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

Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2018

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

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Health Beyond Recovery

Student Interns:
Seth Lipshutz, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Kimberly Wolfe, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

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

Community Preceptor:
Dagmar Mitchell, MS, Gaudenzia, Inc., People With Hope

The Community Site:
In existence since 1989, People With Hope is one of only a few programs of its kind in the United States. The program accepts men and women, aged 18 and older, who have chronic medical illnesses (compromised immune systems) and mental health concerns and are diagnosed with a substance use disorder. The goal of the program is to provide substance use disorder treatment coupled with shelter, medical care, seminars on various infectious diseases and educational services designed to enhance the individual’s quality of life. This is accomplished through the therapeutic community treatment model (along with CBT, MET, etc.), which uses comprehensive treatment and prevention methods guided by a philosophy of mutual concern, responsibility and peer-assisted recovery. Daily seminars focus on life skills, issues related to infectious disease, relapse prevention, nutrition and mindfulness. People With Hope also offers education on health services available in Philadelphia. It serves approximately 120 individuals annually at its Philadelphia site; the members stay anywhere from 90 to 120 days. After a member moves out of the program, the continuing care begins, including weekly outpatient sessions. Members are encouraged to participate in 12-step programs and to pursue education or training. Members may also enroll in Transitional Housing or other housing programs in the community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Substance Abuse.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Gaudenzia, Inc., People With Hope led health- and wellness-related educational discussions with participants, including discussions surrounding nutrition and chronic diseases. The interns discussed the benefits of physical activity and worked to enroll participants at the YMCA. They also worked to further the organization’s effort to become smoke-free by incorporating smoking cessation discussions and activities. The interns participated in discussions around substance abuse, including relapse prevention and co-occurring mental health conditions.

Intern Statements:
Seth Lipshutz: “During my time interning at Gaudenzia, Inc., People With Hope, I had learned a great deal about drug addiction and mental health on a more personal level. I had learned that drug addiction and mental health, more often than not, are co-occurring issues. In the next few years, when I become a licensed physician and take on the responsibility of my patients’ health, I must remember that each patient is an individual, with problems beyond what our eyes can see. Although I will be seeing a plethora of patients each day, it will be my responsibility to treat each patient with the individual care and empathy they deserve.”

Kimberly Wolfe: “Through this experience at Gaudenzia, Inc., People With Hope, I have had the opportunity to see the human side of the current opioid and overdose epidemic. In healthcare settings many times the human aspect is lost due to the high number of cases seen every day. The participants I have come to know through this program are wonderful individuals, all with unique stories and situations, that come together to seek recovery and more opportunities for their lives. I have learned from each and every one of them and hope to bring the empathy and understanding I have acquired here to my future patients.”

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Art as a Tool for Education and Self-Expression

Student Interns:
Madeleine Norris, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Jennifer Siegel, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Anthony L. Rostain, MD, MA, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Patty Inacker, LCSM, 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):
Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns focused on using creativity as a means to improve mental stress and physical health for the clients at Hall-Mercer. To accomplish this goal, the interns led clients in activities such as art therapy, dance lessons, innovative and healthy cooking exercises, sing-alongs and field trips. Clients learned about nutrition and healthy exercise habits (including cardiovascular health, smoking cessation and oral hygiene) via coloring worksheets, word searches, puzzles and discussions, which simultaneously engaged problem-solving skills. To further emphasize art as a means of expression, the clients went to see the musical Mamma Mia, toured sculptures in Old City and wandered Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. The clients’ creativity skills culminated in a final group project, in which each client participated in making a community mural out of individually decorated homemade puzzle pieces.

Intern Statements:
Madeleine Norris: “As a medical student, coming to Hall-Mercer and working effectively from the perspective of a case manager and social worker was an amazing experience for me. I believe that I would not have been able to understand the intricacies of dealing with mental health, especially at a community health center, if not for Bridging the Gaps affording me this opportunity. I will never forget what I have learned from Hall-Mercer, and plan to carry an appreciation for this work with me into my future practice.”

Jennifer Siegel: “The clients at Hall-Mercer taught me so much about compassion, respect and positivity. Every day, I learn something new and am continually impressed by the clients’ achievements and motivation. Each client brings a unique perspective on the world, which encourages me to be more aware of the kindness and simple joys that surround me. I hope to embrace the lessons I learned at Hall-Mercer in order to develop stronger and more personal bonds with my patients as a future physician.”

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Harm Reduction and Treatment in Philadelphia

Student Interns:
Tianna Chin, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine
Philip Feibusch, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
lnduja Maheswaran, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Margaret Lowenstein, MD, MPhil, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Brittany T. Watson, MS, PhD, VMD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine

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

The Community Site:
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 Health Care; HIV; Immunization and Infectious Disease; Injury and Violence Prevention; Substance Abuse.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns primarily worked with the Stabilization, Treatment and Engagement Program (STEP), a medication-assisted treatment clinic that runs four times a week at Prevention Point. STEP uses suboxone in combination with behavioral health therapy to help patients recover from drug addiction. The interns conducted urinary drug screens, interviewed patients and presented them to the on-site physician. The interns also assisted with furthering the general harm-reduction mission of Prevention Point, including producing a poster summarizing how Prevention Point is situated within the Philadelphia community at large.

Intern Statements:
Tianna Chin: “Prevention Point has provided me with an invaluable experience outside of my discipline. The frontline community work that Prevention Point performs is essential to the city of Philadelphia. The staff is incredibly hardworking and empathetic towards each and every client or patient that walks through the door. Prevention Point is a judgment-free safe space for any person struggling with any aspect of their life. Seeing the world and community from a One Health perspective has always been a passion of mine. This program has solidified my passion to work and help the community further and throughout my career.”

Phil Feibusch: “As this internship ends, my single biggest takeaway would be the incredible humanity that people are treated with here at Prevention Point. People turned away from society are treated with respect and kindness, and if I carry anything with me, it will be that kindness. Medicine is a dehumanizing field where even likable patients become lists of lab results and symptoms, but at Prevention Point every client is treated like a human being. The opportunity to work here has been incredibly meaningful to me.”

lnduja Maheswaran: “Working at Prevention Point as a BTG intern has been an extremely rewarding experience. Having evolved from a syringe exchange program, Prevention Point now serves as a safe haven that provides counseling and case management, suboxone treatment, testing services and overdose training. The staff at Prevention Point are a strong, interprofessional team that provides care in a warm, judgement-free manner, and I am grateful to them for welcoming us with open arms. As a training healthcare professional who will be able to prescribe opioids, this experience has encouraged me to learn more about the unwanted use and side effects of opioids as well as other treatment options.”

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Veterans Multi-Service Center

Student Interns:
Ahsal Major, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Bernice Yu, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

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

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

The Community Site:
In 1980 the Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC) was created to aid veterans returning from the Vietnam War. The main purpose was to help veterans gain access to VA benefits, find employment opportunities and adjust back to society after returning home from war. Over time, the center expanded its program to assist veterans of all wars and conflicts. In 2000 the Perimeter was established to assist homeless veterans in the community. The program offers day services that provide breakfast and lunch as well as a safe place to stay during the day. The veterans can watch TV, complete paperwork, play cards, enjoy arts and crafts, and take part in other activities. The VMC also offers housing services and case managers who work closely with the men to integrate them back to daily living. Computer courses, educational workshops and employment services are provided to assist the veterans in future endeavors. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns educated veterans at the Veterans Multi-Service Center’s Perimeter location to increase knowledge and awareness of oral and cardiovascular health issues. The interns also spent time engaging the population by facilitating recreational activities and participating in community outreach efforts.

Intern Statements:
Ahsal Major: “Working with the veterans at the Veterans Medical Center this summer reinforced my interest in the field of psychiatry. The veterans gave me an opportunity to engage individuals with life experiences different from my own. During my time at the VMC, I was able to develop a greater appreciation for this population. After contributing so much to our freedom, they are faced with a unique set of challenges. They have work and life experiences which do not easily translate into civilian life and are trying to find their way. I was honored to be included as part of their support system during this time.”

Bernice Yu: “The Veterans Multi-Service Center is an amazing nonprofit organization that aims to find veterans housing and employment opportunities while providing them a place to relax and unwind. Spending a summer with the veterans has expanded my horizons to a population that I would not have previously worked with. The clients at the site are a group of incredible men who demonstrate resilience and perseverance to all kinds of adversity from life, and I have learned so much from listening to their stories. This gave me the chance to better understand the health needs and disparities of this population, and it has been completely eye-opening. I leave this summer at the VMC with more gratitude and greater recognition for who these men are as well as an understanding of how I could be a better physician to meet their needs and challenges in the future.”

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