BTG Hope

“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

Lehigh Valley Program Activities


Program Established: 2010.

Program Period: June 19 to August 4, 2017.

Students/Projects/Sites: 12 students worked on 6 projects at 6 community sites in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Professional Disciplines: Nursing and physician assistant.

Service Days: Students provided 302 days of health-related service.

Participating Institutions: DeSales University, Moravian College, and University of Pittsburgh.

Types of Sites Served: In the field/community, community organization offices, community health center/clinics, client homes, day camps, shelters (homeless or other), geriatric facilities (activity or living), and recreation centers.

Student Activities:* Planning health activities, health-related client education, oral health activities, assessing community resources, community outreach, community social activities, research on health issues, client interviews, advocacy activities, evaluation of existing programs, literacy activities, development or administration of surveys, linking clients with health resources.

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

Community Health Issues:* Diet and nutrition, cardiovascular health, access to health care, communication, exercise, oral health, homelessness, poverty, substance abuse, mental health, obesity, transportation, budgeting and personal finances, diabetes, insurance/social services, personal hygiene, physical disability, race/ethnicity, cancer, immunizations, STDs.

Didactic Sessions:Lehigh Valley students joined the Wednesday core didactic sessions of the Philadelphia Consortium program. Starting on July 5, they attended Lehigh Valley component program sessions on Wednesday afternoons.

Oral Health Activities: The Philadelphia dental mentor and was assisted by two dental mentors (second year dental students who participated in BTG CHIP in 2016), from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine offered information and resources to Lehigh Valley students so they could conduct oral health education activities at their sites as appropriate. Five of the six Lehigh Valley community sites engaged in oral health activities. According to student estimates, 89 children (aged 13 and under), 11 youth/young adults (aged 14 to 20), and 75 adults received oral health education.

Symposium:The Lehigh Valley students presented at the BTG 27th Annual Symposium in Philadelphia, which took place on September 15, 2017, at The Salvation Army Kroc Center. The Lehigh Valley BTG program also hosted a local symposium held on September 22, 2017 at DeSales University.

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


2017-18 Lehigh Valley Program Participants

Program Staff and Faculty
Mary Ellen Miller PhD, RN, APHN-BC, Program Director
Abby S. Letcher, MD
Lissette Ortiz

Academic Preceptors
Mary Ellen Miller, PhD, RN, APHN-BC

Community Preceptors
Tina Amato, MS, RD, LDN
Hasshan Batts, DHSc, LCSW, CADC
Kristine Blasco
Cathy Coyne, PhD, MPH
Janelle Zelko Hagner, BA
Abby Letcher, MD
Nancy Ruiz
Anthony Strobel, MEd  
Andrea Wilson


2017-18 Lehigh Valley Community Partners

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

  • Alliance Hall Summer Camp
  • Casa Guadalupe Summer Camp
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network, Aids Activity Office
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network, Department of Community Health
  • Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley
  • Sixth Street Shelter

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“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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