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BTG Community Preceptor

Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2018

Older Adults

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Evaluating the Impact and Efficacy of CARIE Line

Student Interns:
Stephani Frisby, Drexel University, Dornsife School of Public Health                                     
Jeff Olson, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Elissa Goldberg, MSS, LSW, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Lori Walsh, Center for the Advocacy of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly

The Community Site:
The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the well-being, rights and autonomy of older adults by educating seniors, advocating for their rights and needs, and taking the necessary action to make change. The organization serves to promote equal access to justice and works to address issues on both individual and systemic levels. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Health Care; Disabilities Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns played multiple roles at the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE). As part of the intake team in the CARIE Line program, the interns worked alongside more senior advocates and social workers to connect older adult callers with the social, public and healthcare resources appropriate to their issues. When not working at CARIE Line, the interns developed and implemented an electronic evaluation form to assess how efficiently CARIE is able to address consumers’ issues. A new part-time CARIE Line position will soon be established to utilize the information from that evaluation.

Intern Statements:
Stephani Frisby: “Interning at CARIE this summer was a very enlightening experience for me, as it allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the current issues that many seniors throughout the Philadelphia area are facing on a day-to-day basis. Before interning at CARIE, I had a basic knowledge of issues such as housing shortages and limited access to public benefits and healthcare, but working on CARIE Line and speaking to seniors who were actually experiencing these issues gave me a greater understanding of the impact these obstacles can have not only on individuals but the greater community as well. I hope to take my experiences and all the lessons I have learned at CARIE and apply them in my future career in public health and use my skills to advocate for those who do not have voice.”

Jeff Olson: “My summer Bridging the Gaps experience at CARIE has been an incredibly rewarding and formative one. I’ve come across many stories that highlight the unfortunate and all too common ways in which older adults can be marginalized, taken advantage of or otherwise neglected by our society. I’ve also had the pleasure of learning a great deal about the numerous resources and agencies dedicated to preventing or correcting the terribly difficult realities that seniors can face. CARIE plays a unique role in bridging the inefficiency gaps between these various resources by advocating directly on behalf of older adults and effectively connecting them to the help they need. This is only possible because of the understanding, determination and creativity that everyone at CARIE brings to the table, all of which are qualities that I feel so honored to have witnessed over the course of the summer. I know that I will try to emulate their level of care when working with my future patients, and that I will bring the insights I’ve gleaned from CARIE with me throughout the rest of my career.”

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Journey's Way: Bridging the Gaps to Positive Aging

Student Interns:
Rachel Spayd, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
John Turner, 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 Preceptors:
Karen Rouse, MSW, Journey’s Way
Mark Weber, BS, Journey’s Way

The Community Site:
Journey's Way, the aging services department of Intercommunity Action, Inc., offers a wide array of programs and resources for people aged 55 and over to enrich their lives in their communities and support them through life’s challenges. The Center at Journey’s Way offers social services and lifelong learning, health, fitness, volunteer, recreational and travel programs for independent older adults. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Intercommunity Action, Inc.’s Journey’s Way distributed produce vouchers to eligible seniors to be used at local farmers markets in Philadelphia. The interns led presentations about different health-related topics on Thursday mornings and corresponding discussion groups on Friday afternoons. Every Monday, the interns helped the seniors with technology questions. In addition, the interns organized various events, such as a fun fair and a field trip to the Museum of the American Revolution.

Personal Statements:
Rachel Spayd: “The most rewarding part of working with seniors at Journey’s Way was feeling like I’d made a difference just by being present and listening as well as providing basic assistance that went a long way. I learned so much about life from the seniors and just how crucial someone’s environment can be to their overall health. I’m so glad there is a place like Journey’s Way in Philadelphia where seniors can benefit from lifelong learning and a feeling of community.”

John Turner: “In my time at Journey’s Way, I realized that positive thinking makes all the difference in overcoming day-to-day challenges, especially with respect to the elderly population. Despite all the concerns that accompany growing old, most of the seniors at the center do their best to see the good in every situation. This has allowed many of them to find fulfillment and happiness in even the smallest things.”

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Kickin' It Old School

Student Interns:
Spencer Brown, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Clinical Psychology Program
Julia Dovgy, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Nora Garland, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice
Vivian Kim, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Justin VanDerMolen, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Denise Curran, MS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Meshonea Fox, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Helen Rayon, Health and Wellness Coordinator, West Philadelphia Senior Community Center (WPSCC)

The Community Site:
LCFS West Philadelphia Senior Community Center (WPSCC) is a nonprofit organization that serves independent adults aged 50 and better. The center cultivates growth and community through a variety of low-cost/free workshops, events and resources. The center is a space that allows older adults to actively participate in programs that promote healthy living, such as exercise and dance classes, art classes, online trainings, driver’s education, support groups, financial planning and congregate meals. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns spent time developing new programming as well as supplementing existing programming at Lutheran Settlement House (LSH). One intern gave health talks on a wide range of topics that concern the senior population, including diabetes, arthritis, heart health and stroke, and nutritional labels. The other intern started a book club, invited a speaker about sexual health and helped the on-site social worker with many duties. The interns also assisted with food distribution at the LSH community pantry and provided additional socialization opportunities at activities, including line dancing, men’s group, cooking class and craft class.

Intern Statements:
Spencer Brown: “My summer at WPSCC has truly been a memorable experience. I did not know what to expect coming into this internship; however, I am taking away lasting connections. One of the aspects that attracted me to this program was the opportunity to work with future colleagues from different disciplines. This prospect allowed us to learn from each other and bring together our individual skill sets. BTG also allowed us to work with a population that is underserved, thus creating a unique chance for the older adults to engage with young professionals in health-related fields. This exposure fostered communication, education and growth on both sides.”

Julia Dovgy: “As a DO candidate, community and public health outreach is a major concern in the ever-changing healthcare field. As a student from PCOM specifically, with the city of Philadelphia surrounding me, I'm given ample opportunities to work with a diverse population. Throughout the BTG CHIP internship, in the seven weeks that I have been working at the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center, I finally understood what BTG meant to me: In the setting of a senior population, my team and I were “bridging the gaps” between the young and old; all the misconceptions and preconceived notions I had about the aging population were dispelled. This experience let me understand what I as a physician should do for my future older patients to connect with them, thereby creating a comprehensive and clear healthcare plan. Furthermore, my experience at WPSCC was enhanced with an interdisciplinary team that included social work, psychology and nursing, which mirrored how a diverse team collaborates in a healthcare setting of patient care.”

Nora Garland: “As a social work student with a concentration in the aging population, I truly valued my experience this summer at WPSCC. Working alongside the older adults of West Philadelphia opened my eyes to several challenges the population faces. Connecting with the community of WPSCC has taught me that personal relationships, support and education are essential in empowering older adults to remain independent and resilient. In my future as a geriatric social worker, I know I will look back on my summer at WPSCC and the connections and relationships I made here.”

Vivian Kim: “My BTG experience at WPSCC solidified the fact that health is present in almost every aspect of life. The intersection of the community members, WPSCC staff and BTG interns tackles health in both seen and unseen ways: Vouchers distributed by the center give eligible seniors access to fresh produce, free morning stretch classes offer a safe environment for exercise, friendships developed within the center provide social support, diabetic forums and nutrition classes allow elders to increase their health literacy, and assistance from the center counselor connects seniors with a means of transportation from their homes. The normalcy in seeing the social determinants of health interwoven into these daily activities makes me wonder how I can pave my pathway towards becoming a nurse in a direction that allows me to go beyond a 12-hour shift. Although I haven’t fully arrived at that answer, I’m thankful for the growth I’ve had within these past seven weeks.”

Justin VanDerMolen: “WPSCC began as a way to pay bills and ended up shaping who I was as a person for the better. My views and outlooks on the geriatric community, various races and underserved communities has changed for the better, and my experiences here were exponentially more valuable than money. I look forward to applying the knowledge I gained during this experience throughout my remaining professional and personal life.”

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Lifelong Learning: The Path to Wellness and Self-Sufficiency

Student Interns:
Carla Alvarez, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
SeEun (Irene) Lee, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptors:
Megan Finley, Lutheran Settlement House, Senior Center
Farrah Parkes, Lutheran Settlement House, Adult Education and Career Development

The Community Site:
The Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) is a nonprofit, community-based organization in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia that is committed to serving children, adults and families through an integrated program of social, educational and advocacy services. LSH provides services such as support for victims of domestic violence, a homeless shelter, adult literacy/employment programs, anti-hunger efforts and senior services, with the larger goal of empowering individuals and communities to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns collaborated with the Senior Center and Adult Literacy Department at the Lutheran Settlement House to promote health literacy, education and aid in anti-hunger efforts. The Senior Center intern collaborated with the activities director and on-site nutritionist to foster healthy lifestyles by giving educational health presentations, planning museum trips, engaging in socialization activities and preparing the seniors’ daily lunches. The Senior Center intern aided in hunger relief by distributing food pantry/fresh produce items, advertising and preparing monthly community meals and providing healthy recipes using excess produce items. The Adult Literacy Department intern developed a health curriculum dedicated to nutrition and anti-smoking efforts that was integrated into GED tutoring sessions. By providing adult learners the tools and knowledge to develop good study habits and better manage stress, the intern contributed to the personal and educational development of these individuals.

Intern Statements:
Carla Alvarez: “My summer at the Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) has been a humbling and eye-opening experience that has allowed me to connect with the senior population of Philadelphia. Through my daily interactions with the seniors, I have learned many invaluable life lessons, gained active listening skills and begun to understand the emotional and physical struggles that come with aging. I will always remember and cherish the great memories and relationships I have built with the seniors and staff at LSH. I hope to use this experience to be a more empathetic and compassionate healthcare provider by being cognizant of the constant struggles the geriatric population face and how these struggles can impact their health and well-being.”

Irene Lee: “I recognized the beauty of lifelong learning as I taught adult learners the importance of taking one step at a time. I was challenged to identify factors and root causes associated with certain behavioral patterns such as repeated tutor cancellations, missed homework and challenges related to memory retention. My attempt in applying trauma-informed teaching and coming up with creative solutions to better manage stress and mental health issues served as a reminder to always stay open-minded, inquisitive and hungry to learn. The lessons I gained from my experience working with a diverse population with various needs will continue to push me forward to become a better problem solver and healthcare professional in the future.”

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Increasing Health Education for Older Adults to Improve Overall Wellness

Student Interns:
Thong (Tom) Ngo, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Olivia Ogline, 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:
Sierra Savage, MAHS, Northeast Older Adult Center

The Community Site:
The Northeast Older Adult Center is a community center for active, independent adults. It provides wellness and health programs as well as recreational, educational and cultural opportunities for individuals aged 55 and over. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Northeast Older Adult Center (NEOAC) made an interactive poster for the Heart Smart event with the older adults, who discussed and wrote down what they do to stay heart healthy on cut-out hearts that they placed on the poster. The NEOAC adults also played cardio bingo where they could win prizes while learning more about their own health and well-being. The interns also made an oral health education brochure to inform clients of what they should be doing every day and distributed free toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. Finally, the interns created a smoking cessation brochure with quitting resources.

Intern Statements:
Tom Ngo: “For my last ‘free summer,’ I wanted to work somewhere that I could interact with a lot of different people. Northeast Older Adult Center gave me an opportunity to use my communication skills to help people in their daily lives. I learned how to step out of my own comfort zones by talking to people from all walks of life. I learned how to communicate with non-English-speaking people even when neither of us could speak the same language. I will be taking these lessons with me as I become a physician. I think it will help me immensely in connecting with my future patients and will hopefully make me a better physician.”

Olivia Ogline: “After my first year of medical school, I thought that I may want to become a geriatrician, and my BTG experience has strengthened that dream. A decent portion of older adults at NEOAC have significant health issues, and almost all of those individuals are curious to know more about their problems so that they can take better care of themselves. They have told me that some of their healthcare professionals only talk to their children and/or caretakers at their appointments. I think it is important that they are taken seriously and are involved in creating their own health plan. I will strive to be an advocate for these individuals because they have been advocating for others their whole lives.”

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Healthy Aging and Well-Being in Philadelphia Seniors

Student Interns:
Jaclyn Heineman, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Services, Department of Occupational Therapy
Lydia Huang, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Caryn Johnson, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Services, Department of Occupational Therapy

Community Preceptors:
Mary Ellen Bolden, BSW, Philadelphia Senior Center
Lourdes Perez Lopez, BSW, Philadelphia Senior Center
Julie Nelson, BS, Philadelphia Senior Center

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) on the Avenue of the Arts in Center City, a proud member of the NewCourtland Network, serves 200 seniors aged 55 or older per day, providing a wide range of low-cost/free services including meals, recreation/fitness, health, education, counseling, volunteer programs and referral programs. The center offers a variety of activities including Bible study groups, tea time, line dancing, art classes, language classes, health-education talks and computer access/instruction. The PSC provides a space for seniors to socialize and engage in playing cards/games, playing music, getting exercise and creating art together. PSC Avenue of the Arts also includes the Coffee Cup Branch, which provides services and opportunities specifically in Mandarin and Cantonese (oral and written). PSC values creativity, respect, companionship, diversity, education and tradition to advance the well-being and personal growth of older adults. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns developed biweekly health seminars focused on topics that were important to the seniors. The interns informed seniors of local health resources, including those for smoking cessation and dental health. They performed biweekly blood pressure screenings and used this opportunity to encourage medication adherence and healthy diet among hypertensive patients through motivational interviewing. They helped the center manager organize and recruit donors for a blood drive benefiting local children suffering from sickle cell disease. They led the distribution of farmers market nutrition program vouchers throughout the month of July.

Intern Statements:
Jaclyn Heineman: “Being that this was my first time working in a setting with seniors, I came into the Philadelphia Senior Center ready to learn from the members and hear their experiences. One thing that was very apparent to me was how much the seniors value socialization and the importance that senior centers provide to the community. The friendships that the seniors have formed with one another and the staff here reflect the mission and values of PSC. Being able to educate the seniors on nutrition and wellness was an empowering experience, and I was glad I had the opportunity to provide them with the resources to continue to live prosperous lives. The seniors never failed to surprise me with their knowledge and the things they have done throughout their lives to age gracefully. I am inspired by the way the seniors view aging as a process of growth rather than the societal view of decline.”

Lydia Huang: “Working at the Philadelphia Senior Center through BTG allowed me the opportunity to work with a new, diverse subset of seniors. With members coming from all over Philadelphia and from all walks of life, developing a health seminar curriculum that would appeal to everyone and address their unique concerns was challenging. Given the varying levels of health literacy, we were forced to be creative and develop self-management tips that were realistic and accessible. While I knew going into the program that I wanted to work with the geriatric population, my experience at this BTG site has inspired me to seek elders that may feel indifferent or discouraged about their health status and empower them with practical tools and self-confidence, so that they can be motivated to make positive healthy decisions.”

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The Outreach Program for Older Adults

Student Interns:
Ajit (Jason) John, Drexel University College of Medicine
Hinal Patel, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
B. Brent Simmons, MD, FAAFP, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Roberta Balsam, MA, Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program
Mary J. Fallon, MA, Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program

The Community Site:
Unitarian Universalist House (UUH) Outreach helps older adults in Northwest Philadelphia remain independent in their own homes. The professional staff takes the time to fully understand each older person’s situation and concerns and responds with tailored information and access to resources in the community. UUH Outreach’s key to success is its active collaboration with other service organizations, which expedites getting older adults the support they need. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program assisted clients in household activities and organizing living areas during weekly visits. The interns presented oral health and cardiovascular health information through an interactive Jeopardy game. They delivered Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks to the homes of clients who could not pick them up themselves. They wrote articles for the Maple Village newsletter and helped start handicrafts groups for both Maple Village residents and Outreach clients. The interns listened to clients’ needs and wants and engaged in conversations that added depth to their relationship with the older adults.

Intern Statements:
Jason John: “Laughter and a sense of humor have always been a strong part of my values, so it was a pleasure to meet people who were cut from the same cloth. Even though these people were frustrated at times, the struggles merely showcased their resilience and hardiness. The UUH Outreach Program does a wonderful job of making it easier for their clients to smile. The services they provide positively impact older adults living independently. I take with me a greater appreciation of the value of truly caring about others.”

Hinal Patel: “I value my time with Bridging the Gaps at the UUH Outreach Program because I am better able to understand the experiences of older adults. I was welcomed into their homes and trusted with their stories, their struggles and their joy. This new understanding of the things people can face, including their personal, financial and physical problems, has widened my perspective, and I know it will help me in my future personal and professional life.”

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