The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its 2016-2017 class of New Hampshire/Vermont Fellows. Thirty-three graduate students 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.
“We are extremely proud of our incoming class of Schweitzer Fellows, and we are excited to see what our talented students accomplish over the next 12 months,” said Nancy Gabriel, Director of the New Hampshire/Vermont chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “Our program is making a lasting impact on the health of communities in New Hampshire and Vermont as our Fellows first learn to serve and support vulnerable people in living healthier lives, and then take those skills with them when they establish themselves professionally as leaders in their field.”
Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities 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. The New Hampshire/Vermont program’s 2016-2017 Fellows will address an array of health, wellness, and awareness issues and initiatives aimed at parents in recovery from addiction; middle- and high-school students; low-income families living in rural areas; families of children receiving palliative care services; transgender people at the beginning of their transition process; and many other groups.
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.
“The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has a ripple effect in communities as Schweitzer Fellows improve the lives not only of those they are directly serving, but their circle of family and friends as well. So there is a lasting community impact,” said Sylvia Stevens-Edouard, Executive Director of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “Additionally, the process of moving their Fellowship projects from an initial concept to completion teaches Schweitzer Fellows valuable skills in working with others in allied fields. As Schweitzer Fellows develop professionally, this skill is critical to their ability to effect larger-scale change among vulnerable populations.”
The New Hampshire/Vermont Fellows will join approximately 240 other 2016-2017 Schweitzer Fellows working at program sites around the United States, as well as 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 2016-2017 New Hampshire/Vermont Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 3,200 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.
Nationally, some of ASF’s Fellows for Life include Rishi Manchanda, MD, author of the TED book The Upstream Doctors: Medical Innovators Track Sickness To Its Source; Jessica Lahey, JD, author of the new bestseller The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn To Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, and who writes regularly about education and parenting issues for the New York Times and The Atlantic; and Robert Satcher, Jr., MD, PhD, assistant professor, Anderson Cancer Center and NASA mission specialist. Additionally, three Schweitzer Fellows for Life were among those who deployed to West Africa to fight the Ebola outbreak: Meredith Dixon, MD, who is a CDC epidemic intelligence service officer; Nahid Bhadelia, MD, director of infection control at Boston’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory and a hospital epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center; and William Fischer II, MD, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at University of North Carolina Health Care and UNC School of Medicine.
There are 14 U.S.-based Schweitzer programs. The others are in Alabama; Boston; Chicago; Columbus-Athens, Oh.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Houston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; North Carolina; Pittsburgh; San Francisco Bay Area; and Tulsa. Additionally, ASF also has a program chapter based in Lambaréné, Gabon, at The Albert Schweitzer Hospital.
2016-17 Albert Schweitzer Fellows NH/VT Chapter of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship
Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College
Emily Johnson and Kristen Delwiche
Emily and Kristen will be working with underserved, first time mothers in Claremont, NH. They will be providing health education and information on early childhood development to build mothers’ confidence and reduce stress through a home visit model.
Community site: TLC Family Resource Center
Salma Dali and Timothy Harris
Salma and Timothy’s project provides health and substance prevention education to middle and high school students in underserved communities in Vermont and New Hampshire. They also aim to train medical students on educational pedagogy to enable them to deliver effective health education to patients and the community.
Community site: Several area middle and high schools
Megan Bunnell and Margot Le Neveu
Megan and Margot will implement a self-care initiative for individuals with substance use disorders participating in Drug Court. Their project will address this need with topics including: the foundation of sustainable, positive relationships with primary care; exposure to healthy lifestyle practices; access to fresh vegetables; and discussion of mental health.
Community site: Grafton County Drug Court
Victoria Charoonratana and Simrun Bal
Simrun and Victoria will interview parents recovering from addiction to explore community support in recovery. They aim to use these narratives to cultivate a greater understanding of substance dependence and create deeper connections between patients and service providers. Their project will be incorporated into ongoing efforts to improve community resources.
Community site: Community Health Improvement, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
Courtney Hanlon and Hannah Systrom
Partnering with Girls On The Run and Hartford Middle School, Hannah and Courtney will lead a mentorship program designed to promote teamwork, develop self-esteem, and improve health and wellbeing among middle school girls in the Upper Valley. They will create a collaborative space for reflection, empowerment, positive relationships, and personal growth through team-based curriculum and longitudinal mentorship.
Community Site: Hartford Middle School
Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College
Rita Tu and Fioleda Prifti
Rita and Fioleda will introduce engineering and health concepts through food science to elementary school students at the Montshire Museum and Dothan Brook Elementary school. The project will explore everyday foods’ texture, packaging, taste, nutrition, and other properties.
Community site: Montshire Museum of Science
Andrew Allee and Nick Laws
Andrew and Nick are developing interactive STEM education experiences for people of all ages in rural New England, with a particular focus on low-income families and energy concepts related to health and quality of life. By engaging participants with inventive tinkering activities that provide fun, hands-on experiences, Andrew and Nick’s project aims to familiarize participants with the basic energy principles undergirding nutrition, home energy efficiency, and alternative energy.
Community site: Montshire Museum of Science
University of New Hampshire, School of Law
Charles Wallace and Ryan Masters
Charles and Ryan will be develop a curriculum for training providers and consumers of substance use disorder services on how to navigate insurance claims issues and the appeals process. Utilizing the New Futures mental health parity toolkit, they will devise a presentation and online video training platform that will educate and empower family support groups to be consumer advocates for themselves.
Community site: New Futures
Devon Ayer and Audriana Mekula-Hanson
Devon and Audriana will be creating various curriculums to assist the New African American community in Concord, New Hampshire. They will be working with adults preparing for the Citizenship test as well as school-aged students learning and utilizing American civics. Additionally, they will advocate for community members as they navigate various governmental services and agencies.
Community site: The New American Africans Community Group
University of Vermont, College of Medicine
Benjamin Smith and Al York
Benjamin and Al will create Trans*Form, a project focused on reducing the number of transgender Vermonters who transition in isolation. They will develop a network of peer mentors (Trans*Corps) and develop online resource modules to help trans* Vermonters navigate various legal and medical transition processes. The Trans*Form project seeks to develop a network of trans* Vermonters, identify barriers to transition, and collect stories to be used in future trans* advocacy work.
Community site: Pride Center of Vermont
Desiree DiBella and Jacob Reibel
Desiree and Jacob will turn the microphone over to pediatric palliative care patients to hear their stories. They will meet with the families of children receiving palliative care services in their homes to audio record tales of adventure, terrifying events, or amusing exploits, not limited to illness. Their goal is to give young people an opportunity to speak about their experiences, strengthen family bonds, and raise awareness about palliative care.
Community site: Child Life, University of Vermont Medical Center
Holly Bachilas and Callie Linehan
Holly and Callie will implement a culturally-competent nutrition curriculum, including a support group for New Americans adjusting to a new food culture, and teaching sessions on nutrition and nutrition resources in their community.
Community site: VNA Family Room in Burlington, VT
Jasmine will establish the “Here to Help” clinic to provide the homeless in the Burlington, VT area with free physicals, personal self-care, clothes, toiletries and a hot meal. The goal of this clinic is to build relationships with ostracized members of the community, provide immediate help, and assess their vulnerability living on the street.
Community Site: Community Economic Development Office, Burlington, VT
Ryan Landvater and Julia McGinty
Ryan and Julia will educate mental health patients and providers on advanced directives in order to shift health care decisions from the courts to the patients. By employing the “Ulysses Clause,” patients can dictate their treatment preferences when they have decision making capacity — in the event that this lucidity may be lost. This allows for timely treatment in accordance with patient wishes.
Community site: The Howard Center
Vermont Law School
Eliza van Lennep
Eliza will design, create, and populate a web-based smartphone app that provides the survivors of rape and sexual violence a confidential, free, and convenient informational resource regarding their legal rights. The app will also provide links to information on mental and physical health resources, information for the friends and families of victims, and information regarding the legal system for victims who decide to prosecute. Eliza will conduct outreach area colleges and high schools to educate students about sexual violence and advertise the app’s availability.
Community site: Vermont Network Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
Will’s project is to develop and implement a Community Outreach program targeting pet owners in underserved communities in the Upper Valley. The program seeks to identify dogs and cats who may be living outdoors in substandard conditions and bring needed resources to the pet’s home, eliminating barriers to the owner’s ability to provide proper care and enjoy the companionship of their animals.
Community site: Upper Valley Humane Society
Emma will work with young men and women who have a passion for agriculture and technical skills to empower them to go on to higher education. She will reach out to students in local 4-H programs and high schools, and encourage them to explore career possibilities, boost resumes, improve college applications, and provide tutoring help.
Community site: Orange County 4-H Programs
Antonietta Girardi and Laura Savall
Antonietta and Laura seek to increase self- confidence and cultivate professional proficiency in public speaking and communication for individuals incarcerated within the Vermont Department of Corrections. The program consists of an eight-week curriculum wherein female inmates learn debate, research, and critical life skills. They will also digitize the curriculum making it globally accessible.
Community site: Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility
Heather will develop a curriculum to train the palette of very young children, getting them used to new tastes and textures, with the intention that the broadened palette will lead to an increased consumption of “whole foods” in their lifelong diet. The project will also equip parents to train their children, addressing menu choices, food preparation, and budget-conscious shopping.
Community site: TBD