Applications are now open.
The Boston Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program is a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program for Boston-area graduate and professional degree students focused on health-related community service and leadership development.
The Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program strengthens Fellows’ resolve to provide health service to underserved populations by facilitating opportunities for students to:
- Build the capacity and commitment to improve the health of individuals and communities
- Impact real 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
- Embrace holistic, service-oriented approaches to health
- Use their skills and knowledge in real-life situations
- Become culturally sensitive and compassionate practitioners
- Understand the impact of social and environmental determinants of health
Upon successful completion of the Fellowship, Fellows will join the alumni network of Fellows for Life–—an interdisciplinary pipeline of emerging professionals across the nation and world who are dedicated and skilled in meeting the health needs of underserved communities.
The Schweitzer Fellowship uses the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health: 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 the Boston area may apply. If a student from outside Boston is interested and willing to travel for the monthly meetings and other commitments, please contact Karen A. Spiller.
The applicant’s field of study does not have to be traditionally health-related. Their 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, law, engineering and social work. We encourage any interested graduate student to apply.
Applicants must be enrolled in their graduate program throughout the Fellowship year (April 2018-May 2019).
Prior to Applying
Prospective Fellows should explore the needs and interests of local community agencies that match their own interests, initially through online and community research and ultimately through individual meetings. Then the prospective Fellow must conceptualize and sketch out a community service project that seeks to provide direct service to an underserved population connected to a particular local community agency. The 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 to ameliorating one or more of these problems. Applicants are encouraged to communicate with potential community partners prior to submitting their applications and to be specific in their proposals about their relationships with their proposed community partner.
- 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.
- Applicants are encouraged to identify a potential Academic Mentors at their school and a Site Mentor at the proposed community agency.
- Applicants should be creative in developing their project proposals. They are encouraged 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. Applicants may find inspiration by reviewing past and present Fellows’ projects on the Beyond Boulders blog.
Research, fundraising, and policy-based projects are not considered eligible for a Schweitzer Fellowship. Applicants should contact the Director for assistance in identifying a potential project or a project site, to discuss the application process in more detail, or for any other questions.
Applicants are highly encouraged to set up a meeting with Karen A. Spiller, Director, as they are developing their application.
Required Activities of Fellows
The Schweitzer Fellowship includes an orientation retreat on April 15, 2018, a mid-year retreat on October 14, 2018, and closing retreat on April 28, 2019.
As discussed above, each Fellows designs, implements and evaluates a unique community-based project that addresses an unmet health need in the community. These projects must be at least 200 hours–100 of which are direct service with a client population, the other 100 are for planning, administration, community exploration, evaluation and sustainability planning. 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 project 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. In designing and proposing 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. Tentative schedule is here.
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 $2,000, 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.
Celebration of Service
Fellows are required to attend a Celebration of Service in their honor in May 2019.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information session before completing an application. Upcoming information sessions will take place on the campuses of our University-partner. Contact Karen A. Spiller for dates and locations, to schedule an information session or to set up a meeting to discuss your interest in the Fellowship.
All applications must include:
- Application form (available here)
- Resume or CV
- The names of three references, one of which must be the applicant’s proposed Academic Mentor
Finalists will be interviewed in March, and the Fellows will be announced in April.
The priority deadline is for 2018-2019 applications is Monday, February 12. 2018.
For more information, please contact:
Karen A. Spiller Program Director
Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program
330 Brookline Ave. (BR) (Mailing Address)
133 Brookline Ave., 2nd floor (Office Location)
Boston, MA 02215
T: (617) 975-7575
F: (617) 975-7570