Category Archives: buATP News

Long Island Bridge closure

Maybe some of you have heard about the abrupt closure of the Long Island Bridge this week. Long Island is home to some important services for marginalized and vulnerable populations, including a homeless shelter and a detox and methadone treatment facility. The below article describes how staff at Andrew House had 2 hours notice to find new placements for 60 detoxing patients before the bridge closed. The people who use the services located on Long Island will now need to seek help elsewhere, and Boston’s substance abuse treatment facilities are already overcrowded.


Please write or call the Mayor’s office and/or your City Councilor to urge them to find a solution quickly! Below is a sample script you could use, but feel free to come up with your own!


“Dear Mayor Walsh/City Councilor ______,

My name is __________ and I am a medical/dental/public health/law/social work student here in Boston. I believe that all Boston residents deserve access to services that will promote their health and prolong their life, which is why I was dismayed to hear that the abrupt closure of the Long Island Bridge disrupted access to vital services for individuals experiencing homeless and/or substance dependency here in Boston. More people die each year in MA from accidental opiate overdose than from motor vehicle accidents (MA Department of Public Health, 2012), and enrollment in a methadone treatment program has been demonstrated to significantly decrease risk of death from an overdose. Given the increasing rates of death from opiate overdoses here in Boston, we should be expanding access to these services, not eliminating it. I therefore urge you and the City Council to work to find a solution to the Long Island Bridge closure that promotes public safety AND preserves access to needed services.


Yours sincerely,”


1) Go to

2) click the “government” tab on the right top of the screen

3) Follow links to either Mayor’s Office or City Council on the left (then click on your city councilor, or the link to find your city councilor if you don’t know which is yours!)

4) Find and click the “contact” link

5) copy and paste the text you want to send, or just type it directly

6) I think it’s good to include “Boston, MA” in your signature so they know you live here, and add in some language about being one of their constituents

7) Click send!

This will take you less than 5 minutes! Promise!



Advocacy Ground Rounds: Combating Tropical Diseases – Thursday, 9/25 @ 12pm

The BU Advocacy Training Program will be hosting this year’s first Advocacy Ground Rounds this Thursday!


The details of the event are the following:

Title: Innovations in Combating Tropical Diseases

Speaker: Kevin Outterson, JD, LL.M.

Description: Kevin Outterson, a Professor of Health and Disability Law at BU, will be speaking about new developments and innovations in combating tropical diseases. Professor Outterson co-directs the BU Health Law Program, and serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law, Medicine &Ethics. His research focuses on the organization and finance of the health sector. Areas of specialization include global pharmaceutical markets, particularly antibiotics and other antimicrobials that can degrade in usefulness over time.

When: Thursday, September 25th @ 12:00-1:00pm

Where: L212


Lunch will be provided!


Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions!


SNAP Challenge -buATP in the News!

Our very own second year ATP leader, Fabian Chang was recently involved in organizing a “SNAP Challenge,” during which students were challenged to restrict their food budgets to just $30 per week, the amount that individuals receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, are allotted. This challenge, along with comments from Fabian and Dr. Megan Sandel, was recently featured in BU Today. You can read more about the SNAP Challenge here.

Recap: October/November Grand Rounds: What doctors should know about the SNAP/Food Stamp Program

Our October/November Grand Rounds focused on the SNAP/Food Stamp program. Victoria Negus, an AmeriCorps serving at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, gave a talk about the basics of SNAP/Food Stamp eligibility, the application process, common myths surrounding the program, and the role of health care professionals in fighting hunger in Massachusetts.

Her take-home message for medical students and physicians? SNAP is a key component in gaining access to healthy, nutritious food, and it has been shown to have a positive impact on the health of families and individuals –a fact that is especially important to emphasize in light of the recent ARRA cuts. While SNAP is a complex program whose eligibility is based on many criteria, in the end it boils down to consistently asking low-income patients if they receive SNAP. If they do not, they should then be referred to the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), Project Bread, or outreach partners.

Please refer to the very helpful, straightforward, and Massachusetts-specific handbook Hunger in the Community – Ways Hospitals can Help for more details about the different ways in which you can help patients get nutritional support.

And here are other resources that Victoria Negus shared… and that we would now like to share with you!

1. Resources for the medical community

a) Project Bread:

 The Food Source Hotline: 1-800-645-8333

**Patients can call this number to be screened for SNAP eligibility**

b) Children’s Health Watch:

The SNAP Vaccine—Boosting Children’s Health

2. General resources

a) 2013 SNAP Advocacy Guide

b) Online resources: and

c) Food SNAP Coalition: listserv and monthly meetings in Boston –email Victoria Negus at if you are interested!

d) MCLE Basic Benefits Trainings: Thursday, February 6, 2014, 9:30am – 12:15pm

e) Food Stamps/SNAP client screening through Project Bread:


**Again, if you would like to receive email updates about SNAP from the MA SNAP Coalition, email Victoria Negus at and she will add you to the listserv. Also do not hesitate to contact her if you have any question about the SNAP program!**

Juliette Flam, BUSM, buATP

Governor Michael Dukakis Speaks at SPA2!

This past Wednesday, November 6, our SPA 2 class completed their final lecture with a visit from Michael Dukakis, the former governor of Massachusetts and an expert on health care reform.  Governor Dukakis shared a number of his experiences, taught about the history of health care reform, and allowed students the opportunity to ask numerous questions about health care reform and Obamacare. We are so grateful to Governor Dukakis for taking the time to visit us at BUSM and share his expertise!

From left: Katelyn Fritzges (buATP Student Director), Gov Dukakis, Brittany Hasty (SPA2 Leader), Lauren Fiechtner (buATP Alumni Director)

Recap: September Grand Rounds: Interview Screening Questions

We hold our monthly Grand Rounds in Medical Advocacy on the 27th of
September and despite the many (many!) events that were going on at the
same time, we were happy to have a great turnout! The students who came were mostly 1st years, and we also had two 2nd year students. Unlike the other Grand Rounds that consist primarily in listening to a speaker, these September Grand Rounds consisted of a workshop led by two 4th year students, namely Katelyn Fritzges and Hugo Carmona. The purpose of the workshop was to teach medical students ways to effectively and respectfully screen patients for social determinants of health such as poverty, homelessness, hunger, immigration status, fear of deportation, social support or lack thereof, inability to read, and background information about potential traumatic past events. The students who participated in the workshop raised a lot of interesting questions and we hope that the workshop has enhanced their ability to confidently and professionally screen patients for sensitive issues that go well beyond the biological basis of disease and are critical to successful patient care.


*Thanks to Juliette Flam for this summary!

Getting to Know the First Years!

Our ATP Leaders had a wonderful time meeting some of the new first year medical students interested in getting involved with ATP over dinner at Fire and Ice this past Monday. They offered great new ideas and lots of enthusiasm, and we’re hopeful we’ll see them all again at SPA 1 this year!

Getting to know first years interested in ATP over dinner!


*Missed the dinner? Keep track of all of the buATP events via our calendar, linked above!