Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2020

Community Health (includes LGBT+ and immigrant/refugee populations)

American Heart Association and Breathe Free Pennsylvania 

 

Title: Temporary Smoke-Free Casino Laws Made Permanent!

 

Student Interns: 

Lake Seymour, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Amy Xia, 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, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

 

Community Preceptors: 

Alex Bonner, Breathe Free Pennsylvania

Brad Cary, American Heart Association

 

Community Site:

Although the community site officially is the American Heart Association, student interns worked specifically with the Breathe Free Pennsylvania Coalition, which aims to spread awareness of the harmful effects of first-, second-, and thirdhand smoke through testimonials of casino workers in order to advocate for casinos to go smoke-free. 

 

https://breathefreepa.org/

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked via a multimedia approach to develop various projects to assist the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Breathe Free Pennsylvania Coalition in eliminating smoking in casinos because of its impact on the health of both casino employees and casino patrons. The students submitted letters to the editor to various local Pennsylvania newspapers regarding the impact of secondhand smoke on casino workers. Additionally, they conducted an interview with a former casino worker and used this information to create short video clips containing informative quotes to help inform the public. Through the interview and the creation of Breathe Free PA graphics, the interns’ work focused on highlighting the positive responses of casino workers and casino patrons (both smokers and nonsmokers) after temporary smoke-free laws were implemented in Pennsylvania casinos. The focus of the interns’ work was to help create content that could help push policy toward creating permanent smoke-free laws in casinos. 

Intern Statements: 

Lake Seymour: “As a developing dental practitioner, the BTG experience has impacted my ability to understand that exposure to second- or thirdhand smoke is not always a choice for individuals. I will continue to keep this in mind as I offer support to my future patients in terms of providing smoking cessation and maintaining their overall health. Personally, it was fascinating to examine the casino industry and the power it holds in terms of impacting the health and well-being of its employees and patrons. I am hoping that these temporary smoke-free laws can be maintained in place as we begin to move forward in order to protect the health of our communities. Additionally, it was incredible to work with such an uplifting and driven team of individuals with the Breathe Free Pennsylvania Coalition and the American Heart Association.”

 

Amy Xia: “I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my time working with the American Heart Association and Breathe Free PA to advocate for casinos going smoke-free. I had previously never really taken into consideration the susceptibility of casino workers to the negative health effects of second- and thirdhand smoke in their working environments and found myself becoming more passionate about the issue the more time I spent learning and advocating. This experience overall taught me the importance of expanding my clinical education as a nursing student to think critically of possible vulnerable populations and providing them a voice to express their hardships and concerns.” 

 

Community Learning Center

 

It’s Never Too Late: Spotlighting Resilience in Adult Education

 

Student Interns: 

Casey Cheng, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Sophia Conners, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice 

 

Academic Preceptors: 

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

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

 

Community Preceptor: 

Kelly Griebert, BS, Community Learning Center

 

Community Site: 

The Community Learning Center empowers adults in Philadelphia who are facing economic disadvantage with the academic and employment skills necessary to realize their fullest potential at home and in the workforce. CLC provides test preparation for the GED and HiSET high school equivalency exams and educational services for English language learners. 

 

https://communitylearningcenter.org

 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns assisted Community Learning Center teachers in developing individualized learning plans (ILPs) for incoming and current students. ILPs allow teachers to place students in the appropriate course, address individual strengths/weaknesses and set goals. The interns also compiled a list of free and low-cost resources to address three health-related areas: cardiovascular health, oral health and smoking cessation. They developed digital flyers to be posted on the Community Learning Center website and distributed to staff and students via email; these forms can also be printed on-site when CLC transitions to in-person learning. The interns also advocated to change the site’s no-smoking policy to include vaping. They designed new no-smoking, no-vaping signs to be displayed at CLC’s North and West Philadelphia locations to reflect the updated policy. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Casey Cheng: “Though my placement at CLC wasn’t necessarily what I expected this summer, at the end of the day, I know what I learned here I will take with me. As a nursing student with a potential urban education minor, I was curious how CLC would play into the intersection of these two fields of study. I know now that the people I’ve met will shape me going forward, continuing to broaden my understanding of different people, their experiences and their backgrounds. This is particularly impactful, since I haven’t had much experience with adult education before, and will ultimately mold me into a better nurse and person.”

 

Sophia Conners: “Community Learning Center is a special place. I was lucky enough to witness the tenacity and flexibility of both staff and learners this summer. The efforts of my agency and the Bridging the Gaps program made my internship enriching and challenging despite pandemic-related restrictions.” 

 

Councilmember Jamie Gauthier’s Office

 

Community Outreach to Help Constituent Concerns 

 

Student Interns: 

Justine Garfinkel, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Hannah Legerwood, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program, Medical Simulation Program

Hannah Smith, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Michael Young, 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 Preceptors:

Martese Clark, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier’s office 

Alexis Wright-Whitley, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier’s office

 

Community Site: 

Councilmember Jamie Gauthier’s office serves constituents of the 3rd councilmanic district, located in West Philadelphia. The councilmember’s office addresses constituent concerns and advocates for community resources, with priorities of creating and preserving affordable housing, improving educational outcomes, connecting residents to family-sustaining jobs and advancing small businesses.

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student interns called constituents who had previously called the councilmember’s office to assist them with resolving their outstanding concerns, including issues with food access, COVID-19 testing, property maintenance and more. The interns also called Bangladeshi business owners who were affected by the looting and protests in early June to see how the councilmember could best help them rebuild. Each intern was also assigned a special project: Hannah S. used a database to compile a spreadsheet with affordable housing expiring in the next 10 years. Justine and Michael listened to budget hearings regarding the police/fire/prison departments, managing directors and commerce departments, then noted common topics and questions for the councilmember’s future reference. Hannah L. called members of the community to inform them of upcoming meetings on zoning in their area and attended those meetings to judge community support or opposition to help formulate a stance for the councilmember at zoning board hearings. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Justine Garfinkel: “The past year I have felt like I have somewhat lived in a medical school bubble, so this internship has really allowed me to learn more about the Philadelphia government and programs, as well as learn about the communities and constituents. This experience has helped me as a future healthcare professional in the Philadelphia area because I have seen firsthand the everyday hardships, how their struggles can be affecting their health, and I can also help them by guiding them to different resources. I really enjoyed speaking to different constituents and working with the councilmember’s team to learn about the people and programs/services that make Philadelphia a special place.”

 

Hannah Legerwood: “I felt this internship helped me with my personal professional development by helping me learn to manage my anxiety surrounding making phone calls and communicating with complete strangers. I also feel that I can better navigate the city’s healthcare system and assist patients as this internship has bettered my knowledge and understanding of the city’s resources. Cost is a major barrier to patients seeking healthcare, so this knowledge is invaluable.”

 

Hannah Smith: “The BTG internship gave me the opportunity to understand the community concerns in Philadelphia. I feel this experience gave me a great perspective, as a medical student, on the social determinants of health my future patients might face. As an osteopathic medical student, we learn to prioritize patients as a whole. I now understand the types of questions to ask my future patients to better understand their life and how their environment might be affecting their health.” 

 

Michael Young: “As a future healthcare provider, I believe this experience was helpful in getting to know the types of people that I may be treating in my future. It is important for future physicians to get to know the types of backgrounds, cultures and everyday struggles that their patients face in order to have better patient-doctor relationships. By speaking with many constituents and gaining a better understanding of resources in Philadelphia, I believe I will have a better understanding of where some of my future patients are coming from. This will give me a more compassionate relationship with my patients, so that I can see them more as whole human beings than just a disease to be cured.”

 

Drexel Family Medicine

 

A Virus’s Exploitation of Systemic Racism

 

Student Intern:

Nadirah Waites, Drexel University College of Medicine 

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Ryan Schroeder, MD, Family Practice Physician, Ambler Medical Associates 

 

Community Preceptor: 

Annette Gadegbeku, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine, Drexel Family Medicine 

 

Community Site: 

Drexel Family Medicine/Tower Health is a strong, regional, integrated healthcare provider/payer system that offers leading-edge, compassionate healthcare and wellness services to a population of 2.5 million people. Together, its six acute-care hospitals and other entities provide a full range of medical care—from prevention, screenings and education to the latest clinical services and surgeries to rehabilitation. We Tower Health also offer wellness programs and public health services that ensure that our communities are the healthiest they can be. The caring, highly trained physicians and staff are committed to patient safety and satisfaction.

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student intern explored the impact of COVID-19 in the Philadelphia community. The intern aimed to track demographic differences in COVID-19 incidence rates, symptoms and prognosis. To aid in this effort, she was trained and certified in contact tracing through Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 contact tracing course. She used these skills to provide education about coronavirus, devise plans to support COVID-19-positive patients, and advise patients and their recent contacts on how to best manage the disease. The intern also researched COVID-19 resources available within Philadelphia. These resources included CDC fact sheets, links to food services, free childcare supplies, financial materials, information on domestic violence and homeless shelters, and mental health support. The intern created a website that compiled and streamlined these services to make them easily accessible for patients. Additionally, she conducted literature reviews to provide background and direction for the research project. 

 

Intern Statement: 

Nadirah Waites: “Working with BTG CHIP allowed me to implement my desire to mitigate the disproportionate impact of diseases in underserved communities. Focusing on COVID-19 provided the unique opportunity for me to investigate how systemic racism and oppression are leading causes of health disparities. I enjoyed learning the various ways I can help and advocate for the populations America leaves most vulnerable. I look forward to continuing this learning and advocacy throughout my medical career.”

 

 

Health and Spirituality

 

Spirituality and Health

 

Student Intern: 

Nicholas Ihnatenko, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Annette Gadegbeku, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Preceptor: 

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

 

Community Site: 

Health and Spirituality, led by Dr. Flo Gelo, consists of a spirituality, religion and medicine website. 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student intern began by researching and collecting various resources on the topics of spirituality, religion and medicine to update the website and assisted in exploring alternative bereavement programs. His focus then shifted to the Medical Humanities Scholars Program at Drexel University to develop a vehicle for medical students to tell the stories of their journeys to medical school. Through it, students will have the opportunity to describe their unique paths toward medical school and identify the spiritual themes they share with others’ journeys. In creating these pieces, the students are asked to share the events, obstacles they overcame and types of resources they relied on to get into medical school. 

 

Intern Statement: 

Nicholas Ihnatenko: “Dr. Gelo’s guidance and the insight I gained from my storytelling project helped break down what spirituality can be in its simplest form and the impact it can have. I see now how powerful the effect of trust and belief, no matter to what degree expressed, can be for the healing process of an individual and a community. I have also been fortunate to see the benefits of remembering why I wanted to be a physician and remembering to check in with myself every few months to see where and why I am doing what I am. I want to always give space to the challenges I overcame, from a stubborn injury to a continued need to repurpose my direction.” 

 

Hepatitis B Foundation 

 

Advocating and Spreading Awareness for Those Affected by Hepatitis B 

 

Student Interns: 

Shrey Patel, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 

Kelli Sloan, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice

 

Academic Preceptors: 

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

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

 

Community Preceptors: 

Catherine Freeland, MPH, Hepatitis B Foundation 

Evangeline Wang, Hepatitis B Foundation

 

Community Site: 

The Hepatitis B Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected by hepatitis B worldwide. The Foundation’s commitment includes funding focused research, promoting disease awareness, supporting immunization and treatment initiatives, and serving as the primary source of information for patients and their families, the medical and scientific community, and the general public.

 

https://www.hepb.org/

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns performed qualitative data research via the online app Dedoose; developed an affordable medication fact sheet; co-authored blog posts on the effects of oral health and smoking cessation on hepatitis B; and assisted with preliminary research for an advocacy effort regarding cleanliness and safe practices in nail salons. They also conducted interviews, during a storytelling initiative, with people living with chronic hepatitis B to gather information about their experience.

 

Intern Statements: 

Shrey Patel: “Bridging the Gaps has truly been an eye-opening experience for me this summer. It was fulfilling to see how even though these nonprofit organizations were affected negatively by COVID-19, they never shifted their focus away from helping the community. Additionally, the Wednesday presentations, given by profound individuals in their respective fields, were a true highlight of the program. I gained new perspectives on healthcare, public health efforts and the Philadelphia community — and for that I will forever be grateful.” 

Kelli Sloan: “Bridging the Gaps was an excellent opportunity for me not only to learn about the incredible work the Hepatitis B Foundation does, but it also helped me begin to understand the realities people living with chronic hepatitis B face daily. The Bridging the Gaps program gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in a community that I previously knew nothing about, and as a result, my level of empathy and compassion for those living with chronic illness has grown immensely. Additionally, this experience helped me identify strengths and weaknesses in myself. Having a virtual internship through a pandemic is no easy feat; at times I struggled to stay focused, motivated and available due to the unavoidable overlap between my workday and my family’s personal needs.”

 

 

HIAS Pennsylvania 

 

Global Health Made Local: Immigrants and Refugees in Philadelphia

 

Student Interns: 

Daniel Harwood, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine 

Shikha Patel, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

 

Academic Preceptors: 

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

Christopher Renjilian, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

 

Community Preceptor: 

Meagan Hume, HIAS Pennsylvania 

 

Community Site: 

HIAS Pennsylvania provides legal, resettlement, citizenship and supportive services to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from all backgrounds who are resettling in Pennsylvania, in order to ensure their fair treatment and full integration into American society. HIAS Pennsylvania advocates for just and inclusive practices. From their first steps on American soil to the oath of citizenship, HIAS Pennsylvania helps immigrants navigate the complexities of American society and its legal system. HIAS’s work spans legal, social support and citizenship services HIAS also advocates for immigrant issues and rights and educates the community about immigration. 

 

https://hiaspa.org/ 

 

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns supported HIAS PA through three projects. First, in order to support the onboarding of new staff and interns in the future, and in support of HIAS Pennsylvania’s current organizational strategic review, the interns conducted interviews of staff across HIAS PA’s various teams in order to gather key information regarding the organization’s programs, services and client population. This information was then used to build a presentation summarizing these programs, which will be used during orientation for new HIAS PA staff and interns. Second, the interns created a dental health orientation to introduce recent arrivals who are unfamiliar with oral healthcare to the basics of dental hygiene and the U.S. dental healthcare system. The interns also created a one-pager with the most important information, which can be easily translated into various languages for new arrivals. Last, they assisted in HIAS PA’s work to present potential public health initiatives to the Pennsylvania Department of Health that would address the impact of COVID-19 on immigrant communities in Philadelphia. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Daniel Harwood: “Working with HIAS Pennsylvania through Bridging the Gaps has given me the opportunity to learn not only about the medical needs of refugee and asylee populations in Pennsylvania, but also about the complex legal and social systems through which HIAS Pennsylvania’s clients must navigate. I hope to help serve the public health needs of immigrant populations as a doctor, and the education and experience I gained from working with HIAS Pennsylvania has been invaluable for building the structural competency necessary for this work. I was also able to learn about — and engage in — health literacy and health advocacy work, which are both areas in which I hope to do more work in the future. Additionally, through the Bridging the Gaps program I was able to directly learn from — and work with — students and healthcare providers who are not in MD programs, which has allowed me to incorporate additional perspectives into my understanding of patient-centered care.” 

 

Shikha Patel: “Above all, working with HIAS PA has given me the opportunity to learn more about the medical needs of the refugee and asylee populations. It has shaped me as a future dentist by giving me the opportunity to work with those that are from different walks of life than I am and given me the skills and knowledge on how to better serve them. Community health has always been something that I am interested in; working with Bridging the Gaps has further triggered this interest. I hope to work with similar populations as a dentist, hopefully starting at Penn during my clinical years. Working in interprofessional teams has not only broadened my knowledge of other fields of medicine but also given me the skills to feel comfortable working in these teams in my future career.” 

 

John C. Anderson Apartments

 

Reimagining Community Programs at JCAA

 

Student Intern:

Josie Wiklund, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

 

Academic Preceptor: 

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

 

Community Preceptor: 

Ed Miller, John C. Anderson Apartments

 

Community Site:  

John C. Anderson Apartments (JCAA) is an apartment building in Philadelphia for LGBT+ elders  (aged 62 and older). The building is located in Center City near the William Way LGBT Community Center, where a lot of JCAAA’s programming occurs. The goal of JCAA is to provide a supportive, inclusive community for LGBT elders in the city. 

 

Project: 

In light of COVID-19, JCAA has been working to reimagine its programming to support the residents in a safe and socially distant way. The Bridging the Gaps student intern worked to formulate a survey to send to residents to gauge the level of interest in programs, technology capabilities and any preexisting barriers (e.g., timing, access to Wi-Fi etc.).

 

Intern Statement: 

Josie Wiklund: “As a future nurse and proud member of the LGBT community, I was honored to work with JCAA this summer. The elders living there lived through the AIDS crisis, the legalization of gay marriage and many other pivotal events. When I asked a resident how she felt about COVID-19 and the current state of the world she said, ‘I’ve been standing up too long to sit down now.’ This summer has provided many obstacles. Yet I am inspired to keep fighting by the strength of the LGBT elders in my community.” 

 

 

MANNA 

 

The Healing Power of Nutrition in 2020

 

Student Interns: 

Anna Chin, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Jeemin Kwon, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Isha Pandya, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine

 

Academic Preceptors: 

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

Christopher Renjilian, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Brittany T. Watson, MS, VMD, PhD, DACVPM, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine

 

Community Preceptor:

Jule Anne Henstenburg, PhD, RD, LDN, FAND, MANNA

 

Community Site:

MANNA is a leader in evidence-based nutrition services, bringing together dietitians, chefs, drivers and thousands of volunteers to cook and deliver nutritious, medically appropriate meals and provide nutrition counseling to neighbors who are battling life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, renal disease and HIV/AIDS. From hands-on cooking classes and nutrition counseling to the delivery of three meals a day, seven days a week, MANNA provides nourishment, hope and healing to the greater Philadelphia area, southern New Jersey and beyond.

 

https://mannapa.org/

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked on a variety of projects at MANNA. One intern, Anna, worked with the dieticians to create nutritional handouts appropriate to the health literacy of the clients; these handouts will be given to clients to support the nutritional education the dieticians give. Handout topics included incorporating iron-rich snacks for children, food plates for children, tips for helping picky kids eat, and nutrition and pregnancy. Jeemin, created, implemented and distributed MANNA’s annual client survey to help the organization collect client feedback, self-evaluation of health outcomes, and information that will guide how the organization serves its clients. That intern transferred what had been a paper survey to a digital platform and wrote educational materials geared toward medical students explaining MANNA’s model, as there has been an identified lack of understanding of MANNA’s services from some healthcare providers. The third ntern, Isha, worked on an analysis of operational changes at MANNA during the COVID-19 pandemic by collecting data through interviews with employees and volunteers. As an essential business, MANNA continued to make meals and deliver them to clients. Therefore, changes had to be made to their day-to-day functioning in order to ensure the safety of their employees and volunteers. By analyzing and recording these changes, MANNA can use this data for future reference in case of emergency and provide it as an aid to other essential businesses. The interns also collaborated to write a website article on the DASH diet to promote cardiovascular health within the MANNA community.

 

Intern Statements: 

Anna Chin: “BTG has been a summer that has exposed me to how current social issues are so integrated in healthcare. It has shown me how important it is for us as future providers to be aware of social issues and how important knowledge beyond the medicine contributes to the care we provide. These weeks have also demonstrated to me how important it is to consider health literacy and note how we provide education in a way that is clear to our patients. This has made me rethink how I need to understand my patients in the future and how I need to interact with them to best communicate with them.”

 

Jeemin Kwon: “My BTG experience has affirmed what I have previously observed — health and well-being are largely determined and shaped by forces outside of the traditional medical establishment. While physicians of course have an important role in healthcare, this summer has reinforced the importance of working within interdisciplinary teams to provide the best care for patients. I have expanded my previous framework of an interdisciplinary team to include community volunteers and workers in addition to professionals from nursing, dental, social work and veterinary medicine. Finally, my experience at MANNA specifically has instilled a belief in the power of food as medicine and motivation to bridge the gap between physicians and dietitians.” 

 

Isha Pandya: “Participating in BTG this summer has been an enlightening experience. Over the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to learn from community members, healthcare professionals and my fellow students from various disciplines. I have learned of the unique position that veterinarians hold within the community, and how I can better serve as a veterinarian in the future. Not only will I be able to provide medical care to pets, but I will also be able to provide guidance to their human families and work as a public health practitioner alongside nurses, social workers, dentists and human physicians.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mazzoni Center 

 

PFAC — Be Part of Making a Change

 

Student Interns: 

Ann Claire Macalintal, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy 

Peace Nosa-Omorogiuwa, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

 

Academic Preceptor: 

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

 

Community Preceptor: 

Andrew Gudzelak, Health Center Data Evaluation, Mazzoni Center

 

Community Site: 

The Mazzoni Center is a healthcare provider dedicated to offering services that promote the health and well-being of the LGBTQ communities. Located in Philadelphia, the Mazzoni Center’s services include, but are not limited to, primary medical care, mental health and substance-use treatment services, legal services and gender-affirming services. The center is also the host of the largest free trans-specific conference in the world, the Trans Wellness Conference, and is one of the largest providers of HIV prevention and care in the city of Philadelphia. 

 

https://www.mazzonicenter.org/

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns developed a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) for the Mazzoni Center with the assistance and supervision of their community preceptor. After conducting independent research and reviewing previous data collections, the interns were able to determine membership details, recruitment and application processes, and structural aspects such as possible roles, scheduling and sustainability needs, and agenda topics. With the collaboration of existing community advisory board members and other healthcare professionals, a mission statement emphasizing the importance of partnership between patients, families and providers was created. The interns also worked with the communications department to design and provide social media flyers for outreach prior to the first PFAC meeting. With a PFAC now in place, the Mazzoni Center was able to hold the first meeting in July 2020 and will continue to hold them on a monthly basis. 

 

Intern Statements:

Ann Claire Macalintal: “Despite the change from an in-person to remote internship due to the pandemic, my experience working with the Mazzoni Center is one I will always be thankful for. We were tasked with creating a council from the ground up and seeing it all come together at the end taught me that I am capable of creating ways for my future clients to have the louder voice they deserve, especially when it comes to their care. Through the collaboration with my internship partner, community preceptor and all the staff at the Mazzoni Center I also learned how to be a welcoming, open and committed advocate as they all served as examples of one.” 

 

Peace Nosa-Omorogiuwa: “One professional goal I had going into the BTG CHIP internship was to learn more about the populations (LGBTQ+ populations) my community site serves. And I was able to do that and more. I was able to develop new skills, interests, work in teams. Learning about different issues like health disparities, racism, opioid epidemic, child abuse has also led to personal and professional growth for me.” 

 

Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light Program 

 

Language of Light: Bridging Communities Virtually Through COVID-19

 

Student Interns: 

Casey Boone, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Clinical Counseling and Art Therapy

Annette Kim, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Michele Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts Therapies

 

Community Preceptors: 

Pamela Draper, MMT, MTBC, Mural Arts Porch Light Program, Kensington Storefront

Melissa Fogg, MSW, Mural Arts Porch Light Program, Southeast by Southeast

 

Community Site:
Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light Program, a joint collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, focuses on achieving universal health and wellness among Philadelphians by offering opportunities to contribute to meaningful works of public art. The Southeast by Southeast storefront is a welcoming and supportive space for the surrounding community of immigrant and refugee families. The Kensington Storefront serves as a workshop for visiting artists, a safe space for neighbors and a learning hub for anyone interested in art making, personal and public safety or self-care. Both storefronts create opportunities for community members to speak for themselves and find access to much-needed social services and referrals to outside organizations. 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light Program focused on communication and literacy skills through virtual citizenship, ESL and tutoring sessions. In these sessions, they covered topics such as American history, cardiovascular health and smoking cessation, résumé writing and interview skills, student wellness and the SATs. The interns also created PowerPoint presentations, quizzes using the online game platform Kahoot, and vocabulary lists with Nepali translations. In addition, they assisted with integrating a new data collection and reporting software and designed the framework for a weekly journal club for clients in recovery. 

 

Intern Statements:

Casey Boone: “The benefits of participating in the Bridging the Gaps summer program and our Porch Light site placement have been profound, palpable and full of color. Interacting with an array of community member populations, professional staff and interdisciplinary work has compounded into an inimitable opportunity for growth. Professionally, I learned how to better quickly adapt to fast-paced and diverse working environments. Academically, I have been able to step closer to the pulse of current events and long-term issues as they relate to health in the intersecting levels of these communities. Of course, I could not have asked for a better fit for a co-intern; Annie and I were able to co-exist and co-create seamlessly as we worked to combine our skill sets to best serve the varying groups and individuals in our scope this summer.” 

 

Annette Kim: “My experience at Porch Light highlighted the importance of connection and community in health and wellness. Listening to the stories of staff and members of the community helped me learn to never assume that others know your intentions. I was able to understand the value of meeting people where they are at and providing the support that they desire. I was also grateful to have been able to work with Casey, and the value of multidisciplinary collaboration is something that I will carry with me into my professional career.”

 

 

Nationalities Service Center, Health Outreach

 

Investigating the Need for a Permanent Health Liaison Position at NSC and Exploring Funding Opportunities

 

Student Intern: 

Peace Nosa-Omorogiuwa, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

 

Academic Preceptor:

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

 

Community Preceptor:

Ariel Ressler MacNeill, MPH, Senior Manager, Health Access and Specialized Supports, Nationalities Service Center

 

Community Site:

The Nationalities Service Center (NSC) is an organization that works to empower immigrants to thrive in their communities and pursue a just future. NSC serves thousands of immigrants, including refugees, asylum seekers and survivors of crime, in the greater Philadelphia area and beyond. NSC provides comprehensive services and support including employment services, legal services, health and wellness, education and language access services.

 

https://nscphila.org/

 

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student intern’s project was to create a concept paper to support the need for a permanent position for a health liaison at NSC. This was the initial step in the grantmaking process, and the paper included a description of the position, sustainability and evidence of need. The intern compiled a list of grant funding opportunities to aid in grant applications later in the year and created an oral health resource guide and a PowerPoint presentation for the NSC’s dental orientation for recently arrived refugees and immigrants.

 

Intern Statement:

Peace Nosa-Omorogiuwa: “One professional goal I had going into the BTG CHIP internship was to learn more about diverse populations (refugee, immigrant and LGBTQ+ populations) my community sites serve. I was able to do that and more. I developed new skills, new interests, worked with teams and learned so much from great professionals. The knowledge I gained from my BTG experience has made me a better-rounded individual. The issues presented during the BTG CHIP Wednesday sessions have made me more passionate about those issues, increasing my advocacy skills.”

 

Nationalities Service Center, INSPIRE

 

Empowering Refugees and Immigrants in Philadelphia and Educating About Their Experience

 

Student Intern: 
Roslyn Devassy, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy

 

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

 

Community Preceptors:  

Christina Kubica, MSW, Nationalities Service Center

Darya Nemati, Nationalities Service Center

Community Site: 
Nationalities Service Center (NSC) has been welcoming immigrants and refugees to Philadelphia since its beginnings in 1921. Based in Center City Philadelphia, NSC promotes health, independence and quality of life through the comprehensive services it provides. NSC serves to empower immigrants and refugees by helping them build a better future for themselves and connect with their community. 

 

https://nscphila.org

 

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student intern worked alongside the INSPIRE team to create a summer curriculum for its high school youth group, research and write the Ukraine Country Primer on Disabilities, and create a manual for the youth group. Youth group activities this summer involved sessions with educators from the community, crafts and education about health-related topics. The Ukraine Country Primer on Disabilities provides education about the conflict and experience of refugees in Ukraine and the additional difficulties individuals with disabilities may face. The student intern also created a youth group manual as a guide for future interns and occupational therapy students helping at NSC. 

 

Intern Statement:  

Roslyn Devassy: The experience I had at NSC helped me work on strengthening several of my professional learning goals, such as program development, running groups, leadership skills, lesson plan development and being flexible. I believe being involved in youth group helped build many of these skill sets. Overall, my experience has also taught me beneficial lessons that I believe will help shape me into a better student and future occupational therapist.” 

 

 

One Bright Ray 

 

Mansion Evening House Campus 

 

Student Intern:
Aisha Bosula, Drexel University College of Medicine 

 

Academic Preceptor:
Leon McCrea II, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Preceptor:
Arkadiy Yelman, MEd, One Bright Ray 

 

Community Site:
One Bright Ray is a diploma-granting high school program that works with students in Philadelphia. This accelerated, personalized program allows students who are a year and a half behind in credits needed to graduate to earn a diploma to further their education and careers. The organization has five campus facilities with a flexible schedule to accommodate students from all backgrounds. The school uses project-based learning, which involves answering a driving question and creating a final product. In addition to earning credits, students can complete a community-based internship program during the summer. 

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student intern analyzed data collected over the previous school year under the supervision of the principal of Mansion Evening House Campus. The intern studied trends in pass/fail rates of students and conducted a literature review to identify potential factors behind the observed trends. In order to better understand the student experience at this campus, the intern sent a survey to all students and analyzed the results. She also promoted smoking cessation, cardiovascular health and oral health by creating pamphlets sharing beneficial community resources to post on the school website. 

 

Intern Statement: 

Aisha Bosula: “I am truly grateful for getting to connect with One Bright Ray even during a time of social distancing. At this community high school, I researched how gender and race influenced academic achievement. I learned how certain populations need greater advocacy to reach their full potential, whether it is in the classroom or the clinic. This opportunity has not only enriched my summer, but also my education and perspective as a medical student.”

 

Philadelphia Family Pride

 

Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in a Virtual World With Philadelphia Family Pride

 

Student Intern: 

Taylor Goldberg, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice, Master of Social Work Program

 

Academic Preceptor: 

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

 

Community Preceptor: 

Stephanie Haynes, Philadelphia Family Pride 

 

Community Site: 

Philadelphia Family Pride (PFP) is the greater Philadelphia area’s LGBTQ+ organization for parents, grandparents, prospective parents and their children/grandchildren of all ages. PFP is an “in the field, in the community” organization and does not have a central location, but rather strives to create fun, reflective and supportive environments for LGBTQ+-led families through events and activities throughout the region.

 

philadelphiafamilypride.org 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student intern completed a wide range of projects, including organizing and facilitating community health and education sessions, compiling resources, creating educational content for the organization’s website, and assisting in constructing the organization’s annual conference in a virtual format. A significant project included coordinating a series of virtual classes specific to LGBTQ+ prospective parents and/or parents wishing to expand their families. Topics included building an LGBTQ+ family using donor sperm, legal implications for building an LGBTQ+-led family, adoption options for the LGBTQ+ community, prenatal care and birth for the LGBTQ+ community, and LGBTQ+ foster parent recruitment. Other educational writings and projects centered on topics such as smoking cessation for the LGBTQ+ community, anti-racism resources and the history of Juneteenth, resources and information related to COVID-19, strategies for coming out as an LGBTQ+-led family, navigating gender roles within LGBTQ+-led families, and choosing LGBTQ+ friendly schools and books for children of all ages. 

 

Intern Statement: 

Taylor Goldberg: “The BTG CHIP summer gave me an amazing opportunity to utilize my skills in a way that I never had prior to this experience. My background is largely in mental health and healthcare, either as a research assistant or social work trainee, and I had never worked for a small nonprofit organization prior to this summer. I found I was able to take my skills in academic writing, project coordination and professional communication and use them completely differently, while cultivating new skills and knowledge along the way. I also had the opportunity to learn so much more about LGBTQ+-led families and their experiences, insight that will be invaluable in my career as a social worker within health care settings. Lastly, I am grateful for all the complex learning and critical discussions that took place during our Wednesday curricular sessions, recognizing that the information gained from these experiences will help me empathize with and support a variety of populations throughout my social work tenure.”

 

Share Food Program Philadelphia

 

Phish 4 Philly (Food Insecurity)

 

Student Intern: 

Connor Tom, 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: 

Nina Taylor, Share Food Program Philadelphia

 

Community Site:  

Share Food Program delivers millions of pounds of food to more than a million neighbors in need in the greater Philadelphia area every month, making it the largest distributor of hunger relief in the region.

 

https://www.sharefoodprogram.org/

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student intern spent his days fishing to donate his catch to the Share Food Program Philadelphia to help tackle food insecurity in the Philadelphia community. He caught, cleaned and packaged the fish fillets, then delivered the fish to the Share Food Program delivery building.

 

Intern Statement: 

Connor Tom: “BTG CHIP has given me immense opportunities to explore a hobby of mine in a city I love for a cause that I am passionate about. It has shown me the severity of the issues our city has through a series of expert talks. Last, but not least, it has shown me that the ability to adapt and be flexible is crucial when trying to help people.”

 

Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)

 

Improving Children’s Health

 

Student Interns: 

Carter Griest, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine​

John Shin, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine​

 

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

 

Community Preceptors: 

Beth Dougherty, JD, Public Citizens for Children and Youth​

Colleen McCauley, MPH, BSN, Public Citizens for Children and Youth​

 

Community Site: 

For more than 30 years, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) has made significant contributions to improving the lives of children in Pennsylvania. PCCY focuses on making sure every child has the fundamental building blocks for success (healthcare, high-quality education, proper nutrition and a dependable support network) by offering direct help to children as well as applying pressure to government officials to persuade them to do what is necessary for every child’s lifetime of success. PCCY also combines comprehensive research and collaborations with partner organizations in developing initiatives and advocating for quality health care, childcare, public education and family stability.

 

https://www.pccy.org/

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked on three distinct projects. First, PCCY publishes a manual that lists healthcare providers who offer free or discounted services to uninsured children. The manual empowers school nurses and counselors, helping them to efficiently guide parents and children to a healthcare provider who suits their needs. The interns assessed and identified health providers in behavioral health, drug and alcohol treatment, grief counseling, and LGBTQ care. Second, PCCY provides a free helpline to assist parents and children with enrolling in public health insurance programs (Medicaid and CHIP). The interns contributed to the helpline’s social media outreach efforts to immigrant children. Third, the interns reached out to lead-remediation companies, community development corporations, registered community organizations and others to create a statewide lead coalition dedicated to removing lead from children’s homes.

 

Intern Statements: 

Carter Griest: “I felt that this summer with PCCY and BTG substantially impacted my professional development. I have always been interested in a career in policy, but seeing it play out in real time solidified my desires. I found it fascinating and inspiring to observe the members of PCCY advocate for children within the complex American political system. Further, I loved the Wednesday sessions with BTG. During these incredibly challenging times, BTG brought in remarkable and relevant speakers to create dialogues within the program that everyone in the country needs to be having.” 

 

John Shin: “I felt inspired working with PCCY and learning from fellow colleagues and speakers from BTG. Without a doubt, BTG CHIP had a profound impact on my personal and professional development. I was challenged to think critically, fairly and diversely. I better understand the importance of being compassionate and considering perspectives that may be different than mine. I truly enjoyed discussions about the critical issues in today’s society, involving both social and health aspects. It has been amazing, and I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and perspective!”

 

The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University/FNC Community Learning Farm WorkReady Program

 

WorkReady at 11th Street Health Services and FNC Community Learning Farm

 

Student Intern: 

Tyler Francisco, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor:

Maya Bass, MD, MA, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Preceptors:

Mary Green, MSN, BSN, RN, Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services
Marta Lynch, WorkReady, FNC Philly
Lidyvez Sawyer, MPH, Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services

 

Community Site: 

The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University is a community health center that uses a transdisciplinary approach to primary care, behavioral health, dental care, and health and wellness programs to provide services to thousands of adults in the North Philadelphia area. Care delivery is based on the principles of the Sanctuary Model, introduced by Dr. Sandra Bloom, in which adults and children have a single point of access for care that addresses both the physiological and psychosocial aspects of the person and family. This summer, 11th Street Family Health Services partnered with a nearby neighborhood youth program at the FNC Community Learning Farm, an urban farm located at 811 Poplar Street. Teens were hired to learn agricultural skills and were educated in a variety of disciplines, including health/nutrition and professional skill development. 

 

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student intern worked with WorkReady at the urban farm to strengthen the partnership between FNC and 11th Street Family Health Services and to connect the teens and their families to resources and services available at the clinic. The intern implemented lesson plans on healthy eating, nutrition and cardiovascular health. Teens attended online workshops to learn how to make healthy meals in the kitchen using fresh produce delivered from the farm. Through online assignments, participants also learned about urban agriculture, environmental health, food justice and community development. The intern discussed these topics weekly with teenagers to encourage critical thinking and further understanding. Independently, the intern also conducted a brief literary review on the effects of urban agriculture on a community and the research techniques used to measure said effect.

 

Intern Statement:

Tyler Francisco: “Working at 8th and Poplar Community Farm was an enriching experience that allowed me to learn about the West Poplar community and the people who live there. I was worried the online format for the health and nutrition class would make it impossible to teach and connect with the teenagers in the program. However, after just one week I became fully aware of my ability to have a lasting impact, mostly because of how motivated the teens were to learn and interact with me and the material. This experience demonstrated the importance and the rewarding nature of the educator role. It was fulfilling to know that I was teaching them skills and concepts that can help them and their families live healthier lives. This is a responsibility I now know I greatly enjoy and will look for in my career specialty in the future.”

 

 

Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, Mind-Body Medicine

 

Mind-Body Medicine at 11th Street

 

Student Intern:
Olivia Chough, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor:
Maya Bass, MD, MA, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Preceptor: 

Kathleen Metzker, MPH, Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services

 

Community Site: 

The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University provides a holistic approach to primary care, offering services in behavioral health, dental care, and health and wellness programs. The health center cares for residents of the four public housing developments along the 11th Street corridor as well as thousands of people across the city. Recognized as a national model of innovative care, 11th Street Health Services addresses the physiological and psychosocial aspects of the whole person and family. 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student intern worked in Health and Mind-Body Services at 11th Street Family Health Services, creating curriculum and leading virtual programs on mind-body stress reduction and mindfulness for pain management. In addition, the intern guided yoga classes and meditations for staff and clients of the health center. The intern also created wellness flyers for 11th Street staff, including one on mindfulness for smoking cessation. The intern attended educational sessions offered at the health center, including antiracism groups and interdisciplinary-led Power Over Pain programs. As a final project, the intern held a Mindfulness in Medicine workshop for staff and clients during which they discussed the benefits of mindfulness and its uses in medicine. 

 

Intern Statement:

Olivia Chough: “11th Street fosters a supportive and inviting environment, which allowed me to feel at home immediately. Although our program was virtual, I enjoyed the meaningful connections that were made with clients and staff. During my time here, I was able to gain a greater understanding of mindfulness and its therapeutic uses, build upon my teaching experience and learn from people of all perspectives. I am grateful that I was able to expand upon my knowledge of subjects that I feel passionate about. In the future, I know I will be able to carry my experiences with me as I practice medicine.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

 

Consolidating Temple Katz, a Community Devoted to the Welfare of Cats Around LKSOM

 

Student Interns:

Mia Cheslock, Temple University, School of Public Health 

Medeeha Khan, 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: 

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

 

Community Site:  

This project works in the neighborhoods surrounding Lewis Katz School of Medicine, encompassing the constituent stray and pet cats as well as pet owners and individuals who foster and do trap-neuter-return (TNR). 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns took on several projects for Temple Katz. They created a resource page and a resource map, and they interacted with the community through the Temple Med Katz Facebook page, providing resources and insight on trap-neuter-return. They also started gathering information to help Temple Med Katz become a nonprofit and tried to find a way to raise money for traps and to become a nonprofit. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Mia Cheslock: “I had such an amazing experience working with Bridging the Gaps this summer. I am so happy I got placed with Temple Med Katz because I love animals and I have never worked with an animal rescue organization, so it really opened my eyes to other ways I can help. The people I worked with in this organization were wonderful, and I loved how devoted they were to be helping the homeless cats and kittens. It really inspired me to do more with the community around me and jump in wherever I am needed. I’m excited to see what I can do in the future with the information I learned here.” 

 

Medeeha Khan: “It was refreshing learning more about what TNR and rescue entails through Bridging the Gaps this summer. It enabled me to gain a more educated understanding of the rescue community and the work that remains to be done. It even inspired me to start an Instagram devoted to educating others about fostering, adopting and rescue work as a whole. I’m excited to continue working in the community in the weeks to come.” 

 

Temple University, Center for Urban Bioethics, Food Insecurity

 

Food Insecurity Within Temple Health Network 

 

Student Interns: 

Clifton Dietrick, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine 

Arelis Nunez, Temple University, School of Pharmacy 

Jeneen Rakshit, Temple University, School of Public Health

Connor Tom, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine 

Matthew Viggiano, 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:

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

       

Community Site: 

The Temple Health Network is working in conjunction with Bridging the Gaps to help patients find accessible food resources. Using remote contact methods, the Bridging the Gap team helped provide access to food resources via information packets and non-contact food delivery. This project is a transition project that will be taken over by Population Health at Temple Hospital. 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked in conjunction with Population Health to compile a list of patients who are considered food insecure. Food insecurity means individuals lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The interns’ job was to contact these patients and determine the severity of their food insecurity, then provide them with information about the nearest food pantries, set them up with food delivery resources or provide immediate noncontact food delivery to patients in a food emergency situation. Once these resources were provided, patients were handed off to Temple Population Health for follow-up. 

 

Intern Statements: 

Clifton Dietrick: “Bridging the Gaps has taught me so much about creating genuine trust with the people in different neighborhoods of Philadelphia and proved to me just how much benefit can be accomplished from that trust. Most importantly, this summer discredited any doubts and confirmed that I can help to make a difference as a community leader my entire life, and for that, I will be forever grateful.”

 

Matthew Viggiano: “The most influential experience I have had this summer has been working within the food insecurity group at Bridging the Gaps. Tasked with contacting individuals deemed as ‘food insecure,’ my team members and I made dozens of phone calls to complete strangers to provide them with services they did not know existed. Typically, when working a job that requires cold-calling individuals, one would expect hostility and irritation. However, when explaining the purpose of the phone call, these people became gracious, kind, thankful and receptive to the services we provide. In particular, helping patients that were in a food crisis, where they had no food currently within the home, was a life-changing experience. You realize that some people fall through the cracks of food stamps and food pantries, as they lack transportation or the health status to leave their home to acquire food. When collaborating to help that individual access food within hours through a few phone calls, you can’t help but feel motivated by the work. I will be tailoring my medical practices to assist all patients in getting access to the best treatments they need based on their circumstances.”

 

Temple University Center for Urban Bioethics

 

Dr. Nora Jones Community Research Project 

 

Student Intern:

Shreya Inala, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor: 

Nora Jones, PhD, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Center for Urban Bioethics 

 

Community Site:

Temple University’s Center for Urban Bioethics (CUB) is committed to defining and addressing the ethical challenges of urban healthcare, public health status and policy. With its abundance of academic medical centers, Philadelphia should be the one of the healthiest cities in the nation — yet health disparities persist at levels surpassing national averages. Health status is especially troubling in North Philadelphia, where a disproportionately high number of residents suffer from preventable and treatable health conditions. Many battle chronic illnesses without health insurance. The Center’s interdisciplinary membership includes community residents, faculty, students and staff representing numerous schools within Temple University and Temple University Health System, all working to improve health status for vulnerable urban populations and to position Temple University as a nationally recognized expert in the field of urban health and bioethics.

CUB is committed to improving access and utilization to research opportunities to individuals in urban, distressed communities. Community engagement is essential to developing a new strategy for making clinical trials meaningful and accessible to such communities. It is also imperative to research issues of health disparity in these communities in order to bring to light information needed for essential policy change.Finally, it is essential to research specific bio-marker differences in ethnicity and how to improve patient care with this knowledge

 

https://medicine.temple.edu/departments-centers/research-centers/center-urban-bioethics

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student intern reviewed published ventilator and resource allocation guidelines for urban bioethics concerns, including equity, solidarity and social justice. The intern examined several research questions: What is the balance between the need for universal triage criteria (to prevent hospital shopping) and particular local concerns? Is utilitarianism (the theory that says the most ethical action is the one that saves the most lives) compatible with urban bioethics? What lessons about equity have we learned in COVID-19 that need to be amplified for the next pandemic? The intern gathered documents containing guidelines for allocation of resources and personnel for situations such as pandemics, disasters and public health emergencies. The intern included policies used in past pandemics as well as newly published policies specific to COVID-19, collected from various states as well as independent and international institutions. The intern also used qualitative analysis tools such as Nvivo to find trends and themes relating to bioethics principles, such as the four main ones: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. The research is still in progress, and conclusions from the data have yet to be discovered.

 

Intern Statement:

Shreya Inala: “Before embarking on this project, I was not very experienced in the field of bioethics. During the school year we were exposed to some basic concepts and principles, but this opportunity allowed me to really understand those issues with the real-life and real-time progress of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also was able to learn so much during the Wednesday curricular sessions and am so grateful that despite being remote, we were able to have so many amazing speakers talk about their work and experiences. I also really appreciated being able to discuss with other students about the topics from the sessions as well as their experiences at their own sites; it really gave me insight into so many different perspectives. This was an amazing summer that I gained a lot from, including knowledge about public health matters and qualitative research experience, and I am so glad that I was able to participate in BTG this summer.” 

 

Together for West Philadelphia

 

Community Connections: Linking West Philadelphia Residents to Resources

 

Student Interns:

Jeremy Braun, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine

Alex Eaton, Drexel University College of Medicine

Christopher Fiorina, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Joseph Gonella, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Carina Guerra, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Kris Guru, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Allie Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Harshita Kandarpa, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Mary Elizabeth McLaverty, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

Morgan Novakovich, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Christine Philip, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Caryn Picciano, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Population Health, and Bryn Mawr College, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research

Madeline Seiden, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program

Meghan Swyryn, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

David Taft, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptors:

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

Robert Dustin, MA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Meshonea Fox, BA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic 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

Christopher Renjilian, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

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

Sara Schultz, MD, FACP, Drexel University College of Medicine

Brittany T. Watson, MS, VMD, PhD, DACVPM, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine

 

Community Preceptors:

Barry D. Mann, MD, Together for West Philadelphia

Risa Waldoks, Together for West Philadelphia

 

Community Site:

Together for West Philadelphia (TfWP) facilitates collaboration among community and public- and private-sector stakeholders within West Philadelphia, fostering shared projects in order to maximize impact in the areas of health equity, education, food access, senior well-being and employment opportunity.

 

https://www.togetherforwestphiladelphia.org/

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked as community connectors, contributing to the expansion of Together for West Philadelphia’s Helping Hubs program. The interns first performed research in order to update TfWP’s existing databases and marketing materials, and throughout the program invested in a curriculum pertaining to the social determinants of health. Pairing with TfWP’s trusted partner venues throughout West Philadelphia, the interns provided direct service by linking community members with resources, both local and virtual, to support their needs. In the last weeks of the program, TfWP initiated a collaboration with the Pettaway Pursuit Foundation, an organization passionately integrating service and education to provide doula support to birthing families in order to improve perinatal health outcomes. Student interns were offered opportunities to support the Pettaway Pursuit Foundation through curriculum development, interviews with mothers and doulas, and a pilot program to improve cardiovascular health during the perinatal period.

 

Intern Statements:

Jeremy Braun: “I had the pleasure of working as a community connector with Together for West Philadelphia. I not only learned about the available community-run programs and resources, but how these were adapted to meet the needs of the community in the face of the global pandemic. During my time with TfWP, I created a Pet Ownership Community Resource Newsletter to encourage connecting pet owners in West Philadelphia to low-cost veterinary care and pet assistance programs. As a future veterinarian, I now have a better understanding that my responsibilities transcend providing medical treatment to my animal patients, and I must always practice empathy, compassion and advocacy for my human clients as well.”

 

Alex Eaton: “Working with Together for West Philadelphia for the summer has been an incredible experience. As a community connector in the Helping Hubs program I met brilliant, passionate members of the community who educated us on community resources for those in need, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Through learning about these resources and being partnered with a trusted venue in the community, I was able to meet with someone to help connect them with resources to support their loss of employment and housing insecurity. Not only did this program open my eyes to so many systemic inequalities, but it gave me a toolbox to start helping folks ignored by the system. I cannot wait to employ what I have learned this summer in my future practice as a physician.”

 

Christopher Fiorina: “My time with Together for West Philadelphia was an amazing learning experience. What stood out for me was the lectures. Throughout the summer, we would have impressive and notable speakers come in and give us lectures on important topics. I found the information to be relevant now, and I can foresee the topics that were discussed being important to my future as a physician. Topics such as childcare, home security and smoking cessation resources (to name just a few) will be immensely vital to the well-being of my patients and I. I enjoyed this summer and look forward to using the lessons that I have learned.”

 

Joseph Gonella: “Working with Together for West Philadelphia offered many avenues for learning. On one hand, the lectures and presentations on various public health issues allowed for a fuller understanding of the many social determinants of health that individuals and communities face. This information will allow me to better connect with my future patients and address many of their daily concerns, rather than just their health problems. Furthermore, Together for West Philadelphia allowed for excellent interdisciplinary communication. Being a good physician means treating the entire person, so collaborating with other disciplines on how to best help individuals with their needs during this summer was a valuable experience.” 

 

Carina Guerra: “My time at Together for West Philadelphia this summer has been an invaluable educational experience. Through the lecture series and the project opportunities offered at the site, I was able to engage with some of the most important public health issues communities have to face: food insecurity, health inequity, gaps in education and employment, for example. In many ways, TfWP has provided me with tools to address the various social determinants of health with my future patients. I now have a strong foundation on these issues, from which I can continue to build upon and utilize throughout my career as a physician.”

 

Kris Guru: “Working for Together for West Philadelphia has really opened my eyes on the social issues around the world. The amazing presentations allowed me to get a deeper understanding of society. From the presentations on the housing market to the talk on the community in Camden, I was able to increase my knowledge on each topic much more thoroughly. Lastly, I feel that the impact on the partnership with Penn Dental School and Together for West Philadelphia will be tremendous. I have high hopes for this partnership, especially after helping to write the draft of the online communication program. Using all the knowledge I gained from the presentation, I hope to implement that into this new program and assist community members in the future. I thank TfWP for the amazing opportunities it has given me, and I hope to continue the great message it portrays.”

 

Allie Hamilton: “My BTG experience at Together for West Philadelphia was not only an invaluable educational experience but will also be instrumental in shaping my future as a physician. Through our lecture series, I learned about the array of services offered by community organizations in West Philadelphia — each addressing aspects of the social determinants of health. In addition, my community connector placement at Episcopal Community Services (ECS) furthered my understanding of how a community organization directly serves the needs of residents. This knowledge will frame the way I seek out referrals for future patients that experience barriers to accessing food, stable housing, economic stability and other aspects fundamental to one’s ability to focus on their health.” 

 

Harshita Kandarpa: “Working as a community connector this summer for Together for West Philadelphia has given me incredible insight into the role that the socioeconomic determinants of health play in the lives of people, patients and members of each community. Even more so, I am now more aware of all the people and organizations playing a role in delivering resources and education to help in whatever way they can, whether that is toward food security, education, employment or care for the elderly, to name a few. The work I did this summer with TfWP and its trusted venues, and the vast amount of invaluable information I gained, I will carry with me throughout my career and continue to be aware of as I work with people.” 

 

Mary Elizabeth McLaverty: “Participating as a community connector this summer enriched my understanding of the social determinants of health, as well as procured skills in collaborative practice. I am grateful to have taken part in this internship during today’s current climate, because it challenged my perspective, educated me and provided open dialogue with experts in various fields. The role of a community connector is to build the bridge and relationships necessary to achieve equitable healthcare, education, housing, employment and food access for all. Two concepts that will transcend this experience, and impact my future career as a provider, are sustainability and forming genuine relationships with community members embedded in trust.”

 

Morgan Novakovich: “I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with Together for West Philadelphia this summer. My experience as a Bridging the Gaps intern allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the population that I will be treating as a future physician. I feel as though I now have an alternative, nonclinical perspective to bring to my patient interactions so that I can assist them in all aspects of their life. I now realize the importance of taking the time to try to understand the real cause of a patient’s medical problems and how various aspects of their life impact their health. I am motivated to continue to educate myself about the socioeconomic determinants of health and systemic inequality that my future patients will face every day.” 

 

Christine Philip: “At my community site Together for West Philadelphia, we learned about the social determinants of health and how they have a significant role in a patient’s health outcome. As a community connector, I was challenged to consider these different barriers our future patients may face outside of the physician’s office. We had guest speakers on topics of housing, food security, healthcare equity, employment, education and senior well-being. They showed us the different resources available to patients in our community and ones we could use for future patient care. The lessons I learned from my summer Bridging the Gaps experience are ones that will be at the forefront of my future career.”

 

Caryn Picciano: “My experience serving with Bridging the Gaps and Together for West Philadelphia has offered me opportunities to look at Philadelphia through a new lens — through many new lenses, actually. I am heartened to have been introduced to and to have learned from established, insightful and passionate community leaders who are already doing the work to advance social, economic and health justice for Philadelphians. My work as a community connector for TfWP’s Helping Hubs program offered me my first official foray into social work practice as well as the opportunity to recognize that I am capable of serving in this capacity. This has truly been an interprofessional learning experience, allowing me to learn from my peers across health disciplines as well as alongside them, and I’m ready to employ this collaborative approach in my public health and social work practices.”

 

Madeline Seiden: “Working as a community connector for Together for West Philadelphia provided me with an educational experience I will never forget. I had the opportunity to learn from experts in their respective fields on topics that were directly affecting communities in West Philadelphia and how services had been affected due to the pandemic, which gave me hope for the future of healthcare and has made me think about how I can make services I may provide in the future more accessible. Throughout this experience, I learned how important it is to stay client-centered and build a trusting relationship with people I work with. I learned that health and wellness are much broader concepts than I had originally thought, and that all aspects of a person’s life contribute to them. Learning how to research for resources and programming to meet a person’s needs will help me connect my future clients with the services that are outside of my scope of practice as an occupational therapist. I have become a better future practitioner because of my involvement with Together for West Philadelphia.”

 

Meghan Swyryn: “I have really enjoyed getting to see the work going on in my own neighborhood. I am really proud to be a West Philadelphia resident, and it was great to work within an organization that is providing so many amazing services for this neighborhood. I am extremely grateful for this experience. The highlight was working with the Pettaway Foundation to improve outcomes for patients with preeclampsia.” 

 

David Taft: “Working as a community connector at Together for West Philadelphia this summer has taught me invaluable lessons that I will hold for the rest of my career. Our lecture series introduced me to many passionate and inspiring individuals who gave me new insights into the social and structural determinants of health. I saw firsthand how the pandemic is harming communities that were already the most in need. I overcame the challenges of operating entirely virtually to make meaningful connections with community members I was serving. In the rest of my education and future practice, I will employ the lessons I learned this summer to be the compassionate physician for my community that I have always wanted to be.”

 

UC Green 

 

You See Green with UC Green

 

Student Interns: 

Hannah Cao, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice

Madeline McAvoy, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

 

Academic Preceptors: 

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

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

 

Community Preceptor: 

Kiasha Huling, MSW, Director, UC Green

 

Community Site: 

UC Green is a small nonprofit serving the West Philadelphia neighborhood (zip codes 19104, 19139, 19143). The organization is run mainly by community volunteers; its only full-time staff member is the director, Kiasha Huling. UC Green’s motto is “Trees make good neighbors,” and its mission is to empower volunteer environmental stewardship inUniversity City and its surrounding communities through partnerships and education. Since its inception, UC Green has planted more than 4,000 trees in West Philly and continues to provide trees for those who request them. It also organizes street cleanings and maintains a community garden on Holly Street. Though COVID-19 and social protests have caused a lot of uncertainty for the organization, UC Green continues to support its community and is trying to find new, creative ways to engage with the people (in a socially distant manner).

 

http://www.ucgreen.org/ 

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns coordinated and managed a community storytelling project. They created a platform for West Philadelphia residents and stakeholders to share and amplify their narratives about trees and community. The interns administratively supported the organization’s board growth plan by creating a matrix of potential board members to be reviewed by current members. They also authored documents and searched for opportunities to support in-kind giving to offset the effects of the pandemic on community members. 

 

Intern Statements:

Hannah Cao: “This is the first time that BTG CHIP has operated remotely, and one of my biggest concerns was that I would not be able to make an impact by working from my computer for seven weeks. I could not have been more wrong. I was able to build a relationship with my supervisor and BTG intern peer as well as meet and talk to West Philly stakeholders. I was free to be creative, tell stories, and produce audios and visuals that will support UC Green and its vision for a while. I learned that impact is impact, no matter how small, and this concept will definitely keep me motivated for the foreseeable future, hopefully for at least through this upcoming academic year.”

 

Madeline McAvoy: “I was intimidated by the reality of BTG CHIP being completely virtual this summer, as the notion of community engagement was in my mind a very ‘in-person’ activity. Although I was initially uncertain about my ability to contribute meaningfully to my community organization, I was able to collaborate with my supervisor and fellow intern to create realistic goals for the summer and identify projects which we could accomplish virtually. Of course, I am looking forward to working in the community in person again once it is safe to do so, but we were able to do some great things as a part of BTG despite the challenges we faced. The endeavors which we took on this summer not only made a difference in our community; they were learning experiences in communication and flexibility which prepared us for a professional world that I think will be forever changed post-COVID.”

 
 
 
 
 

Bridging The Gaps

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