14 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 Albert Schweitzer Fellows from New Orleans—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.
“Despite the demands of graduate programs, Albert Schweitzer Fellows are committed to service and to tackling complex health needs,” said Sofia Curdumi Pendley, MPH, Program Director of the New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program. “It is particularly special that this new class of Fellows has been selected during the 75th anniversary year of the founding of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. Our program is dedicated to 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, 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 helping former inmates transition from the correctional health setting of prison back into the community; improving the health literacy of high school students; assisting unaccompanied Hispanic minors in dealing with trauma and acculturation stress; and addressing the needs of injection drug users.
“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 14 Fellows from New Orleans will join approximately 220 other 2015-16 Schweitzer Fellows working at program sites throughout 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 New Orleans 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 2007, the New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program has supported nearly 80 Schweitzer Fellows in delivering more than 15,000 hours of service. The program is funded entirely through charitable donations and grants.
2015-16 New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program
Louisiana State University
Hunter Hopkins and Samantha Karlin, Louisiana State University School of Medicine
Hunter and Samantha are establishing a program that addresses the health care and health education needs of women and children that are living below the poverty line. They are attempting to make health care more accessible by providing educational programs and student-run medical clinics offered to the women and children at the New Orleans Women’s Shelter (NOWS). The program will also provide links to resources in the New Orleans health community that can be utilized in the future. Ultimately, the goal is to empower the women to be proactive with their health and wellness.
Community Site: New Orleans Women’s Shelter
Kanayo Okeke-Eweni, Louisiana State University School of Public Health
Kanayo is addressing health disparities with regards to increased risk of cardio-metabolic disorders among minorities in New Orleans by collaborating with NO/AIDS (Crescent Care) and establishing the “Lifestyle to Health Program.” This program aims at increasing knowledge, attitudes and practice of healthy eating and physical activity.
Community Site: NO/AIDS Task Force and Crescent Care
Angelica Singh and Joann Tran, Louisiana State University School of Dentistry
Singh and Tran aim to increase oral health awareness and improve access to dental services to those who have limited access to dental care. They will achieve this through education interventions, oral hygiene demonstrations, and limited oral exams.
Community Site: St. Jude Community Center
Daniel DiGiacomo and Keleigh McLaughlin, Tulane University School of Medicine
Daniel and Keleigh will be partnering with Special Olympics New Orleans (SONOLA) to improve health behaviors and health literacy among athletes. It is their hope that the return of SONOLA and its sports programs, in addition to the educational classes and Medical Days, will improve the lives and health of many individuals with mental impairments living in New Orleans.
Community Site: Special Olympics New Orleans
Jessica Liddell, Tulane University City, Community, Culture Program
Jessica is addressing the needs of injection drug users in New Orleans through her work at the NO/AIDS Task Force Access Program. Liddell will facilitate the safe disposal of biohazard material, distribute clean injection material, provide referrals, HIV/HCV testing, and risk reduction counseling. Liddell will also develop a Narcan-education training program to address overdose risk in injection drug users.
Community Site: NO/AIDS Task Force
Chenoa Moten and Catherine Patteson Poehling, Tulane University School of Social Work
Chenoa and Catherine will alleviate acculturation stress and trauma experienced by unaccompanied Hispanic minors during their journey to the United States. They will partner with Catholic Charities to provide a psycho-educational training program for the youth and their caregivers.
Community Site: Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans
William Vail, Tulane University School of Medicine and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
William aims to aid formerly incarcerated persons transition from the correctional health setting of prison back into the community. This will be done through the creation of physician-medical student teams, which will address both the medical and psycho-social aspects of reentry from incarceration through comprehensive case management and community based collaborations. The goal is to compassionately and efficiently welcome formerly incarcerated persons back into the health community of New Orleans and to empower them to take agency of their own health futures.
Community Site: Voice of the Ex-Offender and Ruth U. Fertel Clinic
Veronica Winget, Tulane University School of Medicine
Veronica aims to expand the current patient education program at the residential rehabilitation center, Grace House. Through weekly group education sessions, one-on-one patient education classes, and bi-weekly Pilate’s classes, Winget hopes to provide the women with the resources and skill set to manage chronic pain without the use of potentially addictive medications.
Community Site: Grace House
Candice Burke, College of Pharmacy at Xavier University of Louisiana
Candice will continue the GenerationRX program from 2013 while adding a mental wellness and a physical fitness component. The program is designed to build individual self-esteem and confident decision making by discouraging drug misuse and abuse to New Orleans area youth.
Community Site: TBD
University of Queensland/Ochsner
Brittany Fiorello, University of Queensland/Ochsner Clinical School
Brittany will build upon a health literacy and education program (HELP) that she has been working on for the past year. During the fellowship she hopes to improve health education within the school and inspire high school students as leaders in wellness.
Community Site: Bonnabel High School