BTG Hope

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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2013

Maternal/Child & Women's Health

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A Celebration of Learning: Fostering Healthy Childhood Development Through Family Engagement

Student Interns:
Alla Abramov, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Lea Hecht, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Shaquita Rivers, MHA, MHEd, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Early Head Start

Community Preceptor:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Courtney Schreiber, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

The Community Site:
Early Head Start (EHS) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is a community-based program for low-income pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers living in the West Philadelphia area. The EHS mission is to provide quality early childhood learning experiences and comprehensive family support services that enable families to be successful in the role of being their child’s first teacher. Services include weekly home visits with hands-on child development activities, parent-child socializations, prenatal education, support and referrals, community resource referrals, health and nutrition education, mental health and substance abuse education, parenting classes, job readiness services, and enrichment activities for children with disabilities. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Immunization; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked with CHOP’s Early Head Start program to organize various events and assist in the overall functioning of the program. The interns assisted with a Parent Newborn Support Group and helped coordinate a session for the families that focused on early literacy. The interns talked to parents about the importance of heart health and created an arts and crafts activity for the children that combined early literacy and healthy eating choices. They created booklets that home visitors can use to give parents the tools to work on their children’s early literacy skills. The interns accompanied advocates on home visits that focused on a variety of topics including parenting skills, interactive play, reading, home safety and nutrition. They created bulletin boards to educate parents on various children’s health issues and facilitated an activity in which parents participated in making a prenatal health bulletin board that was displayed on site. The interns also conducted chart checks to assess the health status of the children in terms of up-to-date immunizations, well-child visits and dental care, and up-to-date assessments for nutrition, allergies and home safety. Alla comments, “My time at Early Head Start has given me a deep appreciation for the work that is done by EHS staff. Not only are parents provided with important resources and much needed support, the skills they are learning will last a lifetime. I’ve learned that in underserved communities, one of the most important things you can do is empower parents in the difficult task of raising happy and healthy children. Working closely with these families has been an incredibly valuable growing experience for me, both personally and professionally.” Lea states, “For me, Early Head Start has reinforced the importance of working in interdisciplinary teams in a health care setting. I’m thankful to have been a part of this amazing organization, even for such a short time. I’ve learned so much from all of the home visitors, health educators, nutritionists and families about what it means to work together for the betterment of these children. I’m looking forward to applying all that I’ve learned to becoming a better physician for my patients in the future.”

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Engaging the Community Through Social Media

Student Interns:
Erin Barnes,Drexel University College of Medicine
Marie Plaisime, Drexel University School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor:
Priscilla Killian, MSN, RN, MHPNP, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions

Community Preceptors:
Serita Reels, MPH, Drexel University College of Medicine
Candace Robertson-James, DrPH, MPH, Drexel University College of Medicine

The Community Site:
Philadelphia Ujima is sponsored by the Drexel University College of Medicine Women’s Health Education Program. Ujima is a collaborative partnership among several schools, workplaces, organizations and communities in and around Philadelphia. Their goal is to improve health outcomes for underserved groups in Philadelphia. The vision of Ujima is to create a diverse, robust macro-community of caring that is engaged and that promotes self- and group advocacy in wellness and health for the individual, family and community. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
BTG student interns mentored high school students participating in a social media campaign sponsored by Philadelphia Ujima. This entailed facilitating sessions in which adolescents developed and executed health-based social media projects. Interns developed health promotion presentations and educated students on the impact that social media modalities have in modern health care. Individually, one intern worked on developing a gender-based needs assessment curriculum, and the other conducted research and development of a community engagement database for the Drexel University College of Medicine. They also facilitated various community outreach activities, including a health fair at the Riverside Correctional Facility and health education programs for young children at Zion Baptist Church’s enrichment program. Erin notes, “Through my internship with Philadelphia Ujima, I have participated in community education and outreach programs while personally gaining an education in public health and exposure to the diversity of Philadelphia communities. Playing a role in the development and facilitation of these outreach programs provided me with a new perspective on the health care process. As a medical student, we are taught to treat the individual, and often forget how the social determinants of health affect the individual patients we treat. This compartmentalization can lead to a separation of thinking between individual and community health, and I am glad to have gotten the interdisciplinary experience that made me think on a broader level.” Marie shares, “During my time in Bridging the Gaps, I have experienced a series of emotions that have fueled my passion and drive to succeed in public health. Through my internship with Women’s Health Education Program: Philadelphia Ujima, I mentored high school students in designing social media health campaigns and helped them gain a better understanding of public health. I also contributed to educational and wellness programs, which allowed me to explore and embrace the diversity of Philadelphia. While the social determinants of health tremendously impact how we live and interact with one another, resilience and compassion can override these factors. This summer I truly learned the power of language and the importance of humility, and I am thankful to have been given an opportunity to witness how our socioeconomic differences can exemplify possibility and change.”

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Keeping Baby Safe: At Home and On the Go

Student Interns:
Hannah Beryl, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Lauren Eisenhauer, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Will Pickering, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Amy Sakowitz, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Samantha Thomas, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Joan I. Gluch, RDH, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Charmaine Smith Wright, MD, MSHP, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Katherine Harton, RN, BSN, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program
Khadijah Muhammed, MSEd, MSW, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program
Ayeisha Patterson, MEd, Health Federation, Early Head Start Program

The Community Site:
The Health Federation of Philadelphia’s Early Head Start Program, located in North Central Philadelphia, provides comprehensive, home-based services to 176 low-income infants and toddlers, pregnant women and their families. Early Head Start promotes healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, enhances the development of very young children and promotes healthy family functioning. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns accompanied the Early Head Start (EHS) Child Family Advocates on a number of home visits to experience the program’s primary goal of educating parents on how to be their children’s first teachers. In addition, they also worked with the EHS staff on a variety of programs. One of their main responsibilities was creating a Health Care Institute event that focused on safety and included tips and activities to keep children safe and also taught parents about CPR; first aid; and car, fire and home safety. The student interns also hosted and directed a Daddy and Me event, a Prenatal Class and a Family Fun Day. They also worked to create educational materials, such as brochures on car seat installation and postpartum depression, that may be used by EHS for years to come. Lauren comments, “Not only did Bridging the Gaps introduce me to the vast demands and capabilities of a community health center, but it also provided me with invaluable opportunities to expand my interpersonal skills. In working with diverse low-income families and with my interprofessional team of interns, I learned to recognize and appreciate the different gifts and perspectives of others, forever changing my approach to understanding the needs of individuals in a health care setting.” Will notes, “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in Bridging the Gaps. … Along with four other interns, I organized a number of health and safety events for low-income children and their families. The Wednesday sessions greatly increased my understanding of poverty, homelessness and trauma, and were a highlight of the BTG experience.” Amy states, “My internship at Early Head Start has taught me many important values this past summer. I have learned a lot about different areas throughout Philadelphia, while working with my supervisors and local clients in the community. I have gained a new understanding of families with low socioeconomic status, and learned of many of the struggles they go through. I am so happy I had the chance to experience such a wonderful opportunity to gain knowledge that will stay with me for the rest of my career.” Samantha says, “Interning with Early Head Start was an amazing way to end my summer. The experiences I gained are invaluable and will carry with me throughout my professional career — from exploring the city and interacting with various members of the greater Philadelphia area to being exposed to some of the hidden treasures in Philadelphia and the health community at large via the Wednesday didactic sessions.”

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Safe Sleep Saves Lives: Cribs for Kids

Student Interns:
Ashley Abraham, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Hilary Susskind, 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 Preceptor:
Kisha Gadsden, Maternity Care Coalition, Cribs for Kids Program

The Community Site:
Cribs for Kids, a component program of the Maternity Care Coalition, provides needy families in Philadelphia with cribs and education on safe sleeping environments. Cribs for Kids also provides education on how to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked with the staff and families of the Cribs for Kids (C4K) program. The objective of C4K is to provide safe sleep environments for infants in needy families, and to reduce the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in Philadelphia. The program provides Pack ’n Plays and seeks to educate clients on safe sleep practices as well as maternal and infant health. Clients receive Pack ’n Plays at workshops or during home visits. During client interactions, the interns provided safe sleep education and information on infant care. The interns also conducted client interviews to assess eligibility for the program, tended to hotline calls and performed follow-up assessments for those who had completed the program. Ashley and Hilary feel that this summer experience has allowed them to better understand their prospective patient population, and they plan to apply their newfound skills as future health care professionals. Hilary notes, “I had a wonderful summer working at C4K! My experience has been both educational and eye-opening, and I have learned how to better serve the needs of the families in different communities. It has been rewarding to work with such an incredible team at C4K, helping to empower new mothers to safely care for their infants. I know the lessons I have gained from the program will stick with me throughout the rest of my career.” Ashley comments, “In interacting with clients, I began to see and understand the many challenges they face, and tried to serve in a way that helped clients feel cared for and understood. I have really enjoyed working with the families served by C4K, and hope to use skills developed through BTG to build empathetic and therapeutic relationships with patients in the future.”

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Play Is a Child’s Work: Play Pods Invade North Philadelphia to Put Children to Work

Student Interns:
Amanda Mastrogiovanni, University of the Sciences, Doctor of Pharmacy Program
Mary Kate McGinty, RPh, MS, University of the Sciences

Academic Preceptor:
Oliver Bullock, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Oliver Bullock, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Naomi Roberson, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
Meg Wise, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse

The Community Site:
In 1899, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse opened in East Fairmount Park, fulfilling the vision of its founders, Richard and Sarah Smith, in memory of their adult son, Stan, to provide a place for the children of Philadelphia to engage in free play at a time when many children in the city lived in crowded and dangerous conditions. Smith’s 16,000-square-foot mansion and 6½-acre playground were designed to allow children to stretch their imaginations, improve their physical health through active play, and learn to negotiate and solve problems with their peers. Parents and other caregivers accompany children on visits and learn how to use play to enhance their children’s health and well-being. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:

The BTG student interns focused on teaching caregivers that play is an essential and critical part of all children’s development. The interns built relationships with various community recreation centers, health centers and social agencies in the North Philadelphia neighborhoods. At the sites, the interns designed play pods — interactive play tables with toys and easy do-it-yourself crafts for children to play with while their parents received information from the interns about the importance of play. Children experimented with homemade bean bags and playdough made from everyday materials to demonstrate the ease of playing without having to go into debt. At both the play pods and at Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, the interns conducted surveys regarding caregivers’ views about the impact of play. Nicole remarks, “Working with BTG and Smith has shattered my previous notions of what kind of neighborhoods are in North Philadelphia. I’ve learned the resilience of its residents, the willingness to improve childhood experiences for its children, and the openness to change in order to improve the quality of life. … North Philadelphia is a community that is working hard to make changes to pull itself up to make life better for all of its residents. It’s a work in progress that I am so grateful to have been a part of.” Amanda notes, “This summer BTG has provided a unique interdisciplinary experience that not only educated me about the Philadelphia community, but about myself. As a student of the University of the Sciences, I usually do not venture out of University City. It has been eye-opening to work with the community of North Philadelphia and learn about their socioeconomic needs. The Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse provided us with an inspiring experience that will resonate with me throughout my career as a health care provider.”

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