Lehigh Valley Projects - 2019

Mi Casa es Su Casa

Student Interns: 
Abigail Donnelley, DeSales University Division of Nursing
Prexnie Legrand, DeSales University Division of Nursing

Academic Preceptor: 
Mary Ellen Miller, PhD, RN, APHN-BC, DeSales University

Community Preceptors: 
Nancy Ruiz, Family Liaison, Instructor, Casa Guadalupe
Andrea Wilson, Education Coordinator, Instructor, Casa Guadalupe

Community Site: 
The Pa’Lante Education Program at Casa Guadalupe offers students the chance to continue their academics in order to avoid any summer learning loss, while providing them with the opportunity to go to the pool, the park, on nature adventures and to experience other fun outdoor activities. Casa Guadalupe is a nonprofit community-based organization created to meet the needs for the primarily Latino residents in the Lehigh Valley. It offers health, education, and social services for children, youth, adults and elderly residents. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Education and Community-Based Programs; Educational Access to Healthcare; Food Safety; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The overall goal of the summer camp was to promote health and wellness in a safe environment. The Bridging the Gaps student interns helped maintain and encourage a safe, healthy environment and conducted cardiovascular and oral health interactive activities.

Oral Health: The interns created an experiment using apples to demonstrate the importance of oral hygiene. They used two apples: one was the control to demonstrate someone with great oral health and the other had holes in it to represent cavities. They left the apples for more than 24 hours and showed the decay that happened to the apple with the holes in it. The holes in the apple represented cavities and other breaks in the enamel. Accompanying this example, the interns handed out the oral hygiene supplies, a coloring sheet and information the children could take home to their parents.

Physical Activity and Fitness (Cardiovascular Health): The student interns showed a short, fun, animated video about heart-healthy eating. After the video, they did a couple of exercises with the chidren demonstrating the importance of working the heart. The lesson was accompanied by a coloring sheet. Following the exercises, the interns spoke to the children about the effects of tobacco on the whole body, especially the heart.

Intern Statements:
Abigail Donnelley: “The children that I have been privileged enough to work with this summer have taught me so much. They have shown me that it does not matter who you are or where you come from; you can always persevere and overcome adversity. These kids are so smart and so caring. They have truly opened my eyes for the better. I feel as if I have been granted a new understanding in addition to a better comprehension of what my patients and their families could go through. For this, I will be forever grateful to have had such an opportunity.”

Prexnie Legrand: “This has been a great experience. The amount or resilience these kids have is amazing. I am grateful for the relationships that I formed with all the kids. This experience showed me what a difference it can mean for children to have someone who simply gives them a space to be themselves. I got to work with unique people and I see a bright future for all of them. I definitely learned to be more patient towards others and gained an appreciation for the little things that makes everyone unique.”

 

Challenging the Social Stigma of HIV: LVHN Comprehensive Health Services

Student Interns: 
Yasmin Glennon, DeSales University Division of Nursing 
Emily Parish, DeSales University Division of Nursing

Academic Preceptor:
Mary Ellen Miller PhD, RN, APHN-BC, DeSales University

Community Preceptor: 
Anthony Strobel, MEd, LVHN Comprehensive Health Services

Community Site: 
Lehigh Valley Health Network Comprehensive Health Services strives to offer the highest quality medical care and psychosocial support to HIV infected patients and their families. It is one of the largest sites in Pennsylvania. For more than 20 years, it has been committed to providing a full spectrum of services aimed at increasing public awareness and preventing further spread of the disease. A key focus of the organization is early detection, using a multidisciplinary approach. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Health Services; HIV; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
At LVHN Comprehensive Health Services (CHS) the Bridging the Gaps student interns worked within a multidisciplinary team and learn about the treatment and management of HIV. The experience included working directly with patients, including administering patient satisfaction surveys, working at the front desk of the office, providing dental supplies and dental hygiene education, and interacting with patients during clinic visits. Additionally, the interns assisted with supportive services provided by CHS by volunteering at a Community Health Fair Collaborative in Allentown and at a local food bank weekly. They had multiple opportunities to shadow staff members, including the pharmacist, dietician, case managers, behavioral change specialist, community outreach specialist and healthcare providers. At CHS, the interns learned about the rewards and challenges of serving an underserved population by assisting the staff in meeting the patient’s needs.

Intern Statements:
Yasmin Glennon: “My experience this summer has been humbling and enriching both personally and professionally, as a future registered nurse. I worked among a diverse, multidisciplinary team who foster a safe place for their HIV-positive clients, continue to challenge society's social stigma of HIV through education, and recognize that someone is much more than their diagnosis. I've learned that obstacles, such as homelessness, addiction, and mental health, affect more of our communities than we think. Ultimately, this internship has empowered me to step outside of my comfort zone, pushed me to ask the difficult questions, and advocate for the individuals that I care for.”

Emily Parish: “As a future nurse, my experience at LVHN Comprehensive Health Services was eye opening. I became aware of the challenges that come with a diagnosis of HIV and also the challenges that some patients already face, such as drug use and poverty, which affect their ability to receive care. By shadowing different staff members, I was able to develop an appreciation for all the types of care and support available at CHS. One important takeaway for me was about the necessity of having a strong relationship between the staff and the client. At CHS, clients are treated with sincere respect and are truly cared for. I am grateful to have been a part of that this summer.”

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Summer Full of Alliances

Student Interns: 
Nicole Handlovic, DeSales University Division of Nursing
Abigail Stocker, Moravian College, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptor: 
Mary Ellen Miller, PhD, RN, APHN-BC, DeSales University

Community Preceptor: 
Tina Amato, MS, RD, LDN, Nutrition and Physical Activity Director, Allentown Health Bureau

Community Site: 
The Alliance Hall Summer Recreation Program is a collaborative effort by several organizations providing recreation, arts and crafts, swimming, field trips, breakfast and lunch to inner-city children in Allentown PA. The program registers approximately 250 children, aged 7 to 13, with 150 participating daily on a drop-in basis during the program’s five-week operational period in July/August. The 2019 program ran Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Program participation is free. Community Development Block Grants, corporate and private donations and in-kind contributions fund the program.

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

Project: 
At the Alliance Hall Summer Recreation Program, the BTG interns supervised the children, which helped maintain and encourage a safe, healthy environment. The interns also conducted cardiovascular and oral health interactive activities. The overall goal of the summer camp was to promote health and wellness and, most important, to give the children fun with their friends and a chance to make new ones in a safe environment without worries and stress. The program offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch, which provided a healthy example, promoted health and wellness, and suppressed childhood hunger. Every day of the recreation program, the children were active and occupied with either arts and crafts, playing on the playground, swimming or field trips. The field trips included Putt-U mini golf; the Allentown Art Museum; the play “Robin Hood,” performed by DeSales University; Wildlands, which consisted of tubing in the river and exploration of wildlife; and Dorney Park. The older children at the program participated in a ritual called ROMPER day that has been performed for over 100 years in Allentown. During ROMPER day, children practice dances and sport-based performances and compete with other sites in Allentown.

Intern Statements:
Nicole Handlovic: “The Alliance Hall summer camp has provided me with better understanding and more patience for children. I also learned and witnessed how coming from redlining areas can have a critical effect on children's physical health but also mental health. I also learned that every kid has something to offer in their uniqueness.”

Abigail Stocker: “The Alliance Half summer camp has taught me that there is more to a child than just their behavior. I have learned about their hardships and have grown rather close to some of them these past five weeks. We provided health education classed on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including proper food choices and the recommended amount of physical exercise. Adolescence is such an important age to instill the significance of these healthy habits.”

 

Empowerment and Initiative at Sixth Street Shelter

Student Interns: 
Anne Kearns, DeSales University Division of Nursing
Arysa Molina, Marywood University, School of Social Work

Academic Preceptor: 
Mary Ellen Miller, PhD, RN, APHN-BC, DeSales University

Community Preceptors: 
Kristine Blasco, Shelter Director, Sixth Street Shelter
Megan Brehm, Counselor, Sixth Street Shelter

Community Site: 
The Sixth Street Shelter is a nonprofit organization and a subsidiary of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV). The shelter’s primary focus is to provide housing for families and to offer intensive case management. Case managers assess residents’ needs and plan, implement and evaluate weekly and long-term goals. They monitor residents’ progress and facilitate interprofessional communication. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health, Oral Health.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns participated in several projects during the seven weeks at the Sixth Street Shelter. They led meetings about oral health and cardiovascular health, where they created teaching materials, distributed dental care supplies, discussed stress, tobacco cessation, heart-healthy nutrition and took blood pressures. They participated in case meetings and assisted residents with résumé writing, housing searches, job applications, childcare and welfare benefits applications, and thorough case management. They worked with the community through client contact at the front desk, answering the phone, and working at the shelter’s weekly food pantry. They facilitated recreational activities for the residents through the Family Resource Center and facilitated a yoga class for parents.

Intern Statements:
Anne Kearns: “Through this internship, I have become a better listener, a more passionate worker, and far more aware of many issues facing the community. I learned about casework, how to advocate for clients, and so much more. Most of all, I learned from the residents here, from their struggles, their goals, their stories, their resilience. Their stories will forever be in my heart and be a driving force for me to continue to pursue justice and equality and strive to empower all I encounter both in my professional career and my life as a whole.”

Arysa Molina: “I am incredibly fortunate for the opportunity to have learned an immense amount from the counselors, staff, and residents of the Sixth Street Shelter. I was able to help homeless families on their journey to self-sufficiency while providing case management, and that was truly rewarding. Meeting the residents and hearing their stories drove home the importance of the work that organizations such as the Sixth Street Shelter do in continuing the fight for fairness and human rights, while being kind and empathetic. This summer will be etched in my memories, and I thoroughly enjoyed working directly in the community.”

 
 
 
 

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