Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2019

Mental Health & Substance Abuse

Gaudenzia, People with Hope

Student Interns:
Christina Bascara, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
George Koshy, 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:
Tasheera Greggs, MPH, MSW, Gaudenzia Inc., People with Hope
Leslie Ziegler, MA, Gaudenzia Inc., People with Hope

Community Site: 
Gaudenzia Inc. is a substance use disorder treatment center. It offers both inpatient and outpatient services, including health/co-occurring services, withdrawal management, prevention/recovery support and housing, for men and women aged 18 and older, pregnant women, women with children and homeless individuals. People with Hope is an inpatient floor for clients with substance use disorder who have concomitant chronic medical conditions and mental illness. Their stays can be short-term at 30 to 45 days or long-term at 60 to 90 days. Common chronic illnesses are HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C; common mental illnesses/diagnoses include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The site follows a therapeutic community treatment model that uses comprehensive treatment and prevention methods guided by a philosophy of mutual concern, responsibility and peer-assisted recovery. A typical day for clients in the treatment center includes morning and afternoon group recovery meetings, meetings with counselors, trips to outside recovery meetings, daily chores and group meals. Examples of other activities include arts and crafts and music therapy. Additionally, because these clients have co-occurring medical conditions, they receive appropriate care from nurses and physicians on-site and go to appointments with primary and specialty care elsewhere. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
HIV; Mental Health; Oral Health; Substance Abuse; Tobacco Use.

Project:
Initially, the Bridging the Gaps student interns at Gaudenzia were tasked with acclimating and getting comfortable with the clients on the floor. Once they built enough trust and rapport, their responsibilities included escorting clients to their appointments, sitting in on group and individual sessions, advocating on clients’ behalf to the medical department of the building, educating and creating awareness about relevant and important medical issues, and leading group meetings and discussions.

Intern Statements:
Christina Bascara: “My experience with Gaudenzia has been equally as educational as it is grounding. We have had the opportunity to learn about substance use disorders, mental illness and chronic illness; to advocate for clients strongly affected by these things; and to build relationships with them in a way that is trusting and compassionate. As a future physician, gaining this awareness has been a blessing, as it truly brings you back to the true meaning of medicine. The best patient treatment is achieved by this supportive understanding of the whole person that lies behind the diagnosis.”

George Koshy: “Working at Gaudenzia has been a really meaningful and memorable experience. This is a population that has been stigmatized and abandoned by society, and more often than not, it’s the medical department staff such as doctors and nurses from whom they face the most neglect. Being a medical student, it was thus very helpful to see how they want to be heard and cared for.”

Healthy Hearts at Hall Mercer

Student Interns:
Tiffany Huang, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine 
Effie Mathew, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, MCHES, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College 
James D. Plumb, MD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Anthony Rostain, MD, MA, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Patty Inacker, DSW, MBA, LCSW, Hall-Mercer CMHC

Community Site: 
The Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center at Pennsylvania Hospital is designed to enhance the lives of people affected by mental illness and/or developmental disabilities. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project:
Hall-Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center is dedicated to providing a supportive community for adults with intellectual disabilities. The Bridging the Gaps student interns were responsible for organizing and engaging in activities focused on promoting socialization skills, self-expression through art and music, and physical activity to promote cardiovascular health. Activities ranged from karaoke to group arts and crafts. The interns also encouraged clients to engage with the larger Philadelphia community through outings to museums and local businesses. The interns emphasized the importance of exercise and nutrition by leading and organizing daily physical activity and discussions on nutrition.

Intern Statements:
Tiffany Huang: “Spending the summer as a BTG intern at Hall-Mercer was both professionally and personally fulfilling. Not only was I able to interact [with] and advocate for a vulnerable patient population, but I was also able to form meaningful connections with individual clients and appreciate the perspective with which they view life. It was a joy to observe the friendships that have evolved between clients, the excitement with which they approached music and the arts, and their willingness to be honest and express themselves. I’m grateful to both the BTG CHIP community as well as Hall-Mercer in providing me with the opportunity to spend a summer engaging with such a loving and nuanced population.”

Effie Mathew: “Becoming a member of the Hall-Mercer team as a BTG intern was the best way I could have spent my summer. Every day, I looked forward to spending time with my clients and engaging in activities that were fun and productive for all of us. I was able to form meaningful bonds, and my eyes were opened to the vulnerabilities of the intellectually disabled adult population. More importantly, however, the clients at Hall-Mercer gave me a new lens through which to view the world: seeing the best in others, offering words of kindness to peers and strangers alike, and finding a pure happiness in the smallest of life’s pleasures.”

 

A Holistic Approach to Recovery

Student Interns:
Jeremy Budd, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Jordain Mann, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Elizabeth Messineo, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Alyssa Sinko, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

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
Margaret Lowenstein, MD, MPhil, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Kaelee Shepherd, MPH, Prevention Point Philadelphia

Community Site: 
Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP) works to reduce the harm associated with drug and hormone use and sex industry work, offering culturally sensitive, nonjudgmental prevention, care and services. PPP offers an on-site location and mobile alternatives that provide information and access to an array of treatments, from hepatitis C treatment to suboxone. PPP promotes harm reduction through syringe exchange, medical care, social services and referrals to drug treatment. View Community Partner Web Site

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

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Prevention Point Philadelphia focused their efforts on assisting with the Stabilization Treatment and Engagement Program (STEP). This program employs pharmacotherapy, case management and behavioral therapy to holistically care for patients affected by opioid use disorder. The interns conducted urinary drug screens, interviewed patients and presented patients to the STEP physicians. The interns were also involved in some of the STEP quality improvement measures, including patient satisfaction surveys. Outside of the STEP program, the interns assisted weekly with the site’s syringe exchange program and provided assistance with the production of Narcan kits for community members.

Intern Statements:
Jeremy Budd: “Working with Prevention Point Philadelphia illuminated the need for more culturally humane dental care across all populations. Many patients presented in clinic for opioid use disorder but had numerous oral health questions when they learned that I was in dental school. Transformative healthcare should start with the most vulnerable communities, and Prevention Point Philadelphia provides a range of incredibly necessary services that I hope to include in my own work as a dentist for patients with disabilities.”

Jordain Mann: “BTG and my time at Prevention Point Philadelphia has pushed me to forgo looking at community health in the abstract. Prevention Point Philadelphia strives to impact those affected by opioid use disorder by reaching this population at the community level. I have been privileged to see how effective it is to strive to understand the specific experiences of those affected by opioid use disorder. The staff’s ability to tailor care to the unique abilities of each patient has not only proven effective but also produces quality relationships with patients. This devotion to patient-centered care will forever shape how I approach my future patient interactions.”

Elizabeth Messineo: “Interning at Prevention Point Philadelphia has been an incredibly powerful experience in so many ways, but the most transformative element of the internship has been building relationships with STEP participants. It has been such a gift to see the same faces week after week, learn their stories, and be present with them to process the trials and triumphs each week brings. Folks at Prevention Point Philadelphia have taught me the transformative power of presence, listening and advocacy in all its forms, and I am grateful for the deep kindness and grace I have been shown during my time there.”

Alyssa Sinko: “Interning at Prevention Point Philadelphia provided me with an intimate understanding of the opioid epidemic and those most affected by it. Their low-barrier, holistic approach to recovery and healing is something I will take with me in my future career as a physician. I hope to continue working with this resilient population in the future.”

 

Serving Those Who Have Served

Student Interns: 
Adam Ohnmacht, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jamee Simone, 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: 
Jaclynn Ries, MS, Veterans Multi-Service Center, The Perimeter

Community Site: 
The Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC) was created in 1980 to aid Vietnam War veterans. The main purpose was to help them gain access to VA benefits, find employment opportunities and readjust to society. Over time, the center expanded its program to assist veterans of all wars and conflicts. In 2000 The Perimeter was established to assist homeless veterans in the community. The program offers day services that provide breakfast and lunch as well as a safe place to stay during the day. The veterans can watch TV, complete paperwork, play cards, enjoy arts and crafts, and take part in other activities. The VMC also offers housing services and case managers who work closely with the men to integrate them back to daily living. Computer courses, educational workshops and employment services are provided to assist the veterans in future endeavors. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Disabilities Conditions; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health; Substance Abuse.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns used their knowledge of cardiovascular health and disease to raise awareness among the homeless veteran population at the Veterans Multi-Service Center's Perimeter location. The interns worked closely with social workers to manage cases, and they helped veterans gain Social Security benefits and receive housing. Additionally, the interns helped to facilitate group activities and create a welcoming environment.

Intern Statements:
Adam Ohnmacht: “Having the opportunity to work with the homeless veteran population was an eye-opening experience that I will carry with me throughout my medical career. Many of these men and women are the epitome of resilience and in my opinion demonstrate qualities that we can all strive to achieve. Being granted the opportunity to engage a population that vastly differs from my own community was an exciting and rewarding experience that provided me with a new set of unique skills that could not have been learned in a classroom. I was honored to work with and learn from the veterans at the VMC and will forever be thankful for their service.”

Jamee Simone: “Working alongside social workers exposed me to a new discipline and allowed me to gain a new respect for the work that needs to be done for the homeless population. I was able to interact with the veterans and learn their stories along the way. Their outlooks on life as homeless or at-risk vets helped open my eyes to the difficulties many veterans face when they return home from active duty. I witnessed parts of medicine that I have not worked with before, such as mental health, substance abuse and homeless population health disparities. I truly appreciated my time at the Veterans Multi-Service Center and am thankful for the new lessons I have learned.”

 
 
 
 

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