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LECOM Erie Holds Annual Bridging the Gaps Poster Presentation

The LECOM Erie Bridging the Gaps program led by Raeann Carrier, PhD, held their 17th annual poster presentation on Wednesday, September 5th 2012.  The presentation marks the culmination of a summer-long community service effort of 28 students serving 18 different community organizations.

The following is an excerpt from the LECOM Connection article “LECOM and BTG – Partnering for almost Two Decades”

Providing community service, promoting public health in underserved communities, and training community-responsive health and social service professionals are principles that are, and that have remained, at the core of all that is the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

BTG Program Director Raeann Carrier, PhD addresses the attendees of the poster presentation.

The Director of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Bridging the Gaps (BTG) program, Raeann Carrier, PhD, understands those core principles and she is very proud to note LECOM’s 20th Anniversary of medical scholarship as it coincides with BTG’s 20th Year of service.  For 17 of those years, LECOM has been a steadfast and unswerving “community service partner” with BTG.

As BTG celebrates the history and growth of bridging those gaps, it seems a fitting time to reflect upon the history of the program and the way in which it grew into existence.  In a world rife with imbalances and incongruences, BTG found its purpose in providing support to the crucial work of organizations that serve the most vulnerable within local communities.  The BTG organization has sought to produce a group of health and social service professionals who possess both the passion and skill to advocate coupled with the care and compassion for those facing the direst of needs.  BTG-involved students evidence a changed perspective after participating as community allies who serve to reduce the barriers to health and well being created by poverty and education deficits.  The daily commitment of the BTG educational and medical partners is essential to fostering the betterment of society.  As LECOM looks to the next decade in health care education, it will remain resolute in its fundamental pledge of purposeful community service, which has come to form a cornerstone of its hallmark educational principles.

As the LECOM mission unites with the BTG purpose, the resultant blend of commitment to service resonates throughout the region.  In the absence of such community service, quality of life becomes contracted and society as a whole becomes dispirited.   LECOM holds as a tenet the principle that service is as vital to the person who serves as it is to the recipient of the service.  It is the way in which one finds purpose and it underscores the essence of societal growth and development.   The mission of community service, and of its consequent commitment to serve, encompasses the fundamental substance of LECOM.   With the aphorism of “The Community is our Campus” as the credo of the College, the institutional mission of LECOM recognizes that the magnitude of social complexities will require that all citizens and institutions make an earnest commitment to service as a way of life and as the purposeful responsibility of humankind.  Providence and a caring heart, rather than governments or mandates, lead one to service.  With a core rich in purpose and with a soul sustained by grace, it can be said that volunteers may well be the only human beings upon the face of the earth who reflect the compassion of a nation with their unselfish caring, patience, and humanitarianism.  LECOM is proud to train such men and women and prouder still to note the value that their deeds carry to others.

Bridging the Gaps began in Philadelphia in 1991 at one academic health center. The program is now administered by the Bridging the Gaps Consortium comprised of members from University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and three affliated programs at Bryn Mawr College, LaSalle University & University of the sciences. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley health Network & Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey joined the Consortium to form the Bridging the Gaps Network. Lucy Wolf Tuton, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania is the Program Executive Director.