Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2019

Community Health (including HIV/AIDS)

 

Healthy Living at the Community Learning Center

Student Interns: 
Naun (Kelly) Kim, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Sylvana Sawires, 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:
Stephen Brown, Outreach Coordinator, Community Learning Center

Community Site: 
Community Learning Center (CLC) is an adult literacy nonprofit organization that serves low-income adults in Philadelphia. Since 1987, CLC has been providing free high school equivalency, workforce development and English as a second language classes to low-income adults who want to better their lives through education and employment. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health; Tobacco Use.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Community Learning Center (CLC) implemented three different workshops centering around cardiovascular health, oral hygiene and mental health. The heart health workshop featured an interactive presentation on ways to manage blood pressure, identify signs and symptoms of strokes, and quit smoking, and on how to read nutrition labels. The oral hygiene workshop presented ways to manage teeth and gums through proper brushing and flossing, on how nutrition and timing components can affect oral health overall, on the impact of smoking on oral health, and on ways to access dental care in the community. The mental health workshop went over ways to reduce stress and test-taking anxiety and covered various ways to practice mindfulness, especially concerning the GED or HiSET exams, which the students at CLC were on the road to taking.

Intern Statements: 
Kelly Kim: “Through this incredible opportunity interning at the CLC, I have realized the importance of providing adults with access to basic education. Higher education not only can improve health literacy, but can also provide opportunities to access more resources that can directly affect the quality and longevity of our lives. Planning and implementing the workshops also revealed the tremendous impact health education can have on improving the health of an entire community.”

Sylvana Sawires: “I have had the chance to live in the amazing city of Philadelphia for a number of years, but never really had the opportunity to serve the community and give back. CLC gave me a chance for just that. Through this experience I was able to work within North and West Philadelphia to help enrich the education of the adults, meanwhile learning their personal stories as to why a high school diploma was so important to them. CLC has truly humbled me and helped me make a greater connection to this city and the community of which I am also a part.”

 

Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS)

Student Interns: 
Dakota Baeringer, Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Joseph Fitzsimmons, Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Academic Preceptor:
Susan Brooks, JD, Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Community Preceptor:
Erick Barragan Ramirez, Esperanza Immigration Legal Services

Community Site: 
Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) was formed in 2009 with the mission to provide direct legal services, advocacy and community education for underserved immigrants and their families so they have the opportunity to contribute to and participate in American society. EILS provides legal services to low-income immigrants and their families, including self-petitions for victims of domestic violence, special visas for unaccompanied minors, green card applications, family petitions and naturalization applications. EILS offers workshops in English and Spanish on topics such as financial literacy, debunking common immigration myths and preparation for emergency situations. EILS also conducts citizenship classes to prepare eligible candidates for the citizenship exam. 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.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) screened potential clients to determine whether they qualified for the legal services Esperanza provides. If the clients passed the screening, the interns reviewed the citizenship requirements with them and helped them fill out their citizenship applications. The interns also helped screen clients to determine whether they had the necessary English skills to participate in Esperanza’s citizenship class. The interns participated in CASAS training and became certified to administer and grade English tests. They then supervised and graded the clients’ CASAS evaluations and pre-tests, which were used to evaluate the English skills of the clients in the citizenship class. The interns then created a class list, which showed each individual client’s citizenship status, English level and other required personal information.

Intern Statements:
Dakota Baeringer: “My summer at Esperanza was a great first summer as a law student. Academically, Esperanza has prepared me for my classes in the fall, including Immigration Law, Intermediate Spanish for Lawyers, and Administrative Law. My Spanish improved, hearing coworkers converse in Spanish as well as working with Spanish-speaking clients. My understanding of organizations grew, and I am excited to continue to learn about their importance in administrative law. Professionally, I’ve made connections with not only people at Esperanza but nonprofits like CEIBA and HIAS. Esperanza has shown me the landscape of nonprofit work in Philadelphia, including the interconnectivity and symbiotic reliance of various nonprofit groups. As an Esperanza intern, I had one-on-one interactions with clients as well as the background paperwork and filing that goes along with immigration applications. Terms I was familiar with before — ‘refugee,’ ‘asylee’ — have taken on new meanings as unique legal statuses with accompanying, varying bundles of rights. In all, Esperanza has broadened my awareness of the interactions between government, laws, law enforcement and people in the context of immigration.”

Joe Fitzsimmons: “My internship at Esperanza has had a positive impact on both my personal and professional development. Professionally, I have gained quality experience with client intake, with which I previously had no experience. As an attorney, it is essential to be skilled in initial meetings with clients because the attorney must discern the important information and determine whether services will be provided to the client. This internship has helped develop these skills because I am often dealing with multiple initial client meetings on a daily basis. Further, my internship at Esperanza has helped my personal development because I worked with mostly clients that did not speak English. This forced me to be patient when meeting with clients and also inspired me to learn some Spanish and enroll in a Spanish for Lawyers class this upcoming semester. Learning Spanish is a skill that will be beneficial in both my personal and professional life.”

 

 

Rediscovering Resilience Through Refugee Advocacy

Student Interns: 
Anitra Persaud, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Laurel Yan, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 
Rachael Truchil, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Rona Buchalter, PhD, Refugee Resettlement Program, HIAS Pennsylvania

Community Site: 
HIAS Pennsylvania works to resettle, reunite and represent immigrants and refugees of limited means residing in the Delaware Valley. The agency seeks the fair treatment and integration into American society of immigrants from all backgrounds. Through the Philadelphia Refugee Health Collaborative, HIAS Pennsylvania has a partnership with Penn Center for Primary Care and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Maternal, Infant and Child Health.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with the health coordinator in the reception and placement team within the Refugee Resettlement Program of HIAS PA. Although families arrived from many countries, the interns assisted refugee families primarily from Ukraine, Russia, Afghanistan, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The interns supported families by helping them obtain access to insurance and public medical benefits, including routine checkups, immunizations, standard treatment for short-term conditions and treatment for chronic/pre-existing conditions. They also supported refugee families in registering for school and ESL classes, and in improving their transportation and health literacy through accompaniments. Finally, the interns used their medical and dental backgrounds to create educational health resources for both refugees and future healthcare providers, resources that the agency will be able to use in the long run.

Intern Statements: 
Anitra Persaud: “Given the increasing intolerance and unwelcoming demeanor towards refugees and asylum seekers, working with HIAS has been an incredible opportunity to push back against this toxic culture. This organization has renewed my hope because they serve as an exemplar of what it means to practice holistic advocacy rooted in respect and humility. Even though the team is small, the amount of diligence, compassion and heart they put into the work they do for their clients is extraordinary. They truly move mountains. Getting a glimpse into the Herculean efforts that go into helping their clients — securing housing, providing access to healthcare, obtaining state identification cards/driver’s licenses, enrolling kids in school, finding them employment, etc. — despite innumerable obstacles and political constraints, has inspired me and given me a new perspective that will undoubtedly inform the way I practice medicine.”

Laurel Yan: “Working with HIAS PA was such an eye-opening experience; I’ve learned so much about the refugee and asylee journey and the current administration’s impact on the process. However, even with increasing limitations to resources like access to funding and medical/housing benefits, the Refugee Resettlement Program tirelessly continues to offer a support system for refugees and asylees. The agency has such an effective system for helping its clients adjust to a new country. Furthermore, I was inspired not only by the agency’s ability to coordinate so many moving parts, but also the resilience of the clients and how they were able to learn a great deal in so little time. I am very grateful to HIAS PA and Bridging the Gaps to have been able to contribute to refugee resettlement efforts and work with so many families this summer.”

 

 

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities

Student Interns: 
Camellia Dang, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Emmaline Schafer, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

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

Community Preceptors:
Nikola Boskovic, Jane Addams Place, Lutheran Settlement House
Carolina Klug, Senior Center, Lutheran Settlement House

Community Site: 
Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) is a nonprofit, community-based organization in Fishtown and North Philadelphia that is committed to serving children, older adults and families through an integrated program of social, educational and advocacy services. LSH provides services such as support for victims of domestic violence, a homeless shelter, adult literacy/employment programs, anti-hunger efforts and senior services, with the larger goal of empowering individuals and communities to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Jane Addams Place led interactive health education seminars for children aged 3 to 18 on cardiovascular health/nutrition and exercise, oral health and mental health/wellness. They also promoted and accompanied social events/field trips and gathered donations for families at the shelter. At the senior center, the interns sorted and distributed food pantry and fresh produce items to community members and assisted in the distribution of produce vouchers to eligible seniors to be used at local farmers markets in Philadelphia.

Intern Statements: 
Camellia Dang: “Bridging the Gaps has transformed the way that I view my role as a nurse, and my ability to serve and take care of people in a meaningful way. Understanding the healthcare challenges that a community may face has also helped me to consider creative solutions to foster resilience and promote equity. This program has challenged me to think about my own upbringing and background, and how that may influence the care that I provide. BTG has helped me to develop a much more thoughtful and holistic definition of ‘health.’”

Emmaline Schafer: “Participating in Bridging the Gaps taught me a lot about the barriers that people of all ages and backgrounds face in order to access healthcare and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being at two different locations for our internship exposed me to very different populations that have very different healthcare needs. Seeing firsthand the different obstacles that people commonly face has taught me how to treat my patients in a more effective way and will help me to better help them overcome the healthcare barriers that they face.”

 
 
 
 

Determining the Oral Health and Social Determinants of Health Needs of MANNA's Clients to Help Bridge the Gap Between Nutrition and Chronic Illness

Student Interns: 
Diya Sabrina Chandra, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 
Rebecca Gallahue, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice

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

Community Preceptor:
Jule Anne Henstenburg, PhD, RD, LDN, FAND, Research and Evaluation, MANNA

Community Site: 
MANNA provides medically tailored meals and nutrition education to people with chronic illnesses to help them nourish their bodies and improve their health and quality of life. With the work of volunteers, chefs, dietitians and drivers, MANNA has been nourishing its clients at no cost since 1990. Through the power of nutrition and education, MANNA serves numerous clients across Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns developed and administered a phone survey on oral health and the social determinants of health as a pilot project to help MANNA better understand the needs and daily living experiences of its clients. The interns created resource lists in English and Spanish of free and low-cost dental clinics, transportation services, utility bill assistance services, SNAP assistance services, and free and low-cost cooking supply services, and mailed these lists to clients based on their responses to the survey. The interns contributed to MANNA’s annual satisfaction survey by designing a section asking clients how much of the foods in their MANNA meals they were consuming. The interns also created weekly nutrition tip sheets focusing on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet to provide MANNA’s clients with some heart-healthy tips and recipes. In addition, the interns improved the Flesch-Kincaid reading-ease score of a food access resource list, making it more accessible to clients reading at lower grade levels. The interns volunteered in the MANNA kitchen with other volunteers and chefs, helping to package meals, and they assisted with meal delivery by accompanying staff delivery drivers on their routes. 

Intern Statements:
Diya Sabrina Chandra: “It has been a huge privilege being a part of a team that is passionate about caring for its clients through nutrition and education. To watch firsthand the power food possesses and the impact of medically tailored meals has been incredibly inspiring. I’ve really enjoyed interacting with clients and conducting surveys and creating educational materials to help MANNA and its clients. I hope to always highlight the importance of nutrition in my future career as a dentist.”

Rebecca Gallahue: “I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful nonprofit that operates with intentionality. MANNA has shown me how medically tailored meals and nutrition counseling can have a dramatic impact on physical and emotional health outcomes for those experiencing chronic illnesses. I feel immensely fortunate to have learned program evaluation and development skills that I will certainly use in my future social work endeavors.”

 

 

LGBTQ+ Health in Philadelphia

Student Interns: 
Peri Levey, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Brittany MacDonald, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, MCHES, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College 
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
James D. Plumb, MD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Community Preceptor:
Andrew Gudzelak Jr., Data Evaluation Manager, Mazzoni Center

Community Site: 
The Mazzoni Center is a healthcare provider in the Philadelphia region specifically targeting the healthcare needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The Mazzoni Center combines HIV/AIDS-related services with a broad continuum of healthcare and supportive services, including outreach, prevention, education, direct medical care, case management, behavioral health services, legal services, a food bank, gender-affirming care and support groups. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Health Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; HIV; Preparedness.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns engaged with various departments at the Mazzoni Center. Their main project was to work with their community preceptor in piloting a social determinants of health (SDOH) screening for patients with particular types of Medicaid and Medicare insurances. When patients screened positive, the interns provided the patients with resources related to their social needs. This project involved collaboration with various professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, case managers and social workers. The interns also shadowed various providers during patient encounters. Last, the interns assisted their community preceptor with reviewing patient charts in the electronic medical record in order to consolidate data for annual clinic reports.

Intern Statements: 
Peri Levey: “During my summer at the Mazzoni Center, I was given the opportunity to learn more about the intricacies of taking care of members of the LGBTQ+ community than I imagine I ever could have with a lecture or textbook alone. Through performing social determinants of health screenings, I was able to both learn about the struggles that members of the LGBTQ+ community and the Philadelphia community as a whole are facing, as well as give patients tangible resources to try to alleviate some of those struggles as best as I could. Additionally, working in this setting gave me several tools that I can use in the future to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and to create inclusive environments to ensure that no one feels excluded when seeking care. This experience is one that I expect will continue to have a positive impact on my future career choices and interactions with patients, and I am very grateful to have been placed here for my Bridging the Gaps experience.”

Brittany MacDonald: “Through my time at the Mazzoni Center, I had the privilege of learning more about the highs and lows that people in the LGBTQ+ community face within society and the medical field. The patients I met at Mazzoni were kind enough to share their experiences with me while I did my best to provide them with any social resources they needed. I will carry their stories with me through the remainder of my career and do my best to ensure that this community feels as safe as possible both in and out of the healthcare system.”

 

 

Providing Health and Support for Women and Children Experiencing Homelessness

Student Interns: 
Rosemary Iriowen, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Population Health
Samantha Morse, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences

Academic Preceptors:
Stephen B. Kern, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences
Katherine Puskarz, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Population Health

Community Preceptors:
Kate Baumgardner, MSW, Visitation Homes
Nicole Wakeman, MSW, Mercy Hospice

Community Site: 
Mercy Hospice is an emergency shelter facility that serves and provides support for mothers with children and single women who are in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. It was founded in 1976 in Philadelphia by the Sisters of Mercy order and currently has 48 beds. In addition to providing shelter, it renders other multifaceted services, including on-site case management, referrals to off-site treatment programs and parenting education, and provides life-skills training opportunities.

Visitation Homes is a transitional shelter facility that serves as a bridge to permanent housing for its clients. It offers 18 fully furnished subsidized apartment spaces to homeless mothers with children. On-site case management services support clients in eventually attaining self-sufficiency and capabilities for independent living in their permanent homes. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns’ overall goal was to promote health and well-being through community engagement activities while providing access to community resources. Activities included a tour of the local grocery store with the store’s in-house nutritionist and a guided tour of the nearby YMCA to promote health via exercise and increased physical activity. The interns provided Zumba classes and oral health programs, including providing oral health supplies to the mothers and their children. The interns cleared and cleaned out an abandoned outdoor play area that now serves as a playground for kids and a relaxation spot for the moms. The interns also cleaned out and organized the indoor Bright Space area, which serves kids from infancy through childhood.

Intern Statement: 
Rosemary Iriowen: “In the classroom, I have learned about homelessness and the many issues that surround it. Through the Bridging the Gaps program at Visitation Homes and Mercy Hospice, I had the opportunity to serve, educate, eat, laugh, dance and play with the women and children battling this challenge. I felt great impact witnessing their courage and hope. I witnessed the cycle of recovery, resulting in some moving on to permanent housing support and others lapsing back into rehab from recovery. The experience has caused me to feel passionate regarding the public health issues of homelessness and addiction.”
 
Samantha Morse: “Working at Mercy Hospice and Visitation Homes has exposed me to the many critical issues people of Philadelphia are experiencing today. I learned about the impact of trauma, homelessness and substance abuse disorder, while witnessing the amazing strength and perseverance of the women and children who are exposed to such hardships. Whether it was through cooking, eating, playing or dancing together, I was able to have the amazing privilege of hearing their stories and getting to know them. Working with the passionate staff at these sites not only provided me with an exceptional example of what it means to be of service to your community, but also gave me hope that there will always be good in the world, when there are good people fighting for it.”

 

 

Arts as Harm Reduction and Healing

Student Interns: 
Megan Dickinson, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy 
Tracey Kim, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Maria Isabel DiSciullo, MS, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Pamela Draper, MMT, MTBC, Mural Arts Porch Light Program – Kensington Storefront
Melissa Fogg, MSW, Mural Arts Porch Light Program – Southeast by Southeast

Community Site: 
Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light Program, a joint collaboration with the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, focuses on achieving universal health and wellness among Philadelphians by offering opportunities to contribute to meaningful works of public art. The Southeast by Southeast storefront is a welcoming and supportive space for the surrounding community of immigrant and refugee families. The Kensington Storefront serves as a workshop for visiting artists, a safe space for neighbors and a learning hub for anyone interested in art making, personal and public safety, or self-care. Both storefronts create opportunities for community members to speak for themselves and find access to much-needed social services and referrals to outside organizations. 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; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Mural Arts Porch Light Program worked alongside teaching artists, community volunteers and advocates to facilitate art-making experiences for community members. The interns worked independently on projects of interest, such as researching possible initiatives to address the limited number of public bathrooms available in Kensington and running a community music group, which included active music making and song sharing. Collaboratively, the interns developed family reading and music groups tailored to each site’s specific population and needs. The interns also helped facilitate access to dental and menstrual hygiene products through partnerships within the Bridging the Gaps program.

Intern Statements:
Megan Diane Dickinson: “Working with Porch Light has been my first experience fully immersed in community programming. These sites are truly responsive to the needs of their community, always making connections and implementing new programs and services. I was so impressed by the dedication and authenticity of the staff and volunteers, and inspired by the leadership styles of my supervisors, Pamela and Melissa, who are both experts in making everyone around them feel valued. By following their example, I was able to engage with the community members much more easily from a place of welcoming them exactly as they are. As I continue developing this skill, I feel confident that I will be better prepared to develop positive therapeutic relationships with a diverse client population in my future clinical practice or community engagement.”

Tracey Kim: “Throughout this internship, I've taken off the professional and academic hats I'm comfortable wearing to meet people at the level of mere humanity. Because Mural Arts uniquely has strong networks with the city and other organizations, I was afforded the opportunity to observe and hear from the communities while being present in their spaces, and then create products based on these learned needs. Assisting an interdisciplinary team of professionals and community advocates has been for me a valuable way to spend my summer, and I'm glad to have interacted with populations I will one day serve.”

 

 

Promoting Health and Wellness for Philadelphia's Immigrants

Student Intern: 
Avery Martin, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy

Academic Preceptor:
Stephen B. Kern, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences,

Occupational Therapy

Community Preceptor:
Christina Kubica, MSW, Nationalities Service Center

Community Site: 
The Nationalities Service Center (NSC), located in Center City, assists with an array of resettlement services, including housing, healthcare, employment, survivor services, English literacy and legal counseling for immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia area. NSC works in partnership with Thomas Jefferson University’s Family Medicine Department and other city health clinics. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Disabilities Conditions; Health Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Preparedness.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student intern at Nationalities Service Center (NSC) worked with the INSPIRE case management team to strengthen access to services for refugee clients. The intern developed a curriculum on women’s health and menstrual hygiene for a weekly youth group. They led weekly health orientations for newly arrived refugees and conducted client escorts and home visits to ensure quality of care and consistent health communication with clients. The intern built client capacity for health-related community mobility through education, resources and individualized assistance.

Intern Statements:
Avery Martin: “My experience with NSC contributed to my development personally and professionally by strengthening my ability to understand and advocate for vulnerable populations within the healthcare system. With NSC, I learned about the refugee resettlement processes and the many challenges faced by immigrants coming to the United States. In particular, I learned about the challenges of access to our healthcare system, and the difficulties with health literacy and navigation faced by such clients. NSC strengthened my ability to support clients to overcome these obstacles by deepening my knowledge of local health resources and heightening my ability to provide culturally sensitive care. Serving these clients is a privilege, and my exposure will undoubtedly be instrumental for me as an advocate of equity, inclusion and accessibility in my practicing field and beyond.”

 

 

Home Again — Helping People Who Inject Drugs Reintegrate Into Their Community

Student Interns: 
Joshua Malerich, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Lily Segal, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College 

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, MCHES, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
James Plumb, MD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College 
Lara Weinstein, MD, DPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College 

Community Preceptor:
Matt Tice, LCSW, Pathways to Housing PA 

Community Site: 
The mission of Pathways to Housing PA is to end chronic homelessness by providing housing for their participants, with no requirement for drug abstinence. Their evidence-based approach integrates multidisciplinary teams to assist clients with reintegrating into their communities, as well as with setting and accomplishing personal goals related to substance use, other health concerns and overall life stability. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; HIV; Mental Health; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns were involved in a variety of roles, including street and hospital outreach, quality assessment of existing programs, and facilitating the development of a hepatitis C treatment program at Pathways. Building relationships within the community is essential for the work Pathways does. The interns shadowed team members to build community ties and, toward the end of the summer, met and advocated for clients in the community and hospitals. In conjunction with Pathways’ existing interdisciplinary approach, they attended and participated in team rounds where they discussed different participants and their needs. In addition, they helped to facilitate Pathways’ role in the treatment of hepatitis C and helped patients progress along the hepatitis C treatment cascade.

Intern Statements:
Joshua Malerich: “My experience with Pathways provided a vivid window into the struggle that people who inject drugs experience on a daily basis. Walking the streets of Kensington and visiting our clients in the hospital opened my eyes to these individuals, who are the true face of the opiate crisis. Our healthcare system needs thoughtful physicians who are able to provide compassionate care to patients frequently mistreated by the medical system. My summer at Pathways has underscored the important role of a physician as a nonjudgmental advocate, equipped with the knowledge to make a difference in each patient they see.” 

Lily Segal: “This summer has been incredibly eye-opening and meaningful. I have a better understanding of what it means to be experiencing an addiction and how the stigma around this population often leads to mistreatment. I have become very passionate about being an advocate for this population by virtue of hearing patients’ stories about engaging with the healthcare system and witnessing these disparities firsthand. The importance of a harm reduction mind-set is something that could benefit our hospitals and prevent so many patients from leaving and therefore not receiving the care that they need. I have learned so much about addiction and MAT. Because of my summer at Pathways, I know that I will be a more thoughtful and advocacy-minded physician in the future.”

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Changing the Dialogue on Drugs — Harm Reduction in Philadelphia

Student Intern: 
Leila Hilal, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Maya Bass, MD, MA, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Allison Herens, LSW, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Community Site: 
The Opioid Surveillance, Epidemiology and Prevention Program at the Philadelphia Health Department works to increase services, education, prevention and response around opioid use and overdose. The program seeks to devise citywide solutions to prevent overdose deaths and mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis in communities all over Philadelphia. This encompasses a number of tasks, including epidemiological monitoring of crisis severity, working with other city agencies to coordinate services for treatment and overdose prevention, facilitating overdose reversal trainings all over the city, working with and providing resources to community-based organizations fighting the overdose crisis, and implementing harm reduction initiatives including naloxone distribution and fentanyl testing. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; HIV; Preparedness; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
The student intern worked in the Office of the Commissioner in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and in the field in South and Northeast Philadelphia. She created overdose-prevention education packages with Narcan to hand out to the community during Narcan Distribution Days and at World Refugee Day. The intern called local pharmacies throughout Philadelphia to educate pharmacists about Pennsylvania’s standing order that allows the public to access naloxone (Narcan). This outreach allowed for updated and improved statistics on Narcan availability in pharmacies throughout Philadelphia. In addition, she created and conducted needs-assessment surveys in South Philadelphia about the community’s perspective on harm reduction and how it can best be implemented. Finally, the intern counted syringes in South Philadelphia, checked local syringe disposal boxes and distributed fliers for Narcan Distribution Days.

Intern Statement: 
Leila Hilal: “My BTG CHIP experience has opened my eyes to how stigma can affect someone’s ability to access basic healthcare, and how trauma can control the outcomes of an individual’s emotional and physical well-being. I also learned that there are incredibly passionate people who are working tirelessly to help those in our society who need someone to advocate for them. I was humbled to be part of this dedicated group of individuals and to have been shown how to take a personal passion of wanting to help others and translate that to daily forms of advocacy.”

 

 

Patient Advocacy: Improving Prescription Access in Diverse Communities

Student Interns: 
Kechimere Iwuchukwu, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing 
Rachael Kubeldis, Drexel University College of Medicine 
Marc Hem Lee, Drexel University College of Medicine 
Waneeza Mughees, Drexel University College of Medicine 
Sachin Parikh, Drexel University College of Medicine 
Winnie Rao, Drexel University College of Medicine 
Monica Woloshin, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptors:
Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine 
Mary M. Hess, PharmD, FASHP, FCCM, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Pharmacy
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Caitlynn Quinn, BA, Philadelphia Department of Public Health Ambulatory Health Services

Community Site: 
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health aims to improve health outcomes in the city through the establishment of eight community health centers, which have proved to be indispensable resources for Philadelphia’s most vulnerable populations. Regardless of insurance status or income, the health centers provide a wide range of primary care, preventive care and public health services for patients of all ages, including adult and pediatric medicine, dental clinic, prenatal services, HIV clinic and family planning. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Chronic Disease; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; HIV.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns working with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health Ambulatory Health Services advocated for a diverse community of uninsured or underinsured low-income patients by completing applications to drug companies for free medications in the Prescription Assistance Program. They were also responsible for receiving, dispensing and properly documenting medications, as well as procuring prescription discount cards for patients when free medication was unattainable. Additionally, the interns administered satisfaction surveys to patients for medical services in a variety of areas. Some interns had the opportunity to work with the New Eyes program provide low-income patients with free eyeglasses.

Intern Statements:
Kechimere Iwuchukwu: “My experience at Health Center #4 with the Prescription Assistance Program was positive and eye-opening. It gave me the opportunity to truly understand the public health sphere outside the clinical world. I enjoyed the chance to work with the Philadelphia community and truly see the difference that I was making in their lives. Hearing about all their individual life experiences was humbling, but also reinforced my wish to work in healthcare. However, now I have an interest in the public health avenue for nursing.”

Rachael Kubeldis: “Working in the Prescription Assistance Program at Strawberry Mansion showed me the wide variety of life circumstances which can prevent a patient from being able to access their medications. It was rewarding to introduce struggling patients to the PAP program and guide them through the complicated applications to get vital prescriptions. After seeing how important this program is to maintaining the health of the residents of Strawberry Mansion, I hope that I can influence healthcare facilities I work at in the future to incorporate PAP into their services. This summer, I learned that medication nonadherence is usually not the patient’s choice, and being armed with this knowledge will help me to be a more compassionate and effective physician in the future.”

Marc Hem Lee: “The word ‘advocacy’ comes primarily from Latin ‘to call’, but its most recent origins are from the French word ‘avocat,’ meaning ‘lawyer.’ In many ways, this most closely describes the work that I committed to this summer with the Patient Assistance Program. Much like the law, healthcare is a system based on precedent and policy, and any system is inherently built for people who know how to work and navigate through it; in this instance I used my knowledge of the system in the service of my patients. Offsetting the potentially incapacitating cost of their medication often required that I defend their applications on the phone, follow up to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable, and ensure as often as I could a favorable outcome for my patients. I also considered ways in which this program could be expanded to other institutions beyond the health center and am in active discussion with institutional stakeholders to assess feasibility.”

Waneeza Mughees: “My experience at the Patient Assistance Program was impactful in showing me a colorful range of human beings from all backgrounds and many different needs. It taught me about new resources that I’m able to provide patients now as well as my future patients. It taught me the true meaning of social determinants of health as I got to work with patients who didn’t speak English, patients who were experiencing homelessness, patients who are recovering from drug addiction and many more. This experience taught me the challenges of health literacy as I faced patients who could barely understand what their medications did and could solely communicate which organ system it was for, frequently through an interpreter. This experience has taught me the challenges patients face in receiving their medication and remaining adherent. It’ll make me a more compassionate and helpful physician by allowing me to better understand patients’ individual situations and provide them the proper support to truly better their health.” 

Sachin Parikh: “As a patient advocate working in the Patient Assistance Program at Health Center #3, I learned a great deal about social determinants of health, health disparities and barriers to access healthcare. My experience as an advocate has been by far my favorite role, as I was able to directly engage with patients and obtain expensive prescription medications at little to no cost to the patient. From a personal standpoint, this experience has been quite humbling and rewarding to be able to contribute in a small way to an underserved population in Philadelphia. In my future career as a physician, I will always hold close the lessons I have learned about patient and health advocacy. I hope this experience will not only make me a more compassionate physician, but also one that is more cognizant of health inequity present within society.”

Winnie Rao: “This experience taught me the resources that are available to provide medications at no or little cost to patients who are uninsured or underinsured. I have also learned the limitations of these programs and the different patient populations it can exclude. This experience has taught me how to become a better advocate for my patients in the future.”

Monica Woloshin: “From my patient assistance role, I felt that I was an integral part of that patient’s journey to affordable medication, along with the physicians and nurse practitioner. As a pharmacy student, I know about the efficacy and safety of medications; however, the BTG CHIP internship showed me that I was unaware of the high cost of some medications. Ultimately, I will use this experience to teach my classmates, and future pharmacists, how to get reasonably priced medications for [their] patients that struggle affording medication. Lastly, from this program, I saw the many barriers that prevent a patient from getting medication. I’m glad I can help break some of these barriers, like medication cost and lack of pharmacy insurance, with my knowledge from pharmaceutical prescription assistance programs.”

 

Philadelphia FIGHT: A Comprehensive Approach to Healthcare Delivery

Student Interns: 
Emily Webster, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Megan Zimbelman, 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:
Chip Alfred, Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers

Community Site: 
Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers is a comprehensive HIV Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located in the heart of Philadelphia. FIGHT provides culturally competent comprehensive primary care and state-of-the-art HIV primary care to low-income members of the community, along with research, consumer education, advocacy, social services and outreach to people living with HIV and those who are at high risk (including family members, communities with high rates of HIV, formerly incarcerated people and young people at risk), and access to the most advanced clinical research in HIV treatment and prevention. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Health Communication; HIV; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
Each summer, Philadelphia FIGHT relies on Bridging the Gaps student interns to conduct the annual client satisfaction survey, which provides information on the successes of current programs and guides the areas of improvement. The interns spent time at each of the programs at FIGHT to develop and administer these surveys, including the Jonathan Lax Treatment Center, Diana Baldwin Mental Health Clinic, TREE Intensive Outpatient Program, Youth Health Empowerment Program (Y-HEP) Health Center, FIGHT Pediatrics, FIGHT Family Dentistry, Institute for Community Justice (ICJ) and Jonathan Bell Health Center. In addition to the annual survey, the interns took part in various FIGHT-related events. For example, FIGHT hosted “Heppy Hour: A Mocktail Fundraiser” to support FIGHT’s Viral Hepatitis Program. Interns were responsible for the setup, registration, silent auction and food service for the event. In addition, the interns played a role in the FIGHT Stories Project. They interviewed three clients, dictated and edited the stories, and facilitated photo shoots to create the FIGHT Stories posters, which line the walls of FIGHT.

Intern Statements: 
Emily Webster: “Working at Philadelphia FIGHT allowed me to firsthand see how a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is operated. I was immersed into a patient population that I had not previously worked with before and knew minimal information about. Being able to make a positive contribution, while also gaining knowledge about this underserved community, has been a valuable and eye-opening experience. Interacting with patients and providers of FIGHT has inspired me to be an advocate for my patients in the future as a healthcare provider. I will strive to provide care and health education for my patients in spite of challenging obstacles.”

Megan Zimbelman: “My immersive internship at Philadelphia FIGHT exposed barriers that impede vulnerable populations from receiving the quality of care that they deserve. By listening to patients’ stories, engaging with FIGHT staff and working in an interdisciplinary team, I fostered a tool kit of ways to decrease stigma and build health literacy. Within my future dental practice, my intention is to utilize these skills to foster an inclusive, welcoming environment, so that all my patients, regardless of their history, feel dignified, valued and seen.”

 

 

Seeing the Difference at FIGHT

Student Interns: 
Marcus Junus, Drexel University College of Medicine
Varsha Kripalu, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Emily Mapelli, Drexel University College of Medicine
Matty Zimmerman, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, MCHES, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Theodore Corbin, MD, MPP, Drexel University College of Medicine 
Mary M. Hess, PharmD, FASHP, FCCM, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Pharmacy
James D. Plumb, MD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Community Preceptors:
Mario Cruz Jr., MD, Philadelphia FIGHT
Lora Magaldi, MS, C a Difference at Philadelphia FIGHT
Melanie McCoy, PharmD, Philadelphia FIGHT
Ricardo Rivera, C a Difference at Philadelphia FIGHT
Nabori Rosario, C a Difference at Philadelphia FIGHT

Community Site: 
C a Difference is a comprehensive hepatitis C (HCV) testing and linkage-to-care program at Philadelphia FIGHT, housed at the John Bell Health Center. C a Difference provides HCV education and counseling to providers, patients and those at risk for HCV infection. Providers and community-based testers are encouraged to screen all eligible patients and clients regularly for both HIV and HCV. Patient navigation and linkage services are provided within the FIGHT healthcare system as well as between FIGHT and other healthcare entities in the area. High-quality confidential testing, education and linkage services are provided in C a Difference offices and at various sites throughout the city. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Chronic Disease (HCV); Health Communication; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Philadelphia FIGHT’s C a Difference program extended the outreach program by bringing in extra funding through the Drexel University College of Medicine. The interns used the funding to purchase, create and distribute more than 200 sanitary kits to underserved communities near Prevention Point in Kensington. In addition to the sanitary kit project, the interns also assisted in various community education, fundraising, data management and patient reengagement programs at FIGHT throughout the summer. The interns made 542 calls and sent 49 letters to patients who had been lost to care. Interns also created a brochure of free STI testing services in Philadelphia for patient use. Interns received training on HCV and HIV rapid testing, naloxone use and phlebotomy, and assisted with HCV testing and educational events.

In addition to the C a Difference team, one of the interns also worked closely with Dr. Mario Cruz at Philadelphia FIGHT’s Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center. The intern was able to incorporate shadowing into her experience to understand the diverse patient population that FIGHT Pediatrics sees, and she created patient-information sheets on STDs, e-cigarettes, emergency contraception, female anatomy, marijuana, menstruation, PEP, stress management and youth violence. Another intern worked with the John Bell Health Center’s pharmacist, Dr. Melanie McCoy, contacting patients who had not completed their HCV treatment to reengage them in care and reevaluate their HCV status.

Intern Statements:
Marcus Junus: “Being a Bridging the Gaps intern at Philadelphia FIGHT has been an extremely valuable experience for me both personally and professionally. At Philadelphia FIGHT, we were able to see the various struggles plaguing the city. Undoubtedly, we saw and experienced devastating issues that have made a deep impact in our lives. But through the difficulties, we also saw how communities are empowered by individuals who wake up every day to touch lives. We saw how strong the city is and how resilient its residents are. It has inspired me to be a physician who is not only a health provider for the community, but who is also a member of the community.”

Varsha Kripalu: “Bridging the Gaps has opened my eyes to not only the kind of provider I want to be, but the kind of person I want to be. Equitable healthcare is a conglomeration of utilizing compassion, dexterity, knowledge, kindness, humility and openness to listen to patients to provide them with services that improve their quality of life. Philadelphia FIGHT demonstrates these qualities and shows nothing but deep respect and understanding for their patients. Each person I have had the privilege of working alongside of has impressed me and truly moved me. If I can even be half of the provider or community leader that my preceptors as well as coworkers are, I know that I will make a lasting impact on society.”

Emily Mapelli: “My experience at Philadelphia FIGHT through Bridging the Gaps this summer led me to form a strong personal connection with the city that I love and where I hope to spend my professional career. The staff at Philadelphia FIGHT guided us through Philadelphia’s neighborhoods that have fallen victim to the opiate epidemic. They patiently helped us understand what it means to work with high-risk individuals in the midst of a chronic disease crisis secondary to this epidemic. What I previously read about in books suddenly was real in front of my eyes. The collective knowledge, persistent efforts and unbelievable optimism at Philadelphia FIGHT gives me the strength and hope that a community can come together, put aside differences and take on a disease to help others achieve a healthy life.”

Matty Zimmerman: “I am beyond thankful for being placed at Philadelphia FIGHT C a Difference for my summer with Bridging the Gaps. Despite living in Philadelphia for six years, I had never been to Kensington or interacted with individuals who are at such high risk for HCV, which is very prominent in this city. I am thankful to have spent my summer doing work for those who the rest of society chooses to ignore. This summer was a transformative experience and solidified my desire to go into HIV and HCV care as a future pharmacist with care and compassion for those affected and the knowledge that every person is the expert in their own lives. This is how providers at C a Difference approach their patients and will affect for my entire career how I approach mine.”

 

 

Fighting for Our Future: Youth Health and Educational Advocacy

Student Interns: 
Danielle Boateng, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Chris Cannito, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice

Academic Preceptors:
Cindy Christian, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice

Community Preceptor:
Colleen McCauley, RN, BSN, MPH, Public Citizens for Children and Youth

Community Site: 
Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) is a nonprofit organization established 40 years ago that is dedicated to improving the lives and life chances of children in Southeastern Pennsylvania using thoughtful, informed advocacy. PCCY is concentrated on delivering impact on a diverse array of issues across communities. PCCY’s primary objectives are maximizing access and availability of healthcare, advocating for education, improving the quality and quantity of childcare programs, strengthening and building resources for families, and creating diverse coalitions of skilled stakeholders to create impactful social collaborative movements. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Responsible Sexual Behavior; Vision and Hearing.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked on various Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) projects, such as the Child Healthwatch Helpline, the Lead-Free Philly Coalition, Give Kids Sight Day and long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) education for teens. The interns engaged with the larger Philadelphia community to advertise, as well as recruit volunteers and vendors for, Give Kids Sight Day, which provides free eye exams and two free pairs of glasses for children who need them. They conducted outreach on important community stakeholders for the lead coalition in Delaware County and created supportive informative materials for Montgomery County’s coalition. The interns collected testimonials from affected families as well as supportive business owners and landlords to bolster support for the new lead policy change in Philadelphia. They also engaged in outreach to advertise Girls with Options, a teen pregnancy prevention workshop that empowers teen girls to take charge of their reproductive health by learning about contraceptive options, particularly LARCs, and how to access them in their communities. Finally, the interns had the opportunity to meet with local legislators and community leaders at events such as lead coalition meetings and a panel discussion with various community experts to brainstorm ways to improve the lives of middle-class families in Montgomery County.

Intern Statements: 
Danielle Boateng: “Working at PCCY gave me valuable experience in leveraging your unique background and skills to fight for legislative change. Everybody has a role in positively impacting health in our communities, even students. I am walking away from my time here with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of social issues, effective ways to engage with these issues, as well as tools to inspire others to mobilize as well.”

Chris Cannito: “My experience with PCCY gave me invaluable exposure to complex public health and policy issues. I was shown various ways in how diversity in background and expertise can be molded together to direct on-the-ground social and policy change. Our weekly BTG sessions were impactful in allowing us to participate in interdisciplinary communication and reflection across Philadelphia institutions. These skills are foundational to tackle the next generation of public health and social issues, because those problems are so interconnected themselves. I feel confident this exposure professionally within PCCY and BTG programming will benefit the way I operate amongst peers, colleagues and the communities I aim to serve in the future.”

 

 

Fighting Food Insecurity in North Philadelphia 

Student Intern: 
Sheila M. Ramos, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Jeremiah Goldstein, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Daniel R. Taylor, DO, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Site: 
During the summer months many children lose access to nutritious meals when school ends. This lack of access to healthy foods can have an enormous impact on growth and development. The physicians, nurse practitioners and staff at St. Christopher’s Center for the Urban Child(CUC) understand the importance of reducing food insecurity in the surrounding community. The CUC is a primary-care pediatric center that considers the social determinants of health when seeing patients. The center manages a summer meals program to reduce food insecurity in North Philadelphia and provides families with information about obtaining summer meals in the area as well as information about interesting summer activities for children. This information is accessible online on Cap4Kids, which is updated to ensure that the resources are accurate and functioning. In addition, there is a small library in the CUC where children of any age are encouraged to take a book home as part of the Reach Out and Read initiative. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student intern working at St. Christopher’s Center for the Urban Child organized and managed a summer lunch program supported by the Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The intern also updated a website (cap4kids.org/Philadelphia) to ensure that the information provided is accurate and distributed printed information to parents to increase awareness that there is additional help available. The intern also encouraged children to take a book home to read. In addition, the intern helped families who did not speak English by answering questions or escorting the families to the proper area.

Intern Statement:
Sheila M. Ramos: “I only had a few brief moments with the children and families that passed through the CUC, but in those moments, I always saw a smile. The people of North Philadelphia face several socioeconomic challenges, like food insecurity, but are resilient and remain optimistic. I am also thankful for the CUC staff who were always enthusiastic about the meal program and who would help with meal distribution. I am grateful to have had this experience, as it will shape me to become a more compassionate and considerate physician.”

 

 

Organization of a Back-to-School Carnival/Health and Resource Fair

Student Intern: 
Adya Maddox, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor:
Jeremiah Goldstein, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Preceptors:
Katie Feehan, MPH, CHES, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, FAAP, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Site: 
The Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CCYSHCN) of St. Christopher’s Hospital provides coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered medical care that improves access to services, community resources and advocacy to ensure that children obtain the support they need while promoting their independence. The CCYSHCN’s medical home model effectively provides resources and addresses the barriers that would otherwise prevent a patient and his or her family from living out a healthy life. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Access to Healthcare; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities Conditions; Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student intern at the Center for Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs of St. Christopher’s Hospital was tasked with organizing the annual Back-to-School Carnival/Health and Resource Fair. This involved booking entertainment, ordering food, inviting representatives of more than 40 organizations and scheduling more than 100 recruited volunteers to assist in handling the event. The intern also shadowed professionals in the hospital to gain exposure to potential fields of interest and facilitated surveys for the ongoing research studies in which the center was involved.

Intern Statement:
Adya Maddox: “Working at St. Christopher’s in the Center for Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs has given me an insight into the importance of recreational community events in an urban setting. The carnival is one of the few free outdoor recreational events in North Philadelphia. I have also gained better insight into the needs of children with chronic medical needs and developmental issues and the varying community resources available to them in Philadelphia.”

 

 

Together, Bridging Gaps in West Philadelphia

Student Interns: 
Erkina Sartbaeva, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine 
India Spears, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Work

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

Community Preceptor:
Robin Foster Drain, MD, MPH, Main Line Health Center

Community Site: 
The mission of Together for West Philadelphia is to facilitate collaboration within West Philadelphia among community, public and private-sector stakeholders to foster shared projects in order to maximize impact in the areas of health, education, food access and opportunity. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with Together for West Philadelphia to compile quantitative and qualitative data from the various zip codes in West Philadelphia to build a person-centered community needs assessment. The interns worked at two different community sites in the same zip code: ACHIEVEability and Mill Creek Recreation Center. The intern at ACHIEVEability assisted with the WorkSmart program, which provides professional guidance and workshops on résumés and job resources. The intern at Mill Creek Recreation Center worked with the Colors on the Spectrum program, which seeks to identify children in low-income neighborhoods who may have autism or other behavioral/intellectual difficulties and connect these families to services. The interns got together to discuss research findings and experiences.

Intern Statements:
Erkina Sartbaeva: “BTG provided me an enriching opportunity to further develop my interprofessional team skills as well as created a stimulating environment to learn about a variety of public health needs.”

India Spears: “Bridging the Gaps has provided me with an up-close lens into the strategic planning that is necessary to run a pilot program. I got to be part of creating connections with day camps throughout the 19139 zip code for the arts program (Colors on the Spectrum) to integrate into. I have not had any experience in macro social work, and I felt that these seven weeks were a slight introduction to the field.”

 

 

Exploring the Impact of Greening on Public Health in West Philadelphia

Student Interns: 
Clara Cho, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Katherine Maddente, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Kiasha Huling, MSW, LSW, UC Green

Community Site: 
UC Green empowers volunteer environmental stewardship in University City and its surrounding communities. Each year, UC Green volunteers plant and tend hundreds of street trees and enhance public green spaces, contributing thousands of hours in service to the community. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at UC Green explored the relationship between greening and public health through supporting and participating in events and programs held by UC Green and other community organizations. They also conducted interviews with individuals regarding their personal relationship with a particular tree and how it shaped their life and/or the community. These stories will be used to demonstrate the vast array of benefits trees provide, as well as their ability to foster and shape community.

Intern Statements: 
Clara Cho: “Through this internship, I was able to reconnect with my love of greening and environmental health. While working in UC Green, I really got to understand the depth of how vital trees are in facilitating growth and engagement in the community. This experience hit home the fact that trees do more than shape the landscape and clean our air. Trees are our neighbors, and it is our responsibility as a community to care for our trees and make sure they have ample opportunity to survive and flourish.”

Katherine Maddente: “I am incredibly grateful to have been matched with UC Green for my BTG site. It has been impactful to experience the role of social work within community greening, a sector of public health that I had very little previous experience with. Working alongside UC Green’s director is truly a privilege and what made my BTG experience worth it.”

 

 

Mobile Engagement Within the Community Through Food Education

Student Interns: 
Rachel McLaughlin, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice 
Janet Shear, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
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

Community Preceptor:
Ridhdhi Parmar, Vetri Community Partnership

Community Site: 
Established to help youth and adult participants experience the connection between mindful eating and living, Vetri Community Partnership empowers children and families to lead healthier lives through plant-forward food, hands-on experiences and education. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020): 
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Nutrition and Weight Status.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns working with Vetri Community Partnership assisted in the Mobile Teaching Kitchen. The Mobile Teaching Kitchen uses two different surveys to collect direct feedback from community participants about its demonstrations in the community. A short in-person survey collects information such as race, zip code and how likely the individual is to try to cook a demonstrated recipe or to try new vegetables. The interns believe it would be useful to include a question about participants’ health goals. This data could help the Teaching Kitchen better understand the needs of the various communities it engages with and tailor programs to better serve the needs of the participants by highlighting specific nutritional benefits of the recipes.

Intern Statements:
Rachel McLaughlin: “Working with Vetri Community Partnership through BTG this summer has really shown me the importance of interdisciplinary teams. Being in graduate school, it’s easy to get stuck in a silo, which can skew your view of the world around you. BTG helped me develop skills to use within a team setting and helped highlight skills that other disciplines bring to the table. This skill building combined with the seminars held on Wednesdays really drove home the idea that continued education is critical to professional and personal development.”

Janet Shear: “Interning with Vetri Community Partnership has allowed me an opportunity to go out into the community and engage in conversations that are not directly related to my area of study, which is dentistry. This has allowed me to become more aware of the multifaceted health needs in a community and how conversations about food experience and nutritional choices can be hugely impactful on a person’s health journey. BTG has also shown me that a strengths-based approach is really powerful in helping patients, and with my experiences with VCP, I see that dentists have such a unique space to talk about nutrition. I feel more motivated and confident to be able to address nutrition with my future patients and use it as a motivational tool for encouraging better overall oral health as well.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bridging The Gaps

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