30 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 2015-16 class of Chicago Schweitzer Fellows―30 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.
“Despite the demands of graduate and doctoral programs, Albert Schweitzer Fellows are committed to service and to tackling complex health needs,” said Dr. Arthur Kohrman, Chair of the Advisory Council for the Chicago chapter of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “It is particularly special that this new class of Albert Schweitzer Fellows has been selected during the 20th anniversary year of our Chicago chapter, and the 75th anniversary year of the founding of the national Albert Schweitzer Fellowship organization. Our shared vision focuses on improving the health of communities by preparing health and human service professionals to serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives. We’re very excited to see what these Fellows are able to accomplish not just over the next year, but in the years to come as they establish themselves professionally.”
Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, a commitment that is in addition to fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health or social service organization. This year’s Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, from a mentoring and health education program for minority youth to a program for women with mental illnesses who are involved in the criminal justice system. Fellows come from all academic disciplines – medicine, physical therapy, dentistry, social work, and other allied health fields.
Schweitzer Fellowships have an intensive leadership component, so that Fellows can go on to inspire others to improve the health of those who experience barriers to care. Fellows work under the close guidance of community and academic mentors during their fellowship year.
“These Schweitzer Fellows are the next generation of leaders in the health care field and allied disciplines,” said Sylvia Stevens-Edouard, Executive Director of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “Their Fellowship year will help prepare them to successfully face the difficult task of eliminating health inequities and ensure that underserved people have access to quality, comprehensive health care.”
The 30 Chicago Fellows will join approximately 220 other 2015-16 Schweitzer Fellows working at 13 program sites, 12 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 2015-16 Chicago Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 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 1996, more than 500 Schweitzer Fellows have provided over 100,000 hours of service to Chicago’s vulnerable communities. The Chicago Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program was established in 1996 by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, a Chicago nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of all people in Illinois by promoting health equity. The Chicago Schweitzer Fellowship is made possible entirely through the financial support of local foundations, academic institutions and individuals.
2015-16 Chicago Albert Schweitzer Fellows
Actress Bartlett, University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work
Bartlett will expand the SoBu (Social Business) Artist Project, through which college interns mentor high school and middle school students in the creation of mosaic art, silk screen t-shirts and bags. The goals of the project are to provide a sustainable living through entrepreneurial art, to foster civic engagement, and to provide a mechanism for youth to save money for college.
Community Site: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Darshana Bhattacharyya, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Bhattacharyya plans to work with the Thresholds Young Mothers Project to create a series of bi-monthly “life tools” workshops that address issues of personal well-being, self-empowerment, and disease management for young mothers and families affected by severe mental illness. The series will culminate with a small entrepreneurial project to be determined by the group.
Community Site: Thresholds
Heidi Cerneka, Loyola University Chicago, School of Law
Cerneka proposes to develop relationships with and resources for, women with mental illnesses who have been involved in the criminal justice system. Her focus is to offer support and resources and better understand what is needed to intervene before they fall into the prison pipeline.
Community Site: Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC).
Kristina Davis, Rush University, College of Nursing
Davis plans to implement a train-the-trainer health education program for Chicago public school students. This program will engage youth in prevention efforts to reduce the disease burden of cancer, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and HIV in Chicago’s underserved communities.
Community Site: Rush University 5+1=20 community health initiative
Joshua Eastham, Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine – Illinois
Eastham will work to expand “Right from the Start,” a project which incorporates education about making healthy lifestyle choices and developing good health habits within an elementary school curriculum in Bolingbrook.
Community Site: J.R. Tibbott Elementary School
Nisha Garg, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry
Garg proposes to initiate oral health classes for veterans. Through these classes, Garg hopes to raise awareness about underserved veterans, and provide veterans with enhanced knowledge on how to maintain proper oral health.
Community Site: Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
Evelyn Gomez, Rush University, College of Nursing
Gomez will initiate “Lead,” an after school mentoring and health education program for minority high school students. She plans to conduct workshops to prepare the students for the healthcare field. She hopes to empower the students to advocate for themselves, pursue higher education, and break the cycle of poverty within their families. Community Site: Instituto Del Progreso Latino
Megan Gordon, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing
Gordon will initiate a class for pregnant adolescents that focuses on childbirth education and empowering the young women and their partners to advocate for themselves to have better birth outcomes.
Community Site: Christopher House
Rachel R. Gottfredsen-Gage, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing
Gottfredsen will develop and teach health education classes for aging adults. These classes will provide health education and will reduce loneliness and isolation in the aging population by connecting aging adults with their communities.
Community Site: YMCA of Metro Chicago
Phylicia Hammonds, National University of Health Sciences, Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine Program
Hammonds proposes to initiate “Be(YOU)tiful,” an interactive health awareness program focused on developing a positive self-image in adolescent girls through the incorporation of nutrition education and physical fitness.
Community Site: Girls in the Game.
Elizabeth Harrison, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Occupational Therapy
Harrison plans a community group for LGBT refugees and asylees in the Chicago area. The group will provide a safe gathering space for LGBT refugees and asylees and improve community integration, social support and mental health.
Community Site: Heartland Alliance
Mary Clare Houlihan, DePaul University, School of Nursing
Houlihan proposes to implement a series of workshops for cancer survivors through the Gilda’s Club Satellite Program at Rush Cancer Center. These workshops will focus on side effects and holistic care for cancer survivors.
Community Site: Gilda’s Club
Phillip Hsu, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Hsu will work to establish a free health clinic and offer health education classes in Bridgeport, which is home to a large and rapidly growing population of underserved Asian immigrants and Asian Americans. The clinic will provide drop-in care, referrals, and support for chronic diseases (i.e. diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol), and the health education sessions will focus on managing conditions that affect the population more commonly (i.e. hypertension, smoking, nutrition).
Community Site: Chinese Christian Union Church (CCUC) South.
Kamaal Jones, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine
Jones will initiate a preventative health outreach program for African-American men at Project Brotherhood. The program will work to increase the amount of men receiving primary care services, to build community, and to provide individual and culturally appropriate support of their needs.
Community Site: Project Brotherhood
Jennifer Lequieu, Rush University, College of Medicine
Lequieu will initiate family-friendly group medical visits to low-income families from Humboldt Park. The classes will provide education and opportunities for patient-centered problem-solving to provide social support and to empower these families to make commitments to healthy living.
Community Site: Prime Care Community Health
Tessa Garcia McEwen, University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration
Garcia will implement a comprehensive perinatal loss support program for grieving parents on the southside of Chicago, in collaboration with partner health agencies. She also aims to conduct a train-the-trainer module for medical providers and health care professionals in areas of compassionate care and cultural competency as it relates to perinatal loss.
Community Site: University of Chicago Perinatal Center.
Nicohle Mitchell, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Mitchell proposes to help LGBTQ youth use their voices by creating a monthly newsletter at the Center on Halsted. The newsletter will empower the teens to speak about issues that concern them and advocate to be treated and respected for who they are.
Community Site: Center on Halsted
Sarah Moore, Columbia College Chicago, Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling Graduate Program
Moore plans to offer yoga and mindfulness classes to the refugee community at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights International FACES program. Involvement in the project will provide participants with tools to help address their trauma and connect to their new found American community.
Community Site: Heartland Alliance
Iqra Mushtaq, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health
Mushtaq will initiate heart disease risk-reduction workshops for refugee/ immigrant South Asian women at Heartland International Health Center. The workshops will provide health education and will empower women to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes.
Community Site: Heartland International Health Center
Amol Naik, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Naik proposes to create a weekly health discussion group to address the health needs of formerly homeless adults. The discussion group will provide opportunities for participants to learn about new health topics, share their challenges and build plans to improve their health.
Community Site: Interfaith House
Katherine Palmer, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Palmer plans to develop a health and wellness curriculum in the University of Chicago Woodlawn Charter School utilizing a tiered-mentor model. With leadership from college and graduate student mentors, high school students will gain the knowledge and skills to teach middle school children about various health topics and will impact health within their community.
Community Site: University of Chicago Woodlawn Charter School
Supriya Rastogi, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
Rastogi will partner with EverThrive Illinois to tackle the racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes in the South Side of Chicago and promote reproductive justice for women of all ages. She will target the individual and community levels by facilitating discussions on health practices, promote youth development, and increase the capacity of the community to share reproductive health information and support each other.
Community Site: EverThrive Illinois
HB Riley, University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work and School of Public Health
Riley will work on an interdisciplinary team with the Health Justice Project to address environmental health hazards such as lead exposures, mold, and infestations affecting low-income tenants. Her project will also build institutional capacity by developing best practices for the creation of healthy homes.
Community Site: Health Justice Project
Claudio Rivera, DePaul University, Clinical-Community Psychology Graduate Program
Claudio will develop a college student health group to promote health and well-being among low-income, Latina/o, first-generation college students on the South Side of Chicago. This will be accomplished through a series of health workshops and community health events to increase health awareness and engagement in healthy behaviors.
Community Site: Holy Cross-Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.
Pablo da Silva, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine
Da Silva will work to facilitate access of community college students from underrepresented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds to careers in the healthcare field. Students will be exposed to different aspects of healthcare professions and receive mentorship at Stritch School of Medicine.
Community Site: Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
Luke Swift, Rush University, College of Nursing
Swift plans to initiate a mindfulness meditation relapse prevention program with brief motivational interviewing for adults with substance use disorder. Through the program and mindful meditation, individuals will learn how to fully attend to present moment experiences, which can improve self-regulation and enhance one’s ability to analyze an action and consequences before engaging in it.
Community Site: Haymarket Center
Jamie Tolmatsky, Adler University, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program
Tolmatsky proposes to initiate a caregiver wellness program. The program will include support groups to foster social support, educational training to promote stress reduction and healthy living, and other recreational activities focused on improving the overall quality of life for caregivers.
Community Site: TBA
Sarah Wagener, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health
Wagener proposes to direct a production of Eve Ensler’s “I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret life of Girls Around the World,” a play that builds confidence in young women and encourages adolescent girls to use their voices to make their schools and communities healthier places for young women. A rehearsal process and series of educational group meetings focused on leadership development will empower young women.
Community Site: TBA
Raymond Yong, Rush University, College of Medicine
Yong plans to implement a leadership and personal development camp for at risk teenage males. The camp will promote growth and maturity in these young men to one day become mentors to their friends, family, and peers.
Community Site: Near West Side Salvation Army
Raheem Young, Argosy University Chicago, Doctorate of Business Administration Program
Young proposes to initiate an empowerment, mentoring educational program impacting African American males 16 to 22 living in the North Lawndale community in Chicago. The program is called “Suited for Success” and will help young men gain employment, economic empowerment, and break the cycles of poverty.
Community Site: Banner Academy Alternative High School