Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2019

Children & Youth

 

Healthy Choices Summer Camp

Student Interns: 
Cynthia Hopkins, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy 
Tess Krowicki, Drexel University College of Medicine
Ndidiamaka Okorozo, Drexel University College of Medicine
Theodric Todd, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Daniel R. Taylor, DO, FAAP, FACOP, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Suku John, PhD, East Park Revitalization Alliance

Community Site: 
East Park Revitalization Alliance (EPRA) aims to empower residents to revitalize the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood through the arts, environment and education. EPRA joined with the Mander Recreation Center to present the Healthy Choices Summer Camp for children aged 5 to 12 from the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The BTG student interns at East Park Revitalization Alliance (EPRA) served as counselors at the Healthy Choices Summer Camp at Mander Playground. They led fitness activities, including basketball, yoga and Zumba, to cultivate skill building and cooperation. They also introduced music making and conducting to foster leadership skills. The children made crafts such as vision boards and a poster about heart health, participated in a photography program and helped to paint part of a mural for the Mural Arts Program. The children’s daily activities included discussions and songs about exercise and healthy eating.

Intern Statements: 
Cynthia Hopkins: “I learned that working with children is both more challenging and more rewarding than I anticipated and that I am therefore definitely interested in working with this population as a music therapist. The resilience of these children — their boundless enthusiasm and creativity — amazed me, especially as I learned about the difficult circumstances they face. In terms of my professional development, I learned that I am excellent at building rapport with young children and am inspired and delighted by their wild imaginations and courageous spirits.”

Tess Krowicki: “Working this summer with children from Strawberry Mansion has been an eye-opening experience. I was welcomed with open arms from children who have the most beautiful minds, ideas, and views on the world. I was invited to listen to their struggles and learn about their everyday life, so different from my own as a child, and how they continue to see the positivity through it all. The deep sense of community between workers, the neighborhood, and the children was inspiring to see and helped me understand that when we care about one another we can make a difference in each other’s life. This experience opened my eyes to the barriers each person may face when accessing healthcare and living a healthier lifestyle and how one’s environment can shape their views, personality, and goals in life.”

Ndidiamaka Okorozo: “Working with the children at EPRA was quite a humbling and insightful experience. The children were very nice, and the staff was welcoming. My preconceived notions were constantly challenged in all my encounters there, from my conversations with the advisors to the games I played with the kids. I’m walking out of EPRA understanding that there are factors beyond people’s physical appearances that affect their lives.”

Theodric Todd: “Working with EPRA has given me the chance to connect with a community that I previously did not know about. Hearing stories from the adults and talking with the kids has given me a sense of the heart of Strawberry Mansion. My ability to empathize and understand the adversities that different populations have has increased because of my time with EPRA, and this will surely allow me to connect with my patients as a physician later in my career.”

 

 

Starting Strong: Creating a Healthy, Memorable and Fun Summer for Toddlers at F. J. Myers Day Camp

Student Interns: 
Riva Bindra, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Population Health 
Shivam Patel, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 
Rita Semaan, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Katherine Puskarz, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Population Health

Community Preceptor: 
Edna Reddick, Francis J. Myers Recreation Center

Community Site: 
The Francis J. Myers Recreation Center, located in Southwest Philadelphia, provides affordable summer programs to children aged 2 to 15. Many of these children come from low-income households where healthy food and regular health maintenance may be a luxury. Programs at Myers include day camps, assemblies, volunteering, gardening and more. These continue throughout the year, establishing F. J. Myers as a keystone center for the community. View Community Partner Web Site.

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

Project: 
The Bridging the Gap student interns working at the Francis J. Myers Recreation Center focused on educating children aged 2 to 5 enrolled in the tot program on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle for years to come. They did this through games, arts and crafts, and physical activity that combined learning and play. The interns thought of creative theme days such as Market Mondays, Tooth Tuesdays and Fun Science Fridays to incorporate the themes of cardiovascular health, oral hygiene and smoking cessation. These activities made the material more accessible to the age group. Overall, these activities provided a foundation for healthy habits that will be fruitful for the children’s future developmental success.

Intern Statements: 
Riva Bindra: “My experience at Myers Rec allowed me to gain more insight into the lives of the toddlers living in Southwest Philadelphia and to better understand the importance of promoting healthy behaviors to prevent disease within this population. Through my interactions with the toddlers, I was able to see how the social determinants of health have affected them. The activities introduced them to the concept of practicing healthy behaviors at a young age, which can be crucial for their health in the long term. The experience also taught me the skills that would be beneficial for interacting with this age group in my public health career.”

Shivam Patel: “I started my time at Myers thinking that the students had no reference to what a healthy diet looks like, how long to brush, etc. I soon learned that even 3- to 4-year-olds can generally sense what is good and bad for the body. The biggest struggles these students face are things that are completely out of their control. Challenges associated with socioeconomic factors and race not only negatively impact physical health but mental health as well. Thus, as much as the activities we planned mattered, I found the most impactful role as interns in the personal moments I had with each child. These personal moments, I hoped, allowed kids to feel less burden in their daily lives. As a hopeful pediatric dentist, these interactions will be vital in caring for each child who sits in my dental chair.”

Rita Semaan: “With a history of working with adolescents, I believed that my patience level was high. However, working with the toddlers at Myers Rec has taught me how to maximize my patience level with both children and families. Professionally, this has given me an advantage as I hope to enter the field of pediatric nursing. The impact which Bridging the Gaps had on the community was significantly present. Through our work, we were able to educate toddlers, families and even the faculty at the site about issues affecting both their short-term and long-term health. Through our presence, we were able to see immediate changes in the behaviors and habits of everyone, especially our campers.”

 

 

More Than Just a School: Empowering Children with Disabilities at HMS

Student Interns: 
Patrick Rossi, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Eileen Xie, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor: 
Laura Boyd, MSW, LSW, HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Community Site: 
The HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, located in the University City neighborhood of West Philadelphia, serves school-age children and young adults through age 21 with complex, multiple disabilities, usually resulting from cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury or other neurological impairments. Through therapies, adaptive interactive activities and a supportive environment, HMS’s day and residential programs work on enhancing a student’s abilities, thereby maximizing achievement and promoting independence. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy acted in supportive roles during art, music, dance movement and recreational therapies by assisting students with physical participation in all activities. In addition, they conducted a variety of small projects throughout the summer. The interns created an oral health needs assessment survey, which was distributed to parents, and compiled the data. Interns also converted images to allow them to be used on students' communication devices and uploaded student and tutorial videos to YouTube to allow parents to witness students’ achievements and further educate staff on how to best care for the students. Interns also assisted in the creation of the annual school yearbook, conducted field trip accessibility research and updated critical transition resources.

Intern Statements: 
Patrick Rossi: “My time at the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy opened my eyes to a special- needs population that I otherwise may never have been exposed to. At the beginning of my internship, I was apprehensive in interacting with many of the students out of concern I would say or do the wrong thing. After a few weeks into my internship, my perspective shifted; my confidence increased, and I learned that I have far more in common with people with cerebral palsy than I have different. My Bridging the Gaps experience changed my perspective on this, and I am so grateful for having the opportunity to spend my summer at the HMS School.”

Eileen Xie: “Working with Bridging the Gaps and HMS School has taught me a lot, both about myself and about the vast range of challenges (societal, physical and environmental) faced by those who have serious disabilities. During my internship, I was challenged to reflect upon my own prior assumptions as I worked individually with students every day in their classes. I developed better communication skills and became more patient. Something that really struck me was the overwhelming positivity that each staff member at HMS displays on a daily basis while focusing on each child’s ability rather than his/her disability. They empower children and teach them to be self-advocates, which is something that I want to emulate in my future professional career.”

 

 

Following the North Light

Student Interns: 
Sara Settle, Drexel University College of Medicine
Emily Wexler, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Academic Preceptor: 
Stacy Ellen, DO, FAAP, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors: 
Danielle McCoy, MEd, Director of Children's Services, North Light Community Center
Jonathon Thornton, Director of Children's Services, North Light Community Center

Community Site: 
North Light Community Center, which is part of the Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements, has been serving the Manayunk neighborhood since 1938. North Light is a place where children come to learn and play, where their parents come for advice and assistance, and where neighbors meet to discuss community issues and forge solutions. North Light serves all members of the community. Programs include an after-school program, a food cupboard, a computer lab and a summer camp. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at North Light Community Center formulated hour-long health lessons each week for the four age groups within the program. The health lessons covered topics such as oral health, mindfulness, cardiovascular health, sun safety, pedestrian safety and nutrition. When the student interns were not actively giving a lesson, they worked as counselors throughout the day. The student interns accompanied the campers to nearby parks, a swimming pool and other outdoor activities.

Intern Statements:
Sara Settle: “While working at North Light Community Center, I had the privilege of not only getting to know so many amazing children but also forming bonds with my fellow camp staff. Working nonstop days in the sun surrounded by countless children can be tiring, but every day was filled with moments of growth and fun. Learning each individual child’s strengths, as well as his or her struggles, proved invaluable when trying to work through tough situations or giving out praises. This summer at North Light provided me with unforgettable experiences and lessons in childcare that I will bring along as I continue to work towards becoming a pediatrician.”

Emily Wexler: “The experience of working with BTG this summer at North Light Community Center has helped to confirm my desire of working with children in my future career. Working with the children at North Light for six weeks allowed me to view each child’s unique personalities, behavioral patterns and mannerisms to form a deeper understanding of them each as an individual. This has solidified, to me, the importance of utilizing a more holistic approach of understanding of each child. Working with a fellow BTG intern from a different educational background has allowed me to view working with children from a different lens and expand my own abilities.”

 

 

The Seven Dimensions of Wellness: Holistic Health for Elementary-Age Children

Student Interns: 
Clarise Ballesteros, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice 
Brooke Engelbrektsson, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Julia Ferris, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice 
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Alexandra Wolkoff, Director of Education, Puentes de Salud

Community Site: 
The mission of Puentes de Salud is to improve the health and wellness of the Latinx community in Philadelphia by providing healthcare and by addressing the social factors that influence long-term health outcomes, such as education, literacy and socioeconomic status. The Puentes Hacía el Futuro program is one of Puentes’ education services; it addresses these fundamental issues by providing tutoring and literacy support as well as art, culture and health education to children and families in the community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Environmental Health; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Puentes de Salud focused on developing a wellness program that introduced a holistic approach to overall healthy living. The lessons were based on the seven dimensions of wellness, which include environmental, social, emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual and occupational wellness. The interactive lessons encouraged the campers to think of the practices and habits they already have and to brainstorm new habits they could implement to improve their health. The interns created handouts written in Spanish so campers’ families could receive the information covered.

Intern Statements: 
Clarise Ballesteros: “This summer has been a great opportunity to work with a community that I am passionate about while improving my professional skills as a social worker. I have loved getting to know the children and their families as well as expanding my knowledge of the different nonprofits and resources available to families in Philadelphia. The staff members at Puentes exemplify what it means to strive to be a culturally competent nonprofit that listens to and collaborates with the community they serve. The students at Puentes are resilient, passionate and inspiring. Getting to work with such an amazing and vibrant community has been such a privilege. I know I will be able to utilize the knowledge from this summer in my future practice with clients, and this experience has made me a better healthcare provider.”

Brooke Engelbrektsson: “I was so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work with the campers and staff of Puentes this summer. It was amazing to work with an organization that is so deeply connected with the community and dedicated to meeting the needs of everyone that walks through its doors.
Being able to teach the children about all aspects of wellness has been very formative. In nursing school, it is easy to get caught up in assessing solely the physical condition of the patient. However, taking a holistic approach to health promotion this summer has reminded me that health is not simply one-dimensional, but that there are many other aspects that contribute to one's well-being.”

Julia Ferris: “Working as an intern with Puentes de Salud this past summer has been far more rewarding than I could have anticipated. The children we work with are unique, kind and resilient. Earning their trust and respect over the past four weeks has introduced me to new perspectives and the importance of slowing down and listening to the people around me. The children at this camp are smart and determined, and they deserve every resource to be made available for them to live a full, healthy life.”

 

 

Encouraging Unstructured Free Play at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse

Student Intern: 
Katelyn Fiehler, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Robert Dustin, MA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Meshonea Fox, BA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Rebecca Dhondt, Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse

Community Site: 
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse was founded in 1899 by Richard and Sarah Smith. The couple dedicated the site in the memory of their adult son, Stanfield. Smith was constructed to provide and promote unstructured free play opportunities for children. Parents and caregivers accompany children on visits to Smith and discover the importance of play in fostering their children’s health and well-being. The Smith staff consists of dedicated teachers and advocates for play and child development who partner with community-based organizations. Smith is a welcoming, safe and inclusive space that has remained a treasured play experience for generations. One of the community site’s most popular attractions is the century-old Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide, which countless children have enjoyed over the years. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student intern worked with hundreds of children at the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse over the course of the summer. She organized a variety of unstructured, creative play activities for the children to foster exploration, creativity and self-confidence. She also assisted with educational discussions with caregivers and teachers regarding the importance of play in developing critical social, behavioral and problem-solving skill sets in children. To promote healthy behaviors, the intern led health- and wellness-related educational discussions with children and their caregivers regarding cardiovascular, dental and mental health.

Intern Statements: 
Katelyn Fiehler: “My Bridging the Gaps experience made me feel more connected to the Philadelphia community through interacting with the children and caregivers that visit Smith and the staff that works so tirelessly for the site’s success. The Smith staff remains dedicated despite the obstacles they face on a daily basis as a nonprofit through adapting to new situations and community needs by drawing upon each other’s strengths and expertise. This summer at Smith opened my eyes to the fact that skill sets critical for healthy growth and development, such as learning how to successfully interact with others, stem from experiences gained through creative and unstructured play. I have really enjoyed working at this community treasure that has left a positive impact on generations of children and appreciate the opportunity to engage children and caregivers with creative ways to play and educate on healthy habits. My experiences at Smith will resonate with me throughout my career by increasing my understanding of the local community and fueling a desire for continued learning about its changing needs by helping me become a physician that effectively partners with patients and families.”

 

 

Connecting with the Youth at Patterson Summer Camp Through Mentorship and Education

Student Interns: 
Jaylen Davis, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing 
Anjali Patel, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Population Health 
Kimi Sharma, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine 
Kate Trieschman, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors: 
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College 
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing 
Brittany T. Watson, MS, VMD, PhD, DACVPM, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Lorraine Thomas, Operations Manager, Southwest Community Development Corporation

Community Site: 
The Southwest Community Development Corporation (SWCDC) is a community-oriented nonprofit organization in Southwest Philadelphia. Since 1987 the Southwest CDC has worked to improve the quality of life of the residents and to provide support to the community. It serves more than 75,000 residents through implementation and execution of programming focused on financial assistance, community outreach, ESL classes, job searching and more. Every summer, the SWCDC plans and organizes a free six-week summer camp for students in kindergarten through sixth grade at the John M. Patterson Elementary School. The day camp provides recreational and educational activities as well as weekly field trips to local Philadelphia establishments. 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; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
At the Patterson Summer Camp, the Bridging the Gaps student interns designed and executed an interactive curriculum to promote educational exploration and a healthy lifestyle among the students in kindergarten to sixth grade. The interns led health-related and STEM-based activities and discussions with the students that covered a variety of topics, including heat safety, first aid, oral and heart health, and animal and human anatomy. In an effort to underscore heart and oral health, the interns, in collaboration with the students, faculty and staff, developed a poster highlighting cardiovascular disease prevention and education. The interns also coordinated with the Penn Dental School to bring PennSmiles to the summer camp. Recognizing that the students are in their formative years, the interns aimed to create a space for support and mentorship while also supplementing and enhancing basic foundational knowledge in the arena of health, wellness and science.

Intern Statements:
Jaylen Davis: “This summer has been amazing beyond words. The highlight has been waking up and being able to see the bright, excited faces of our students every day, and my time at Patterson has definitely exceeded my expectations in every way. My experience has taught me to work effectively in interprofessional groups, while also utilizing individual strengths, as well as shown me how important and rewarding it is to create a safe, exciting space for kids to grow and learn.”

Anjali Patel: “After I graduate with my master’s in public health, I plan on working in a community setting as a health educator. Thus, working with the children at Patterson Summer Camp has given me insight as to what I want to do in the future. I am grateful to Bridging the Gaps for giving me this opportunity to work with children who, despite challenges in their lives, always have a smile on their face.”

Kimi Sharma: “As an aspiring veterinarian, I perplexed family, friends and peers when I enthusiastically responded to their questions about my plans for summer with 'working with kids.' The first few times, I was quick to follow up with 'No, not baby goats' and soon after revised my response to 'working with the most grateful, exceptionally intelligent and resilient youth of Southwest Philadelphia.' It was in the bustling halls of the John M. Patterson Elementary School that I recognized the true privilege it was to be learning from a powerful group of students. As I navigate my way through an unwavering desire to practice shelter medicine and work with low-income communities, my time at the Patterson Summer Camp has exponentially contributed to my growth as a healthcare professional. Through the challenges that come with curriculum planning and youth engagement, I learned adaptability. Through the robust relationships and steadfast trust formed with my students, I learned perspective and resilience. Through an occasional ‘unhappy camper’ and diffusion of benign conflict, I learned patience. Through interdisciplinary and community teamwork, I learned the power of collaboration and gained profound admiration and respect for my healthcare peers. Through Bridging the Gaps and my placement at the Patterson Summer Camp, I have identified and honed qualities that will allow me to thrive in and positively contribute to both my personal life and professional career.”

Kate Trieschman: “Working with the Southwest Community Development Corporation at their Patterson Summer Camp has been an incredible experience and will impact my career in years to come. After dental school, I would like to go into pediatric dentistry, working in a public health setting, and this summer has given me the opportunity to learn from the students at camp the best way to communicate health and STEM in a way that they will understand. Spending my summer getting to know the 80-plus students at Patterson, and helping them develop healthy habits and scientific inquiry, has been the most rewarding experience of my professional career to date.”

 

 

Spring Garden Academy

Student Interns: 
Kayla Mercado, Temple University, School of Nursing 
Nadia Stauffer, Temple University, School of Nursing
Maria Zeloyle, Temple University, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptor:
Providenza Loera Rocco, JD, MSW, MBE, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Se’Mona Camper-Williams, Out of School Director of Spring Garden Academy

Community Site: 
Spring Garden Academy (SGA) is a private Philadelphia Christian school, educating children in preschool through eighth grade. As a ministry of Next Generation Ministries, the school’s mission is to prepare the next generation of leaders for the urban family, church and community. SGA operates at two locations: 1801 Spring Garden Street and 3501 North 17th Street. 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 Bridging the Gaps student interns at Spring Garden Academy were responsible for planning, instructing and facilitating Healthy Hour workshops focused on weekly health topics. These topics included cardiovascular health, pulmonary health and smoking cessation, nutrition, physical activity, and oral health. Aside from the health education activities, the interns worked alongside the SGA staff as counselors and accompanied the campers on field trips and many other activities. Both areas of work created relationships between the campers and the BTG interns that were full of discipline, trust and positivity.

Intern Statements:
Dana Gramolini: “While I have had the opportunity to work with kids before, BTG gave me valuable experience communicating and interacting with children this summer. I got a lot of practice in showing empathy and patience, even if it was just by washing out a small cut and putting a Band-Aid on it. Just talking with kids is not always as easy as it might seem, and I have definitely improved in that regard. And while I do not plan on going into pediatrics specifically, I will inevitably have to take care of children at some point in my career, and I believe this summer gave me skills to do so effectively and compassionately.”

Kayla Mercado: “Having served at Spring Garden Academy during my BTG CHIP internship has resulted in a more holistic perspective of the Philadelphia community, which I am extremely grateful for. Professionally, my exposure to a younger population allows me to find it easier in being able to build relationships with patients who are alike, age-wise. More importantly, the true meaning of empathy and understanding has definitely been solidified through this experience. To see the world through a different pair of shoes, even if they’re smaller than your own, is crucial to seeing a different mind-set and how that relates to the words and actions of said individual. Overall, Spring Garden Academy has become a hallmark of this summer, and I hope the campers and staff continue to grow and flourish!”

Nadia Stauffer: “Bridging the Gaps helped me to expand on my knowledge of community health and what it means to spread health to a community. At Spring Garden Academy we got to help teach amazing kids different “healthy lifestyle hacks” as well as developing great relationships with them. The most rewarding part was just getting to know all the kids and see how they really grew to trust you and look forward to hanging out with you all day. The health lessons we did with the kids were also tons of fun because they were all very engaged and interested to learn about their bodies and how to keep them healthy. The Bridging the Gaps staff and Spring Garden staff were both so welcoming and helped to make this experience so worthwhile!”

Maria Zeloyle: “My experience with Bridging the Gaps at Spring Garden Academy was extremely positive. Not only was I able to improve my ability to explain health concepts, which is crucial for nurses, but I also solidified my previous interest in pediatric nursing. I found myself learning to enjoy the smaller moments spent with the children and learning how to become more patient with them. I am very grateful for my experience here this summer and hope to continue to visit SGA to maintain my connections with both the staff and campers.”

 

 

Turning Points for Children

Student Interns:
Evan Finger, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Aleena Raajpoot, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Pat Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Lilly Lugo, Turning Points for Children, Community Umbrella Agency 9

Community Site:
Turning Points is the leading social service agency in Philadelphia, supporting the needs of more than 9,000 men, women and children throughout the city. It offers programs that help families raise safe, healthy, educated children by partnering with caregivers to develop and strengthen protective qualities and offering them the tools, skills and resources needed to ensure their children’s optimal development. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Health Communication; Immunization; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with the well-being department at Turning Points for Children to ensure that the medical and dental records for the children were adequate and up to date, including contacting healthcare providers if access to health records was needed. The interns also worked with the visitation department, sitting in on visits between biological parents and their children in the foster care system in order to determine if reunification was a viable option. Toward the end of the internship, the interns helped organize a health awareness fair at Turning Points for Children, Community Umbrella Agency 9, focusing on smoking cessation, oral hygiene and cardiovascular health. 

Intern Statements:
Evan Finger: “My experience with BTG provided me with an appreciation towards the vulnerability of the population that Turning Points CUA 9 works with daily. It is heartbreaking to see children grow up without their biological parents and to see the parents who will do anything that they can to get their children back. The empathy I have garnered from my time at my site will only better prepare me to have a greater understanding for similar situations I may encounter with future patients. Having the opportunity to interact with other fellow healthcare students in the greater Philadelphia area has made my experience that much more memorable. The interdisciplinary approach that this program offers will only prove to be beneficial, as teamwork is essential for successful healthcare.”

Aleena Raajpoot: “My time at Turning Points for Children CUA 9 has given me insights into the workings of the foster care system. I have become more cognizant of the challenges that lie within the bureaucracy of the welfare system. Though there are many roadblocks in caring for the vulnerable children, the social workers and other dedicated workers strive ceaselessly to support the children. Their passion has inspired me to fight for those who need it the most.”

 

The Village of Arts and Humanities Summer

Student Intern: 
Faduma Hassan, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Michelle Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Community Preceptor:
Michael O’Bryan, The Village of Arts and Humanities

Community Site: 
The Village of Arts and Humanities aims to support the voices and aspirations of the community by providing opportunities for self-expression rooted in arts and culture. The Village inspires people to be agents of positive change through programs that encompass arts and culture, engage youth, revitalize community, preserve heritage and respect the environment. The Village of Arts and Humanities provides free arts classes to adults and youth in the community, offering a safe place to be expressive as well as providing local youth options for professional pursuits in the future. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student intern at The Village of Arts and Humanities developed bonds and close relationships with young campers each day though fun activities. The intern was responsible for helping create the morning and afternoon activities for campers and brainstorming thought-provoking themes to correspond with each week. During the first week, campers were encouraged to consider the ways in which social determinants of health affect health outcomes. The intern was responsible for organizing the presentation and encouraging participation from campers. During the weeks following, the intern worked with each class as an assistant.

Intern Statement: 
Faduma Hassan: “My experience at The Village of Arts and Humanities impacted my understanding of community and how essential it is for youth to feel a sense of belonging. Through shadowing staff at The Village, I developed tools I hope to use in my professional career as a physician. Staff members individualized interactions with campers and stressed the value of viewing youth as holistic beings who experience life differently. Students acquired knowledge regarding a variety of topics such as consent, acceptance, [and] self-worth as well as understanding the importance of autonomy. These are qualities and characteristics I feel are important for any career that involves human interaction, but especially in health-related careers. My time at this camp allowed me to learn, practice and apply virtues that cannot be taught in a classroom.”

 

 

Sowing the Seeds of Young Minds in South Philly

Student Interns: 
Vincent Lugrine, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing 
Tahina Mukit, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors: 
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Hannah Marshall, BSW, Aquinas Center Camp Director

Community Site: 
Located in South Philadelphia, the Aquinas Center was created and grown through the collaborative efforts of the parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and neighborhood partners. The Aquinas Center implements a variety of activities and programs, ranging from English as a second language (ESL) classes and yoga to the Green and Growing Summer Camp. The site caters to an extremely culturally diverse population, including Mexicans, Vietnamese, Colombians, Indonesians, Filipinos and African-Americans. 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 Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Aquinas Center assisted with the Green and Growing Summer Camp, an educational and extracurricular summer program for 50 children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The interns conducted the STEM and Wellness program block of the camp, which focused on a variety of topics associated with health and learning. The interns coordinated interactive projects to help promote knowledge of oral health, heart health, nutrition and mental health so that the kids could become more mindful when making decisions regarding their own health.

Intern Statements: 
Vincent Lugrine: “My experiences at the Aquinas Center have been truly memorable. I have enjoyed interacting with the passionate members of this community, and I hope they have learned as much from me in our short time together as I’ve learned from them. Bridging the Gaps has given me the opportunity to teach the children of this South Philadelphia community and provide them the resources they need to grow into healthy young adults. As a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, I am so proud to have played a small role in combating the health disparities that exist within our city. However, there is still much to be done, as this is just a small step on the journey to achieve health equity in Philadelphia and beyond.”

Tahina Mukit: “Working with the Aquinas Center allowed me to have meaningful connections with a community that I would have not had a chance to get to know in my dental studies. I am thankful for having the opportunity to engage with the young minds at the Aquinas Center and have the privilege of teaching them different skills regarding their mental and physical health. I hope to continue my work with the Aquinas Center after this summer. These moments working here confirmed my passion for community work.”

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Who Can You Turn to for Support?

Student Interns: 
Devin Barnaby, Drexel University College of Medicine 
Morgane Bulpin, Drexel University College of Medicine
Anna Fuchs, Drexel University College of Medicine
Javaun Porter, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor: 
Renee Kottenhahn, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Arlene Malcolm-Bell, PhD, Women Against Abuse
Maria Tate, BA, Women Against Abuse

Community Site: 
Women Against Abuse provides services to victims of domestic violence, including emergency housing for battered women and their children, legal services, hotline counseling, education and training, and advocacy. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked at the Women Against Abuse (WAA) Young Survivors eight-week summer camp. Along with building trusting relationships with the children, the interns planned activities and taught lessons on heart health, oral health, nutrition and body systems. In addition, the interns planned a visit to the Drexel University College of Medicine during career exploration week. The interns aided the WAA staff throughout camp with educational activities such as language arts and math and recreational activities such as field trips and outdoor recess.

Intern Statements: 
Devin Barnaby: “The BTG program site Women Against Abuse taught me more than I ever could have expected. I spent a summer teaching the most resilient, passionate and funny children, but I wound up learning more from them. Not everyone gets the opportunity to step directly into another’s perspective. I know this experience will positively impact my future.”

Morgane Bulpin: “This program was imperative to my understanding of the socioeconomic and environmental factors that impact access to life’s opportunities. Through this internship, I gained firsthand experience of the barriers affecting our community. Moving forward, these lessons will impact how I advocate for my future patients, and how I can more effectively work with my patients to benefit them, whatever their circumstances.”

Anna Fuchs: “BTG CHIP allowed me to connect with children that came from completely different environments from each other and from myself. The fact that we were individuals of different age, gender and socioeconomic background was not an obstacle to coming together every day and developing a special bond. It was amazing getting to know these kids, while also providing a distraction from the stress that they experience in their everyday lives.”

Javaun Porter: “I feel that this program will help me become a complete physician. In a way, I had gained some experience in patient advocacy and a better perspective of the socioeconomic barriers that affect my community members. Learning about the impacts that I can have as a student will motivate me to see how I can change my community as an attending in the future.”

 

 

Camp at Beckett Life Center

Student Interns: 
Meaghan Kennedy, Temple University, College of Public Health, Occupational Therapy Program
Chandni Patel, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptor: 
Providenza Loera Rocco, JD, MSW, MBE, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Carol Smith, Beckett Life Center

Community Site: 
The Beckett Life Center, a community center located in North Philadelphia, was founded through the collaborative effort of the Union Housing Development Corporation, Global Synergies, and Beckett Gardens, an apartment complex for low-income families. The goal of the center is to become a space where dedicated community advocates can support the North Philadelphia community in building personal and professional skills to overcome barriers to success. Beckett Life holds regular programs to create an atmosphere that supports and promotes the healthy growth of children and families. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Beckett Life Center held the position of coach during BLife summer camp. A coach position entails either overseeing a group of children throughout the summer camp, coordinating a group of adolescent coaches-in-training, or supervising adolescents involved in the WorkReady program. The interns facilitated activities through the lens of their respective programs (occupational therapy and pharmacy), while also including cardiovascular and oral health components. The interns placed strong emphasis on building relationships with the children, as many have experienced adverse childhood experiences.

Intern Statements: 
Meaghan Kennedy: “This experience as a Bridging the Gaps intern has greatly impacted my life both professionally and personally. My placement has deepened my motivation to work with children in underserved neighborhoods who may be experiencing trauma. I will carry with me the relationships I have built with the children, and they will continue to motivate me to gain the knowledge and experience to create lasting impacts throughout my career.”
 
Chandni Patel: “My experience at Bridging the Gaps this summer was unexpected but great. Starting this summer and finding out my role as a summer camp counselor I did not expect to make a connection with some of the kids like I have in such a short period of time. This experience opened my eyes to the impact I can have in a child’s life, and I will continue to use this experience and what I have learned throughout the rest of my pharmacy school career. My experience with the kids at Beckett Life Center has really pushed my abilities and [desire] to speak and work with kids in a way I can help shape their lives. I hope the kids can remember the memories we shared and can go on and make more positive memories with others.”

 

 

Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle Among Youth in Kensington

Student Intern: 
Samantha Russell, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptors: 
Robert Dustin, MA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Meshonea Fox, BA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Lakisha Bullock, Community Center at Visitation
Ieisha Patterson, Community Center at Visitation 
Sister Betty Scanlon, MBA, Community Center at Visitation

Community Site: 
The Community Center at Visitation (CCV) is a nonprofit organization located in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. CCV serves a diverse area and provides a destination for community members to learn, grow and develop into responsible citizens. It provides a variety of regular events and services for the community, including a weekly food pantry, open gym hours, English as a second language (ESL) courses, community dinners and youth empowerment programs. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project: 
The Community Center at Visitation (CCV) holds a six-week Summer Art Camp each year for children aged 9 to 13, led by Bridging the Gaps student interns and junior counselors. Camp activities in 2018 included fitness games in the indoor gymnasium and outdoor playground, art projects and board games. Biweekly art sessions led by a visiting art instructor included sewing tote bags, printmaking and painting portraits. Campers additionally participated in weekly field trips to the community swimming pool, public library, and bowling alley, and finished with a scavenger hunt at the Franklin Institute. All campers were provided with a balanced breakfast and lunch to supplement educational activities promoting cardiovascular and oral health. CCV Summer Art Camp provided a safe, healthy and fun environment for children in Kensington.

Intern Statement: 
Samantha Russell: “Working at the Community Center at Visitation and interacting with the staff members and families has been such a rewarding experience. I’ve never been to the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, and seeing the challenges faced by the residents there really made me appreciate the ‘beacon of hope’ that the CCV provides its community. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to this organization and will always remember to be empathetic towards the different backgrounds and obstacles faced by my future patients.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bridging The Gaps

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

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