APPLICATION INFORMATION - OVERVIEW
The Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program® is a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program focused on health and human services-related community service and leadership development. The Fellowship year starts April 1st and ends April 30th of the following year.
In addition to the four overall goals of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program®, the Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program strengthens Fellows’ resolve to provide health and human 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 poverty as a social determinant of health
- Experience the personal satisfaction of helping to improve 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.
The Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program has received funding to support Environmental Schweitzer Fellows. Click here to download information on Environmental Fellowships v. Traditional Fellowships.
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, medicine, nursing, art, pt, ot, pa, dentistry, social work, public health, pharmacy, education, engineering, music, and law. Applicants must be enrolled as full or part-time students from April 2013-May 2014. If an applicant is scheduled to graduate before May 2014, he/she must remain in the area and continue to participate in all Fellowship activities until the end of the Fellowship year.PRIOR TO APPLYING
Prospective Fellows should be prepared to partner with a local community agency and design a community service project that reflects his/her interest and 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 needs to:
- Provide a direct service that meets a community-defined need and reflects national and local health priorities. 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. In the application, the project proposal should include a brief discussion about sustainability of the project after the Fellowship year ends.
Each applicant is asked to identify an academic mentor at his/her school and a site mentor at the agency where they conduct their projects. If selected, Fellows will also be guided by a Schweitzer mentor chosen by PSFP staff, who is an alum of the Program. Candidates are asked to list three references in their application and include contact information. Additionally, one written reference letter (from one of the three references identified) is required to complete the application.
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 may 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 may 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 Session: Fellows will begin their Fellowship year by attending a 4-hour orientation session where they meet their classmates and Schweitzer Mentors and hear about their year with the Schweitzer Fellowship. The orientation session will take place on a Sunday evening in April.
Orientation Retreat: Fellows must attend an overnight orientation retreat in early May. The entire year is planned at the Retreat and co-leaders are selected for monthly meetings, schedules are determined and outreach community project groups are chosen. If an applicant is unable to attend the overnight Retreat we strongly suggest he/she not apply to the Fellowship. If a candidate is interviewed for the Fellowship, the dates of the Retreat and Orientation will be given to him/her at that time.
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. 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. 150 hours 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 need to 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 reflections about the month’s activities. Additionally, a comprehensive written final report is required at the end of the Fellowship year and will be submitted to the Program Director, Academic Mentor, and Site Mentor,as well as the National Office of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.
Evaluation: Fellows are required to complete a pre- and post- survey for the Fellowship. 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 are held once a month on a Sunday evening from 5-8 PM. At the Retreat, Fellows choose which Sunday of the month to meet. Monthly meetings are co-led by Fellows.
Monthly meetings provide the Fellows with leadership development, skills-based workshops, interdisciplinary discussions, time for reflection on community service and the philosophy of Albert Schweitzer and an opportunity to hear experts present information about issues that underserved populations face.
Outreach Community Project: Fellows work together in groups to organize one or more public outreach activities such as working at a Soup Kitchen, Shelter or Habitat for Humanity. In their small groups, Fellows may decide to provide panel discussions or health fairs or symposia.
Visit to other Fellows’ Sites: Each Fellow is required to visit two of her/his classmates’ sites while the Fellows is working with clients or patients. Fellows choose which two sites they would like to visit.
Stipend: Fellows receive a stipend of $2,000 distributed in 3 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.
Commencement: Fellows are required to attend two Commencements in May of 2013 and May of 2014. New Fellows will be introduced by a graduating Fellow to site, academic and Schweitzer mentors as well as community leaders. At Commencement in 2013, Fellows from the Class of 2012-2013 will present posters and information about their projects and will introduce the 2013-14 incoming class.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information session at his/her school before completing an application. Click here to download a schedule of upcoming information sessions.
The application deadline is February 15, 2013.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
All applications must be accompanied by one letter of reference on letterhead received by February 15, 2013. Applications without a letter of reference will not be considered.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT
Joan Haley, Program Director
412-363-0185 ext 26