BTG Hope

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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2016

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

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You Are Your Brother’s and Your Sister’s Keeper

Student Interns:
Alyssa Kurtz, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptor: 
Pat Anthony Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Ronda Blackson, RN, Gaudenzia, Inc.
Michelle Woltz, MHS, CRNP, CARN, Gaudenzia, Inc.

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 only 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 (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
HIV; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern at Gaudenzia, People With Hope provided health-related educational seminars to the clients to facilitate learning about chronic conditions, mental illness, smoking cessation and healthy living. The intern also facilitated groups to help clients practice budgeting, public speaking, stress management and other life skills that will help them reintegrate into society. The site is structured around the concept of a therapeutic community, and one of the most important roles of the intern was to be a facilitator of the recovery process. The intern acted as a source of guidance and support for the clients to encourage recovery.

Personal Statement:
Alyssa said, “Working at Gaudenzia has been an invaluable experience for me and one that will surely influence my future career in medicine. I have heard countless stories and connected with some of the most amazing people, who continue to smile and persevere after coming from unimaginable trauma. From the community of People With Hope, I have seen inspiring examples of courage, kindness and determination that I will never forget. I will take what I have learned, remembering to always stay humble and why I pursued a career in the medical field. I am extremely grateful for the time I have spent at Gaudenzia and hope that my presence has impacted the members of the community as much as being a part of this community has impacted me.”

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Bolstering the Health & Well-Being of Philadelphia Adults and Children

Student Interns:
Emily Kukuruda, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Neha Mukunda, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Harini Reddy, Bryn Mawr College, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
Ruben Salazar, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University
Peter Cronholm, MD, MSCE, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
James D. Plumb, MD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Roy Wade Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, MSHP
, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Community Preceptor:
Patty Inacker, MSW, MBA, Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center

The Community Site:
The Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center of Pennsylvania Hospital is designed to enhance the lives of people affected by mental illness and/or developmental disabilities. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Child Health; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Child Health; Mental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health worked closely with individuals receiving behavioral health and mental health services. A team of an occupational therapist and a social worker worked in the Adult Learning Center with clients ranging from 24 to 64 years old. Serving those with intellectual disabilities and co-occurring mental health issues, the interns taught clients about oral health, nutrition, physical fitness, diabetes, tobacco use, healthy weight management, well-being and mindfulness. Each lesson was unique, including skits with group participation, exercise classes and many other activities to engage clients. Integrating the program’s daily routine — an emphasis on support and personal autonomy — the interns designed activities with clients’ individual goals (including health modification) in mind. A team of medical students worked in the Therapeutic Activities Program with child clients aged 4 and 5. Many of the children grew up under traumatic circumstances, and the program affords them an opportunity to grow and learn in a structured yet supportive environment. Each day there is time dedicated to playing and exercising outdoors, coming in for lunch and snack time, and participating in enrichment or play again in the afternoon. The interns provided additional enrichment in the form of science experiments, field trip support, heart lessons with stethoscopes and a “take-care-of-your-plant” project, among other activities. The main goals of these activities were to allow the children to learn behavior self-management skills to continually cope with what they are going through; to develop coping strategies for the future; and to build self-esteem and self-confidence.

Personal Statements:
Emily said, “As an occupational therapist, it enhanced my understanding of the need and ways to increase life skills, money management, community integration and social participation.” Harini said, “As a student and aspiring social work professional, this experience has been valuable in helping me understand the role that social workers play in advancing public health. As part of a team that tailored health curriculum and lesson plans to meet the nuanced needs of the adults, my interdisciplinary team experience provided me with new perspectives on the importance of interprofessional collaboration for promoting resilience in the individuals and communities we serve.” Neha said, “Participating in Hall-Mercer’s TAP program taught us the value of consistency and of creating safe spaces, which so many of the children that we will encounter as physicians may not have. On a personal level, the children taught me the value in finding joy in simple moments every day, a perspective that will become increasingly important to hold on to as a future physician.” Ruben said, “My time at Hall-Mercer taught me that progress comes in the form of small victories, especially in working with children. I was amazed by the capacity of children to be curious about their own health and the world around them, which I will certainly incorporate into my communication and care for children in the future.”

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Harm Reduction: A STEP in the Right Direction

Student Interns:
Michael Bozzi, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Michael Chase, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Jin Hwang, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Nancy Brisbon, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP
, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Brian Work, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Clayton Ruley, MSS, MLSP, Prevention Point Philadelphia

The Community Site:
Located in Kensington, Prevention Point 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 that provide information and access to an array of treatments, from hepatitis C treatment to Suboxone 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 (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Quality Health Services; HIV; Immunizations and Infectious Diseases; Oral Health; Substance Abuse

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns working at Prevention Point Philadelphia developed a comprehensive oral health care project to provide supplies and access to dental care for clients. On “Toothday Tuesday,” the interns distributed toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss and engaged clients on an individual basis in discussions about meeting oral hygiene goals. In addition, the interns participated in wound care services, worked in the medical clinic, and conducted patient interviews for clients with a history of opiate use disorder receiving Suboxone treatment in the Stabilization, Treatment and Engagement Program (STEP). The interns also assisted with administrative duties such as insurance paperwork, working the front desk, filing mail, serving meals and other daily needs of the organization.

Personal Statements:
Jin said, “I am so grateful for the opportunity that BTG has given me to work and learn in an interdisciplinary environment with a passionate and motivated staff to help a population that faces so many challenges. Listening to the stories and building trusting relationships with our clients has helped me see that there is always more to the story than what meets the eye.” Michael Chase said, “BTG has been a really great experience that allowed me to explore the issues related to homelessness and substance abuse that so dramatically affect the population of the Kensington neighborhood. As a resident of Center City Philadelphia, I never would have had the opportunity to work with this population, and spending an entire summer at PPP really allowed me to get to know a lot of the clients and hear their stories, which has helped increase my empathy for this population greatly. I have seen the strength and resiliency of the clients at PPP, and I hope to draw upon these experiences in the future so that I can provide inclusive, nonjudgmental care to all patients, regardless of their societal status.” Mike Bozzi said, “Working at Prevention Point through the BTG program really opened my eyes to how fluidly interdisciplinary teams can work together to provide patients with the services they need, even in the toughest situations. I have immense respect for the work done by the social workers, nurses, doctors and volunteer staff that make PPP run.”

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A Summer of Serving Soldiers

Student Interns:
Alexander Iacono, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Courtney Martin, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptor: 
Pat Anthony Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Jaclynn Ries, MS, Veterans Multi-Service Center

The Community Site:
In 1980, the Veterans Multi-Service Center was created to aid veterans returning from the Vietnam War. The main purpose was to assist veterans with gaining access to VA benefits, finding employment opportunities and adjusting back to society after returning home from war. Over time, the center expanded its program to assist veterans of all wars and conflicts. In 2000, The Perimeter was established to assist homeless veterans in the community. The program offers day services that provide breakfast and lunch as well as a safe place to stay throughout the day. The veterans can watch TV, complete paperwork, play cards, enjoy arts and crafts, and take part in various other activities. Computer courses, educational workshops and employment services are provided to assist the veterans in future endeavors. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Health Literacy/ Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with the veterans of The Perimeter to increase basic health knowledge, teaching topics including cardiovascular health, smoking cessation, oral health, mental health and nutrition. In addition, the interns helped serve breakfast and lunch daily to the veterans and connected with them through various games.

Personal Statements:
Alexander said, “Getting the chance to work with the veterans this summer at The Perimeter through BTG has been an eye-opening experience. The guys have taught me a lot about perseverance in the face of adversity as well as a lot about myself. I learned everything from prejudices and bias that the homeless and veterans face on a daily basis to how to play spades like a champ. This summer has been truly an amazing and humbling experience.” Courtney said, “Working at The Perimeter this summer has been a truly life-changing experience. The veterans have taught me a great deal about resilience, perseverance and acceptance. They view each day as a new opportunity for success and handle challenges with the utmost of strength. These are some of the most caring and forgiving individuals I have ever worked with, and it has been an honor to be a part of their family. I am so grateful to have been able to serve such inspirational individuals that have dedicated their lives to serving our country.”

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