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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Getting on the Same Page — Different Perceptions of Camden’s Health Needs

Student Intern(s):
Geoffrey Froehlich, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Coreyanne Irons, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health-Related Professions, Physician Assistant Program

Academic Preceptor(s):
Frank Filipetto, DO, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Carol Sadley, PA-C, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions, Physician Assistant Program

Community Preceptor(s):
Ellen Marshall, MBA, Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

The Community Site: 
Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is committed to improving the health of the medically underserved in the community. The organization strives to improve quality and access to health and human services, and to promote health, especially in those who have traditionally fallen through the cracks in our health-care system: the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the uninsured, the aged and the very young. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Substance Abuse; Access to Health Care; Responsible Sexual Behavior
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Service; HIV; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Public Health Infrastructure; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Coreyanne and Geoffrey participated in two concurrent projects at Camden AHEC. At Lifeworks, New Jersey Needle Exchange and Treatment Initiative’s Camden Syringe Access Program, the interns participated in street outreach, harm-reduction education, connecting clients with treatment programs, and neighborhood cleanup. They also interviewed community members, health-care workers, and other researchers to determine what each group perceived as priorities for improving the health of Camden residents. They collected and synthesized both objective and subjective data, and then drew some preliminary conclusions.

Coreyanne and Geoffrey commented, “Over the course of our experience we were able to realize, first, how significant of an asset the [AHEC] organization and others like it are to the community, and second, how much is still left to be done. Camden’s ills are no secret, and that became more obvious with each person we spoke to. The data that other researchers have collected paints a very good picture of the difficulties that Camden residents face — poverty, lack of health insurance and the concomitant lack of access to services, substance abuse problems, crime, poor education, mental illness. The interviews that we did with Camden residents reiterated these facts, and added a personal touch to the struggles that many face.”

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A Needs Assessment for Men’s Reproductive Health Services in Camden, N.J.

Student Intern(s):
Lola Fagbami, MSc, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health
Devon Rutherford, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions, Physician Assistant Program

Academic Preceptor(s):
Sheryl Geissler, PA-C, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions
Bernadette West, PhD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health

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

The Community Site: 
Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey (PPSNJ) provides quality affordable reproductive health services and educational programming for men, women and communities throughout Camden, Burlington and Atlantic Counties. View Community Partner Web Site 

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Responsible Sexual Behavior
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; HIV; Oral Health; Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Project: 
Lola and Devon conducted a needs assessment for the male clinic of Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey (PPSNJ). They developed several population-specific survey instruments for assessing the community’s desire to see the age of service at the male clinic expanded. They also presented oral health information to mothers and pregnant women and distributed toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. The interns created a game called “The Wheel of Misfortune,” which they displayed at the community farmer’s market and used to educate the community on STIs and pregnancy. They also distributed reproductive health information and condoms at the farmer’s market.

Lola noted, “One of the most profound things I was able to observe was Tent City, a community of homeless people who live beneath an exit ramp of I-676. I visited it on my last day as a BTG intern, and realized that although this area had been on my daily route to Camden, I was oblivious to its existence for almost two months … my insight from BTG: never assume that you’ve seen it all; never assume that you know it all. There is always something else to see, something else to learn, some other way to help and be an advocate for those who are often voiceless and marginalized. So this summer is only the beginning. I intend to find other opportunities to serve in urban medically underserved communities, find new ways to give voice to the voiceless and empower individuals and communities to control their health and welfare through education and advocacy.” 

Devon commented, “I have learned that the issues concerning the communities in Camden and Philly are very different from issues in my own community and it is important to identify and work with people that can advocate for the community members. This summer has had a great impact on me and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with my classmates.”

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Photo Voice Project

Student Intern(s):
Olumuyiwa Akerele, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine
David Pierre, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health

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):
Odessa Edmond, Hope Community Outreach Center
Sylvester Servance, JD, MBA, Hope Community Outreach Center

The Community Site: 
Hope Community Outreach Center (HCOC), located in the Whitman Park neighborhood, is an outgrowth of the community ministries of New Light Holiness Church. HCOC’s goal is to give the youth of Whitman Park a positive alternative to the violence that has plagued Camden, by providing a variety of programs and services to the residents of the community. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Substance Abuse, Access to Healthcare Injury, and Violence
Focus Areas:  Education and Community-Based Programs, Substance Abuse, Access to Quality Health Care, Injury and Violence Prevention, Environmental Health

The Project: 
Olumuyiwa and David helped organize and implement the Whitman Park Photo Voice Project. For the project, they gave the youth of Whitman Park neighborhood cameras and asked them to take photos that express their everyday lives. While working on the Photo Voice Project, the youth also worked on strengthening reading and mathematical skills. 

Olumuyiwa reflected, “My experience as a BTG intern was an enriching experience ... Working at the Hope Community Outreach Center has given me a firsthand experience on some of the issues that affect underserved communities ... I also have learned that to be an effective health-care provider, a person must truly be involved in the community they serve so that they can understand the social, economical and educational issues affecting them.” 

David commented, “HOPE reminded me of the work that needs to be done in underprivileged communities similar to Camden, NJ. Something as simple as a camera gave these young individuals a method of self-expression. I plan to use this alternative method of self-expression when working with young adolescents in the future.”

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Homeless Services and Outreach in Camden, N.J.

Student Intern(s):
Jennifer Mojica, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Christian Spencer, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions, Physician Assistant Program

Academic Preceptor(s):
Paul Krueger, DO, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Melanie Trecartin, DEd, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions

Community Preceptor(s):
James Comstock, MSW, Project H.O.P.E. (Homeless Outreach Program Enrichment), Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital

The Community Site: 
The mission of Project H.O.P.E. (Homeless Outreach Program Enrichment) is to improve the health and well-being of Camden City's homeless by providing medical, social, outreach and advocacy services to assist them with the transition to self-sufficiency. View Community Partner Web Site

The Project: 
Jennifer and Christian worked with Project H.O.P.E., participating in services and community outreach at the Farmer’s Market, Tent City and the Mobile Health Van. They created educational materials on diabetic foot care, summer heat safety, and resume building, and developed a patient orientation guide. The interns were also involved in food pantry transport and beautification of the clinic grounds, with efforts such as community gardening and graffiti removal.  

Jennifer commented, “This experience has enabled me to see firsthand … the problems that our country faces with respect to the indigent and their limited access to health care … In addition, I have learned much about the homeless population of Camden. They are a heterogeneous people comprised of individuals of various ethnicities and different educational backgrounds. Without places like Project H.O.P.E., the homeless are unfortunately left with minimal resources to survive.”  

Christian reflected, “My time at Project H.O.P.E. was a mix of experiences within the clinic, and out in the community. I learned from staff, providers, and patients in the clinic, and from outreach workers, case managers, and clients that we met on the streets … I am grateful to everyone involved at the clinic, and grateful that my experience in BTG was, overall, valuable to me as a health-care provider and a person.”

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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."
BTG Student Intern
BTG 20 Years Video
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