The North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 Carolina 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, law, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, public health, and psychology. Applicants scheduled for a December graduation should contact the Program Director to determine if they are eligible for a waiver to this requirement.
Applicants must be enrolled throughout the Fellowship year (April 2019-May 2020).
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. 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.
- In developing your project idea, think about the impact you want your project to have on the targeted population, i.e., what kind of behavior change do you wish to see. Think about ways to verify if your project has been successful.
- 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 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 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 North Carolina 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.
We are able to offer funding, up to $1,000, to sustain a Fellow’s project once the Fellowship year is complete. Fellows, their academic and site mentors work together to submit a formalized plan with a detailed budget. Only one site per project is eligible to apply for the stipend. Specific criteria must be met before the stipend can be awarded.
Required Activities of Fellows
Fellows design and carry out a health-related direct service project of at least 200 hours in collaboration with a local community agency under the leadership of a site supervisor and academic mentor of the student’s choice. A minimum of 150 hours will be spent in face to face direct contact with the population they are trying to reach. The remaining 50 hours can be spent for planning time, and other project activities. The 200 hours is separate from any school course requirement. Fellows who conduct a paired project split the hours and the stipend proportionately.
Fellows attend an overnight orientation April 13 – 14, 2019 in Davidson, NC which is a mandatory requirement. Fellows attend two mid-year afternoon retreats in the Triangle area: one in late August and the other in November. Partners in a paired project are both required to be present at all events.
Celebration of Service
Fellows attend a Celebration of Service Luncheon honoring current Fellows and introducing new Fellows April 6, 2019 in Raleigh. Fellows also attend the event in March/April 2019. Partners in paired projects are both required to be present at the events.
Reports and Evaluation
Fellows submit monthly one-page reports about their activities; a written final report; a poster summarizing their project; and an evaluation about the Fellowship experience. Fellows also need to develop a verification strategy into their project design to determine if their project is successful and on target in meeting goals.
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 $3,000 stipend (paired Fellows split this amount), 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 North Carolina Schweitzer Fellowship is unable to provide any additional financial support beyond the stipend.
In the fall of 2019, Fellows organize an information session on their Fellowship experience at their school. Please contact Barbara Heffner for information on dates and locations.
All applications must include:
- Single Application form (Partner Application)
- Resume or CV
- Three references, one of which must be the applicant’s proposed Academic Mentor (references’ contact information only, no letters of recommendation
Interviews will be conducted February 22 in Davidson and February 23 in Chapel Hill.