The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its 2014-15 class of Albert Schweitzer Fellows from Pittsburgh — 21 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 Joan Haley, Program Director of the Pittsburgh 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 smoking cessation program for middle school-age boys; assisting uninsured and underinsured refugee and immigrant patients with accessing prescription medicine; and implementing an HIV testing and sexual health program for women who are homeless or at risk for homelessness.
“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 21 Fellows from Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh 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 1997, the Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program has supported more than 300 Schweitzer Fellows in delivering nearly 50,000 hours of service. In additional to traditional Schweitzer Fellows, the Pittsburgh Schweitzer Program has Environmental Fellows with primary funding from the Heinz Endowments.
Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program
2014-15 Project Summaries
Jamil Alhassan, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
Working at the Hill House with sixth to eighth grade boys, Jamil will launch an after school program to provide information about healthy lifestyles, smoking cessation, environmental health, critical thinking, and leadership.
Community Site: Hill House
Anna Bondar, University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy
Working at Birmingham Clinic on the Southside, Anna proposes to assist uninsured, underinsured refugee and immigrant patients with information about procuring medication at discounted prices through patient assistance programs.
Community Site: Birmingham Clinic
Dan Carlson and Wade Wolowiec, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine at Seton Hill
Expanding projects that former Schweitzer Fellows have implemented with students at Pressley-Ridge School – Greensburg, Dan and Wade will focus on health promotion, recycling, the importance of exercise, energy saving habits and energy conservation with students ages 5 to 18.
Community Site: Pressley-Ridge School – Greensburg
Rachel Cornelius, Carlow University, School for Social Change
Working in Beaver County with women at the Women’s Shelter and Clinic, Rachel will provide simple interventions aimed at strengthening the parent/child relationship in the face of tough circumstances, Rachel hopes to increase positive interactions in the family.
Community Site: Women’s Center in Beaver County
Mohini Dasari and Salla Rapakko, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
Mohini and Salla will develop an HIV testing and education program about sexually-transmitted infections and sexual health for women at the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, and they will be working with the Allegheny County Health Department to provide HIV screening.
Community Site: Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
Kyle Duff, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
Kyle will work with middle school age boys who are students at Woodland Hills Junior High School and will teach them about dating violence prevention and healthy relationships.
Community Site: Woodland Hills Middle School
Annie Fiscus, University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work
Working with the Homewood Children’s Village, Annie will provide sessions for high school students and increase knowledge of building self-esteem, reducing the risk of being a victim of violence, and developing healthy relationships and knowledge about the environment.
Community Site: Homewood Children’s Village
Justin Forzano, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public & International Affairs
By providing elementary school age children an afterschool “soccer club” in Wilkinsburg, Justin will promote positive self-image, leadership, and environmental education and will work through the Boys and Girls Club and Wilkinsburg Middle School.
Community Site: Wilkinsburg Middle School
Cari Goss, Point Park University, School of Communication
Cari proposes a project to assess older adults who are patients at the Duquesne University School of Nursing Community Based Health and Wellness Center regarding their mental health and help them access basic needs. She also will provide a referral system for these patients.
Community Site: Duquesne University School of Nursing Community Based Health and Wellness Center
Karla Kendrick and Breonna Slocum, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
Working at the Woodland Hills Junior High School, Karla and Breonna will teach girls about Intimate Partner Violence, setting boundaries and methods for establishing healthy relationships. Additionally Karla and Breonna will discuss healthy eating, exercise, and assertive communications.
Community Site: Woodland Hills Junior High School
James Lin, University of Pittsburgh, School of Dental Medicine
Working at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind, James will provide preventative oral health care to blind children at the school. He will also demonstrate effective oral healthcare techniques for parents and caregivers to use with the children.
Community Site: SW PA School for the Blind
Sobie Maduka and Leah Swanzy, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
Working with African-American women in Homewood, Sobie and Leah will provide classes to build physical fitness habits and will also provide healthy cooking classes at the Homewood YWCA and the Women’s Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.
Community Site: Homewood YWCA and the Women’s Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
Margaret McGannon, Duquesne University, School of Law
Margaret will assist inmates at the Allegheny County Jail by helping them with transportation, housing, and other determinants of health as they transition out of jail.
Community Site: Allegheny County Jail
Jonathan Ross, University of Pittsburgh, School of Law
Working with Community Action Southwest in Washington County, Jonathan will teach female heads of households about financial health including budgeting, taxes, and savings. He also will recruit professional women to mentor these women.
Community Site: Community Action Southwest in Washington County
Hana Uman, Chatham University, Food Studies
With Pittsburgh Community Kitchen, Hana will educate high school and adolescent students about healthy food and food waste. Students will learn about where food comes from and how to empower themselves and their communities through food justice.
Community Site: Pittsburgh Community Kitchen
Austin Van Horn, University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy
Working with patients from Matilda Theiss in the Hill District, Austin aims to improve patients’ transition from the hospital by assisting them in managing complex conditions to maintain health. Austin will also work with other pharmacy students to help patients with follow-up care, medication regimes and discharge plans.
Community Site: Matilda Theiss in the Hill District
Tess Wilson, Chatham University, Creative Writing
Tess will work with patients struggling with eating disorders in UPMC’s COPE program. Tess will provide writing workshops as a vehicle for building self-esteem and reflection.
Community Site: UPMC’s Center for Overcoming Problem Eating