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."
BTG Community Preceptor
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Diabetes Care Management: Health Coaching in Patients’ Homes in Camden

Student Intern(s):
Gregory Cohen, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health and Graduate School of the Biomedical Sciences
Alexandra Shieber, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Carl Hock, PhD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Graduate School of the Biomedical Sciences
Paul Krueger, DO, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Kathleen Jackson, APN, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

The Community Site:
The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers is a citywide organization of social workers, nurses, physicians, administrators and other individuals who serve the health needs of the residents of Camden, New Jersey. They work in a variety of settings—from small neighborhood-based practices to hospital-based offices—with the mission of improving the health status of Camden residents and making the health system more accessible for the underserved. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Diabetes; Health Communication; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project: 
Alexandra and Greg trained with the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers’ Care Management Team to gain skills needed for visiting patients’ homes and providing counseling for diabetes, nutrition, access to health care and other relevant health-related problems. Once trained, the interns began patient home visits to serve as health coaches, working with patients on diabetes management, personal health goals, preventing health complications, nutrition and fitness education, and successfully navigating the Camden health care system. Another role was to compile an up-to-date list of resources in Camden for the Coalition’s Web site. This list will help providers and patients find resources including counseling, and food and energy assistance. Alexandra noted, “BTG has given me the opportunity to witness and experience the flaws in the health care system right here in our backyard. We have walked patients through every step of getting proper care and have faced the barriers with them. This knowledge and the experience of being in patients’ homes will stay with me and make me a more informed and compassionate physician.” Greg said, “My experiences with the Camden Coalition have been eye-opening with respect to the barriers that patients have to overcome just to maintain decent health. Being able to make home-care visits allowed me to see how patients live and get a good sense of what patients are experiencing, which is a completely different form of patient care than anything I have seen in the past. BTG has allowed me to gain insight into how health care works in an impoverished and underserved area, and I feel that this understanding will help me immensely in future practice.”

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Community Health Internship

Student Intern(s):
Shelley DeLuca, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions, Physician Assistant Program
Christina Krawiecki, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health

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

Community Preceptor(s):
James Comstock, MSW, Project HOPE, Inc., the Bergan Lanning Health Center

The Community Site: 
Project HOPE (Homeless Outreach Program Enrichment) works to improve the health and well-being of Camden’s unsheltered homeless population by providing medical, social, outreach and advocacy services. The Bergen Lanning Health Center serves as a primary medical home for the homeless. Project HOPE also operates a weekly satellite clinic and a mobile clinic unit that visits sites throughout the city to provide primary medical care, social services and assessments as well as on-foot outreach to serve the hard-to-reach population. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Mental Health; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Diabetes; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Public Health Infrastructure; Substance Abuse

The Project: 
Shelley and Christina worked with Project HOPE’s Bergan Lanning Health Clinic and assisted in the coordination of health and social services. The interns shadowed social workers, outreach staff, nurses and physicians in their daily roles and duties at the clinic. In the clinic’s mobile health van they performed outreach activities throughout the city of Camden and each Friday at the farmer’s market downtown. Shelley and Christina assisted with the revision of contracts for the clinic’s upcoming fiscal year and facilitated weekly health education sessions for patients in the waiting room, covering relevant topics such as heat stroke and diabetic foot care. Christina said, “Participating in BTG at Project HOPE gave me firsthand experience of how the public health infrastructure works in America. I learned about the homeless population’s health concerns and about the resources available for them in the community. I met amazing and inspiring people that have taught me so much more than any book or class ever could. This experience has made me grow as an individual and as a public health professional.” Shelley reflected, “The BTG internship … provided exposure to diverse communities and gave me the opportunity to converse and communicate with people of varied backgrounds. The internship helped me better understand ways to break down racial, social and economic barriers that are experienced across all the medical fields and provided me with insight as a future health provider. … I gained so much insight, met so many inspirational people, and learned from this experience.”

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The Value of Being a Mentor and Making Connections With Camden Youth

Student Intern(s):
Melissa Juliana DuPont-Reyes, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health
Aracely Macias, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health

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

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 of Camden, 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:  Environmental Quality; Injury and Violence; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Environmental Health; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Public Health Infrastructure

The Project: 
Aracely and Melissa worked with the Hope Community Outreach Center, located in the Whitman Park neighborhood of Camden, and their community volunteers in the food pantry, youth summer camp, job training and financial literacy, housing development and referral, and community safe haven programs. The interns’ main focus was working with the youth in the community through the summer camp, including on-site health activities and games as well as daily field trips throughout the Delaware Valley. Aracely and Melissa also initiated and coordinated a Senior Citizen Photo Voice Project that gave Whitman Park seniors a chance to tell their stories and identify community concerns by capturing their own photographs of the neighborhood. Melissa Juliana said, “Working in Camden has showed me that violence is a major public health concern that is often underlooked and overshadowed by the issues of poverty, education, hunger and substance abuse. … Working with the youth in Camden taught me that the best reentry training program for ex-offenders is a prevention program for youth which includes the arts, sports and just taking the time to discover and develop each kid’s unique and hidden potential.” Aracely reflected, “I now have a higher awareness and understanding of the cycle of poverty; the causes of poverty—such as poor education, lack of health and housing, high violence and drug abuse—are often times the effects of poverty. … It is through the collaboration of local and state government, local businesses and organizations, community leaders and members that Camden can grow and develop to its full potential and give the marvelous residents of Camden the opportunities they are in need of.”

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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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