City, provides an array of resettlement services, including housing, health care and employment, for immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia area. NSC works in partnership with Jefferson University’s Family Medicine Department and other city health clinics. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:  
Access to Health Care; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Immunization; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
The BTG student interns’ primary focus was on promoting health education for the Iraqi, Nepali and Burmese refugees at the Nationalities Services Center (NSC). To teach refugees about proper diet and nutrition, the interns developed posters and handouts on how to read food labels, affordable food locations and healthy native food venues. The interns helped create a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the Affordable Care Act, escorted refugees to their medical screenings, scheduled health care provider appointments, led health orientations and helped create a novel text message appointment reminder system for the refugees. They also created a map of all local pharmacies, dental offices and clinics, which was added to the NSC Web site for refugee access. Preethi states, “This experience really helped me learn how to overcome the barriers of interacting with refugee populations. Through familiarizing myself with using an interpreter, I became more comfortable in communicating without the use of language and was able to establish great connections between myself and the clients. All in all, it was an invaluable experience, and I have gained tools that will help me throughout my entire career.” Nadine reflects, “I cannot begin to imagine how stressful and overwhelming moving oneself and one’s family … halfway across the world must be for the refugees I have worked and developed relationships with. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have helped ease their transition into our health care system and have gained a great amount of knowledge and experience working with different patient populations that I may very well come into contact with as a future pharmacist.”

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Making Medication Accessible: The Patient Assistance Program

Student Interns:
Debra Harris, Drexel University School of Public Health
Nainy Kathuria, Thomas Jefferson University, School of Pharmacy
Michelle Klawans, Drexel University School of Public Health
Nicholas Kline, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University
Maggie McNair, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Kaveh Shabtaie, Drexel University School of Public Health

Academic Preceptors:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Candace Robertson-James, MPH, DrPH, Drexel University College of Medicine

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

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health operates eight health centers in neighborhoods throughout the city. It is the mission of the health centers to provide high-quality, comprehensive health care to all Philadelphians, regardless of their insurance status. The health centers provide primary and preventive primary care for adults and children, as well as key public health services. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health aims to protect and promote the health of all Philadelphians through the delivery of services at the health centers. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
BTG student interns managed and ran six Patient Assistance Program (PAP) offices across Philadelphia, serving as advocates for low-income, uninsured patients. Many of these patients require medication that is not available at the health center pharmacies, but is available from various pharmaceutical company philanthropic programs. The interns assisted patients in filling out applications and providing the documentation necessary to qualify for free medication from these programs. The interns oversaw the entire process—from application to follow-up, to distributing medication, to ordering of refills. Serving at the PAP offices was a learning experience for all interns. Michelle comments, “Working at the PAP office gave me an inside look at the difficulties many low-income Americans face in obtaining basic health care. As a public health student, this new perspective will allow me better insight into many issues.” Debra notes, “Being at Health Center 6 has given me the ability to witness the importance of this work. Many of these patients are faced with numerous obstacles that hinder their ability to access affordable health care. This internship alleviated some of the patients’ stress associated with affordable prescriptions.” Maggie adds, “This summer’s BTG CHIP experience has really allowed me to grow professionally in what seems like such a short period of time. Specifically, it has shown me the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and the ways in which it can promote better patient care. This summer has also successfully given me a look into other health care disciplines outside of my own, and allowed me to appreciate the work that they do.” Nainy remarks, “The BTG experience ties very closely to my profession of pharmacy. Working within the community and serving the underserved population was a very rewarding and enriching experience for me. BTG taught me how to mold myself from academia to a real-world setting where your decisions can really impact someone’s life. This experience was truly an eye-opener in the sense that over the years, while health care has advanced so much, we still have this vulnerable population that is deprived of quality care. I am very thankful that BTG is continuously making a difference in the lives of people, and I am proud to be a part of this program.” Kaveh says, “My experience with Bridging the Gaps … has been quite valuable for my personal and career development. It has furthered my awareness of the challenges that low-income individuals experience when it comes to the cost of and access to medications. I have been able to gain additional experience in health care software. Most importantly, I value the communication skills that I have obtained by working with physicians, nurses, secretaries and other staff members at the clinic. The program has helped me learn how a public health center operates and how important communication is. I appreciate such an opportunity.” Nick comments, “I learned that there is a disconnect between the gatekeepers of health care and those who have a genuine need. Working for the Department of Public Health as a patient advocate has been an educational and fulfilling experience to help bridge that disconnect.”

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

Student Interns:
MaryJane Anderson, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Anna Woods,Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Nancy Brisbon, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Terry Trudeau, MEd, Philadelphia FIGHT

The Community Site:
Philadelphia FIGHT is a comprehensive AIDS service organization providing primary care, consumer education, advocacy and research on potential treatments and vaccines. FIGHT was formed as a partnership of individuals living with HIV/AIDS and clinicians, who joined together to improve the lives of people living with the disease. View Community Partner Web Site
 
BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; HIV; Mental Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Every summer Philadelphia FIGHT relies on BTG student interns to conduct the annual client satisfaction survey, which provides information on the appropriateness and impact of FIGHT’s current programs. The interns spent time in each of the programs at FIGHT, including the Lax Clinic, AIDS Library, Diana Baldwin counseling center, KEYSPOT Computer Lab, Youth Health Empowerment Program, Institute for Community Justice and the Intensive Outpatient Program. In addition to collecting quantitative data about the clients FIGHT serves, the interns interviewed individual clients about their experience being diagnosed with HIV and their journey at FIGHT. Finally, the interns also assisted in the grant-writing process in an effort to bring oral health care to the clients at FIGHT. MaryJane reflects, “Working at Philadelphia FIGHT has given me a new perspective of what it means to live with HIV/AIDS. The clients that we serve have been so generous in sharing their experiences; it has helped me appreciate the value of full-service health care. Seeing firsthand the impact of offering primary health care, support groups, substance abuse counseling, GED classes and job skills training has helped me understand the importance of comprehensive care. This summer has given me real-world experience that will help me be a more culturally competent provider when I enter the clinic.” Anna notes, “I have absolutely loved working at Philadelphia FIGHT. Every day that I’ve spent here, I’ve met someone who both surprised and inspired me with their strength, spirit, humor and kindness. I feel like I have witnessed firsthand what a positive and powerful impact that an organization like FIGHT can have on people’s lives. If nothing else, this summer has taught me the power of truly caring about the people you work with, and I hope to carry with me the passion for service that I have witnessed here for the rest of my career and life.”

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Harm Reduction: Meeting Clients Where They Are

Student Interns:
Kevin Bonilla, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Zachary Strumpf, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
April Wu, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

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

Community Preceptor:
Clayton Ade-Andrew Ruley, MSS, MLSP, Prevention Point Philadelphia

The Community Site:
Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP), located in North Philadelphia, works to reduce the harm associated with drug and hormone use and sex industry work, offering culturally sensitive, nonjudgmental prevention, care and services. PPP offers an on-site location and mobile alternatives, where they provide information and access to treatment. PPP promotes harm reduction through syringe exchange, medical care, social services and referrals to drug treatment. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; HIV; Immunizations; Mental Health; Substance Abuse

The Project:
The BTG student interns assisted Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP) staff in the various programs designed to assist the site’s clients. For the Stabilization, Treatment and Engagement Program, the interns interviewed clients, updated records and addressed issues with insurance coverage. Operating in the Harm Reduction Services Center, the interns aided clients with a multitude of social services, including organizing case management and HIV/HCV testing and completing referrals for food, clothing and identification cards. PPP is an official mailing address for social services such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the interns designed and implemented an electronic mail database that streamlined the process by which the clients receive their mail. The interns helped create supply kits, wound care kits and packs of syringes for distribution through the Syringe Exchange Program, and they coordinated basic medical care for clients through the Streetside Health Project. Finally, the interns helped collect and enter data used by PPP for research and grant-writing purposes. Zachary notes, “Working at Prevention Point Philadelphia was a very rewarding experience that taught me many invaluable lessons about myself as a future health professional while also allowing me to provide important services to the community of North Philadelphia. The program challenged my notions of IV drug users as a relatively homogeneous group and helped me recognize the importance of treating all patients as individuals with unique histories and circumstances. The practice of harm reduction, I believe, is incredibly important, and I am thankful to have worked with an organization like PPP that truly meets clients ‘where they are’ in an effort to improve health and quality of life in a nonjudgmental fashion. I have also been shocked and disheartened by the scarcity of basic medical and social services in the area surrounding PPP, one of the most poverty-stricken parts of the city, and the Community Health Internship Program (CHIP) has only reinforced my desire to work with these underserved populations.” Kevin remarks, “My time at Prevention Point was a great learning opportunity. First, these seven weeks have firmly dispelled any one image I may have had of people dealing with substance abuse prior to this summer. Although there were common themes joining them, each of the individuals that walked into our site was unique. Second, as an aspiring physician, one of the aspects of medicine that gives me the most apprehension is talking to patients, which is also one of the most important things a physician can do. Being able to talk to clients this summer helped reaffirm that this was something I enjoyed and could learn to do. For me, gaining that confidence was definitely a moment of personal growth enabled by Prevention Point, the community and Bridging the Gaps.” April comments, “My internship at Prevention Point has broadened my understanding of what it means to participate in the provision of community health. My experiences working with drug users and sex workers have reinforced the fact that it is just as important to understand how a community functions and how its health is affected as it is to understand the same things about individuals when trying to provide effective care. My encounters with my clients have taught me how important it is to understand the background of each individual — to look past their substance abuse and ask myself why an individual’s social history has caused him or her to take the actions he or she has taken today and to never judge or blame. As a nursing student, working with the team at Prevention Point has strengthened my ability to communicate with a population that I have never had the chance to fully work with, and I look forward to using these skills in my future career.”

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None of Us Are Home Until All of Us Are Home

Student Interns:
Jeremy Brown, Temple University, School of Medicine
Laura Hink, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program
Keri Peacock, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program
Eric Stanchick, 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:
Robin Bonfield, MSW, Project H.O.M.E., Women of Change
Anabel Genevitz,, Project H.O.M.E.
Karen Subach, MSW, Project H.O.M.E., St. Columba House
Joy Thomas, MSW, Project H.O.M.E., Kairos House

The Community Site:
The mission of the Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunity, Medicine, Education) community is to empower adults, children and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society. Project H.O.M.E. offers a continuum of services. Women of Change, located in Center City, is a 25-bed safe haven for chronically homeless women with mental illness. St. Columba, located in West Philadelphia, serves men who are chronically homeless and who also suffer from serious mental illnesses with some co-occurring drug use disorders. Kairos House, located in North Philadelphia, is a progressive-demand residence for men and women with a primary diagnosis of mental illness. An integral part of Project H.O.M.E. is the Advocacy and Public Policy Team’s commitment to education about the realities of homelessness and poverty along with vigorous advocacy on behalf of and with homeless and low-income people for more just and humane public policies. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Environmental Health; Mental Health; Oral Health

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked at various sites within the Project H.O.M.E. network, providing aid to the staff on existing projects while creating projects of their own. Jeremy, who interned at St. Columba, engaged with residents on a daily basis, addressing a range of issues regarding healthy living through ongoing conversations. His responsibilities included educating residents about oral health and distributing oral health materials, accompanying the men of St. Columba to appointments with health care providers and guiding the men through the health care system. Laura, the intern at Women of Change, helped women to become more involved in their Project H.O.M.E. community as well as their neighborhood by encouraging a weekly resident council meeting, creating a weekly calendar of free events in the city and building relationships. Eric, an intern at Kairos House, managed the daily distribution of resident medications and recorded blood glucose levels. He received and documented items delivered by pharmacies and placed orders for refills of prescriptions that were running low. Also at Kairos House, Keri scheduled and attended appointments with residents, organized personal files and ensured correct documentation. She updated information about health histories and current care in the newest database. She spent time discussing and addressing concerns with various residents in order to resolve particular issues and develop constructive plans for the future. Jeremy notes, “My time with Bridging the Gaps and Project H.O.M.E. has been more instructive than I could have ever imagined. BTG gave me the chance to meet a vulnerable population where they were and engage them on a deeply personal level. I have learned so much about myself and about human life during my time at St. Columba. Having the residents of St. Columba open up to me and share their lives and their struggles with me has been incredibly humbling, and I know that the lessons I have learned will stay with me in some form throughout my medical career. I am honored and incredibly grateful to have been a part of BTG this summer.” Laura comments, “Bridging the Gaps has been an eye-opening experience, not only because of my time at Project H.O.M.E. but also because of the insightful speakers every Wednesday. At Project H.O.M.E. I was able to see the struggles and the victories that occur every day for the homeless population in Philadelphia. During these short seven weeks I have begun to learn how to see and appreciate people from a different place. Understanding the residents at Women of Change has forever changed my outlook on first impressions. I will always remember not to judge someone’s choices before I can see why those decisions were made. As a future occupational therapist, Project H.O.M.E. and Women of Change has taught me to meet a person where they are in recovery and increase on their independence from there.” Eric states, “Homelessness was an issue in which I had a rapidly growing interest but not much real experience or knowledge when Bridging the Gaps granted me an opportunity to work with Project H.O.M.E. The residents at my site, through all of their sharing and openness, gave me a glimpse of some of the factors that play roles in putting a person at risk for homelessness. They, through the unselfish sharing of themselves, provided me with an insight into the struggles and pitfalls that they (or anyone) could face in a state of mental illness. People without homes, as well as people suffering from mental illness, are some of our most misunderstood and underserved fellow human beings. My awareness has been permanently raised.” Keri remarks, “Because of Bridging the Gaps, I now understand the extreme challenges faced by people who have experienced homelessness and are living with severe mental illness. I am more aware of the difficulties that a person encounters within the health care system and the limited resources that are available. I have a better understanding of the effects of mental illness on daily life and the different ways in which people connect. I feel like I will be able to approach all people with a greater level of compassion, in both professional and personal experiences.”

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Witness to Fitness: Moving Toward Better Health at Sayre Health Center

Student Interns:
Harrison Kalodimos, MS, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Djuan Short, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
J.A. Grisso, MD, MS, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Kiasha Huling, LSW, Dr. Bernett L. Johnson, Jr. Sayre Health Center

The Community Site:
The Sayre Health Center (SHC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center adjacent to Sayre High School in West Philadelphia. The SHC aims to promote health, prevent disease and provide primary care services to both Sayre students and residents of the surrounding community. It also seeks to provide educational opportunities for high school, undergraduate and graduate students. The SHC is a cooperative effort of the University of Pennsylvania, Sayre High School and the West Philadelphia community surrounding the school, including students, their families and other community members of all ages. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
This summer, the BTG student interns were a part of the social health team at Sayre Health Center, working on several projects to improve nutrition and fitness in the community. Their activities included a nutrition activity for children at a local day camp that used an interactive nutrition bingo game and a conversation about sugary drinks, a Family Field Day in which families came to Sayre Health Center to enjoy outdoor activities like sack racing and a water balloon toss, and a storytelling event for children and their families. The interns frequently visited local community centers, such as the Cobbs Creek Recreation Center and the Older Adult Sunshine Center, to get to know the community and to promote events at Sayre. Throughout the summer, the interns also worked within the Sayre Health Center to develop materials to promote physical fitness for patients. Finally, the interns prepared a physical activity worksheet designed to guide medical personnel through a motivational interview-style conversation about physical activity with patients. Djuan notes, “My experience with BTG this summer has been full of learning and teachable moments. I will walk away from this experience with a greater respect for other helping professions and their contribution to addressing disparities in vulnerable communities. BTG helped to reinforce the concept of ‘teach me,’ which I value as a core principle in the helping profession. Having the opportunity to learn more of West Philadelphia by participating in direct community outreach was essential to furthering my understanding of how resources in neighborhoods are used.” Harrison reflects, “I’ve really enjoyed this opportunity to be a part of the team at the Sayre Health Center. I think the most valuable aspect of this experience has been the one-on-one conversations that I’ve had with members of the community. The people that spoke with me demonstrated an incredible generosity in opening up and sharing their lived experiences with me, teaching me not only about their lives, but also how to be a better listener.”

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Empowerment Through Literacy and Wellness: South Philadelphia Hispanic Outreach

Student Interns:
Carmen Moedano, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Jessica Ratner, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

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

Community Preceptor:
Sister Maria Lauren Donohue, MSBT, Philadelphia Department of Public Health
Bethany Welch, PhD, Aquinas Center

The Community Site:
The South Philadelphia Hispanic Outreach, a program sponsored by St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, provides social services, education, spiritual guidance and advocacy opportunities to the Latino community in South Philadelphia.

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

The Project:
At South Philadelphia Hispanic Outreach, the BTG student interns engaged the children, adolescents and adults in the Hispanic community through English literacy education, wellness activities and conversations about sensitive matters of concern to Latino community members. They developed lesson plans and taught adult learners beginner and intermediate English as a Second Language (ESL) classes three times a week, and incorporated a field trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for conversation practice. They also planned and facilitated weekly day camp activities for children aged 6 to 12 to promote nutrition and exercise in culturally relevant ways, including a bilingual recipe book, cooking demonstrations, salsa dancing lessons, a bone scavenger hunt, a heart health art project and physical activities. The internship also focused on promoting empowerment, communication and strong interpersonal relationships; the interns addressed these topics through weekly support groups for young moms, workshops for adolescents and an evening seminar series on parenting and mental health. Carmen notes, “Witnessing the unwavering dedication, resilience and passion of immigrant clients who participated in the young moms support group, ESL classes, adolescent group and seminar series this summer made this internship an incredibly rewarding, invaluable and enriching experience for me. The autonomy permitted in creating my own lesson plans for the various weekly groups challenged me to incorporate culturally relevant activities in creative ways, which is only one of the many skills I acquired this summer that I will carry with me in my professional career.” Jessica reflects, “I feel very privileged to have had the chance to work with the amazing South Philly Hispanic community this summer. Working closely with immigrants of all ages has brought to life the many barriers inherent in transitioning to a new country, ranging from the difficulty of getting health coverage to the challenge of communicating in a new language to the isolation of living far away from your family. I’ve seen how crucial multidisciplinary social, psychological, educational and physical health services are to supporting individuals in their pursuit of health and wellness in this community. I’m confident that my experiences this summer will continue to remind me to think broadly in my approach to health as I continue my training in the years to come.”

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Building Bridges and Sturdy Supports to Help Children With Special Health Care Needs and Their Families

Student Intern:
Susan Ramirez-Chung, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Katie McPeak, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

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

The Community Site:
The Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CCYSHCN) of St. Christopher’s Hospital provides coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered medical care that improves access to services, community resources and advocacy to ensure that children obtain the support they need while promoting their independence. The Center serves children and families residing in North Philadelphia around St. Christopher’s Hospital. The CCYSHCN’s medical home model effectively provides resources, addresses barriers and maximizes potential for children and their families, promoting a favorable quality of life and good health.

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

The Project:
The BTG student intern helped staff at the Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CCYSHCN) plan and obtain product donations for the third annual Back-to-School Carnival. This community event provided refreshments, crafts and activities for kids, and a resource fair that offered health information to interested families. Susan also learned about different components involved in transitioning patients with special health care needs into adult medical care. She attended a lecture on guardianship by the Medical Legal Partnership, which highlighted the role of a client’s primary care physician in the guardianship process. Susan states, “I have learned so much this summer at the CCYSHCN. I know that I will look back for years to come and continue to discover deeper meaning in all that I have observed. This experience has shown me just how critical an interdisciplinary approach to medicine can be in making a lasting change in the community. Social workers, care coordinators, educators, lawyers, mental health professionals, public health specialists and many other professionals have a role in helping patients to navigate the system and to obtain the support they may need to overcome social and environmental circumstances affecting their health. My time here has increased my passion to practice medicine in underserved communities, and to care for patients in a comprehensive and integrated health care model.”

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Streamlining Activities

Student Interns:
Meredith Johnson, Drexel University College of Medicine
Brandon Swed, Temple University, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine
Katie McPeak, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

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

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

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns were tasked with finding creative ways to streamline the Farm to Families program, facilitate its continuation and encourage further growth. During the internship, they worked closely with the program coordinator overseeing the program’s grant status and the program’s clients. The interns assisted with the distribution of weekly produce boxes, performed administrative duties to prepare weekly orders, followed up on prescriptions written as part of the Fresh Rx program, recruited families for the program, updated the program’s new electronic database and analyzed data on the program’s second year of operation. Meredith comments, “Working with Farm to Families gave me an opportunity to see the realities of living in an urban food desert. … I realized that as a future health provider I am in an optimal position to screen for food insecurity, and I hope to take what I’ve learned into my career.” Brandon notes, “Throughout the summer, Farm to Families at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children has opened my eyes to the widespread hunger problem that plagues North Philadelphia. This program has been very rewarding in that we are able to provide low-cost, wholesale pricing on fresh and local fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and other items to a subset of the population that otherwise might not have access to such foods.”

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Lawyers and Medical Professionals Working Together: A Holistic Approach to Health Care

Student Intern:
Dina Sloane, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University

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

Community Preceptor:
Eileen Carroll, Esq., Legal Clinic for the Disabled

The Community Site:
Attorneys from the Legal Clinic for the Disabled (LCD) run the Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) in the ambulatory clinic of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to provide legal assistance and advice to patients and their families.

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Disabilities Conditions; Environmental Health; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health

The Project:
The BTG student intern assisted the staff attorneys in addressing a variety of legal issues that affect patients and their families at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. As part of her work, Dina helped victims of domestic violence obtain legal protection from their abusers; helped parents and caregivers access health care for their children; and shared information on writing wills, powers of attorney and living wills. She helped conduct patient interviews and draft legal documents, such as divorce or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications. She also engaged in other projects and developed resident training material and collected data to monitor the progress of the MLP. Dina comments, “My experience at the Legal Clinic for the Disabled taught me the importance of working together with other disciplines to best meet the needs of patients/clients. At the Medical-Legal Partnership, we work together with doctors and social workers to improve patients’ overall health. I also saw the importance of law in a medical setting, as well its limitations. My experience has also opened my eyes to issues I have overlooked in the past, such as immigration issues for people who were brought to America as a child.”

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Violence Is a Public Health Issue

Student Interns:
Charles Bergman, Temple University, School of Medicine
Daniel Hyun-Ho Choi,Temple University, School of Podiatric Medicine
Ashley Seiver, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program
Brian Shafer, Temple University, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Marla Davis-Bellamy, JD, MGA, Temple University School of Medicine, Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and Policy

Community Preceptor:
Sister Maria Lauren Donohue, MSBT, Philadelphia Department of Public Health
Bethany Welch, PhD, Aquinas Center

The Community Site:
The Temple University Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and Policy is committed to defining and addressing the ethical challenges of urban health care, public health status and policy. The Center works to improve health status for vulnerable urban populations, particularly within North Philadelphia, where a disproportionately high number of residents suffer from preventable and treatable health conditions, and to position Temple University as a nationally recognized expert in the field of urban health and bioethics. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Environmental Health; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
The BTG student interns undertook different projects this summer with the goal of fostering positive relationships between Temple University and the surrounding North Philadelphia community. Certain projects, such as getting the community involved with the Medible Garden and the Sun Circle Garden, were tied with active student groups and will continue after the conclusion of Bridging the Gaps. In addition to their individual projects, the interns also collectively worked on a View Card to be distributed in the surrounding community to inform and educate community members about ways to combat and prevent violence. Charles comments, “Working with the group of high school students on the violence video was a real eye-opening experience for me. … This project helped me to gain a deeper appreciation for the real faces and people who must deal with obstacles every day. What resonated with me the most was the pure optimism and enthusiasm of the students who have been through so much.” Brian remarks, “Nothing has been more rewarding than watching children walk through the garden asking over and over again, ‘Can I eat this!?’ Helping excite children to learn about healthy eating is always a struggle, but the garden proved to be an environment that facilitated learning and fun. Additionally, the relationships that we have made with members of the community have reprogrammed my thoughts on North Philadelphia and have shown me the love that exists here.” Daniel declares, “The BTG internship in North Philadelphia was an opportunity to meet many people in this community who are skilled and determined to bring positive changes to this city. Working with such people had me realize that I am part of this beautiful community and that my efforts can contribute to make it an even better place.” Ashley notes, “I’ve spent the past year going to school on one block in North Philadelphia and have never before formed relationships with the people living in this neighborhood until working full time in the garden this summer. There’s some kind of magic that happens when I’m working here that somehow makes it okay to approach and be approached by people you would never otherwise risk a conversation with — a human connection that happens that goes beyond the boundaries that exist in the outside world. The relationships I made this summer have opened my mind to a new way of looking at this neighborhood and the people in it.”

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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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