APPLICATION INFORMATION – OVERVIEW
The Los Angeles Schweitzer Fellows Program® is a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program focused on health-related community service and leadership development.
In addition to the four overall goals of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program®, the Los Angeles 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 CBOs, 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 the geographic area may apply. 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, but not limited to, dentistry, education, engineering, law, medicine, music, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health, and social work. Applicants must be enrolled throughout the Fellowship year (April 2014-May 2015). Applicants scheduled for a December graduation should contact the Program Director to determine if they are eligible for a waiver to this requirement.
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 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. 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 community partners.
• Be of an enduring value to the community/agency served. The project proposal should include a brief discussion about sustainability of the project at the end of the Fellowship year.
Applicants are encouraged to identify one or more potential academic mentors at their schools and a site mentor at the agencies where they propose to conduct their projects.
Applicants should be creative in developing their proposal. 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 Fellows’ projects and partnering agencies. Applicants should keep in mind that they may utilize their unique experience and expertise expand upon a past Schweitzer project, but should not simply duplicate or continue one that has been carried out previously. Research, fundraising, and policy-based projects are not considered eligible for a Schweitzer Fellowship. Applicants should contact the Program Director if they would like to request assistance in identifying a project and/or a project site.
REQUIRED ACTIVITIES OF FELLOWS
Orientation Retreat: Fellows must attend an overnight camping retreat June 7-June 8, 2014.
Service Project: 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, other Fellowship programming/reports, administrative duties or research are not part of the required 200 hours. At least half of the 200 hours should be in direct, face-to-face contact with the population being served. 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.
Reports: 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.
Evaluation: 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.
Monthly Meetings: 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.
Public Outreach: Fellows work together in groups to organize one or more public outreach activities that may take the form of public symposia and/or group service activities.
Recruitment: 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.
Stipend: Fellows receive a stipend of $2,500, distributed in 2 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 Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is unable to provide any additional financial support beyond the stipend.
Celebration of Service: New Fellows are required to attend the Celebration of Service on April 11, 2014 honoring outgoing Fellows. On April 10, 2015, the 2014-15 Fellows are required to attend the Celebration of Service in their honor. They will be required to prepare a poster describing their projects’ goals and accomplishments.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information session before completing an application. Applicants unable to attend an information session should contact the Program Director for more information.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
The Los Angeles Program does not require letters of recommendation.
The application deadline is February 1. Interviews will be held on March 1.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT
John K. Su, MD, MPH, Program Director
Los Angeles Schweitzer Fellows Program
Family and Sports Medicine
4950 Sunset Blvd, 4th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Rebecca Bravo, Program Coordinator
Los Angeles Schweitzer Fellows Program
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles
617 S. Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014