Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2020

Children & Youth

Centro Nueva Creación 

 

Centro Nueva Creación: Home of the Goodlands 

 

Student Intern:
P. Garrett Candelaria, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor:
Jeremiah Goldstein, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Preceptor:
Maribel Lozada Arzuaga, Centro Nueva Creación: Home of the Goodlands

 

Community Site:
Centro Nueva Creación: Home of the Goodlands is located in the Fairhill neighborhood. Centro’s mission is to promote resilience in young people through educational enrichment and engagement with the arts and Latino cultures. Its goal is to offer experiences to Fairhill’s young people that contribute to their success in and out of school. Centro reaches its goals by using the project-based learning (PBL) method to engage children in arts and Latino cultural programming, offering homework help and engaging children’s families and community in programming.

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student intern worked with Centro’s annual summer camp, which was held virtually this year. The intern developed and taught lesson plans focused in the sciences and health promotion and led various interactive activities, such as making slime. The intern taught the students cardiovascular health and ways to incorporate a healthy diet and fitness into their lives. The intern also utilized various YouTube educational videos to assist with learning. In addition to teaching lessons, the intern also participated in staff meetings associated with camp planning and organization.

 

Intern Statement: 

P. Garrett Candelaria: “My time at Centro Nueva Creación was very rewarding and challenging. I was able to develop lesson plans focused on science and health education. I held 45-minute sessions four times a week and worked with groups of kids aged 7 to 11. The attendance at the camp was dramatically decreased due to lack of awareness of the virtual format, lack of access to internet and decreased interest in the online format. Because the groups of kids were so small, I was able to form a good relationship with them, and I think they learned a lot from my lessons. I hope they can utilize some of the information in their future education and daily lives.”

 

A.J. Drexel Autism Institute / Drexel School of Education Interdisciplinary Behavioral Health Clinic

 

A.J. Drexel Autism Institute 

 

Student Intern:

Jessica White, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor:

Renee Kottenhahn, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine 

 

Community Preceptors:

Brigid Garvin, EdS, NCSP, LBS, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Katherine Piselli, PhD, NCSP, Drexel University School of Education

 

Community Site: 

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, located on Drexel University’s Main Campus in the University City neighborhood of West Philadelphia, works in collaboration with the Drexel School of Education Interdisciplinary Behavioral Health Clinic on a contract with Elwyn, the city of Philadelphia’s provider of early intervention services. The Institute provides diagnostic evaluations for children referred from the Elwyn Early Learning Services Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) to determine whether they meet criteria for an autism spectrum disorder. Elwyn Early Learning Services serves all preschool-age children and their families residing in the city limits of Philadelphia. The children primarily range in age from 3 to 5 years. The majority of children referred are eligible for early intervention services due to a delay in one or more areas of development (cognitive, communication, social-emotional, physical, and adaptive behavior). Families represent the culturally and linguistically diverse population of the city.

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student intern helped to create resource pamphlets with information for families of children with autism. The topics covered included choosing a preschool, navigating intensive behavioral health services (IBHS), teaching feeding strategies, toilet training and oral health. In addition, the intern used knowledge of Mandarin Chinese to translate the feeding strategies and toilet training guides. The intern also translated into Mandarin Chinese the “Autism 1, 2, 3” packet, which is given to parents and caregivers after a child’s initial evaluation and contains information about autism spectrum disorder, a guide to next steps and a collection of resources in the Philadelphia area. 

 

Intern Statement:

Jessica White: “Working at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute through Bridging the Gaps gave me valuable insight into the autism community and the concerns caregivers of children with autism commonly have. By working closely with my community preceptors, I was also able to learn more about the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced to this community and how the Institute has adapted to support them. Through translating these documents into Mandarin Chinese, I also gained medical interpretation skills and learned more about cultural differences in perception of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). During my experience this summer, my previous assumptions about ASD were challenged. I was shown the broad variation in ASD and the importance of evaluating an individual’s unique strengths and weaknesses. I am very grateful to the staff at the Autism Institute for helping to enrich my Bridging the Gaps experience and hope to emulate their patient-centered, well-rounded approach to evaluation in my future career.” 

 

Healthy NewsWorks

 

Healthy NewsWorks 

 

Student Interns:

Tiffanie Chiu, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Jamie Chung, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Rashiqah Syed, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

 

Academic Preceptors: 

Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 

Maria Hervada-Page, MSW, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College 

Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

 

Community Preceptors: 

Mia Blitstein, MSEd, Programming Manager, Healthy NewsWorks

Marian Uhlman, Executive Director, Healthy NewsWorks

 

Community Site: 

Healthy NewsWorks is a nonprofit health media site dedicated to empowering elementary and middle school students to become writers, researchers and critical thinkers. The mission of Healthy NewsWorks is to advance health education and literacy through factual publications and digital media. 

 

www.healthynewsworks.org 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns were tasked with fostering the healthy and educational environment Healthy NewsWorks looks to create for their students. This included designing physical exercise activities the students could partake in; creating activity worksheets to encourage students to learn and explore different health topics; gathering resources (articles, games, books, videos) on a variety of medical-related topics to help students, parents and teachers learn more regarding different health topics; assisting teachers and students in the classroom and during interviews; and updating social media pages. In response to the recent global pandemic outbreak, the interns created a PowerPoint presentation, infographic and Kahoot! game dedicated to cardiovascular diseases and COVID-19. These interactive activities were presented during virtual camp sessions to elementary and middle school students. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Tiffanie Chiu: “Participating as a student intern with Bridging the Gaps this summer was easily one of the best decisions I have made. We were unexpectedly hit with the COVID-19 global pandemic, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside fellow health professional students, interact with young children, and engage in conversations with various speakers from all sorts of medical health backgrounds instead of just sitting at home. Through working with Healthy NewsWorks, I was able to learn a lot more about the Philadelphia community [and] their educational needs and make an impact on those around me. I hope to use the skills and knowledge I have gained through educating children on health and behavior and apply it towards my future goal of serving as a dentist and educator.”

 

Jamie Chung: “In the midst of uncertainty, Bridging the Gaps was the most consistent part of my summer. The continued programming of BTG made me rethink the purpose of this program as well as the definition of a community. I learned that while many parts of our nation may pause from the closure of businesses and stay at home orders, our community will continue to stay active, be present and come together to organize, whether it’s online or in our respective homes. It was a wonderful experience working with the staff and students of Healthy NewsWorks from our four-week virtual journalism camp to weekly Monday meetings with Marian, the director of Healthy NewsWorks, and fellow BTG interns. I look forward to the growth of this organization and hope to advance and incorporate the knowledge I have gained this summer in my future nursing career.”

 

Rashiqah Syed: “I learned many invaluable lessons whilst working at Healthy NewsWorks and as a part of the Bridging the Gaps cohort. As a medical student inundated with medical jargon and complex sociopolitical topics, I did not fully comprehend how easy it is to erect barriers of communication. I had become accustomed to communicating with people only like me, students in the medical or public health field with preexisting knowledge of medical and racial concepts. Working with the kids at Healthy NewsWorks forced me to take confusingly robust topics like racism, protesting and medical physiology and break it down into simplified chunks accessible for younger people to understand. Trying to explain the importance of activism in medicine in a way 8- to 14-year-olds [could understand] was a humbling experience and showed me the importance of making information more accessible to people outside the medical field. I hope to take this lesson and apply it to my future interactions with patients.”

 

 

North Light Community Center

 

Not Your Average Camp: Teaching Children About Emotional Well-Being at North Light

 

Student Intern: 

Christian Sanchez, Drexel University College of Medicine 

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Emily Spengler, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine 

 

Community Preceptor: 

Jon Thornton, MSW, North Light Community Center 

 

Community Site: 

North Light Community Center serves as a pillar for resources in the Manayunk area. At North Light, services are provided for all age groups that make up the community. These include a summer camp for children to learn and play, programs for teens to reach their full potential, advice and assistance for parents, and a safe space for the community to discuss issues they face. Their mission is to empower people of all ages and abilities in our communities, especially those most in need, to reach their fullest potential as productive and responsible citizens through initiatives that support and enrich children, teens and families. 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student intern at the North Light Community Center Summer Camp taught the campers about the importance of emotional well-being. This was done virtually through Zoom, and lesson plans were tailored to each age group. The lessons focused on what emotions are, how to respond to emotions, the effect emotions have on the body and how to respond effectively to negative situations. Throughout these lessons, the topics of cardiovascular health, smoking cessation and oral health were covered in how they relate to emotional well-being. Each week the intern recapped the previous information that was taught and built on that knowledge while introducing new topics. 

 

Intern Statement: 

Christian Sanchez: “My time at North Light Community Center Summer Camp was a memorable experience filled with the opportunity to educate Philadelphia’s youth. Emotional well-being is not always taught in the standard school curriculum, so when given this position, I was excited to help the campers. Each week the campers always gave me the utmost respect and listened [attentively] to my lesson plan. I was amazed at how much they remembered between each lesson and how they applied what I had taught them to their everyday life. The youth of this beautiful city are the foundation for the change that is needed, and from my experience, I know these kids will go on to do great things. The staff at North Light were extremely helpful, and without them I don’t know if the virtual lessons would have gone so smoothly. I was able to build incredible relationships, and I will always be thankful to Bridging the Gaps for allowing me to be an intern this summer!” 

 

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse 

 

Providing Safe Play During a Pandemic

 

Student Interns:

Oluwadamilola Adefarati, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Brigid Garrity, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

 

Academic Preceptors:

Robert Dustin, MA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 

Meshonea Fox, BA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

 

Community Preceptor:

Cheryl Carson, Senior Director of Development, Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse

 

Community Site:

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse was founded in 1899 by Richard and Sarah Smith. The couple dedicated the site in the memory of their adult son, Stanfield. Smith was constructed to provide and promote unstructured free play opportunities for children. Parents and caregivers accompany children on visits to Smith and discover the importance of play in fostering their children’s health and well-being.

The Smith staff consists of dedicated teachers and advocates for play and child development who partner with community-based organizations. Smith is a welcoming, safe and inclusive space that has remained a treasured play experience for generations. One of the community site’s most popular attractions is the century-old Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide, which countless children have enjoyed over the years.

 

https://smithplayground.org

 

 

Project:

The student interns worked with Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse staff to increase outreach and awareness of opportunities for play at the park after it had been closed for an extended period of time due to COVID-19. This was done by using a variety of community calendars in both the Philadelphia area and its surrounding suburban communities. Additionally, they aided staff members in compiling a list of various philanthropic organizations for future funding — something that has always been done because Smith is a nonprofit organization, but that is even more necessary now due to the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic. Outreach also included appealing to local businesses for sponsorship of Smith’s first annual Slide-a-Thon, another avenue to increase revenue for the park for continued and expanded programming opportunities. The interns also began to look into ways to make the playground fully accessible for individuals of all abilities, including those who are audio and/or visually impaired. Finally, the interns tracked daily attendance at the playground and documented zip codes of visitors, which is necessary for future grant applications.

 

Intern Statements:

Oluwadamilola Adefarati: “I envisioned a completely different experience when I submitted my application for Bridging the Gaps much earlier this year, but the pandemic turned those expectations completely on their head. While I was unable to have the hands-on experience I was initially looking for, this was a wonderful opportunity to work closely with Smith staff members to aid them in numerous ways while they attempted to implement creative ideas for fun activities at the park, while maintaining social distancing guidelines as recommended by the CDC and mandated by the state of Pennsylvania. Focusing on the administrative aspect of working at Smith allowed me to better my understanding of how nonprofit organizations work behind the scenes as it pertains to seeking funding and planning fundraising events. Additionally, my perspective was broadened with regard to the existence of fully accessible playgrounds; my previous thought of accessibility was one limited to mobility, but I quickly learned of playgrounds across the country that are fully outfitted to aid individuals of all needs. This has been a truly transformative summer and fantastic opportunity to work with such a historic institution in the city of Philadelphia!”

 

Brigid Garrity: “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic throwing a wrench in our original plans to be working with children this summer, I appreciate the experience I had this summer at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse. While I would have felt more useful and perhaps a bit more engaged if I were physically at Smith, I came to appreciate that the tasks I was doing remotely have been benefiting the playground and its future. I enjoyed learning how to review 990 tax forms to determine potential new funders for Smith and found it rewarding when we reached out to local organizations and businesses for donations and sponsorships and were met with enthusiastic responses to help keep Smith afloat during this challenging time. These are skills that will benefit me in the future as I work with organizations like Smith as a future pediatrician. I also came to appreciate that Smith truly values serving the surrounding community, and by keeping track of where visitors to the playground live, more funding is available to increase programming and outreach for community members. One of the most interesting aspects of the summer for me personally was the storytelling project, where I got to talk with a Smith employee who has been there for years and has dedicated the last decade of her life to Smith. While the overall experience was different than I imagined, I am grateful to have learned a little more about the Philadelphia community through working with Smith this summer!”

 

 

Southwest Community Development Corporation

 

Southwest CDC/Patterson Virtual Summer Camp: Summer Fun with BTG!

 

Student Interns:

Sarah Badlis, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Sabrina Gonzalez, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine 

Sejal Menghani, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Brian O’Sullivan, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences 

Sarah Svetec, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College 

 

Academic Preceptors:

Hillary Bogner, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 

Maria Hervada-Page, MSW, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing 

 

Community Preceptor:

Lorraine Thomas, Operations Manager, Southwest Community Development Corporation

 

Community Site:

The Southwest Community Development Corporation (SWCDC) is a community-oriented nonprofit organization in Southwest Philadelphia. Since 1987, the Southwest CDC has worked to improve the quality of life of the residents and to provide support to the community. It serves more than 75,000 residents through implementation and execution of programming focused on financial assistance, community outreach, ESL classes, job searching and more. Every summer, the SWCDC plans and organizes a free six-week summer camp for students in kindergarten through fifth grade at the John M. Patterson Elementary School. The day camp provides recreational and educational activities as well as typically includes weekly field trips to local Philadelphia establishments. This summer, the summer camp was conducted virtually. 

 

https://southwestcdc.org

 

Project:

At this summer’s Southwest CDC virtual summer camp, the Bridging the Gaps student interns designed and executed an interactive curriculum to promote educational exploration and a healthy lifestyle among the students, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. They led two 30-minute lessons, four days a week, using Google Meet, with a total of 32 lessons conducted throughout the summer. The interns led health-related and STEM-based activities and discussions with the students covering a variety of topics, including wellness, oral and heart health, and drug/alcohol safety. Additional activities centered on themes of emotions and feelings, arts and crafts, and science experiments. Each lesson also promoted literacy through creative avenues. Recognizing that the students are spending their formative years in an uncertain world, the interns aimed to create an open, enjoyable space for support and mentorship, with the intention of enhancing basic foundational knowledge during these lessons.

 

Intern Statements:

Sarah Badlis: “The experience I was able to share with the individuals I interacted with this summer is one I will not forget, from the coordinators to the fellow interns to the amazing students. Having the opportunity to translate my creativity into lessons for the kids is an honor. I had an incredible time being part of this camp, as the students’ smiles radiating from my screen always plastered a smile on my face. My interest in pediatrics as a future career path was piqued during this time, and I will be walking away with better knowledge of how to best educate and support children in times of need.”

 

Sabrina Gonzalez: “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working at the Southwest CDC’s summer camp. Not only did I have fun, but I also further developed different aspects of my identity. I had to tap into my creative side to design lesson plans that would work in a virtual environment. I had to access my inner child when brainstorming what activities children would enjoy best. I also practiced my teaching skills by introducing concepts to the children and learned a lot from my fellow interns and the children themselves. Children always surprise me with their intuition; during the first week of camp we had two lessons on the pandemic, and the children’s insight into the current climate was inspiring. The students’ infectious (no pun intended) enthusiasm and engagement kept me excited to come to work every day.”

 

Sejal Menghani: “As an aspiring dentist, nothing makes me happier than seeing people smile. Through Southwest CDC’s virtual summer camp, I had the pleasure of seeing kids smile every single day despite the many challenges we face in 2020. Adjusting to the virtual format and keeping kids engaged through a screen was a challenge that required us to get creative and accept uncertainties. Each day, I was so inspired by how intelligent and enthusiastic the kids were that it honestly did not even feel like ‘work.’ Through interdisciplinary and community collaborations, I learned the power of teamwork and developed immense appreciation and respect for the other healthcare professions. I learned how imperative and rewarding it is to create a safe space for kids to thrive and learn and gained skills that I will carry with me through my personal life and professional career.”

 

Brian O’Sullivan: “It was an absolute joy working at Southwest CDC’s summer camp for kids. Prior to my summer with Southwest CDC, I had experience teaching art classes to children of a similar age group and felt that I was very prepared coming into my internship. What I did not consider was that these lessons were in person, hands-on and with all the readily available materials of a professional art studio. Adjusting to the virtual format of at-home lessons from the perspective of an educator presented new and uncertain challenges, but through trial and error, patience and collaboration with fellow team members, we were able to work creatively to tailor our lessons to an online format while still meeting our educational goals. This experience would not have been what it was had it not been for the active engagement demonstrated by the students who attended. Kids who showed up enthusiastically participated in whatever we had scheduled for the day, asking questions, drawing pictures and reacting to fun science experiments. I feel fortunate to have been placed on a team with such creative and hardworking future health professionals, and I am excited to see how they will use what they have learned from our time at Southwest CDC to advance the field of healthcare.”

 

Sarah Svetec: “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the Southwest CDC’s virtual summer camp this summer through Bridging the Gaps. Despite the many changes to the program due to the pandemic, it has been a fun and inspiring experience that has also challenged me to think and create in new ways. I have always enjoyed working with young people, and a virtual format didn’t change that. Even when attendance was low for our camp activities, the students brought a refreshing energy though their engagement with lessons and casual dialogue. I was able to learn a great deal about the nuances of instructing in a virtual format, while also laughing a lot with the students and fellow interns.”

 

 

Spring Garden Academy 

 

STEM and Tutoring at Spring Garden Academy 

 

Student Interns: 

Erika Fish, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Saba Mahmood, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine 

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Providenza Loera Rocco, JD, MSW, MBE, HEC-C, Temple University, Center for Urban Bioethics

 

Community Preceptor: 

Se’mona Williams, Spring Garden Academy 

 

Community Site: 

Spring Garden Academy (SGA) is a private Philadelphia Christian school for preschool through eighth grade. It has two locations: 17th and Tioga and 18th and Spring Garden. SGA’s partnership with Next Generation Ministries aims to prepare the next generation of leaders for the urban family, church and community. 

 

https://www.springgardenacademy.org/

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns supported Spring Garden Academy by tutoring students in math and language arts throughout the week, in addition to holding a Fun Friday STEM lesson at the end of each week. They also assisted with various administrative and organizational tasks to support Spring Garden Academy’s Bible Club, which takes place each summer. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Erika Fish: “In addition to being adept learners, the students showed incredible patience and grace during a time when their education looks a lot different than what they’re used to. Their interest in learning made it especially disheartening to see that many of them had trouble with access to technology and reliable Wi-Fi, complicating the already challenging situation of online education. While the staff at SGA has been working extremely hard to ensure that every student has the best educational experience possible during these times, not all problems can be solved without funding and resources. This summer I grew to further appreciate what a privilege it is to have reliable access to the resources I need to continue my own education in the face of COVID-19. I hope the children at SGA, and around the country, can have this same opportunity because they’re certainly interested in continuing to learn and grow.”

 

Saba Mahmood: “One of the things I noticed at SGA is that every teacher also serves as an informal counselor and knows the signs of trauma in children. They strive to create safe spaces for kids, environments that provide refuge when the world outside or being at home is not ideal. This is why I believe communities should strengthen the funding of schools and teachers. Schools like SGA need access to technology for all their kids; they need on-site counselors; they need their own developmental specialists, child psychologists, and so on. The children I worked with this summer are teeming with potential and an eagerness to learn despite the technical and logistical difficulties associated with remote education. We need to meet that same energy when it comes to providing for their educational resources.”

 

St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children’s Center for the Urban Child (CUC)

 

Pediatric Health Advocacy and Community Resource Promotion

 

Student Interns:

Aderinsola Aderonmu, Drexel University College of Medicine

Richard Alfera, Drexel University College of Medicine

Sierra Cuellar, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

Rebekah Madrid, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptors:

Blair Dickinson, MD, MS, FAAP, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Angela Silverman, MD, MA, MPH, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Preceptors: 

Renee Kottenhahn, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Emily Spengler, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Daniel R. Taylor, DO, FAAP, FACOP, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Site: 

Social determinants of health — or, as Dr. Daniel Taylor prefers, “social influences of health” — have a significant impact on the well-being of community members at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Recognizing that good health goes beyond the clinic, St. Christopher’s Center for the Urban Child (CUC) focuses on the integration of preventive care, parenting advice, legal assistance, social support and community resources into pediatric primary care. The CUC provides families with more than just medical treatment. The team believes in a holistic approach to the care of the child by supporting the health and well-being of the entire family, There is a strong emphasis on childhood literacy, oral health, family and home safety, and access to basic needs (such as food, utilities and housing) in order to optimize the child’s health.

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with St. Christopher’s Center for the Urban Child (CUC), assisting in facets of developing and refining the site’s Pediatric Navigator Program. Navigators administer office screening, provide needed community resources (associated with social influencers of health) and help support various health and education initiatives (Reach Out and Read, oral health and asthma education). Specific projects the interns worked on throughout the summer include a PowerPoint presentation and research review on social determinants of health, a Navigator workflow guide, a navigation card to promote efficient communication between physicians and Navigators, a Health Navigator Orientation Guide, and streamlined handouts for each resource category (including QR codes and relevant resources). In addition to the work involving the Pediatric Navigator Program, the interns assisted with reviewing and promoting the CAP4Kids website, which is a unique community resource database available to children and their families. The interns created an Excel catalog to ensure that resources are up to date, created a video in English and Spanish to promote ease of use on the site, and promoted CAP4Kids through a new Instagram account. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Aderinsola Aderonmu: “Working at the CUC allowed me to learn so much more about myself and the community that I hope to serve in the future. So much goes into patient interactions outside of medicine and working with this team has made me more aware of how to cater to community members holistically and meet them where they are. I am thankful to our community preceptors for allowing us to organically come to these realizations. I know that what I have learned this summer will travel with me throughout the rest of my career.” 

 

Richard Alfera: “I am so grateful to have worked with such a passionate and enthusiastic team at the CUC. This summer we worked on reshaping a patient program to help address social determinants of health, which helped me see patient care in a new light. This experience highlighted the importance of working with patients under a compassionate and informed lens by taking the time to understand their history and the pivotal role inequities play in their health. In my search for new community resources, I continually saw the strength, support and resilience that exists here in Philadelphia and defines this community. Moving forward, I feel more confident in my ability to work with the community and inspired to continue educating myself on new perspectives.” 

 

Sierra Cuellar: “The BTG CHIP experience allowed me to develop an entirely new set of skills through learning how to use models of health communication and social marketing to promote the CAP4Kids website. I hope that the content I created helps, even if it is just a few people, with easing the process of finding resources in Philadelphia. Improving health literacy, especially during a time where healthcare is primarily virtual, is incredibly important so that people can better understand their own health, identifying health concerns in their families and accessing the resources they need to maintain a healthy life.” 

 

Rebekah Madrid: “Given the opportunity to work with St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, under the BTG CHIP program, I had a unique experience working with wonderful physicians, colleagues and other healthcare students. As a rising second-year medical student, I am very fortunate to have worked with a children’s hospital to assist with projects to better the Pediatric Navigator Program. Additionally, I had the opportunity to expand upon personal skills and work on professional development, while working with my team. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to make a difference within my community.”

 

 

St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

 

St. Christopher’s Summer Carnival

 

Student Interns:
Sam Shovers, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice
Jessica White, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice

Renee Kottenhahn, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Katie Feehan, MPH, CHES, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, FAAP, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine  

 

Community Site:
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children is located in North Philadelphia. Among the many services the hospital provides to the community is the Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CCYSHCN). The CCYSHCN provides coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered medical care that improves access to services, community resources and advocacy to ensure that children obtain the support they need while promoting their independence.

 

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns’ main project was creating, designing, planning and ultimately implementing an online community carnival. For the past 10 years, the CCYSHCN has had an in-person community carnival at the hospital featuring games, food, entertainment, costumes, resources and more. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff of the CCYSHCN along with the BTG interns had to adapt the carnival to a remote format while still providing fun and resources for the community. The virtual carnival featured live performances and programs, messages from famous Philadelphia athletes, instructions and videos for at-home carnival games, and health and community resources. Alongside the virtual carnival, the St. Chris team aimed to deliver 10,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to children in the North Philadelphia community and neighboring communities. 

 

Intern Statements:
Sam Shovers: “Coming from an interdisciplinary educational background and working with an interdisciplinary team, my work with BTG and at St. Chris was very aligned with my career aspirations and personal values and interests. Aside from the work on the virtual carnival, I also was involved in research about mothers who experience postpartum depression (PPD) while their child is admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Aside from the added stressors and unique challenges, barriers and potential limitations this community faces, finding risk factors, recognizing symptoms to discuss with pregnant women and new mothers, and creating interventions was incredibly rewarding and uplifting to know that our research will have a positive impact on a very vulnerable and under-studied population.” 

 

Jessica White: “During my time working with the CCYSHCN on the virtual summer carnival I was most struck by the hard work and willingness of our team to convert the carnival to a virtual format. At the beginning of the summer, I was not sure how we would put together such an unprecedented event in such a short amount of time. As we continued working together, though, our plans started to fall into place. I was inspired by the enthusiasm of our community partners and St. Chris’s staff in putting together this special event. We were able to continue the long-standing tradition of the summer carnival and backpack drive despite the difficulties of the pandemic and provided the Philadelphia community with a day of fun and valuable memories during this extremely challenging time.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Uplift Center for Grieving Children

 

Exploring Grief in a Modern Context

 

Student Interns:

Talia Magoon, Drexel University College of Medicine 

Ahmed Mirza, Drexel University College of Medicine 

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Florence Gelo, DMin, NCPsyA, Drexel University College of Medicine 

 

Community Preceptor: 

Kevin R. Carter, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Director, Uplift Center for Grieving Children 

 

Community Site: 

The Uplift Center for Grieving Children, located in East Falls with many satellite locations throughout Philadelphia, offers free peer support groups for children and teens in grades K through 12 who have dealt with the death of someone very important in their lives. The Uplift Center aims to help reduce the loneliness a child can experience after someone dies. 

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Uplift Center for Grieving Children supported the staff in creating materials for caregivers, children and future volunteers. The interns created a smoking-cessation information sheet that explains the negative impact smoking has on health and lists supportive services to help people quit as well as healthy ways to cope. They created a racial-trauma info sheet for future volunteers so they can better understand how continuous and systemic racism can affect health. They assessed and disseminated various resources that allow other interns to bridge gaps at their community sites, including children’s books and podcasts. Last, the interns contributed to the future of Uplift by attending weekly staff meetings to support the development of a new structure for virtual grief groups and by creating an orientation video for future volunteers in which the interns discussed their own insights about important things someone should know when working with grieving children and provided advice from a current caregiver. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Talia Magoon: “My time at Uplift continued to open my eyes to the importance of empathy, compassion and active listening. Grief is something we all experience, and my work at Uplift allowed me to interact and understand different experiences of grief. During my internship I was able to reflect on myself and how I can use the tools I have been given to be a great physician in the future. I hope to be someone who is as supportive and caring as the staff at Uplift. Although my time was virtual, I was still able to make so many connections with staff and fellow interns and will carry this experience with me throughout my career and life.” 

 

Ahmed Mirza: “My experience as a Bridging the Gaps intern at Uplift has taught me many valuable lessons that I will be carrying with me into my professional career. Gaining perspective on grief directly from a grieving mother taught me more about the importance of compassion and listening to the people you work with. Attending weekly seminars also taught me a great deal about matters such as racial trauma, trauma-informed care and various public health issues plaguing Philadelphia, all of which is knowledge that will help me provide better care as a future professional. Altogether, this experience has allowed me to gain more perspective about working with people and become more well-informed about sociological determinants of health. “

 

Village of Arts and Humanities

 

An Unprecedented Summer: The Virtual Village

 

Student Interns: 

Sixtus Akinlosotu, Drexel University College of Medicine

Alyssa Bigbee, Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Sanjana Venkat, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Florence Ierardi, MM, MT-BC, LPC, Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

 

Community Preceptor: 

Michael O’Bryan, Director of Learning, Village of Arts and Humanities

 

Community Site:

The Village of Arts and Humanities aims to support the voices and aspirations of the community by providing opportunities for self-expression rooted in arts and culture. The Village inspires people to be agents of positive change through programs that encompass arts and culture, engage youth, revitalize community, preserve heritage and respect the environment. The Village of Arts and Humanities provides free arts classes to adults and youth in the community, offering a safe place to be expressive as well as providing local youth options for professional pursuits in the future.

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns spent the summer assisting in transforming the summer programming into a virtual setting, both in aspects of logistics and content. One area of focus was the use of technology and online platforms in setting up a framework for student engagement. Another area of focus was the construction of classroom content in video editing and photography, a class that combined public health and media. In addition, the interns collaborated on providing a resource about current health issues pertaining to youth and created a media presentation highlighting a specific health topic as a sample for students studying the use of video and photography to display and disseminate public health information. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Sixtus Akinlosotu: “During my time at the Village I have widened my view on children in the community and all that impacts them. I wasn’t able to work directly with the kids because classes were postponed mainly due to COVID-19, but I was able to work on preparing a class for them. Through working closely with teachers at the Village I have learned so much about the importance of facilitating safe growth for children and the nuances of embarking on such a task. In addition, I have learned a bit about working in an interdisciplinary team on a common task and integrating knowledge in such an effort. Overall I can say I have become a more socially aware person with a broadened view of our community that I am a part of and more conscious of the impact I have on various aspects of it.” 

 

Alyssa Bigbee: “When entering the internship, I was aware that there would be some difficulties in transitioning from in-person to digital. I knew that there would be confusion in the beginning, but it exposed me to how much work goes into caring for the community. From day 1 of the internship the Village was very passionate about bringing programming to the youth. They were adamant in using each of our skills towards the implementation of the program. I found this useful when thinking of how I would enter this new system of healthcare when thinking of COVID. I learned that one must be proactive during transitions and be open to learning about new things even if at first it doesn’t seem to impact you. I was so grateful to be able to have flexible staff who were willing to guide us and talk to us whenever social justice issues would occur.” 

 

Sanjana Venkat: “As a Bridging the Gaps intern at the Village this summer, I learned an immense amount about the adaptability and determination that is required to implement technology into existing programming. The Village is an innovative community organization that was greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but remained resilient in working to continue virtual programming and support for their youth. I gained firsthand experience in the various barriers, from socioeconomic to logistical, that one may face in transforming a project from paper to reality. I am so grateful to the staff at the Village for serving as such a positive and determined presence during these unpredictable past 10 weeks, and I hope to be as strong of an advocate for youth in my career as they are.”

 

Women Against Abuse

 

Educating from Afar: Helping Children at Women Against Abuse

 

Student Intern:
Matthew Eiman, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Jeremiah Goldstein, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Preceptor:
Arlene Malcolm-Bell, PhD, Women Against Abuse

 

Community Site: 

Women Against Abuse provides services to those affected by domestic violence. These services include emergency safe havens, transitional housing, legal services, economic empowerment programming, workshops on domestic violence prevention and case management. 

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student intern created various materials and videos for children on a plethora of topics. He provided academic enrichment through math worksheets and read-along videos and made and recorded presentations concerning postsecondary education opportunities and career preparation. The intern also created health education videos centered around sleep, nutrition, mindfulness and cardiovascular health.

 

Intern Statement:

Matthew Eiman: “Working with Women Against Abuse this summer proved to be a rewarding experience. I thoroughly enjoyed making materials and videos for these children, and my internship reaffirmed my desire to work with children in the future. I feel this summer expanded my lens of understanding in terms of the impacts of domestic violence, and I will be better able to provide high-quality care for my future patients.”

 
 
 

Bridging The Gaps

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