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Bridging the Gaps: A New Perspective in Community Health

by Janelle Hill Sep 27, 2022
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Two DeSales students spent their summer learning firsthand about the importance and impact of community health. 

Sara Murphy ’23, a nursing major, and Oliver Brown ’23, a medical studies major, were among five students who participated in the annual Bridging the Gaps Lehigh Valley Affiliate program. 

They spent seven weeks assisting with children’s activities at Alliance Hall Summer Camp and presenting on oral health and proper oral hygiene techniques. They also organized and conducted mental health surveys in Allentown for Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley. 

“The biggest takeaway is how important community health work is because there are a lot of people who either don’t know or can’t get access to these kinds of things. By being exposed to it, it gave me perspective.” 

 Oliver Brown ’23, medical studies major 

BTG participants also kept weekly journals and took part in a storytelling project, whereby they interviewed community members to hear about their health care experiences. 

“It’s important to know the community you’re serving,” says Murphy. “This was a good step in understanding my patients and the community.” 

Murphy (pictured above, right), Brown (pictured above, left), and Will Ren (pictured above, center), a nursing student from Moravian University, presented their findings during a poster presentation in the Gambet Center. This summer was the first summer students were back in the field full time with Bridging the Gaps. Last year, students took a hybrid approach, and, in 2020, they were fully virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.