BTG Hope

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New Jersey Projects - 2013

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Raising Awareness of Overall Health Quality in the New Brunswick Minority Population

Student Interns:
Radha Patel, Rutgers University, School of Health Related Professions
Preethi Salian Raghava, Rutgers University, School of Public Health

Academic Preceptors:
Sheryl Geisler, MS, PA-C, Rutgers University, School of Health Related Professions
Irina Grafova, PhD, Rutgers University, School of Public Health

Community Preceptors:
Camilla Comer-Carruthers, MPH, Community Health Promotion Program
Mariam Merced, MA, Community Health Promotion Program

The Community Site:
The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Community Health Promotion Program (CHPP) was established in 1991 to deal with health-related challenges and promote changes to improve access to care, especially among the underserved minority population in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and surrounding areas. The goal of CHPP is to encourage the community to make healthy lifestyle choices and to improve the overall quality of life. Some of the specific health screenings conducted in this program include free prostate examinations, mammograms, vision screenings for the uninsured, Project Inspire for New Brunswick residents, Latino Diabetes Outreach Program, and Artist Mentoring Against Racism, Drugs and Violence (AMAR-DV). View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care, Health Communication, Heart Disease and Stroke, Injury and Violence Prevention, Nutrition and Weight Status, Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked on various projects offered by the RWJUH CHPP. The first project, called A Woman’s Heart Is Special, works with community-based organizations, houses of worship and community ambassadors to bring information to women about heart disease and how to lower their risk. The project includes education, health promotion and screening events for the minority and underserved women of New Brunswick. The interns developed training materials for ambassador training and informative materials for women of the community. They also proposed possible giveaway items for these women, such as pedometers, stress balls and heart pins. The student interns participated in the Artists Mentoring Against Racism, Drugs and Violence (AMAR-DV) camp for children aged 10 to 16. The purpose of this five-week camp is to help at-risk youth gain knowledge, skills and understanding of visual and performing arts and to prepare them for a bright and healthy future. In addition, the student interns distributed flyers for upcoming nutrition workshops to residents of the New Brunswick community. The nutrition workshop targeted the low-income population and was designed to provide education on the significance of the major food groups, portion sizes, physical activity, moderation and simply how to eat healthfully. Other projects focused on domestic violence awareness and free swimming classes for underprivileged children. Preethi notes, “The experience of working closely with community health workers with a range of professional backgrounds and vivid interests in serving the underprivileged on less addressed health-related concerns such as domestic violence, women’s health, nutrition and screening is inestimable. A healthy community is possible with a multidisciplinary approach, and as a public health professional I can contribute in health education by working in a setting like CHPP.” Radha remarks, “I learned that providing care for the community as a whole is equally important as caring for an individual. In these seven weeks, I realized the struggles of low-income communities and how community-wide efforts are aiming to improve the overall welfare of all individuals. Throughout the internship, I learned about domestic violence awareness, heart disease in women, the importance of nutrition, encouraging youth to have a successful education and much more.”

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Hub City Fresh Project

Student Interns:
Jiwoong Shin, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, MD Program
Mustafa Turan, Rutgers University, School of Public Health, Master of Public Health Program

Academic Preceptors:
Sonia Garcia-Laumbach, MD, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Stephan Schwander, MD, PhD, Rutgers School of Public Health

Community Preceptor:
Lisanne Finston, MDiv, MSW, Elijah’s Promise

The Community Site:
Elijah’s Promise began as a volunteer-run soup kitchen serving the hungry in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and has since expanded into a social enterprise, providing jobs and training opportunities for impoverished and underrepresented people. Elijah’s Promise prepares thousands of delicious, nutritious meals each year and provides the hungry with access to fresh, quality food — because all people should have access to good food. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Preparedness

The Project:
The overall goal of the Hub City Fresh Project is to work with owners of local corner stores to bring healthy foods to the community to promote a healthier New Brunswick. For this project, the BTG student interns researched and prepared a checklist that could be used to evaluate the local corner stores in New Brunswick. They visited 48 corner stores and rated them based on a variety of factors such as the availability of healthful foods such as low-fat milk and whole wheat bread. The student interns talked with the store owners to come up with a few realistic suggestions for ways stores could become certified as “healthy.” Finally, they helped develop a pamphlet to be distributed to the local community to increase awareness of the project. Jiwoong notes, “Working with Elijah’s Promise this summer has taught me the importance of partnership and teamwork. I saw that the Hub City Fresh Project required collaboration between organizations, store owners and even the general population in order to be successful. During the course of the internship I realized that many individuals lack the opportunity to make healthy food choices simply due to the limitations of their location.” Mustafa remarks, “The Hub City Fresh Initiative introduced me to many challenges that urban community projects face every day. I learned how to develop a plan of action, map out a city and interact with local store owners in order to create a brand of health all the while trying to survive on a tight budget. I would highly recommend projects like this to anyone who is looking to gain meaningful experience to better their local community.”

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Development of Healthy Eating and Healthy Lifestyle Resources in Newark

Student Interns:
Zainab Bahrainwala, Rutgers University, School of Public Health, Master of Public Health Program
Rachel Morales, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, MD Program

Academic Preceptors:
JDerek G. Shendell, DEnv, MPH, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, School of Public Health
Pauline A. Thomas, MD, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, New Jersey Medical School

Community Preceptor:
Renee Kee, MS, Greater Newark Conservancy
Michele Robinson, Greater Newark Conservancy

The Community Site:
The Greater Newark Conservancy promotes environmental stewardship to improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s urban communities through community gardening, beautification of neighborhoods, job training opportunities, environmental justice advocacy and environmental education. The Conservancy emphasizes partnerships with urban schools, community and civic groups, youth organizations, senior citizens, intergenerational groups and adolescent youth. Its guiding principles are to foster a lifelong appreciation of our natural world and to encourage and highlight community pride, empowerment and self-sufficiency. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Health Communication; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked to promote healthy eating and nutrition education in the Newark community. They researched literature and community resources to develop a healthy eating booklet to accompany a television documentary on healthy lifestyle, currently in production in Newark. The booklet consists of various resources for the community, such as healthy, hassle-free recipes (for both kids and adults), an outline of essential nutrients found in food and instructions on how to read nutrition labels. The students also developed a “Make Your Own Healthy Eating Plate,” a variation of the USDA My Plate and the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate, which is included in the booklet. In addition to preparing the companion book, the interns participated in planning the documentary, reviewed the script and observed interview filming. Throughout the program, the student interns had the opportunity to participate in the Greater Newark Conservancy’s myriad community outreach programs and events, including helping to organize and implement a healthy eating activity at a local school’s field day; observing local parent nutrition education workshops and youth nutrition and environmental education classes; and administering a short survey to 16 parents, the results of which were used to guide what information was included in the nutrition booklet. Rachel states, “I found BTG to be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. As a medical student, I had no previous experience working in the public health field or for a nonprofit organization. It was great to see all the wonderful work being done at the Greater Newark Conservancy toward empowering the Newark community to take control of their environment and what they consume. Learning how this organization operates and plans events was also very educational. The internship experience has helped point me in the right direction and solidified my desire to incorporate public health, community outreach and health education into my training and future practice.” Zainab notes, “Bridging the Gaps was an amazing seven-week summer experience. … At Greater Newark Conservancy, everyone is very friendly and willing to help each other out — that is what brings a community together. The hope is that, in the future, we will see all of Newark green from community gardens and more healthy lifestyles through fruits and vegetables harvested locally in the farms and also for the residents to enjoy the upcoming documentary on living a healthy, affordable and disease-free lifestyle.”

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Promoting the Prevention of Child Abuse in Newark

Student Interns:
Noelle Ortiz, Rutgers University, School of Public Health and Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Sadé Randall, MS, Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Millicent King Channell, DO, MA, Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Teri Lassiter, PhD, MPH, Rutgers University, School of Public Health

Community Preceptor:
Karen Benjamin, MPH, MCHES, Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey

The Community Site:
Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey (PCA-NJ): Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 in Chicago, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. The organization promotes that vision through a network of chapters in 50 states and more than 500 Healthy Families America home visitation sites in 41 states. A major organizational focus is to advocate for the existence of a national policy framework and strategy for children and families while promoting evidence-based practices that prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Services; Adolescent Health; Early and Middle Childhood; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Injury and Violence Prevention; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Preparedness; Social Determinants of Health

The Project:
At Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey (PCA-NJ), the BTG student interns focused on three projects under the Prevent Child Abuse umbrella: Home Visitation Services, Enough Abuse and the Period of PURPLE Crying. Home visitation services provide expectant parents and parents with children under 18 months with one-on-one sessions with a trained visitor to work on personal goals, fetal and child development, and how to acquire necessary resources. The students went into the community to help with outreach to health care providers and community members. They also observed and provided educational seminars to community members about the benefits of home visiting services. Under the Enough Abuse campaign, human trafficking was deemed an important initiative in the prevention of child abuse. The interns researched and created a database of human trafficking articles to become familiar with the topic and allow the passing of information to future interns. The Period of PURPLE Crying is the name given to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome’s evidence-based SBS prevention program. The Period of PURPLE crying is implemented in a triple-dose strategy: dose one, maternity services; dose two, reinforcing the message through pediatric offices and local child care providers; and dose three, public education. The interns observed dose one training at a local hospital and dose two training at sites around Essex County. Together, the interns located potential advertising sites in Newark and Livingston, New Jersey, to execute dose three public education programming. Sadé notes, “The Bridging the Gaps experience has exposed me to a number of community resources that I was unaware even existed. As a medical student and future physician, I’ve found this wealth of information to be invaluable. … Working with Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey has exposed me to the wonderful work that is being done throughout New Jersey to help decrease the number of children and families that are exposed to and experience abuse. I leave this experience knowing that there is much more work to be done, but BTG has afforded me additional tools to utilize as I continue to help the underserved navigate the health care/social services system.” Noelle remarks, “I have learned the benefit of prevention to combat public health issues. By focusing on primary prevention techniques, child abuse, human trafficking and shaken baby syndrome can be reduced in communities that are at higher risk. I was unaware of the services provided by Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, but with this new knowledge in hand, I can use it to decrease disparities in populations with the most need.”

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Being the Bridge: Assessing Community Health and Promoting H.O.P.E. in Camden

Student Interns:
Danielle Miltz, Rutgers University, School of Health Related Professions, Physician Assistant Program
Ashley Odukoya, Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Danielle Cooley, DO, Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine
Jill Reichman, MPH, PA-C, Rutgers University, School of Health Related Professions

Community Preceptor:
James Comstock, LCSW, ACSW, Social Worker at Project H.O.P.E.

The Community Site:
Project H.O.P.E. (Homeless Outreach Program Enrichment) at Bergen Lanning Health Center is an organization in the city of Camden that provides services to improve the health and well-being of the homeless and those in situations of unstable housing. Both insured and uninsured individuals are welcome and can obtain primary health care as well as other preventive services. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health Communication; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Statuss

The Project:
The BTG interns designed and conducted a health assessment survey at Project H.O.P.E. and within the community. The survey covered aspects of health and well-being most likely to affect the given population, including chronic diseases, substance abuse, mental illness, use of social services, homelessness and other areas. The data from the surveys was then analyzed, and in the future the information may be used to design programs to better meet the needs of the community. The interns also went out with the outreach personnel to meet with prospective clients and explain services available to them in the community. Danielle remarks, “I feel incredibly lucky to have this experience working with the people of Camden. The patients shared stories and problems with me that challenged my current way of thinking of the delivery of health care. As I look forward to my career as a physician assistant, I definitely want to work in an urban underserved population.” Ashley notes, “I approached this experience with an open mind, but was not prepared for the effect it would have. … I hope that over the course of my training I will continue to learn the skills that will make me better able to serve this community and others like it as a physician and advocate. Bridging the Gaps provides an invaluable opportunity to expand one’s mind regarding the real issues facing communities that have become invisible to the rest of society, and I am privileged to have been given the chance to see Camden as it is, and I hope to see it one day as it deserves to be.”

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Educating Youth in Camden on Effects of Stress

Student Interns:
Raleke Adibe, Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Matthew Brown, Rutgers University, School of Public Health, Master of Public Health Program

Academic Preceptors:
Pamela A. Ohman-Strickland, PhD, MS, Rutgers University, School of Public Health
Marcia Sass, ScD, MSN, Rutgers University, School of Public Health

Community Preceptor:
Andy Joshua, MPP, UrbanPromise

The Community Site:
UrbanPromise was founded by Dr. Bruce Main in 1988 as a summer camp outreach program for children and teens in Camden, New Jersey. Since then, the organization has expanded to include multiple summer camps and after-school programs, a teen employment and leadership development program, an expeditionary learning program and two schools. UrbanPromise has also expanded nationally to Miami, Florida; Wilmington, Delaware; and Trenton, New Jersey; and internationally to Canada, Malawi and Honduras. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns implemented a schedule to introduce a nutrition curriculum within the summer program. The interns also reached out to the different camps to provide lessons and educate campers on the topic of stress, specifically toxic stress. In addition, they led science classes two days a week for older high school and college students. These classes also were on the topic of stress, how stress affects the brain and the body, and sources of strength to deal with stress. Matt comments, “Working with the youth at the summer camps was the highlight of the internship. Educating these young individuals about how the tremendous amount of stress that they face on a daily basis will affect them in the future is something that is not emphasized nearly enough. I am hopeful that they will take the appropriate steps to seek out sources of strength to help them deal with the stress that they endure. It was a rewarding opportunity to work with these young minds, and I’m excited to see all they will do in the future.” Raleke remarks, “I believe the implementation of preventive measures are the key to good health. The UrbanPromise Summer Camp allows youth to enter a loving environment where people care about their success and motivate them to do well. This is the basis of preventive measures that must be taken to assure the success of the Camden youth. Teaching about stress allowed me to discuss with the students/campers some of the issues that Camden youth are facing. Getting to know the students and implementing our stress curriculum gave me hope for the future of Camden. The campers are intelligent, motivated and ambitious. They strive to be successful, and want to use their success to help the city they come from. The small impact we had on the campers will pale in comparison to the impact they will have in their own community. The experience was rewarding, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the Camden Youth at UrbanPromise.”

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Violence in the Community: Impact on Youth

Student Interns:
Stanley Nkemjika, Rutgers University, School of Public Health, Master of Public Health Program
Mona Taherisefat, Rutgers University, School of Public Health, Master of Public Health Program

Academic Preceptors:
Teri Lassiter, PhD, Rutgers University, School of Public Health
Bernadette West, PhD, Rutgers University, School of Public Health

Community Preceptor:
Wendy Cubano, YouthBuild Newark, Inc.

The Community Site:
YouthBuild Newark, Inc., is a youth and community development agency that serves at-risk young adults aged 16 to 24, most of whom are out of school and reentry or gang-affiliated. Through rigorous academic instruction and vocational training, YouthBuild Newark has established itself as one of the most effective youth development programs in the greater Newark area and the state of New Jersey. The effectiveness of YouthBuild has garnered local, state and federal support. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Health Communication; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse

The Project:
The BTG student interns provided academic instruction to young people preparing for the GED test and life-skills development instruction to students preparing for job interviews. They also developed a short survey that was given to the population at YouthBuild on their perceptions of violence in the community. The data from the survey will be included in a report for potential funders. The student interns also participated in drafting the report for potential funders, which focuses on how violence can affect youth development. Mona notes, “The BTG experience has helped me realize that public health is not only about eating healthy and staying active, but also concerns itself with the impact of the larger environment on people. Working with the students at YouthBuild Newark demonstrated that tackling the social, political, economic and educational inequities within our communities is just as important as addressing the health disparities that contribute to negative health outcomes. Completing this internship was challenging and enlightening. I am grateful for the exposure YouthBuild has given me.” Stanley remarks, “My experience with the BTG internship has been both revealing and unforgettable. Working with YouthBuild has shown me how adolescents view life from their unique perspective. I also enjoyed interacting with the adolescents and providing academic instruction. It felt great knowing that maybe I had some part in helping them pass their GED exam. I consider the time that I spent with the BTG program and YouthBuild invaluable.”

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"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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