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Bridging the Gaps Celebrates 15 Years in the Lehigh Valley

by Janelle Hill M’23 Oct 6, 2023
Bridging the Gaps 2023 IMG_0688 2

An eye opening and humbling experience. 

That’s how this year’s participants describe the annual Bridging the Gaps Lehigh Valley Affiliate program, a seven-week internship that focuses on interprofessional practice and community health. 

Kayliyah Forbes ’25, a nursing major at DeSales, participated in the summer program along with Angelina Nehme and Morgan Fritts—both junior nursing majors at Moravian University. They worked with children at Casa Gaudalupe and the Alliance Hall Summer Camp, teaching the importance of oral health, cardiovascular health, and tobacco risks.

The trio detailed their experience and the lessons learned during a poster presentation and symposium in the Gambet Center to mark the BTG Lehigh Valley Affiliate’s 15th anniversary. Forbes’ biggest takeaway from the experience—the love and strength of community. 

“You don’t often see communities come together unless there’s tragedy. But being able to see those kids come together, do different activities, and learn different character traits that they can use later on in life was really amazing.”  

 Kayliyah Forbes ’25, nursing major 

The experience also inspired Fritts and Nehme to consider different career paths. While Fritts is now interested in pursuing public health nursing that emphasizes preventative care, Nehme is considering a career in pediatrics. 

“Before this internship, I wanted to work with adults,” Nehme said. “But working with all the kids, I got to see what they were facing at home and the different challenges they had. I really loved creating genuine connections with each student.”

This year also marks a bittersweet end for the BTG Lehigh Valley Affiliate. Mary Ellen Miller, Ph.D., retired associate professor in the division of nursing, is stepping down as director of the program—a position she has held since its inception in the Lehigh Valley in 2009.

“My time directing the BTG internship in the Lehigh Valley has been rewarding beyond measure,” Miller said. “I have witnessed how BTG is transformational for each intern. They are immersed in a community setting for seven weeks and truly get to know the community needs, as well as assets and the population they serve. It has been an honor for me to serve in this capacity for 15 years.”