APPLICATION INFORMATION - OVERVIEW
The North Carolina Albert 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 NC 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 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, engineering, law, medicine, music, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health, and social work. Applicants must be enrolled throughout the Fellowship year (April 2013-May 2014). 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.
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
Orientation Retreat: Fellows attend an overnight orientation April 6-7 in Davidson, NC that is a mandatory requirement. Partners in a paired project are both required to be present at this event.
Mid-Year Retreat: Fellows attend a mid-year afternoon retreat in January, 2014 in the Triangle area. Partners in a paired project are both required to be present at this event.
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. 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. These direct service hours do not include administrative duties, research, needs assessments or other Fellowship activities. Students may choose to lead a project individually or in a pair. Fellows who conduct paired projects split the stipend and the service hour requirement proportionately. 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 one-page monthly reports about their activities and a comprehensive written final report to their Program Director, Academic Mentor, and Site Mentor.
Project Poster: Fellows are required to design a poster summarizing their project to be displayed at the Fellow’s school.
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.
Public Outreach: The Fellows work together as a group to organize one or more public outreach activities.
Recruitment: In the fall of each year, Fellows will work with the Program Director to organize information sessions about the NC Schweitzer Fellows Program and present information at their schools about their Fellowship experiences.
Stipend: Fellows receive a stipend of $3,000, 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. As funding is limited, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is unable to provide any additional financial support beyond the stipend.
Celebration of Service: Fellows attend a Celebration of Service honoring current Fellows and introducing new Fellows on April 13, 2013 in Raleigh. Fellows also attend the event in April 2014. Partners in a paired project are both required to be present at the events.
Duke applicants, please note: Students from Duke are required to comply with the institutional policy for community health activities. The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance regarding the conduct of community health activities that require training and institutional oversight to assure patient continuity and appropriate resource allocation. Access the Community Health Activity Request Form. In addition, Duke applicants need to contact Kim Nichols, (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Duke’s Division of Community Health, for more information on related community contacts and resources for locally-based projects.
The application will ask you to list the contact information of 2 – 3 references. At least one reference should be a faculty member from your school who could serve as your academic mentor for the Schweitzer Fellowship. Due to the volume of applications, formal letters of recommendation cannot be accepted.
The application deadline has passed.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT
NC Program Director