Lake Erie Projects - 2019

The Fantastic Five

Student Intern: 
Kaitlyn Druyor, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Nancy Carty, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Diana Zenewicz, RN, Barber National Institute

Community Site: 
The Barber National Institute provides a variety of programs and services focused on helping children and adults with disabilities. It is committed to providing the highest quality education and healthcare to individuals, geared to making all of their dreams come true. The plan to accomplish all of this is carried out through early intervention, early inclusive pre-schooling, the Autism Center of Excellence, community-based group homes, transitional work service job training and an approved private school. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Oral Health; Vision and Hearing.

Project: 
The student intern established a program called The Fantastic Five. Each week, she planned a presentation and activity to talk about one of the five senses. Since the student intern was working with an aging and very disabled population, showing the clients how important these senses are and ways to preserve them was critical. These sessions allowed all of the clients, no matter the extent of their disability, to be able to get involved with the games and kinesthetic activities the intern developed. In addition, the student intern refurbished an old table by painting and decorating it with copies of old music albums that were recognizable to the clients. This not only served as a showpiece for the center, but also served as a communication device for the seniors who all love music.

Intern Statement: 
Kaitlyn Druyor: “I was nervous to be interning at the Barber National Institute because it involved a demographic of people with which I have never worked with before. However, within the first few days, I realized that these people are absolutely phenomenal! They all have their own story, particular antics, and ways of communication unique from one another. As a result, this experience motivated me to understand and listen to each client that I came in contact with to be able to better fulfill their needs. On the first day, I sat with a woman at a fifth-grade reading level and helped her through the challenging words as she read out loud. The perseverance that I saw in her I continued to see in each and every client that utilized the senior center through those seven weeks. These people work hard every day to have normal lives and normal experiences. Seeing this, it made me reflect on my own, very “normal” life and all the things that I take for granted. Due to my experiences here, I have not only grown to love this group of people, but I am now, more than ever, confident in my choice to be a doctor for them. I want to be able to offer this group of people the best care they have ever had, merely because they deserve it.”

 

Mind, Body and Spirit

Student Intern: 
Abdul Nisar, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Alice Hudder, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Beverly Lasher, RN, Brevillier Village

Community Site: 
Brevillier Village is where quality of life matters. Staff and volunteers provide uncompromising attention to body, mind and spirit for the seniors and rehabilitation residents. Brevillier Village meets housing and health needs in a homelike atmosphere. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Elder Care and Quality of Life; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Mental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The student intern worked alongside the recreation department for the daily physical activities, newspaper reading sessions, and social hours. He also worked with the medical staff in finding ways to help dementia and sundowner’s syndrome patients deal with their daily stresses.

Intern Statement: 
Abdul Nisar: “I have always been interested in caring for the elderly, and Brevillier Village has undoubtedly strengthened my resolve in caring for the geriatric community. The staff at Brevillier Village do not treat their residents like clients; instead, they are treated as family. Everyone here is personally invested in the residents’ well-being, and I hope to one day be a part of such an organization.”

 

Pursuing Stability Through Education and Activity

Student Intern: 
Melissa Kerster, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Jack Lee, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Grace Kennedy, MD, Community of Caring

Community Site: 
The Community of Caring shelter provides temporary residential services for homeless single men and women, single-parent families, and especially for individuals struggling with mental illness. Community of Caring comprises transitional housing with 21 occupants, including children, and an emergency shelter with 30 occupants. The staff has coordinated with the area’s resources to assist residents in becoming more independent. Community of Caring strives to create a positive social environment, believing love heals broken people and transforms shattered lives and empowers individuals to become positive forces for good. Besides the fundamental idea of shelter, Community of Caring believes no one should go hungry, so it offers a daily continental breakfast and hot lunch, which are open to residents and the public. Community of Caring has also created the area’s only diabetic food pantry. In addition to its domestic outreach in Erie, Community of Caring also has international affiliates in Africa and the Caribbean. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Mental Health; Oral Health; Preparedness.

Project: 
The student intern integrated weekly activities to foster interest in the local community and to encourage self-care. The six-week program included the topics of hygiene, nutrition and wellness, and environmental health concerns, including Lyme disease and West Nile disease. Many of the shelter residents struggle with various mental health diagnoses and are prone to listlessness and defeatism. Trips to Erie Zoo, Presque Isle, Tom Ridge Environmental Center, and Raymond Blasco Memorial Library were taken to encourage physical activity and mental stimulation. Books of various literacy levels were donated and collected so that residents from various educational levels can advance their literacy. An oral health workshop was presented to demonstrate the importance of a healthy diet, proper brushing and regular flossing. During the last week of the program, résumé and mock interview appointments were completed with the residents so they will have appropriate résumés to send to potential employment sites.

Intern Statement: 
Melissa Kerster: “During my time at the Community of Caring, I feel that I have been given a reminder to check prejudices at the door. It would be easy to assume that the homeless are uneducated and directionless, holding ambition as a flouted convention. This is an ignorant and lazy assumption. Circumstance and negative experiences were often a factor and there are numerous intersecting social factors that contribute to the loss of housing. Each individual at the Community of Caring faced numerous challenging barriers, yet many of them still strived relentlessly to achieve the stability of safety, housing, and employment that most take for granted. My experience was both deeply humbling and educating, and I have no doubt that I will carry the lessons learned here to be a compassionate and educated physician in the future.”

 

Growing and Developing Healthier Lives

Student Intern:
Melissa Campbell, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Jack Lee, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Rebecca Grimaldi, Community Shelter Services

Community Site: 
Community Shelter Services comprises Columbus Apartments and the emergency shelter. Columbus Apartments contains 46 single room occupancies (SROs). The apartments can accommodate up to 46 adult single men and women. They provide safe, affordable, supportive housing for low-income people who have experienced homelessness and facilitate an environment that supports tenants' efforts to overcome their obstacles. The facility requires assurance from residents that they will follow the rules and maintain an alcohol- and drug-free environment.

The emergency shelter provides homeless men, women and children a safe place to reside while attempting to get back on their feet. There is a restriction on the time they are allowed to stay, in an attempt to motivate them to find affordable housing and/or gainful employment. The shelter provides multiple services through various outside agencies to help everyone who is motivated move forward in reaching their individual goals. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health Literacy/Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Responsible Sexual Behavior.

Project: 
The student intern integrated medical education presentations during the resident community meals that addressed topics such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and responsible sexual behaviors. Additionally, a cooking class took place to teach the residents at the Lodge on Sass how to prepare healthy meals that were within their budget. The Tenant Committee at the Lodge on Sass and the student intern worked together to create weekly movie and game nights in an effort to bring a sense of community back to their building. At the Columbus Apartments, a garden beautification project was planned to improve their current garden to provide a free resource of fruits and vegetables for the residents.

Intern Statement: 
Melissa Campbell: “After my experience at Community Shelter Services, I have become more aware of the needs for the homeless population. I developed a relationship with the residents by listening to them and earning their trust. For each of my project ideas, I went to the residents first and asked if it would be something that would improve their daily lives. If it was, I was going to do everything within my power and utilize my resources with Bridging the Gaps to make it happen. As a future physician, I will take the time to know my patients and understand their needs, so that I may provide them with expert medical guidance and the necessary resources to improve their quality of life.”

 

Strike Out Germs: An Infection Control Program

Student Intern: 
Sophia Yanak, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Colleen Cole-Jeffrey, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Stephanie Wincik, RN, CDDN, Erie Homes for Children and Adults

Community Site: 
The mission of Erie Homes for Children and Adults (EHCA) is to assist people with disabilities to live rich and fulfilling lives. To fulfill this mission, EHCA provides compassionate, therapeutic and medical support to individuals of all ages and levels of disability, enabling them to live with purpose and dignity. EHCA provides opportunities and choices for individuals to grow to their full potential, coordinating services that maximize ability and participation in a variety of community settings. Since its founding in 1912, the agency has grown to include 17 group homes for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. EHCA’s six community programs offer opportunities and support services for individuals with disabilities who reside with family members or on their own. Today, EHCA makes a difference in the lives of over 350 people and their families each day in Erie, Crawford, Venango and Potter counties. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Environmental Health; Health Literacy/Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Mental Health.

Project: 
The student intern created a presentation about hand hygiene that was presented at many of the site’s group homes. The presentation included information concerning hand hygiene followed by a germ-themed bingo game. At certain sites, the intern also made tissue box cover crafts with the residents. The infection control program was concluded with a “Strike Out Germs” bowling outing. In addition to the presentations, the intern designed colorful, easy-to-understand hygiene posters to hang throughout the facilities. The purpose of these presentations and posters was to educate and remind the residents of the proper protocol for hand washing. At the Options site, the intern worked on creating new clubs for the day center, including an animal lovers club, yoga club and music club. The purpose of these clubs was to encourage development of resident life skills, such as respect for animals and maintaining positive peer relationships, and to stress the importance of self-care and stress relief.

Intern Statement: 
Sophia Yanak: “My time with Erie Homes for Children and Adults has exposed me to a population with which I had no previous experience. Working with the residents and staff, I have learned immense amounts of valuable information that I could have never learned sitting in a classroom. I am confident that this summer experience has enriched my life in terms of the quality of care I will be able to provide my future patients. Bridging the Gaps has provided me with an opportunity to immerse myself in a community organization that works hard day in and day out to provide their residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities the best care possible. I will carry this high expectation of care for all my patients, regardless of race, sex, or disability, throughout my career as a practicing physician.”

 

Having a HAND in All Aspects of Health: Physical, Social, Emotional and Mental

Student Interns: 
Shine Kim, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine 
Jaclyn Natalone, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Matthew Verne, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Erika Allen, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors: 
Stephanie Garcia, MSW, Housing and Neighborhood Development Service
Regina Perry, MSW, Housing and Neighborhood Development Service

Community Site: 
HANDS (Housing and Neighborhood Development Service) provides quality affordable housing for seniors, families and people with disabilities to help them continue to live independently and continue to be an active part of the community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Literacy/Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Oral Health; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
The student interns initially designed several small projects and one main project. The small projects included a weekly walking program, teaching computer and cell-phone literacy, and assisting in updating health emergency information. The student interns also educated individuals of various age groups, from early toddlers to the geriatric population, at four different sites on dental hygiene and oral health. The main project was focused on educating the elderly about commonly abused prescription drugs and safe disposal of drugs and on collecting prescription medication for safe disposal. This summer the student interns wanted to encapsulate many aspects of health to give a holistic approach to a healthy living at all stages of life.

Intern Statements: 
Shine Kim: “Working with HANDS helped me to see the importance of a stable living condition for a person’s health and the importance of looking at health beyond just the physical body. As a future health professional, working with Bridging the Gaps has brought to life the meaning of looking at the whole patient not just the physical aspects.”

Jaclyn Natalone: “This summer has taught me invaluable lessons about unique populations that I never could have learned from inside a classroom. Working mainly with seniors who live in affordable housing has taught me to always check my biases when interacting with future patients. In addition, I gained a new perspective on the many factors that play a role in overall health and access to care, including psychosocial, economic, and environmental circumstances that can have a large impact on the health of both individuals and populations.”

Matthew Verne: “The Bridging the Gaps Summer internship has opened my eyes in terms of real life and out of the classroom experiences with several populations. Our opioid education and collection project allowed me to research and understand the implications such powerful medication can have on a community and how everyone needs to work together to be a part of the solution. A more educated population, specifically senior citizens that receive opioids, can lead to less drugs on the street, increasing health for all.”

 

Silver Slippers: Ballet for the Older Adult

Student Intern: 
Taylor Starr, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Sarah McCarthy, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Judy Bekeny, RN, BSN, Mercy Hilltop Center

Community Site: 
Mercy Hilltop is Pennsylvania’s first nationally accredited senior center and provides an environment for communal, educational and physical activities. Its mission is to keep older adults as independent as possible for as long as possible, with a focus on each individual’s mind, spirit and body wellness, enabling them to live a productive, harmonious and healthy lifestyle. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The student intern created, integrated and taught two biweekly ballet classes for the clients at Mercy Hilltop Center. The beginner class targeted the fitter clients, as the dancer was standing holding onto a ballet barre/chair throughout the class. The seated ballet class was for the less mobile individuals; they were seated in chairs during the entire class. The classes were offered back-to-back so people could stay and obtain the benefits of both classes. Both ballet classes focused on improving balance, posture, and flexibility and improving confidence in one's gait. These were all measured through a self-reported survey both before and after the six-week period. Improving memory, attention and cognitive control was also a focus of these classes.

Intern Statement: 
Taylor Starr: “My time at Mercy Hilltop Center has opened my eyes to all the elderly population is capable of. I learned the importance of hearing someone's life stories to better understand who they are, where they come from, and where they are going. The geriatric population does not have to have a sedentary lifestyle, and these individuals at MHC do not plan on having a sedentary lifestyle anytime soon. I also learned how to encourage and get people excited when launching this ballet class and to keep them coming, which will be very valuable as a future physician. Seeing clients come back week after week, thrilled to have this class available, was so rewarding, and I can imagine it will be just as gratifying when I am helping my future patients.”

Journaling for Wellness

Student Intern: 
Isaac Wilber, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Kyle Scully, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Kristen Gehrlein, LifeWorks Erie

Community Site: 
LifeWorks Erie is an educational and health service of the LECOM Institute for Successful Aging, which offers primary care and consultative clinical services in geriatric medicine. LifeWorks Erie, formerly the Erie Center on Health and Aging (ECHA), is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. It was established in 1974 to provide medical care and community preventive services and to serve as a convenient, central point of service for meals, education, recreation, socialization, and self-enrichment programs. LifeWorks Erie maintains partnerships with other service organizations to provide outreach care and assistance to aging populations in resident facilities and fosters collaborations with other healthcare agencies directed at improving the lives of our aging community throughout Erie and its surrounding region. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health.

Project: 
The student intern created a weekly journaling protocol. Members who joined the class would be given a prompt every week in addition to tracking diet, exercise and any aspect of daily life they wished to write about. All members were given free journals and met on Tuesdays to discuss their responses to the weekly prompt. The prompts were based on a combination of expressive writing and benefit-finding writing. These prompts related to aspects of life such as social anxiety, finding good in the bad and frustrations. Class meeting time consisted of a 30- to 60-minute session in which every participant could participate in a safe space for sharing. The project ran for five weeks.

Intern Statement: 
Isaac Wilber: “Helping and interacting with the members at LifeWorks Erie was a very informative and uplifting way to meet a diverse group of senior citizens in the community. The protocol for my project was simple, but the amount of discussion it provoked at the meetings was astounding. I barely had to nudge people to interact once they began connecting over these thought-provoking questions. It makes me wonder how many people I am missing throughout life who might be amazing to talk to, simply because I’ve never had a heart-to-heart conversation with them. Thanks to this Bridging the Gaps internship, I feel more confident that I will be able to connect with people when I am practicing medicine.”

 

Happy Aging: Quality of Care Improvements at a Skilled Nursing Facility

Student Intern: 
Cole Schailey, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Alice Hudder, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Frieda Donahue, LPN, LECOM Nursing & Rehabilitation

Community Site: 
LECOM Nursing & Rehabilitation is a skilled nursing facility primarily providing long-term care for geriatric residents, but also providing care for acute rehabilitation patients. LECOM Nursing & Rehabilitation aims to allow the resident to feel comfortable, safe and cared for. It focuses on the individual needs of each resident, allowing for excellent personalized care. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Mental Health; Oral Health.

Project: 
The student intern participated in and developed several ideas while at LECOM Nursing & Rehabilitation. The first project involved surveying all cognitively aware long-term residents about their experiences with LECOM Nursing & Rehab. This provided valuable information to the site as well as the intern about areas that could be improved. The second project was based on resident feedback and involved the printing and posting of resident biographies in each room, allowing CNAs to get a good description of each resident very quickly. Also based on survey feedback, Therapy Dogs were brought in for an event (via Paws for Patients) to improve resident morale. Finally, a survey was developed to screen long-term care residents for signs of Parkinson’s Disease that could have developed and been missed due to other masking neurologic conditions. In addition, an oral health presentation was given to all nursing staff to educate them about adequate geriatric oral care, with an emphasis on denture care.

Intern Statement: 
Cole Schailey: “The experiences that I have had with LECOM Nursing & Rehabilitation have taught me so much about geriatric populations and how much diversity exists within such a group. Each resident has a different reason for being at a skilled nursing facility and while most of them involve some level of neurologic decline, each resident is still extremely unique. Each individual has a different capacity for speech, comprehension or even basic movements. My time with LECOM Nursing & Rehab has taught me how to respectfully gauge each individual’s neurologic capacities, allowing me to have authentic conversations with them. It has also shown me the value of keeping the brain active while aging. The Bridging the Gaps program has allowed me the opportunity to work with a patient population I might not normally work with, and learn about their medical needs and wants. The knowledge gained through this program will definitely impact the way in which I practice medicine, and I believe every medical student would benefit from such an immersive experience.”

 

A Summer to Shine: Building Confidence Through Knowledge

Student Interns: 
Alexandria Cummings, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ashley Hildebrand, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Leah Labranche, MSc, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Erika Hodgens, MSW, LCSW, Millcreek Community Hospital

Community Site: 
Millcreek Community Hospital Behavioral Health Care programs were established in 2001 to fulfill an urgent need for psychiatric inpatient services in the community. Since then, Millcreek Community Hospital Behavioral Health Care has grown into the region’s largest provider of quality inpatient psychiatric treatment. It is dedicated to meeting the behavioral health needs of individuals residing throughout the community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use.

Project: 
The goal of the project was to provide the pediatric psychiatric patients with activities that would strengthen their self-confidence by emphasizing coping skills, tips on health and nutrition, and knowledge about science and other school subjects, while keeping them engaged and on task. This was accomplished by focusing each week on a different goal: mindfulness and coping skills (week 1); nutrition and health, including an entire day dedicated to oral health (week 2); science projects (week 3); and different countries around the globe (week 4). Feedback was elicited from the children to better focus the project to their own personal goals and areas of improvement. The interns also shadowed on the adult and geriatric psychiatric floors as well as in the emergency room and the operating room.

Intern Statements: 
Alexandria Cummings: “This internship with the Pediatric Behavioral Health Unit has taught me about some of the mental health disorders that result from different events that occur in a child’s life and the treatment plans involved to help them overcome or deal with their past. I learned that each patient has a story that is unique to them, but they are all kids and are eager to learn if it is made interesting, despite how inattentive they may seem. I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to not only educate, but also get the kids excited and encouraged to learn. Most importantly, I learned to no longer ask ‘what is wrong with them,’ but rather ‘what happened to them’ when a person is upset and reacts poorly to a situation not only in practice, but also in my everyday life.”  

Ashley Hildebrand: “My time at Behavioral Health at Millcreek Community Hospital has been a truly valuable experience. This internship has taught me a lot about empathy and trauma informed care; to look at an individual as not what is wrong with them but what has happened to them. I have learned so much about the daily personal struggles of mental health that will help me better serve my patients in the future. I feel more confident in my ability to interact with this patient population and I am looking forward to when I am able to apply these lessons as a physician. I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to take my knowledge from the classroom and share it with the children here.”  

 

A Garage Sale and a Community

Student Intern: 
Kinsey Laninga, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Leah Labranche, MSc, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Martin Kelly, BSW, NHA, Millcreek Community Hospital

Community Site: 
Millcreek Community Hospital is an acute-care facility that is specially equipped to provide a wide range of care for the elderly through the LECOM Institute for Successful Aging. The Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) unit services acute medical needs for adults over age 50. The Transitional Care Unit (TCU) assists patients in returning to independent living following a surgery, injury or hospitalization. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Diseases; Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Oral Health.

Project: 
The student intern helped organize and plan for the existing yearly Millcreek Community Hospital community garage sale. The intern went to the site of the garage sale and helped to clean the rooms.  The items for the garage sale were distributed into different rooms and organized into categories such as holiday items, women’s and men’s clothing, and household items. The intern made “to-go” bags containing toothbrushes, denture brushes, toothpaste and flossers to give to patients on the ACE and pediatric psychiatric units, as needed, during their stay or before their discharge. The intern participated in rounds with the attendings on various units at Millcreek. The intern also assisted with history and physical exams with the students on rotation to help improve care for the patients and better understand why they were in the hospital. 

Intern Statement: 
Kinsey Laninga: “My time at Millcreek Community Hospital has helped to open my eyes to what it takes to be a physician. It requires countless hours of work, dedication to your patients and a love of what you do. This summer has given me the opportunity to serve the elderly community and to gain knowledge on how to best care for this population. It has shown me that while every patient is unique, there are common concerns and issues that every patient faces and how to deal with each issue and how it impacts the patients. Bridging the Gaps has helped me to apply what I have learned in class to clinical situations and helped to prepare me for my clinical rotations in my near future.”

 

Refocus for the Future: A Holistic Health and Wellness Initiative

Student Intern: 
Kayla Trautman-Buckley, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Heather M. Jones, PhD, MMedEd, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Carla Storrs, LSW, Mercy Center for Women

Community Site: 
The Mercy Center for Women is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy and is committed to enhancing the dignity of each person it serves, through the healing of body, mind and spirit. Mercy Center for Women provides safe and supportive transitional housing, education, case management and advocacy for homeless women with or without children. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health.

Project: 
The intern’s project consisted of three parts with a goal of advancing the clients’ understanding of their own health, while increasing personal accountability through education on health topics with potential treatment options and benefits. The intern gave weekly classes on general health and wellness, responsible sexual practices, birth control options, oral health, mental health, and nutrition and weight management. She also developed a personal health and wellness workbook for the women at Mercy Center to use to keep track of different factors affecting their health, such as weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and family medical history. Lastly, she arranged visits with the Paws for Patients program through LECOM to allow women at the center to see how using multiple options for therapy and stress management can improve overall quality of life.

Intern Statement: 
Kayla Trautman-Buckley: “Sitting in a classroom and learning about public health and patient education, while necessary for the training of a physician, is limited in its ability to allow one to truly understand the realities of healthcare. My time spent at Mercy Center for Women not only expanded my compassion for the underserved in my community, but also opened my eyes to the real barriers and challenges many of these women face when trying to keep themselves and their children healthy. I understand better the obstacles my patients will face and have learned how to help them to overcome them. Because of my time during Bridging the Gaps, I have a heightened sense of disparities in healthcare and can take this enlightened mindset with me into practice to effect change for the patients whom I serve.”

 

Food for Thought: Nourishment for Domestic Violence Survivors

Student Intern: 
Cassandra Simpson, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Christine Kell, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Roxanne Perales, BSW, SafeNet

Community Site: 
SafeNet is committed to ending domestic violence, affirming human dignity and delivering comprehensive client services to victims of domestic violence. SafeNet provides sanctuary, support, education and advocacy. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Diseases (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases); Health Literacy/Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The student intern created visual aids to provide nutrition education to the clients of SafeNet. The purpose of this project was to encourage those at SafeNet to consider the effects of their food intake on their overall health. Experiencing trauma can cause individuals to overlook the nutritional value of the food they consume, and this material serves as a reminder to make healthy choices. The information provided ranged from guidance regarding reading a nutrition label, to lists of healthier options at nearby fast food restaurants. Healthy eating was also integrated into an activity with younger children to encourage them to choose snacks that benefit their oral health. Additionally, the student intern assisted with hotline phone calls, safety planning, domestic violence education, and childcare, and observed counseling sessions and client intakes.

Intern Statement: 
Cassandra Simpson: “My time at SafeNet has informed me of the prevalence of domestic violence in my community. It has served as a reminder that trauma and suffering is not invariably evident from physical appearance. Being acutely aware of this and taking the time to recognize the resources available to members of the community will allow me to better assist my patients in the future. In addition, SafeNet has led me to recognize and appreciate the resilience and commitment that counselors and advocates must have in order to support those they serve.”

Back to Top

 

Opioid Use and Pain Management in the LECOM Senior Living Center

Student Interns: 
Naga Edara, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine 
Abbey Turner, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Sarah McCarthy, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Sholin Montgomery, NHA, LECOM Senior Living Center

Community Site: 
LECOM Health has introduced the next generation of skilled nursing care for older adults with the new LECOM Senior Living Center, bringing together exciting and innovative patient-centered healthcare. It is positioned on a health and wellness campus centrally located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The first floor houses an expanded Institute for Successful Aging, a geriatric outpatient center, a therapy gym, a restaurant, a pharmacy, and a full-service beauty salon and spa. Each neighborhood is specially designed with restaurant-style dining, space for activities of daily living and family lounge rooms. The facility features highly trained therapists who deliver flexible programming for short-term rehabilitation, including physical, occupational and speech therapy. A team of physicians is available 24 hours a day for all emergences and seeks to provide a higher level of care not found in a typical skilled nursing facility. Medical, pharmacy, and dental students are involved in the Senior Living Center, benefiting patients from their knowledge and providing the right care at the right time. LECOM Senior Living Center was developed to be full of clinical services for every senior, making sure it is serving with the patient’s health in mind and providing complete care of the mind, body and spirit. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Oral Health; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
The student interns created a pain management survey to administer to post-operative and newly admitted patients to the rehabilitation unit in the LECOM Senior Living Center. The survey gathers information such as pain scores and patients’ perceptions of the effectiveness of their pain management programs, and it screens for adverse side effects of medications. The purpose of the survey is to bridge the gap in pain management during the transition from post-operative care in the hospital setting to the rehabilitation setting. This initiative streamlines the communication of patient needs to the in-house pharmaceutical staff within 24 to 72 hours of patient admission to the LECOM Senior Living Center. Before administering the survey, the student interns screened patient medical records to ensure that all opioid medications were prescribed with a stop date and that all PRN pain medication administered was documented with a pain score. Any inconsistencies were brought to the attention of the clinical pharmacist and dealt with accordingly. Upon completion of Bridging the Gaps, the survey will continue to be used in order to ensure proper pain management and appropriate opioid prescription. In addition, the student interns researched the opioid epidemic and created a brochure that details proper opioid disposal for patients who are prescribed opioid medication. This brochure will also continue to be distributed to patients upon discharge from the LECOM Senior Living Center after the conclusion of the program.

Intern Statements: 
Naga Edara: “The Bridging the Gaps program was an incredible opportunity to learn more about healthcare while serving the community. Our project allowed us to learn more about community health and the opioid crisis as well as to serve a need within the LECOM Senior Living Center and address pain management. Through this program, we had the opportunity to work with different aspects of healthcare: administrative, nursing, pharmaceutical and therapeutic. This internship taught me about the importance of teamwork in healthcare, not just among individuals within the same discipline, but between members of different disciplines. I will undoubtedly use the lessons I have learned this summer as I continue my journey in medicine.”

Abbey Turner: “Spending time at the Senior Living Center and being involved in the pain management initiative has impressed upon me two very important aspects of healthcare: continuity of care and patient education. In vulnerable, elderly populations, it is important that all healthcare workers are advocates for their patients. This includes ensuring that the proper communication takes place when a patient is transferred from one healthcare facility to another in order to meet the needs of the patient in the new facility. Additionally, if we are to make an impact on public health issues such as the opioid crisis as medical professionals, it is our job keep patients educated and aware. I am very excited about the safe medication disposal brochure we created because it will go out into the community and hopefully change the way patients deal with leftover opioid medications. This internship has opened my eyes to gaps that may occur between medical disciplines, and I hope that when I am a practicing physician I will be better suited to address patient care with this in mind.”

 

Healthy Eats, On a Budget

Student Intern: 
Shannon Myers, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Kyle Scully, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Martin Acri, MA, Erie VA Medical Center

Community Site: 
In an effort to end homelessness among Veterans, Erie VA Medical Center provides healthcare and supportive services to local homeless veterans or veterans at risk of becoming homeless. The program offers a wide range of resources, including transitional and permanent housing, case management, dental and medical care, and other supportive services that aim to meet veterans where they are and guide them to where they want to be. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Healthcare; Chronic Disease; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health.

Project: 
The student intern created a cookbook for veterans to help teach them how to cook healthy meals that are inexpensive and easy to make. The cookbook gives veterans more options and the easy recipes enable them to start cooking at home. The veterans were taught the signs of diabetes and a general information guide for diabetes was created. A flyer was created to direct veterans to inexpensive or income-based dental facilities. It also outlined the importance of dental health. Lastly, the intern helped veterans create résumés, fill out job applications and outline the connections they have. As part of this, the intern also sat in for vocational and housing-related appointments.

Intern Statement: 
Shannon Myers: “This internship at Erie VA Medical Center has made me aware of the many challenges that homeless or unemployed veterans face and the difficulty of rising above them. There are many circumstances that can lead to a person becoming homeless, and many veterans struggle to become independent once they have been unemployed or homeless for some time. Many of the veterans I served suffered trauma during their time in the service and it was eye-opening to see how difficult it is to overcome that trauma. The cookbook I created will help these veterans make healthier choices while being inexpensive, as many veterans are struggling to afford to feed themselves. Bridging the Gaps has reaffirmed my choice to become an osteopathic physician by showing me that treating the whole person is the key to their success and health.”

 

Unintimidating, Inexpensive and Clean Eating

Student Intern: 
Kellyn Wilkes, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Randy Kulesza, PhD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Michele Maughn, RN, Voices for Independence

Community Site: 
Voices for Independence is a nonprofit organization that promotes independent living for the disabled community. It offers support through five core services: skill training, peer support, information and referral, deinstitutionalization, and advocacy. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The student intern created a menu with an entrée, two sides and a dessert to be cooked at the weekly cooking class. About 20 consumers and their attendants attended the class. During the class, the importance of healthy eating was discussed. The student intern also created a nutrition pamphlet with basic information about what and how much to eat to have a balanced diet. In addition, the student intern created a cookbook containing healthy recipes to hand out after the class was over to encourage proper eating habits.

Intern Statement: 
Kellyn Wilkes: “This summer experience has been extremely uplifting, as it has constantly reminded me about how remarkable people are. I will no longer doubt the ability of those with physical and mental disabilities because of the positive attitudes of the[se] consumers. In addition to being positive every single day, each of them is eager to try new things to better themselves. After hearing so many negative stereotypes about those with disabilities, it has been enlightening to work directly with them and see how false those stereotypes are. I believe that I have made a positive impact on the people at the site by providing resources that they can use to make better food decisions in the future as well as being a familiar face that they can talk to. As a future physician, I plan on using these communication skills to improve my relationships with my patients that have disabilities in order to provide them with the best care that I can.”

 

MOVE! — An Integrated Approach to Wellness

Student Interns: 
Melissa Campbell, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine     
Stephanie Craig, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Christopher Keller, PhD, CPH, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Stephanie Milhisler, YMCA Kids Club

Community Site: 
The YMCA is a neighborhood service organization that provides a variety of programs and activities for kids. Its primary goal is to provide a safe, fun environment for children during summer hours. This is accomplished through programs, day trips, sports, and mentoring. The YMCA Kids Club programs are free to Erie Housing Authority residents and open to youth aged 6 to18. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use.

Project: 
MOVE! was a wellness program created by the student interns to educate kids about keeping the outside and inside of their bodies healthy. The five-week course included the topics of fitness, food safety and nutrition, oral health, team building, mental health and tobacco use. These discussion and activity-based lessons further gave the kids the opportunity to work together, ask questions, and share life experiences. Points were allotted each day for individual and group contributions and the top three scoring participants were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals at the end of the program. Through their interactions with the kids, the student interns gained a better understanding of the health topics that needed to be addressed. 

Intern Statements: 
Melissa Campbell: “As a Bridging the Gaps intern at the YMCA Kids Club, I felt like I was learning as much as I was teaching. It is incredible how much trends change from generation to generation and what children experience now compared to what I went through as a child, not to mention the cultures that I was surrounded by in Southern California versus those that are more prevalent in the Erie Community. I know that I made the biggest impact working with the children one-on-one, whether it was playing a game, working on math, or just asking them about their day. My time at YMCA Kids Club has made me more culturally aware, and for that I will be a more culturally competent physician who will better understand and respect the needs of my patients.”

Stephanie Craig: “My time at the YMCA Kids Club has opened my eyes to what it takes to relate to the pediatric population in an effective and functional way. These kids are smart, and each brings with them their own life stories and lessons to share with others. While I spent time integrating a daily educational component at the YMCA Kids Club, they also taught me a lot about themselves. Bridging the Gaps has helped me take my knowledge from the classroom and apply it to real-life families and tailor it to meet the needs of multiple age groups in the community. As a future physician, I feel I better understand now what it means to incorporate both the physical and mental well-being of my patients.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bridging The Gaps

Our Mission:
BTG links the provision of health-related service for under-resourced communities with the interprofessional training of health and social service professionals.

Email: info@bridgingthegaps.info

Phone: 215-898-4141

Join Our Mail List

© 2023 by Bridging the Gaps.|  Terms of Use  |   Privacy Policy