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Aviv Centers for Living (Aviv) has partnered with North Shore Physicians Group to create an innovative internship for Salem State University student Katharine Gamer adding a social worker to a physician’s practice. Gamer, a graduate of Brandeis University, is a graduate student at Salem State University where she is studying to obtain her MSW. She worked for four years in a pilot program for Jumpstart before deciding to return to college to work in the field of social work.
She elected to do an internship with the senior population in honor of her grandmother whom she describes as “the most important person in my life.” Naomi Dreeban, Field Education Specialist at Salem State University, pointed her in the direction of Aviv Centers for Living where she first learned of the pilot program. Janice Glick, Aviv’s Director of Social Work Services, designed the internship to meet a healthcare need. “Social work is a key component of an overall health and wellness plan. What better place to orient patients to the benefits of meeting with a social worker than at a physician’s office? We hope the success of this pilot program creates a medical model others will adopt,” notes Glick.
Maury McGough, M.D., Primary Care Medical Director for NSPG and a primary care physician practicing in the Salem office states, “Katharine has been a wonderful addition to our primary care team.  North Shore Physicians Group is on a journey to build a Patient-Centered Medical Home practice and social work fills an important gap in that model. As a primary care physician, there’s just no way I could ever provide this kind of attention to every single patient without the support of a team.  We feel really lucky to have started this journey with such a bright, talented student as Katharine.  She has taught us all a tremendous amount about community resources for patients and the role social workers can play in a primary care practice.  I frequently tell patients, ‘She’s kind of like a life coach; give her a try.’   And they are always thrilled.”
“I have the best internship in the world!” exclaimed Gamer. “I especially want to thank Aviv for its dedication to education and giving back to the community. It is amazing that Aviv supported this pilot program at this busy time while they are expanding.”  Along with doing assessments and providing short-term counseling at the North Shore Physicians Group practice in Salem, Gamer meets with Glick as well as Leslie Hazlett, LICSW, for weekly supervision. ”It is so exciting to be on the ground floor of this program. It represents true preventative care,” says Gamer.
Aviv Centers for Living has been providing exceptional senior care for over 66 years. Services include adult day health, assisted living, geriatric care management, homecare, memory services, short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing. Visit  www.avivliving.org or call 877-322-AVIV (2848) to learn more.
North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) is the largest multi-specialty physician group north of Boston and is comprised of more than 200 board-certified physicians, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals in more than 15 locations throughout the North Shore. NSPG is affiliated with North Shore Medical Center and Partners HealthCare, which was founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. For more information, visit our website at www.northshorephysicians.org.