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
Home >

Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2017

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

Back to Summaries by Region

Substance Addiction Recovery Process

Student Intern:
Adeola Adetunji, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptor:
Pat A. Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Dagmar Mitchelle, Gaudenzia, People with Hope

The Community Site:
Gaudenzia, People With Hope focuses on the rehabilitation of people with HIV/AIDS, substance addiction and mental illness. The organization is open to both men and women who are willing to begin a recovery process. The organization has a standby staff that organizes daily activities and provides counseling and health services to the clients. The organization strives to provide opportunities that help clients transition into society, including housing and outpatient meetings. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Mental Health; Preparedness; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Substance Abuse

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern’s project was to focus on clients and follow them through their recovery journey at Gaudenzia, People With Hope. The intern facilitated daily activities, specifically health groups about sexually transmitted diseases and those related to social determinants of health. The intern also lent a listening ear to the issues that bothered the clients, accompanied assigned clients to physician appointments and answered health-related questions. The goal of the project was to understand this specific population and their needs as they transition back into society.

Personal Statement:
Adeola said, “I personally grew a lot during my internship this summer. I expected that I was going to learn a lot and I did. I appreciate the organization I worked for and how they work hard under less and less funding to provide care for their clients. I appreciated the clients for putting in continuous efforts to be better and have a higher quality of life. Overall, I saw how the complex social determinants of health can influence health disparities in this country. I’m very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to learn from a population that I would have not had access to. This has informed me on how to become a better physician when I do begin practice and serve these populations.”

Back to Top

Holistic Health of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Student Interns:
Remy Bremner, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Casey Callahan, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Jonathan Riley, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice
Manmit Sandhu, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Patty Inacker, MSW, MBA, Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center

The Community Site:
The Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center at Pennsylvania Hospital is designed to enhance the lives of people affected by mental illness and/or developmental disabilities. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center focused on improving the overall health of the clients through a range of interactive activities and hands-on lessons focusing on advancing an understanding of proper diet, nutrition and physical activities. Healthy cooking lessons, oral health presentations and daily conversations provided opportunities to expand clients’ understanding of why being healthy is important. Daily walks to various museums and other Old City attractions, as well as trips to a nearby park, provided opportunities to increase and learn about the importance of physical activity and fitness. These trips also provided an opportunity to discuss how exercise and activity can be used to relieve stress and improve mental health. Cooking projects on Fridays centered on healthy eating and ways to eliminate salt and sugar from individual diets. These projects fit hand in hand with the program’s overall goal of increasing clients’ independence and fostering their safety while engaging them with the community. Overall, these activities allowed the goals of this project to be achieved and produced an increased knowledge of physical, oral, and mental health.

Personal Statements:
Remy said, “As an intern at Hall-Mercer, I had the privilege of working with individuals whose resilience and positivity were truly inspiring. Working with this population taught me the importance of meeting people where they are and tailoring health education to individuals’ skill and literacy levels. Through BTG, I learned valuable skills that I hope to employ throughout my career to empower patients and ensure they feel they have been treated with dignity and respect.” Casey said, “As a medical student, my experience with Bridging the Gaps reminded me how one’s lifestyle and social network impact an individual’s health beyond their prescriptions and diagnoses. I am grateful to have learned about the team effort that goes into assisting adults with intellectual disabilities and to have worked with students of different disciplines. The kindness, respect and resiliency of the clients at Hall-Mercer is unlike anything I have seen before, and I hope to keep the memory of this experience and the lessons learned close to me as I progress throughout my career.” Jonathan said, “As a social work student, my experience with Bridging the Gaps allowed me to see the value in working with an interprofessional team to ensure that clients have all of the resources to assist them in their life/health goals. Working with adults with intellectual disabilities at Hall-Mercer helped me to see what resiliency looks like. This group of adults is truly amazing, and I will never forget the memories, friends and experiences Hall-Mercer provided.” Manmit said, “As a dental student, my experience with Bridging the Gaps has become a strong reminder of not only the strength and resilience of the human condition, but of the impact my interactions as a health professional and community member can have on patients. I appreciate the kindness and hope clients have shared as BTG has been humbling, demonstrating to me areas I need to work on and areas I thrive in as a future health professional. With a better understanding of how to utilize my interprofessional networks, I am more hopeful in empowering patients to utilize community resources.”

Back to Top

Harm Reduction and Treatment in Philadelphia

Student Interns:
Julie Carney, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Matthew Casey, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Maeve Ward, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Manik Chhabra, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Community Preceptor:
Clayton Ruley, MSS, MLSP, Prevention Point Philadelphia

The Community Site:
Located in Kensington, Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP) works to reduce the harm associated with drug and hormone use and sex industry work, offering culturally sensitive, nonjudgmental prevention, care and services. PPP offers an on-site location and mobile alternatives that provide information and access to an array of treatments, from hepatitis C treatment to Suboxone. PPP promotes harm reduction through syringe exchange, medical care, social services and referrals to drug treatment. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Quality Health Services; HIV; Immunizations and Infectious Diseases; Oral Health; Substance Abuse

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Prevention Point Philadelphia worked in a variety of capacities to increase access to harm- reduction services. The interns’ predominant main responsibility was coordinating the Stabilization, Treatment, and Engagement Program (STEP) that occurs twice a week at Prevention Point. This medication- assisted treatment program uses Suboxone, in conjunction with behavioral health services, to treat clients struggling with opioid addiction. The interns’ predominant main role in this clinic was to interview patients, then present to the program physician. Additionally, the interns assisted in logistical aspects of the program, such as filing insurance requests, scheduling, and ensuring access to prescriptions among participants. In addition to assisting with the STEP program, the interns also helped with administrative duties, at Prevention Point such as working the front desk, filing mail, packaging syringe exchange kits, and doing data entry.

Personal Statements:
Julie said, “Prevention Point is an incredible community-based organization that has so many services including and beyond needle exchange: Suboxone programs, housing assistance, testing for hep C and HIV, treatment access, counseling, case management, overdose training and Narcan provision, and importantly: nonjudgmental human care and concern. It has been humbling to learn from the clients and staff at Prevention Point this summer, and I know it will inform my practice as a future physician.” Matthew said, “Working for Prevention Point Philadelphia has been one of the coolest and most rewarding experiences in my academic career. The volunteers and staff are lighthearted and kind, and they bring to the table a wealth of invaluable knowledge for patient health care and social needs. We live in a world that is quick to dehumanize and criticize those who participate in substance abuse, but Prevention Point strives to remind everyone that addicts are still people. As a future health care provider with the power to distribute opioids, working on the forefront of addiction treatment has empowered me to become more educated on the use and unwanted side effects associated with opiates and to work towards improving the health of both addicts and surrounding communities.” Maeve said, “I learned so much from working at Prevention Point this summer. Prevention Point provides a safe, nonjudgmental place for clients who so often have nowhere else to turn. There are so many misconceptions surrounding harm-reduction models. After my summer at Prevention Point, I feel confident in my ability to use my experiences as a tool to educate peers or colleagues if I encounter these misconceptions in the future. This summer I learned so much about addiction and the public health needs of Philadelphians, in a way that never would have been possible in a traditional classroom setting. I feel thankful, for both the clients who allowed me into their lives and the staff for welcoming the interns with open arms and the work they do every single day.”

Back to Top

Putting Veterans Back to Work

Student Interns:
Jillian Amoroso, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Master of Mental Health Counseling Program
Edward Bley, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Denise Curran, MS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pat A. Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Jaclynn Ries, MS, Veterans Multi-Service Center

The Community Site:
The mission of the Veterans Multi-Service Center is simple: Serve those who served. The most comprehensive resource center for veterans in the Greater Philadelphia area, the center was founded in 1980 to serve those coming home from the Vietnam War and has since expanded to serve all veterans. The center recognizes, addresses and advocates for the evolving needs of veterans, using a holistic approach to tackle these needs. The Veterans Affairs office helps veterans obtain any government benefits they may qualify for and offers employment services (including assistance with finding jobs, filling out online applications or creating résumés). The Perimeter serves as a place where veterans can relax and recharge, have breakfast and lunch, get free haircuts, watch a movie, play cards or other games, take a shower and wash their clothes. There are shuttles to and from local homeless shelters. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):Environmental Health; Health Literacy/Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Veterans Multi-Service Center worked with the veterans at the Perimeter to increase basic health knowledge, teaching topics including cardiovascular health, smoking cessation, oral health, mental health and nutrition. In addition, the interns worked with veterans on updating résumés, filling out online job applications and getting job placement.

Personal Statements:
Jillian said, “When I was given the opportunity to work with veterans I knew I could not pass it up. My time at Veterans Multi-Service Center has, by far, been the most humbling experience in my career. To be able to hear their stories and learn from their experiences has opened my eyes. The best part about VMSC was being given the chance to establish relationships and truly lend a helping hand to our veterans. Thanks to this experience, I will continue to volunteer and set up donations within my own community.” Edward said, “Working at the Veterans Multi-Service Center was a truly unforgettable and life-changing experience. It was an honor and a pleasure to serve these men who served our country so faithfully. They have taught me so much about what it means to be resilient and to persevere in the face of great adversity. They have a such a special attitude and strive to be thankful and grateful in every situation, no matter how difficult it may be. I learned so much about the daily struggles these men face. It was so rewarding to connect with them on a personal level. Hearing their stories and their experiences has greatly expanded my worldview and has changed the way I look at and interact with people daily. This summer has been truly a humbling experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunity I got to learn from these men.”

Back to Top

Support BTG With Your Gift
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
What BTG Means to Us

BTG Photo Gallery BTG Video Archives