Camden Coalition and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Emily Chiacchiaro, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Nitya Dhanaraj, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Mara Gordon, MD, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Anthony Rostain, MD, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Kelly Craig, Camden Coalition
The Camden Coalition was established to improve overall community health through the field of complex care, one that integrates both the medical and social needs of a patient. The coalition fulfills this goal in many capacities, including local, state and national initiatives. This includes navigation through patient care, housing initiatives and advocacy work.
The goal of the project was to establish the feasibility of hosting the Bridging the Gaps Summer Internship Program in Camden. To accomplish this, the Bridging the Gaps student interns connected with community-based organizations throughout the city to both establish connections with future partners and gauge their ability to host interns. The introductions were primarily made through the Camden Coalition, whose staff acted as a conduit to the community and aided in the interns’ exploration of health equity and advocacy work. The feasibility study included a vision for the structure of BTG within Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU), plans for funding, plans for student engagement within CMSRU, long-term visions and profiles of community health partners.
Emily Chiacchiaro: “My summer with Bridging the Gaps was rewarding because I was not only able to do work that I love, learning about improving access to healthcare, but I was also able to begin building a program at my institution. By building this program, I have been able to explore resources and organizations in Camden that I likely would not have learned about. I believe that being able to refer my future patients to these resources and understanding how they work will make me a better physician and will improve the quality of care of my patients. I look forward to continuing to build BTG at CMSRU and can’t wait to see the program that it becomes.”
Nitya Dhanaraj: “This past summer with BTG was more rewarding than I could have imagined a virtual internship would have been. From getting to know the warm and friendly staff at the Camden Coalition and spending Wednesdays learning from the BTG community, I really gained a wealth of knowledge. While being inaugural CMSRU students definitely had its challenges, overall, Emily and I were able to gain the valuable experience of learning to start a project and bring it to fruition at our home institution. I'm sure with the valuable lessons that I have learned throughout my summer, I will be able to become a more culturally and socially competent physician in the future.”