Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2020

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center

 

My Life, My Story: Bridging the Gaps Edition

 

Student Interns: 

Varun Chahal, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Siriluk Geytenbeek, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Joseph Romero, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Robert Schlitt, 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: 

Melissa A. Heinlein, PhD, CAVS, Chief, Voluntary Service, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center

 

Community Site: 

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center provides healthcare services to veterans in southeastern Pennsylvania and Southeastern New Jersey.

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with the My Life, My Story program. The interns were responsible for conducting one-on-one phone interviews with a number of veterans and for completing short first-person narratives for each one. The open-ended interviews give voice to each veteran’s unique life experience, which commonly yields clinical information that otherwise may have gone undetected. The narratives are then incorporated into their medical charts to give their providers the resources to deliver more effective patient-centered care. 

 

Intern Statements:

Varun Chahal: “The BTG CHIP program this past summer gave me the opportunity to learn more about the myriad problems facing impoverished and underserved communities and how to address these problems as future healthcare professionals. I really enjoyed listening to fresh, new perspectives and voices that have made me change my perspective on issues I have seen before. Personally, I realize the importance of empathy and establishing trust with people along with, more importantly, relationships.” 

 

Siriluk Geytenbeek: “This summer, the BTG CHIP program opened my eyes to the alarming number of underserved communities and healthcare disparities on a state and national level. In a way, I learned to be a more empathetic and active listener while broaching sensitive and uncomfortable controversial issues within the veteran demographic. I saw that at the end of the day, people just want someone to listen and genuinely care. No matter where I go in life and in my career, I know that will always be applicable.” 

 

Joseph Romero: “The BTG program was a captivating experience that [enhanced] my knowledge of socioeconomic disparities manifesting in healthcare and society. The lectures I learned were insightful and gave me the tools to help upskill my cultural humility. In interviewing our veterans, I found their stories to be interesting and inspiring. Many veterans were very receptive to converse and enjoyed having someone to talk to during the COVID pandemic. I appreciate BTG for giving me the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of our proud veterans during such a difficult time.” 

 

Robert Schlitt: “Having the opportunity to work with the My Life, My Story program was an eye-opening experience that I will carry with me throughout my medical career. The men I had the chance to interview and learn about their lives have greatly impacted my outlook on the veteran population. I enjoyed talking with these men as well as fostering a deeper relationship between the veterans themselves and their care team. I was honored to help and learn from these brave men.”

 

Gaudenzia Inc.

 

Telehealth Lecture Series

 

Student Interns: 

Raj Madhani, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Analise Zapadka, 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: 

Valda Dawson, DC, PA-C, Gaudenzia

Sharon Herbert, RN, ASN, RN, Gaudenzia

 

Community Site: 

Gaudenzia Inc. is a substance use disorder treatment center. It offers both inpatient and outpatient services, including health/co-occurring services, withdrawal management, prevention/recovery support and housing, for men and women aged 18 and older, pregnant women, women with children and homeless individuals. People with Hope is an inpatient floor for clients with substance use disorder who have concomitant chronic medical conditions and mental illness. Their stays can be short-term at 30 to 45 days or long-term at 60 to 90 days. Common chronic illnesses are HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C; common mental illnesses/diagnoses include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The site follows a therapeutic community treatment model that uses comprehensive treatment and prevention methods guided by a philosophy of mutual concern, responsibility and peer-assisted recovery. A typical day for clients in the treatment center includes morning and afternoon group recovery meetings, meetings with counselors, trips to outside recovery meetings, daily chores and group meals. Examples of other activities include arts and crafts and music therapy. Additionally, because these clients have co-occurring medical conditions, they receive appropriate care from nurses and physicians on-site and go to appointments with primary and specialty care elsewhere.

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns created a telehealth lecture series to educate the clients of Gaudenzia. The lecture series included topics on COVID-19, cardiovascular and oral health, smoking cessation, and anxiety and mindfulness. The interns researched the topics and created the presentations from scratch. They then co-presented these topics during one-hour sessions, three to four times a week, and fielded questions after each presentation. 

 

Intern Statements:

Raj Madhani: “I loved my time interning at Gaudenzia. As a future medical provider, it is paramount to be able to convey complex medical knowledge to a level where any patient can understand the information. My time at Gaudenzia allowed me to begin developing these skills while simultaneously allowing me to serve as a resource to the clients during these unprecedented times.”

 

Analise Zapadka: “This summer, working with Gaudenzia has been an experience full of both giving and receiving. While teaching weekly lessons about various topics, it was important to learn the topics on such a deep level that answers could be provided at a level that all clients could digest. The aspect of telehealth communication was important to begin to grasp, as that is the wave of the future when it comes to medicine, especially before it is safe for patients and physicians to all return to hospitals and doctor’s offices.” 

Hall-Mercer Community Mental Health Center 

 

Adult Day Program, Hall-Mercer Community Mental Health Center

 

Student Interns: 

Mia Fatuzzo, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

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

 

Academic Preceptors: 

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

Christopher Renjilian, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

 

Community Preceptors: 

Beverly Bradley, Hall-Mercer 

 

Community Site: 

Although Hall-Mercer is perhaps best known for its inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities, the center also runs an adult day program for individuals from Philadelphia with intellectual disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy. Clients currently range in age from 22 to 67. Hall-Mercer provides socialization and teaches life skills. Clients go on outings to local theaters and museums, practice cooking and grocery shopping and play board games. 

 

Project:

The Bridging the Gaps student interns developed a series of lesson plans that Hall-Mercer will use when they resume in-person activities. The lesson plans centered not only on oral health and cardiovascular health but also, given current events, on COVID-19-related personal hygiene and safety. Lesson plans were constructed to be appropriate in length and content for the clients. The plans were also paired with “take-home” resource sheets for caregivers and family members to engage with. 

 

Intern Statement: 

Mia Fatuzzo: “In conversations, Beverly would often remark how challenging it can be for her clients to navigate a system composed of healthcare professionals who may never have interacted with a patient with an intellectual disability before. By bringing interns into Hall-Mercer, Bridging the Gaps is not only providing support for the community site but also educating a generation of professionals to be better equipped to take care of these clients. Due to COVID-19, I was unable to interact with Hall-Mercer clients in person, but I am grateful for the experience to learn about this patient population and how I can better serve them in the future.” 

 

Methodist Services 

 

Maintaining Stable Health While at Methodist and Beyond

 

Student Interns: 

Priya Kabaria, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Keith Lee, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Shreya Sakthivel, 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:

Vernetta Burger, Residential Housing Services, Methodist Services 

Lenisha Edge, MS, FUP/Blueprint/Shelter Plus Care, Methodist Services 

 

The Community Site:

Methodist Services aids women and children with access to safe and stable housing, and  

provides educational programs and mental health resources. Methodist Services is devoted

to serving the most vulnerable members of their community and is committed to empowering

families who are experiencing poverty and homelessness to achieve their full potential.   

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns put together a packet of resources to be distributed to clients after they are discharged from their program. The packet includes information on domestic violence, substance use, mental health, the COVID-19 pandemic, food benefits, and rental assistance. The interns also created an informative checklist on staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic that would be discussed with the clients individually by staff during the monthly Life Skills meeting. The checklist covered information on nutrition/diet, oral health, mental health, general health and exercise as well as specific tips for children.

 

Personal Statements: 

Priya Kabaria: “The BTG CHIP experience expanded my knowledge of the enormity of health resources in Philadelphia, as well as provided me with new perspectives on various facets of health inequalities in the country. I also learned, through the site-specific projects, on the importance of health literacy and enhanced my skills on communicating health topics in an easily understandable manner. This new knowledge and skill set will positively impact my future as a physician.”

 

Keith Lee: “I learned so much from Lenisha and Vernetta about Methodist Services and the work they do to serve those who have been impacted by homelessness as well the foster care system in Philadelphia. I feel very fortunate to have done a large amount of research on the numerous resources that are available throughout the city on such issues as domestic violence and mental health. This information is invaluable, and I am so grateful to have spent time not only looking for organizations that so many people can benefit from, but also being confronted about the racial injustice that is rife in our healthcare system. These experiences will further shape my own medical education and formation into becoming a better physician.” 

 

Shreya Sakthivel: “I have enjoyed my internship at BTG CHIP immensely. To be submerged in various current issues has shown me there are so many areas of health and public health crises that need our attention. But, what I appreciated the most is that BTG CHIP exposed me and other interns to topics beyond just healthcare. We have addressed racial disparities in health, stigmas in addiction, and even how to address certain types of patients. With my experience at the Methodist site and the lectures, I now have a multidimensional understanding of the health and well-being of a person, which I believe would make me a better physician for future patients.”  

 

Drexel HOPE (Health, Outreach, Partnership, Empowerment) 

 

Virtual and Mobile Services as a Novel Approach to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

 

Student Intern:
Kyle Brunner, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Academic Preceptor: 

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

 

Community Preceptor: 

Zsofia Szep, MD, MSCE, Drexel University College of Medicine

 

Community Site:
Drexel HOPE (Health, Outreach, Partnership, Empowerment) is a mobile MAT clinic funded by the SAMHSA grant through the substance abuse division of the Minority AIDS Initiative. Drexel HOPE is a new initiative that offers treatment for opioid use disorder, HIV and hepatitis C testing and treatment, connection to local resources, and free community education to reduce stigma about harm reduction. The mobile clinic aims to offer services to at-risk minority individuals in South and West Philadelphia.

 

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern at Drexel HOPE participated in virtual outreach by emailing and cold-calling Philadelphia agencies concentrated in West and South Philadelphia. The objective was to establish community presence and gain patient referrals for a medication-assisted treatment initiative. The intern scheduled meetings with staff members and potential partners. During meetings with other organizations, the intern discussed opportunities to mutually benefit and reach people with opioid use disorder. In addition, the intern participated in weekly meetings and offered feedback on educational materials. 

 

Intern Statement:
Kyle Brunner: “Prior to this internship, I had little experience with opioid use disorder. By the end, I gained a deeper understanding of the racial divides that pervade this epidemic. This was especially critical in a time of racial injustice and rising minority overdoses. I completed several SAMHSA trainings, Narcan administration and relevant webinars. Outreach was difficult and compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, but I still collaborated and built strong connections with fellow interns to open up potential partnerships with Drexel HOPE. Above all, I learned to become an advocate for this population, and I am grateful that Bridging the Gaps enabled me to have this experience.”

 

Prevention Point Philadelphia

 

Improving Health Literacy Surrounding Pharmacotherapy for Opioid Use Disorder

 

Student Interns: 

Joseph DelFerro, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine 

Sofia Cigarroa Kennedy, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine 

 

Academic Preceptors: 

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

Christopher Renjilian, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

 

Community Preceptor: 

Kaelee Shepherd, MPH, Stabilization, Treatment, and Engagement Program, Prevention Point Philadelphia

 

Community Site: 

Prevention Point Philadelphia is an organization located in Kensington that works to reduce the harm associated with drug use and sex industry work. It provides a variety of services, including syringe exchange services, HIV/HCV testing, housing services, wound care and more. The Stabilization, Treatment and Engagement Program (STEP) offers clients treatment options for opioid use disorder, including buprenorphine and naltrexone.

 

https://ppponline.org/

 

Project: 

The Bridging the Gaps student interns developed patient education materials for the pharmacotherapy treatments for opioid use disorder (commonly known as medication-assisted treatment). Materials covered the buprenorphine medications Suboxone, Sublocade and Subutex as well as Vivitrol. In addition, the interns created materials on smoking cessation medications and nicotine replacement therapy in an effort to incorporate tobacco cessation into the overall treatment plan. They also generated flyers to increase awareness of vote-by-mail and provide instructions on how to register to vote and request a mail-in ballot for the November 2020 election.

 

Intern Statements: 

Joseph DelFerro: “Throughout the summer, I was frequently inspired by the work that Prevention Point Philadelphia does for their community. Even during a global pandemic, the organization provided invaluable resources to an often underserved and marginalized community. By working with this site, I have learned the importance of eliminating the many barriers that prevent individuals from engaging in sustained care. I will take the lessons surrounding harm reduction, health literacy, stigma and community engagement with me and apply them to every future patient interaction. Our patients deserve to be treated as more than the labels given to them by society.”

 

Sofia Cigarroa Kennedy: “Over this summer, I learned a lot about the harm reduction model of health that I will continue to apply throughout my career. The model used at Prevention Point in which providers meet patients where they are at in their journey is something that I will take with me, regardless of what field I end up in. I hope to make sure that in the future I am helping empower patients to feel in charge of their own health and healing journey.”

 
 
 
 
 
 

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