The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its 2014-15 class of Boston Schweitzer Fellows — 14 graduate students who will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.
“Schweitzer Fellowships change lives, both of the individual Fellows as well as those of the many vulnerable community members with whom they work through their Fellowship projects,” said Lisa Peterson, Program Director of the Boston Schweitzer Fellowship program. “Our Fellows learn to lead and innovate as they tackle complex health needs and apply their knowledge of health inequities—skills they will use throughout their professional careers. By partnering with communities, the Fellows’ projects help their participants obtain increased access to resources and skills that will improve their health and well-being.”
Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health inequities in under-resourced communities, while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. This year’s Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, including teen dating violence; mental health needs among young black women; connection of immigrants to health care services; food security among low-income residents of Boston; and medication adherence among non-English speaking residents of Boston.
“These Schweitzer Fellows are living Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s legacy of reverence for life,” said Executive Director Sylvia Stevens-Edouard. “Their Fellowship year will leave them well-prepared to successfully face the challenges of serving vulnerable and underserved populations, whose health and medical needs are many and varied.”
The 14 Boston Fellows will join approximately 220 other 2014-15 Schweitzer Fellows working at 12 program sites, 11 in the US and one in Lambaréné, Gabon at the site of The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded by Dr. Schweitzer in 1913. Upon completion of their Fellowship year, the 2014-15 Boston Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of nearly 3,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers. Fellows for Life routinely report that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving people in need.
Since 1992, the Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program has supported 500 Schweitzer Fellows. The Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program has been funded through the generosity of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Boston University; Dana Farber Cancer Institute; DentaQuest Foundation; Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation; Harvard Medical School; MGH-Institute of Health Professions; Massachusetts Medical Society; New England School of Optometry; Simmons College; Tufts University; Walgreens; Novo Nordisk; and many individual donors.
2014-15 Boston Schweitzer Fellows
TUFTS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Connie Chung, Tufts University School of Medicine Public Health and Professional Degree Programs
Chung is addressing mental health and overall wellness by establishing a career readiness program for survivors of sex trafficking in Greater Boston. The program will teach the women widely applicable career skills. As a partner to their efforts, the program will be helping them actualize their dreams into reality, whether their goal is to secure a job or start their own business. This will provide the women with new skill sets, confidence, and a career to help them successfully reintegrate into society upon completion of a comprehensive and holistic rehabilitation program at a safe home.
Community Site: Amirah
Angela Coombs, Tufts University School of Medicine
Coombs is addressing the stigma and myths around mental illness amongst young black adolescent women in Dorchester, MA by increasing awareness and education around inequities related to mental health and overall community health. This program will provide health education and serve as an empowerment program providing strong mentorship and creating peer advocates and community ambassadors who are equipped with the knowledge and resources to identify at-risk peers and provide them with tools for healthy living. Throughout the program, participants will develop a variety of artistic reflections that will be developed into a collective and shared with a larger community of their choosing.
Community Site: Codman Academy Charter School
Amy Ni, Tufts University School of Medicine
Ni is addressing how cancer affects Asian American women in Boston by hosting educational workshops in residential communities and organizing biweekly wellness groups for women impacted by the diagnosis of cancer. Ni will also host volunteer training sessions for college students and community residents to train educators who will share their knowledge of cancer screening to the community. The goal of the project is to increase awareness, improve cancer screening rates in Asian American women and allow the community to join together in fighting the diagnosis of cancer.
Community Site: Asian Women for Health
Vaidehi Pidaparti, Tufts University School of Medicine
Pidaparti is working to increase an awareness of public health among urban youth in Jamaica Plain. Her after-school program, the Health Impact Partnership (HIP), seeks to provide an engagement-centered alternative approach to education that helps to develop and strengthen skills such as public speaking, formulating investigative questions, and leading others. Students begin by exploring determinants of health, including the environment, social justice, and the dynamics of their own communities. These determinants are followed by an introduction to public health and research methods, and students ultimately develop a capstone project and intervention about a health issue of their choice.
Community Site: English High School
FRIEDMAN SCHOOL OF NUTRITION SCIENCE AND POLICY, TUFTS UNIVERSITY
Nina Rogowsky, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University
Rogowsky is working to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables among residents of the City of Boston by demonstrating healthy recipes that use fresh produce at food pantries that participate in the “Produce to Pantries” program. This project will help people find ways to incorporate more of these foods into their diets by providing exposure to unfamiliar varieties, or new ways of using familiar ones, along with practical cooking and storage information, nutritional information, and samples. Building connections with local community gardens can help empower communities and individuals to access healthy foods and become more food secure.
Community Site: Boston Natural Areas Network
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SCHOOL
Molly Cook, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Cook is addressing intimate partner violence among Central, MA youth by providing a series of teen dating violence workshops to several organizations. The curriculum will include: aspects of healthy and unhealthy relationships, tips on helping a friend who is in an unhealthy dating relationship, and the evaluation of the effect of the media on perceptions of gender and relationship dynamics. Teens will be provided with resources and asked to complete safety plans, empowering them to assess current relationships and be aware of the steps to take if they choose to end an unhealthy relationship. Ultimately, this project aims to heighten awareness of dating violence during the formative teenage years in hopes to decrease the prevalence of intimate partner violence. This project is timely as the Affordable Care Act has recently identified screening for domestic violence as a national health priority.
Community Sites: Pernet Family Health Service, African Community Education, Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services, and Whitin Community Center
HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL & HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT
DaEun (Dana) Im, Harvard Medical School & Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Im is addressing the mental health care needs of children in the Boston community by partnering with “Improving Child Health through Mental Health and Pediatric Primary Care Integration,” which uses the primary care model and team-based care to deliver mental health services to children and their families. Starting in primary care setting, she will serve as a resource navigator, working closely with children facing barriers to obtaining mental health services and following their long-term care plans. Im will also organize a series of mental health focused workshops to equip patients and their families with skillsets for coping with chronic environmental stressors. In addition to empowering patients and their families to advocate for themselves as they navigate through community-based mental health resources, Im hopes to break down the barriers of ignorance, prejudice, and stigma around mental health issues.
Community Sites: Boston Children’s Hospital Primary Care Center and Martha Eliot Health Center
HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Marvin So, Harvard School of Public Health
So is working with men engaged in the Salvation Army Shelter’s transitional recovery program to promote self-management of chronic physical and behavioral health conditions. Collaborating with the Cambridge Health Care for the Homeless Program, he will be delivering a peer-driven health group – the Whole Health Action Group, or “WHAG” – focusing on mind-body resiliency, person-centered goal setting, and health promotion around salient issues such as nutrition, anger management, and hypertension. Ultimately, the goal of this group will be to enhance participants’ ownership of their own health, and in turn, become purposeful advocates for positive change in their lives as a whole.
Community Site: Cambridge Health Care for the Homeless Program
MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AND HEALTH SCIENCES, WORCESTER
Anh Lam, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester
Lam is addressing access to health care in Worcester Free Clinics by establishing an education program on government’s health insurance to immigrants in the Worcester, MA community. The program will help immigrants to identify appropriate government’s health insurance plans, overcome language and cultural barriers, and assist in the enrollment process.
Community site: Worcester Free Clinics
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY
Jacqueline Su-yuo, New England College of Optometry
Su-yuo is addressing the visual health of 5-13 year olds participating in the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s Red Oak After School Program by establishing a self-sustainable program to train and certify faculty and volunteers to perform their own screenings. In addition, Su-yuo is aiming to help create a centralized database to aid in the follow-through and education of children who require additional care. Ultimately, her goal is to improve the accessibility of screenings and to empower the Boston Chinatown community to take a proactive approach in ensuring the visual health of their children.
Community Site: Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (Red Oak After School Program)
BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Lauren Sweetser, Boston University School of Medicine
Sweetser is addressing issues of pediatric homelessness in Roxbury, MA with a service-learning project entitled “Resources and Education for Adolescents and their CHildren” (REACH). The mission of REACH is for medical students to work with and learn from homeless teenaged mothers and their young children by actively supporting them through educational workshops, constructive childcare and longitudinal multifaceted mentorship. Ultimately, the goal is for medical students to serve as healthcare liaisons for this often-neglected population while encouraging positive consistent relationships for both mother and infant.
Community Site: Family Independence/Teen Living Program
BOSTON UNIVERSITY SARGENT COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND REHABILITATION SCIENCES
Alanna Wolf, Boston University Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Wolf is promoting independent living at the Webster House, a clubhouse for adults with psychiatric disabilities residing in the Metro Boston area, by establishing a life skills program, in which topics such as food management, self-care, home safety, community mobility, and money management are addressed. Through participation in group and individual sessions, members will develop skills to confidently identify available resources and live safely in the community. Wolf hopes to improve each individual’s quality of life through practical education, activities, and discussion, as well as by creating a network of support within the clubhouse.
Community Site: Webster House
MGH INSTITUTE OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS, COMMUNICATION SCIENCES AND DISORDERS
Jie (Kingsley) Yang, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Yang is addressing rehabilitation service needs of people suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) who have lost access to insurance coverage by providing them free extended therapy services in the Greater Boston Area. Through the Extended Cognitive and Psycho-social Enhancement Program (ECPEP), the therapy focuses the training on three core components: cognitive skills, psycho-social strategies, and self-reflection approaches. The ultimate goal is not only to alleviate the financial burdens of continued rehabilitation service for this underserved population, but also to help people with TBI develop community and vocational skills and enhance their quality of life.
Community Site: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and MGH Institute of Health Professions (MGH IHP) Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD)
NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY, BOUVÉ COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES
Katie Zheng, Northeastern University, Bouvé College of Health Sciences
Zheng is targeting medication adherence and disparities in health education in the non-English speaking population at the Dimock Center. Zheng will work collaboratively with patients, providers, and other relevant staff to analyze and address issues preventing optimal medication therapy while overcoming language and cultural barriers to care. In addition, Zheng will empower student-community connections by facilitating community workshops in partnership with various student groups and community institutions. Ultimately, the aim of the project is to improve the health and well-being of these individuals by fostering self-empowerment, beneficial partnerships, and enhanced community understanding.
Community Site: The Dimock Center