12 Graduate Students Will Spend Next Year Improving Community Health and Developing Lifelong Leadership Skills
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its 2014-15 class of Albert Schweitzer Fellows from New Orleans — 12 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 they serve through their Fellowship projects,” said Sofia Curdumi Pendley, MPH, Program Director of the New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program. “Our Fellows learn to lead and innovate as they tackle complex health needs—skills they will use again and again throughout their professional careers. Meanwhile, their project participants learn information, skills, and behaviors that will assist them in leading healthier lives.”
Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, while at the same time fulfilling their academic responsibilities as full time students. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based organization. This year’s Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, including a sports and mentoring program for Latino youth; helping young people living with HIV transition from pediatric care to adult care; employing social marketing to increase the volume of fruits and vegetables purchased with Louisiana Purchase Cards at farmers’ markets; and empowering those living with diabetes to improve their health outcomes.
“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 12 Fellows from New Orleans 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 New Orleans 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 2007, the New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program has supported more than 50 Schweitzer Fellows in delivering nearly 8,000 hours of service. The program is funded entirely through charitable donations and grants.
New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program
2014-15 Project Summaries
Adam Bradley, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Adam will implement a Spanish health education program to address the healthcare needs of Latinos while advocating for broader language access at hospitals and clinics in New Orleans.
Community Site: Puentes New Orleans
Rebecca Atkinson, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Rebecca will design a project for New Orleans adolescents that infuses anxiety & depression coping strategies into existing sports programs.
Community Site: TBD
Nilima Mehta, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Nilima will implement an education program to raise awareness about human trafficking and prostitution. She will also design and create a resource to aid in establishing future homes for survivors in other communities.
Community Site: Eden House
Billy Schirmer, Pedro Urday, Tulane University School of Medicine
Billy and Pedro are expanding and sustaining an organized soccer and mentoring program addressing childhood obesity for Latino youth living in Mid City New Orleans, developed by a 2013-2014 fellow.
Community Site: YLC Kicks
Mary Kathryn (MK) Orsulak, Tulane University School of Medicine
MK aims to increase the health literacy of women recovering from substance abuse by introducing both clinical based one-on-one and group based health education seminars at the Grace House Women’s Clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Community Site: Grace House
Prerana Baranwal, Tulane University School of Medicine
Prerana will create a sustainable transition-of-care program for young adults who are HIV-positive as they are changing physicians from their pediatricians to adult physicians.
Community Site: Ruth U. Fertel Tulane Community Health Center
Erin Rumsey, Tulane University School of Law/Tulane University School of Social Work
Through “Project Restoration”, Erin Rumsey will create a responsive framework for the Office of the Independent Police Monitor that handle complaints against police officers. The goal of the project is to promote resiliency and healing in complainants by creating a screening method to recognize symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), compiling a network of referrals for lost-cost treatment, educating the community through outreach, and gathering data on the incidence of PTSD in the community.
Community Site: Office of the Independent Police Monitor
Haroon Waseem, Rayya Hunter, Xavier University of Louisiana, College of Pharmacy
Haroon and Rayya will expand the GenerationRx program from last year and add a nutrition component to it in order to instill leadership, create advocates against drug misuse, and promote a culture of health in school aged youth of New Orleans.
Community Site: TBD
Meg Skizim, Louisiana State University School of Public Health
Meg Skizim will implement a multifaceted social marketing campaign that will attempt to increase the number of fruits and vegetables purchased with Louisiana Purchase Cards in a New Orleans farmers market.
Community Site: Daughters of Charity WIC Clinic and Hollygrove Market
Christina Pitre, Louisiana State University School of Public Health
Christina will implement a diabetic empowerment program that focuses on teaching self-management skills to individuals with persistent self-care issues in New Orleans. The project’s goal is to ensure individuals are capable of performing the skills necessary to properly manage their diabetes, and to help address individual barriers that may impede self-management and adherence to medical recommendations.
Community Site: TBD
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 is:
- 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 3,000 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 Fellows whose professional careers serve their communities, ASF perpetuates the legacy and philosophy of physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer. ASF has 12 program locations in the U.S. and one in Lambaréné, Africa. Its national office is located in Boston, MA and hosted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.