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“It is obvious that with the Bridging the Gaps Program our community and the academic education of LECOM students are brought together in a very unique and rewarding way … The Northwest Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (NW PA AHEC) is pleased to support the Bridging the Gaps Program. We hope that each year will be a continued success for the Erie community as well as all the other Pennsylvania communities honored to have this type of relationship with medical schools and their students.”
Jane A. Mullinax, MEd Director of Career Development,
NW PA AHEC
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BTG CHIP 2017-18 Report

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) Program Activities


Program Established: 1996.

Program Period: May 30 to July 14, 2017.

Students/Projects/Sites: 18 students worked on 13 projects at 13 community sites in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Professional Discipline: Medicine.

Service Days: Students provided 468 days of health-related service.

Types of Sites Served: Community organization office, geriatric facility (activity or residential), in the field/community, community health center/clinic, hospital clinic, recreation center, and shelter (homeless or other). Geriatric facility (activity or residential), day camp, in the field/community, shelter (homeless or other), community health center/clinic, hospital clinic, and community organization office.

Student Activities:* Oral health activities, health-related client education, planning health activities, community social activities, research on health issues, client interviews, community outreach, evaluation of existing programs.

Population Demographics: Mixture of females and males; all ages; mixture of race/ethnicities; primarily English speaking.

Community Health Issues:* Oral health, diet and nutrition, mental health, personal hygiene, exercise, access to health care, diabetes, obesity, physical disability.

Didactic Sessions: The Lake Erie College of Medicine (LECOM) BTG Program held their didactic sessions on Wednesday mornings. Speakers included faculty and personnel from LECOM, as well as from relevant health and social service agencies with specific expertise in health-related issues. The sessions included Community Health Care; Dental Health; Elder CareDomestic Violence; and Communicating With Hospitalized Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Community Event:A Community Preceptor Luncheon was held on March 28, 2017, at LECOM. The event allowed new community sites to learn more about the program and to meet with sites that have been with the program for a longer period. Additionally, a Meet and Greet event, held on April 27, 2017, enabled the students selected for the 2017 Bridging the Gaps Program to meet the administration and faculty and all the community sites seeking interns for their facilities. During the Meet and Greet, the community preceptors set up small displays about their agencies and the students visited each display to hear about project opportunities and learn about the sites. 

Oral Health Activities: Amber Pascuzzi served as the dental mentor. Amber held an oral health session early in the program for the LECOM BTG students. The presentation and discussion addressed why oral health is an important component of overall health and how oral health can be incorporated into students’ patient and community encounters. The presentation emphasized recognizing existing cultural issues and dental needs within the populations at the various sites.

Poster Presentation: The LECOM Annual Poster Presentation was held on August 2, 2017, at the College. The event was attended by representatives of the BTG community sites, invited guests, faculty and students of LECOM. The posters were divided into categories based on the community site focus.

*The information provided here reflects only those categories reported by 40% or more of students participating at this BTG program location.


2017-18 LECOM Program Participants

Program Staff and Faculty
Leah Labranche, MSc, Program Director
Walter Hu
Maricely Reyes-Cruz

Academic Preceptors
Erika Allen, PhD
Nancy Carty, PhD
Robert Evans, DO
Alice Hudder, PhD, MS, MEd
Molly Johannessen, PhD, MS, MEd
Heather M. Jones, PhD, MEd
Christine Kell, PhD
Christopher Keller, PhD
Randy J. Kulesza Jr., PhD
Leah Labranche, MSc
Jack Lee, PhD
Kim Moscatello, PhD
Kyle Scully, PhD

Community Preceptors
Martin Acri, MA, CRC
Judith Bekeny, RN
Mike Clark, BSW, NHA
Stephanie Garcia
Kathy Hull  
Shatreece Johnson, BSW
Martin M. Kelly, BSW, NHA
Julie LeVan
Barbara Ann Lewis, RN
Michele Maughn, BSN
Sholin Montgomery, NHA
Tessa Ryker, MPIA
Carla Storrs, MSW
Kim Whelan, MS
Diana Zenewicz, MSN, RN


2017-18 LECOM Community Partners

For a complete alphabetical list of all 2017 BTG CHIP community partners and to view community project summaries by site, click here.

  • Barber National Institute
  • Erie VA Medical Center
  • Health Care for the Homeless Partnership Initiative, Community Shelter Services, Community Caring, Erie United Methodist
  • Alliance - The Refuge
  • Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS), Villa Maria Apartments,
  • St. Joseph’s Apartment, Maryvale Apartments
  • LECOM Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
  • LECOM Senior Living Center
  • LifeWorks Erie
  • Mercy Center for Women
  • Mercy Hilltop Center
  • Millcreek Community Hospital
  • SafeNet
  • Voices for Independence
  • YMCA Kids Clubs, Erie Heights/Pineview

See a Heart Smart Happy Birthday Wish for BTG.
“As a future physician, I have come to learn that health, especially in geriatrics, is not only what the labs and x-rays tell you, but for a majority, it is the interaction and communication with their loved ones.”
Filip Moshkovsky
Lake Erie College of
Osteopathic Medicine

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