NEW JERSEY 2021 Summaries
Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC)
Harm Reduction for the Camden Community (click to view Poster)
Lubna Begum, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Behjath Jafry, MD, Cooper University Health Care
Anthony L. Rostain, MD, MA, Cooper University Health Care
Martha Chavis, CEO/President, Camden Area Health Education Center
Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is a nonprofit organization located in Camden, NJ. Its mission is to improve the health of the community through education, advocacy and partnerships. Camden AHEC offers HIV prevention, counseling and testing services through its mobile health van to residents in southern New Jersey. Its target populations have included African American and Latinx men and women engaged in high-risk behavior for HIV/AIDS, young men who have sex with men (YMSM), intravenous drug users and people living with HIV/AIDS.
The Bridging the Gaps student intern worked on the Syringe Access Program (SAP) at Camden AHEC. The intern helped with the mobile site, where she engaged directly with clients to take their information and provide the needle exchange services. She also surveyed clients to help AHEC capture feedback about the SAP service. She helped prepare the works bags for the mobile site, which contain sterile water, alcohol prep pads, antibiotic ointment, a tourniquet, a band-aid, small cookers for clean drug preparation, a sharps container, etc. Each client is given one bag in addition to new needles. The intern also helped create a flyer to help promote AHEC’s COVID-19 and HIV screening project.
Lubna Begum: “My time at the Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC) was very rewarding. I have a great appreciation for what the staff at AHEC does for our communities in Southern New Jersey. By working directly with the clients at the Syringe Access Program (SAP), I gained a better understanding of the barriers and needs of individuals who suffer from drug addiction. My time at AHEC also gave me an insight on how a nonprofit community health organization operates. I especially valued the leadership I witnessed from Martha Chavis, the CEO of AHEC, and learned how she manages to navigate the various challenges that an organization faces when serving an underserved community. I am equipped with knowledge that has made me more aware of the needs of my community and that will help me better support patients as a future physician.”
Complex Patients: Addressing the Needs of Patients in the Camden, NJ, Community (click to view Poster)
Alanna Goldberg, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Kiana Malta, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Marlena Klein, DO, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Danielle Nordone, DO, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Kelly Craig, MSW, LSW, Camden Coalition
Dayna Fondell, MSN, RN, Camden Coalition
Camden Coalition is a nonprofit organization with a multidisciplinary team that aims to improve care for people with complex issues and social needs in Camden, New Jersey, and across the country. Camden Coalition’s mission is to transform the healthcare system to ensure that everyone receives adequate, person-centered care. Camden Coalition has developed models to accomplish this by using partnerships with local organizations and harnessing meaningful relationships within the community. The organization is also proud to model its work and has a pedagogical approach to sharing its advocacy work on both regional and national levels.
The Bridging the Gaps student interns assisted with two Camden Coalition (CC) projects. Recently, CC completed a “seven-day pledge” aimed at linking people who had been to the emergency department (ED) to primary care providers (PCPs) within seven days for follow-up. Similarly, New Jersey recently introduced an incentive to hospitals to provide follow-up with patients who had been to the ED for behavioral-health-related illnesses. CC is working to develop a workflow with community partners to help consumers receive follow-up with an adequate provider within 30 days of their hospital visits. The project also aims to reduce stigma and understand the needs of the community and providers by developing a messaging campaign around mental health.
The other project aimed to close a gap in COVID-19 immunization uptake. Based on data during the rollout of the vaccines, patients indicated they wanted to discuss vaccination with their healthcare providers. The CC developed a Vaccine Confidence Training Program based on motivational interviewing to help those in patient-facing roles become more knowledgeable about the science of the vaccines and how to engage hesitant patients. The project included a secondary initiative to create a Youth Ambassador Program to increase engagement and improve low vaccination rates among Camden youth.
Alanna Goldberg: “Working in an environment that looks at the systemic problems within our healthcare system and the ways these problems especially impact those most marginalized in society was a wonderful experience. As we learn about medicine through a physician’s perspective, we are able to view the patient as an entire entity and as the medical problem they are presenting with. This can, at times, isolate our view of the entire person and distill them into a single or a few illnesses. During the summer, we learned yet another perspective — one from the organizational and structural perspective. This included from the view of government and policy, large hospital systems, insurance companies and community perspectives. Having this experience is vital for our future roles as physicians, where we will have to navigate the spaces, and now we will be able to do so with more insight.”
Kiana Malta: “The opportunity to work as a BTG CHIP intern at the Camden Coalition ensured [that] my view of healthcare is forever changed. The Coalition is actively shaping and improving the community via outreach, care coordination and advocacy. The experience highlighted the need to improve the well-being of complex patients and how to engage patients through methods of trauma-informed care and motivational interviewing. Moving forward, I feel more equipped to provide care to patients and continue to educate myself on different perspectives.
The Hope for a Healthier Tomorrow: Raising Heart Health Awareness (click to view Poster)
Maryanne Adekunle, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Anjali Desai, MD, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Alia Sutton Bey, Hopeworks
Hopeworks is an organization located in Camden, NJ, whose mission involves supporting and educating the city’s youth to rise above the problems Camden residents often encounter. The unique needs of each young person at Hopeworks are addressed individually. Through the many opportunities Hopeworks provides, these young people can develop life-changing skills in a warm and supportive environment.
With help from the resource navigator at Hopeworks, the Bridging the Gaps student intern created a questionnaire that focused on understanding the potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease that the youth at Hopeworks may face. The BTG intern gathered resources related to heart health and disseminated them to clients at the site and worked on a PowerPoint presentation that will serve as a guide to help clients interpret scientific articles. The intern also helped find and update mental health resources available to Camden, NJ, residents.
Maryanne Adekunle: “As a medical student and future health provider, it is important to be aware of resources that are available to individuals we serve. This summer I discovered the immense resources available for Camden residents. Through my experience of working here at Hopeworks and being part of BTG, I am more equipped to serve my community. I am grateful for the knowledge and experience this summer provided me with.”
Joseph’s House of Camden
Promoting Wellness Among Camden’s Homeless (click to view Poster)
Soojin Kim, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Mona Moshet, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Daniel Hyman, DO, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Alexandra Lane, MD, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Tricia Bradly, Program Director, Joseph’s House of Camden
Joseph’s House is an emergency homeless shelter at 555 Atlantic Avenue, Camden, NJ, that offers overnight shelter, addiction resources, and comprehensive social services, including financial assistance, obtaining identification, housing, employment and access to medical care. Guests are provided with meals, clothing, a personal locker, access to showers and other necessities. Joseph's House is committed to a Camden where no neighbor sleeps outside — even for one — and where those brought down by poverty, addiction or mental illness can find a place of friendship, hope and practical help motivated by scripture and Catholic social teaching.
The Bridging the Gaps student interns assisted the guests at Joseph's House with their medical care by making appointments for them, arranging transportation to those appointments, helping them learn how to properly take their medications, referring them to discounted healthcare services, and providing any other resources that would help guests recover a more stable life. The BTG interns focused on creating educational resources, mainly flyers, on COVID-19, addiction medicine, cardiovascular health, smoking cessation and dental health. Based on guest interest, the interns referred them to the appropriate services to improve their health. The interns also helped out at the shelter’s service fairs and recruited more guests at the shelter. The interns contributed to efforts to end the pandemic by encouraging people to get the vaccine and by cond COVID rapid tests.
Soojin Kim: “The BTG experience made me realize how a system could fail to serve its people. People more than often fall through the cracks and never are given the chance to achieve their fullest potential. Such experience estranges patients from seeking the care they need in the future.”
Mona Moshet: “Through my experience working at Joseph’s House of Camden, I observed how poverty, race, and other social determinants affect people’s access to and experience with healthcare. The guests at Joseph’s House display inspiring resilience as they navigate life’s many challenges. I have learned a lot from them and will remember this experience throughout my career as a physician.”
Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative (SNJPC)
Creation of a Resource Directory (click to view Poster)
Ashley Amundson, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Madeline Waara, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Mara Gordan, MD, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Esther Malave, MD, Cooper University Health Care, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Rachel Masel-Miller, DO, Cooper University Health Care, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Anthony Rostain, MD, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
Natalie Milstein, MEd, Program Director for Central Intake, Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems and Early Childhood Initiatives
The Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative (SNJPC) improves the health of pregnant women, children and families in South Jersey. SNJPC offers a comprehensive set of programs and services that enhance the system of care, strengthen communities and provide families the tools they need to lead healthier lives.
The Bridging the Gaps student interns assisted in developing a resource directory for the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative. The interns began by participating in meetings with SNJPC's external and internal programs to familiarize themselves with the services each provides and how it operates. Concurrently, the interns worked with SNJPC's Central Intake to determine which resources are in demand in the four southern counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May and Camden. Over six weeks, the interns compiled, validated and organized 850 resources. The final directory will be available for SNJPC and their statewide partner, Family Health Initiatives, within the client referral system, SPECT. In addition to the resource search, the interns participated in the Prematurity Prevention Initiatives’ Power of Our Voices training, which focuses on Black maternal and infant health.
Ashley Amundson: “Joining the BTG program and working with SNJPC has been nothing short of an eye-opening experience to how much effort and care goes into providing information and support to families who wish to create a healthier family environment. This institution's passion and dedication towards bettering families reinforces the same drive within me. I joined BTG because of the ingrained culture of improving underserved communities, and it's evident that SNJPC shares that same deep-rooted vision. The environment of care is ever-changing with many groups coming and going throughout the years, highlighting both the necessity of groups like SNJPC to exist, as well as the necessity of healthcare providers to understand and collaborate with institutions like this. The appreciation I have for services like SNJPC cannot be understated, and the confidence it gives me in providing equitable care for everyone is invaluable."
Madeline Waara: “Working with the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative was a tremendously informative and rewarding opportunity. The women we worked with, and were able to gain so much perspective from, were so passionate about the work they do — providing care and resources to the families of Southern Jersey. Their dedication and knowledge about their communities was inspiring and has motivated me to continue learning, growing and advocating for these women, families and future patients. I hope my experience this summer has better equipped me to be able to advocate for my patients and navigate systems that exist in finding them the resources they need.”