Applications will open in early November and will be open until February 1, 2018.
The Alabama Fellows Program is a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program focused on health-related community service and leadership development.
Part of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program®, the Alabama Schweitzer Fellows Program strengthens Fellows’ resolve to provide health service to underserved populations by facilitating opportunities for students to:
- Use their skills and knowledge in real-life situations
- Become culturally sensitive and compassionate caregivers
- Understand the impact of social and environmental determinants of health
- Build capacity for and commitment to improving the health status of individuals and communities as well as contributing to social change
- Work collaboratively and across disciplines in pursuit of a common goal
- Learn how to exercise leadership skills to work with and influence community based organizations, community leaders, and academic institutions to embrace holistic, service-oriented approaches to health
Upon successful completion of the initial Fellowship year, Fellows have the opportunity to participate in an alumni network of Fellows for Life—an interdisciplinary pipeline of emerging professionals who are dedicated and skilled in meeting the health needs of underserved communities.
Schweitzer Fellows focus on health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO): a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Rooted in this holistic understanding of health, Schweitzer projects address not only clinical health issues, but also the social determinants of health—defined by the WHO as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, and which are mostly responsible for health inequities.
Students enrolled in graduate or professional degree-granting programs from any accredited academic institution in north-central Alabama may apply. (If a student from outside of north-central Alabama is interested and willing to travel for the monthly meetings and other commitments, please contact Kristin Boggs to discuss.)
While the applicant’s field of study does not have to be traditionally health-related, his/her proposed service project must focus on health and/or the social determinants of health. Past Fellows have addressed health from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines including education, arts & sciences, business, divinity studies, all health sciences, education, public health, and social work. We encourage applicants from other fields including engineering and law.
Applicants must be enrolled throughout the Fellowship year (April 2018-May 2019).
Prior to Applying
Prospective Fellows should be prepared to partner with a local community agency and design a community service project that seeks to provide direct service to an underserved population. This project should focus on addressing health and/or the social determinants of health in the population served.
The project should:
- Provide a direct service that meets a community-defined need and reflects national and local health and well-being priorities, such as Healthy People 2020. Prospective applicants should investigate and reflect on unmet local health-related needs, and think through the ways in which their own energies and talents might contribute, even in small ways, to ameliorating one or more of these problems.
- Add a new or enhance an existing program in partnership with an organization, and applicants should identify potential community partners prior to submitting their applications. It is strongly encouraged that prospective applicants meet with the Program Director, Kristin Boggs, prior to applying. She is available to help you identify possible community partners and to refine your project ideas prior to applying.
- Be of an enduring value to the community/agency served. The project proposal should include a brief discussion about sustainability of the project beyond the Fellowship year.
- Have an Academic Mentor(s) at the Fellow’s school and a Site Mentor at the agency where they propose to conduct their projects.
- Applicants should be creative in developing their proposals. They may choose to develop a totally unique project in keeping with Dr. Schweitzer’s directive that everyone should find their own Lambaréné—their own special place to serve, and way of serving. Alternatively, applicants may find inspiration by reviewing past and present Alabama Fellows’ projects as well as on the Beyond Boulders blog.
Research, fundraising, and policy-based projects are not considered eligible for a Schweitzer Fellowship. Applicants should contact the Program Director if assistance in identifying a project and/or a project site is needed.
Required Activities of Fellows
Fellows must attend an orientation on April 28-29, 2018 and a mid-year retreat on October 20, 2018.
Working in collaboration with a local community agency, each Fellow must design and carry out a service project of at least 200 hours that addresses an unmet community health need. Each Fellow will work under the supervision of a Site Mentor from the participating agency and an Academic Mentor of the student’s choice from the student’s current academic institution. The Program Director is available to provide support and guidance throughout the Fellowship year.
The 200 hours must be conducted separately from any school course requirement. Monthly meetings and other Fellowship programming/reports are not part of the required 200 hours. Fellows should allow for sufficient planning time for their particular project, keeping in mind that at least 100 of the 200 hours must be spent in direct, face-to-face contact with the population being served. These direct service hours do not include administrative duties or research. In designing a project, applicants should carefully consider the issues of evaluation and sustainability and include their ideas for addressing these aspects of the project.
Fellows are required to submit monthly reports about their activities and a comprehensive written final report to their Program Director, Academic Mentor, and Site Mentor.
Fellows are required to complete a pre- and post- survey for the Fellowship as well as additional program evaluations. Each Fellow’s Site Mentor also must complete a final Site Mentor survey. These surveys are in addition to each Fellow’s evaluation plan for his/her individual project.
Fellows are required to attend all monthly meetings. Monthly meetings provide the Fellows with leadership development, skills-based workshops, interdisciplinary discussions, time for reflection on community service, and an opportunity to network with like-minded students from diverse fields as well as professionals in areas of interest to them.
In the fall of each year, Fellows work with the Program Director to organize information sessions about the Schweitzer Fellows Program and present information at their schools about their Fellowship experiences.
Fellows receive a stipend of $2,500, distributed in three payments throughout the Fellowship year as specific program objectives are completed. The stipend may be used in any way the Fellow wishes, including project related costs and personal expenses. As funding is limited, the Alabama Schweitzer Fellowship is unable to provide any additional financial support beyond the stipend.
Celebration of Service
Fellows are required to attend a Celebration of Service in their honor in April 2019.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information session before completing an application. Upcoming information sessions will take place in the fall on the campuses of as many of our partners as possible. Please contact Kristin Boggs for information on dates and locations.
Applicants unable to attend an information session should contact the Program Director.
All applications must include:
- Application form (available here for individual applicants or here for partnered projects)
- Resume or CV
- Three references, one of which must be the applicant’s proposed Academic Mentor (references’ contact information only, no letters of recommendation
Finalists will be interviewed on February 20 or 21 2018 and the Fellows will be announced in March.
The priority deadline for 2018-2019 applications is February 1, 2018.