January 29, 2013 - Schweitzer Fellows Program Receives IMPACT Grant From the Greater New Orleans Foundation
$30,000 grant will help Schweitzer Fellows address childhood obesity in low-income NOLA neighborhoods
[New Orleans, LA – January 25, 2013] The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship
(ASF)—a community service and leadership development program whose
mission is to improve health and create change in underserved
communities—has received a $30,000 IMPACT Grant from the Greater New
Orleans Foundation (GNOF)’s Kahn-Oppenheim Trust.
“This funding enables us to select and support three Schweitzer
Fellows who will focus specifically on preventing and addressing
childhood obesity in our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” says Christina
Roux, MSW, LCSW, Director of ASF’s New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows
Each spring, the program selects 10-15 area graduate students to
serve as Schweitzer Fellows (joining 200 others nationwide). These
Fellows participate in multidisciplinary, reflective leadership
development training, and create and implement mentored, entrepreneurial
community service projects that address health and its social
determinants in underserved neighborhoods.
“From launching a nutrition education series taught by medical
student volunteers at local elementary schools, to implementing a
CrossFit program and a community gardening program at other local
schools, a number of our Fellows have naturally gravitated towards the
pressing issue of childhood obesity,” Roux says. “This IMPACT Grant will
help us sharpen, systematize, and measure our impact on childhood
obesity at the community level.”
The incidence of childhood obesity has more than tripled during the
last 30 years. According to the latest CDC reports, more than one-third
of children and adolescents living in the United States are overweight
or obese. Recent studies have also demonstrated a clear link between
poverty and obesity risk: children from low income households are twice
as likely to develop obesity as children from higher income households.
In addition to emotional and psychological issues, obese or overweight
children are at significantly increased risk of developing chronic
health diseases and conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol,
diabetes, sleep disorders, and heart disease.
Indisputably, childhood obesity is a dominant public health issue at
the national level and has a particular relevance to our urban,
underserved populations in the greater New Orleans area. Childhood
obesity is a leading cause of adult morbidity and mortality in New
Orleans. More importantly, a growing body of evidence suggests that
childhood obesity, which already preferentially targets the urban poor,
can lead to poor school performance, feelings of emotional isolation,
and long-term impacts on relationships – both personal and professional.
The overall goal of GNOF’s IMPACT Grant program is to make the New
Orleans area a resilient, sustainable, vibrant, and equitable region.
The New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program is one of 38 local nonprofit
organizations to receive an IMPACT Grant this year.
“We are thrilled to be recognized in this way, and to partner with
the Greater New Orleans Foundation to make our city a healthier and more
just place,” say Pritesh Gandhi, MD, Chair of the New Orleans
Schweitzer Fellows Program Advisory Board. Gandhi served as a Schweitzer
Fellow in Boston, MA in 2007-08, partnering with an area community
agency to develop a nutritional curriculum for low-income parents of
“I have seen the impact of the Schweitzer Fellows Program
firsthand—both on the health and well-being of the community members
Fellows serve, and on the professional trajectory of the graduate
student Schweitzer Fellows themselves,” says Gandhi, now an Internal
Medicine/Pediatrics Resident at Tulane University. Ninety-nine percent
of Schweitzer program alumni—numbering more than 2,500 nationally—say
that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving people in
Since 2007, the New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program
has supported more than 50 Schweitzer Fellows in delivering over 8,000
hours of service within the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. The
program is funded entirely through charitable donations and grants.
Institutional sponsors include Tulane University School of Medicine and
Louisiana State University School of Public Health.
About The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is improving the health of vulnerable people now and for the future by developing a corps of Leaders in Service—professionals skilled in creating positive change with and in our communities, our health and human service systems, and our world.
Through community-based, mentored direct service and a
multidisciplinary, reflective leadership development program, ASF is
building community capacity and training a professional workforce that
- skilled in addressing the underlying causes of health inequities;
- committed to improving the health outcomes of underserved communities; and
- prepared for a life of continued service.
To date, nearly 2,500 Schweitzer Fellows have delivered nearly
500,000 hours of service to nearly 300,000 people in need.
Additionally, more than 100 Fellows have provided care at the
100-year-old Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Africa.
Through this work and through the contributions of the 99 percent of
Fellows whose professional careers serve their communities, ASF
perpetuates the legacy and philosophy of famed physician-humanitarian
Dr. Albert Schweitzer.
ASF has 13 program locations in the U.S. Its national office is located in Boston, MA and hosted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
About the Greater New Orleans Foundation
The Greater New Orleans Foundation is one of the oldest and largest
philanthropic organizations in the region. Every day, the Foundation
joins other foundations, nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and
government officials to address the needs of the community and build
consensus for solutions. Together with our family of donors, the
Foundation has invested over $100 million in our region since it opened
its doors over 30 years ago to respond to community needs. www.gnof.org
Christina Roux, MSW
Director, New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program
, 504.914.1891Click here to download this press release in PDF form.