BTG Hope

"The BTG Program provides needed resources to the many thousands of community-based organizations that are working to create a more socially just and compassionate world. Because of their support, many nonprofits are able to reach and enrich the lives of many more people."
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New Jersey Projects

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Addressing Public Health Needs in the City of Camden: Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Student Intern(s):
Jonathan H. Compton, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Kris C. Ruangchotvit, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Academic Preceptor(s):
Timothy Dombrowski, DO, MPH, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Carl Hoch, PhD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Community Preceptor(s):
Falynn Milligan, MS, Camden Area Health Education Center, Community Farmers’ Market

The Community Site:
Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is committed to addressing public health issues in the city of Camden. The center has five Community Farmers’ Market sites throughout the city of Camden, a Syringe Access Program for IV drug users, a Mobile Health Unit, a Senior Wellness Program, and HIV/STD prevention, education and counseling services. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Overweight and Obesity; Substance Abuse; Responsible Sexual Behavior
Focus Areas: Access to Quality Health Services; Nutrition and Overweight; HIV; Oral Health; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Jon and Kris participated in the Community Farmers’ Market, the Junior Chef’s Program, and the Syringe Access Program. During the Junior Chef’s program, Kris and Jon worked with children aged 7 to 13. They assisted the Junior Chef participants in learning about the importance of adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. This included lessons about nutrition, oral health and physical activity. A healthy snack was prepared each week. Field trips were arranged to the supermarket, a local farm and a community greenhouse. At the Syringe Access Program, Kris and Jon assisted in distributing supplies and provided information to program participants. At the Camden Community Farmers’ Market, Kris and Jon assisted seniors in signing up for Senior Farmers’ Market Vouchers from the State of New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and observed Camden residents gaining access to Jersey fresh produce—otherwise hard to find in the city of Camden. Kris commented, “The opportunity to work with members of the Camden community really demystified many stereotypes that are portrayed about this city. It has also allowed me to view access to quality health-care as a right for all people regardless of a community’s socioeconomic status. Working with staff members at Camden AHEC taught me the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in providing public health resources to people. This philosophy allows community agencies and clinicians to work together in providing care that is specific to the needs of each community.” Jon noted, “I also learned firsthand what it means to try to do something positive in a community and all the complications that can go along with that mission. Above all, I have learned that whatever good you are trying to do in a community, it is often counterproductive to try to create the changes that you desire through the use of power and position. Instead, it is best to offer your service with humility and on equal footing with those you seek to serve and hope that change will come.”

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Bridging the Gaps at Hope Community Outreach Center in Camden

Student Intern(s):
Raina Brown, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health
Nikul Patel, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Bernadette West, PhD, MA, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health
Timothy Dombrowski, DO, MPH, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Sylvester Servance, JD, MBA, Hope Community Outreach Center

The Community Site:
Hope Community Outreach Center, located in the Whitman Park neighborhood, is an outgrowth of the community ministries of New Light Holiness Church. The community center provides much-needed services to the residents of the community. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Environmental Quality; Injury and Violence; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Environmental Health; Health Communication; Injury and Violence Prevention; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Nikul and Raina worked alongside the Hope Community Outreach Center staff to provide a safe, educational and stimulating environment for children and teens. They helped the center meet the criteria leading to New Jersey Youth Camp Provider certification by creating camp policies, procedures and regulations. The interns developed science, health and literacy activities for the summer camp program and mentored students on a daily basis. They also participated in community outreach and advocacy activities by distributing food, clothing and baby items to needy families in the surrounding neighborhood. They supported the center’s technology programs by maintaining the computer lab and Web site, as well as teaching community members basic keyboard skills and hardware maintenance. The interns addressed numerous concerns within the community, including hygiene, dental care, early intervention, drug use, housing rehabilitation needs, voting and violence. Nikul said, “The Hope Community Outreach Center easily provided me with the greatest community service experience of my life … I ended up making some very strong bonds with many of the children, to the point where I go back and visit every week.” Raina reflected, “Anyone considering a career involving community health should have a hands-on experience like this. No textbook can convey the full reality of the hardships faced by residents in some needy communities, and no lecture can prepare you for the situations you encounter … I still drop in to stay in contact with the friends I made.”

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A Multidimensional Approach to Reproductive Health Promotion in Camden, New Jersey

Student Intern(s):
Mishanta Reyes, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Sarah Nezworski, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health and School of Health Related Professions, Physician Assistant Program

Academic Preceptor(s):
Bernadette West, PhD, MA, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health
Paul Krueger, DO, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Chanel Conley, MHA, Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey

The Community Site:
Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey (PPSNJ) provides quality affordable reproductive health services for both men and women, along with community educational programming on human sexuality issues. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Access to Health Care; Physical Activity; Responsible Sexual Behavior
Focus Areas: Access to Quality Health Services; Family Planning; HIV; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Project:
Mishanta and Sarah organized and presented prenatal health education sessions that emphasized exercise and physical activity. They also participated in community outreach educational demonstrations at the Camden Farmers’ Markets, focusing on contraception and sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, they assisted in the initial stages of the implementation of a program to offer universal HIV screening in the clinic. Sarah noted, “Working with an organization such as PPSNJ allowed me to gain practical insight to the ways in which reproductive health concerns touch virtually every aspect of an individual’s life in one way or another. I am thankful for the opportunity to have my heart and mind touched in ways that compel me to continue to become more aware of the personal and societal factors that determine an individual’s health status and to reflect on the ways in which I, as a future health-care provider and health educator, can have a positive impact on those I encounter.” Mishanta stated, “Working in the city of Camden was an eye-opening experience; it exposed me to my own biases and showed me how Camden is a unique city … BTG was an experience that I most definitely will not forget and truly appreciate. As a future physician, I will take this experience into practice and not only see each community as unique, but also view each patient as a unique individual so that I can better serve their needs.”

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BTG 20 Years Video
BTG 20th Anniversary Tribute
"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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