The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its 2017-18 class of New Hampshire/Vermont Schweitzer Fellows. Twenty-seven graduate students from Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College; Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont; Vermont Law School; and the University of New Hampshire, School of Law 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.
“This is a talented and hard-working group of students who are passionate about addressing social determinants of health to improve the health and wellbeing of populations that are often overlooked, such people who are homeless, children who are living in poverty, older adults, LGBTQ people, and refugees and immigrants,” said Nancy Gabriel, Director of the New Hampshire/Vermont chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “They’ve partnered with an impressive range of community-based groups that are working to help vulnerable people live healthier lives, and it will be very exciting to see their projects have measurable impact.”
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 Schweitzer program’s new class of Fellows will work with people addicted to opioids to reduce the vulnerability to overdose and infection to Hepatitis C and HIV; assist homebound older adults with accessing nutritious meals; educate gay and bisexual men about pre-exposure prophylaxis, which dramatically reduces risk of acquiring HIV; and make it easier for people who are homeless in the Burlington, VT area to access nutritious meals and basic necessities such clothing and showers.
Fellows work under the close guidance of community and academic mentors during their fellowship year. Schweitzer Fellowships have an intensive leadership component, so that Fellows in turn serve as an inspiration to their peers and others to improve the health of those who experience barriers to care.
“Many of our Fellows go on to build impressive professional careers. The process of moving their Fellowship projects from an initial concept to completion teaches them valuable skills in working with others in allied fields,” said Bruce Auerbach, MD, chairman of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Board of Directors. “As Schweitzer Fellows develop professionally, this skill is critical to their ability to effect larger-scale change among vulnerable populations.”
The 27 New Hampshire/Vermont Fellows will join approximately 240 other 2017-18 Schweitzer Fellows working at 14 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 2017-18 New Hampshire/Vermont Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 3,400 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 William Fischer II, MD, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at University of North Carolina Health Care and UNC School of Medicine who participated in efforts to fight the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in 2014; Rishi Manchanda, MD, author of the TED book The Upstream Doctors: Medical Innovators Track Sickness To Its Source; Jessica Lahey, JD, author of the bestseller The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn To Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed; and Robert Satcher, Jr., MD, PhD, assistant professor, Anderson Cancer Center and NASA mission specialist.
Other US-based ASF programs are located in Alabama; Boston; Chicago; Columbus-Athens, Oh.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; North Carolina; Pittsburgh; San Francisco and Tulsa.
2017-18 New Hampshire/ Vermont Albert Schweitzer Fellows
Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College
Nasim Azizgolshani and Louisa Chen, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College
Nasim and Louisa will initiate a harm reduction program at the Claremont Soup Kitchen. They will distribute naloxone, sharps containers, and clean syringe kits while educating the community about overdose protocol and prevention of blood-borne disease transmission. They aim to provide a safe space for individuals with substance use disorders to seek resources and reduce overdose deaths in the state.
Community site: Claremont Soup Kitchen
Sarah Bennett and Melissa Cantave, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College
Adopting principles from the Telling My Story program at Dartmouth College, Sarah and Missy will use writing and reflection as mediums for creative processing and empowerment for teens surrounding their own life stories. They aim to build a community for a protective effect for mental health, substance use prevention, and helping teens utilize their own tools to unlock whatever future paths they choose.
Community site: Stevens High School, Claremont, NH
Frederik Burton III and Trenika Williams, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College
Fred and Trenika will provide in-home healthcare checkups and delivered meals to homebound seniors. They will hold monthly community engagement events promoting health education. Their project aims to decrease the isolation seniors may experience while increasing access to healthcare and nutritious food.
Community Site: Grafton County Senior Citizens Council
Lucas Mayer and Chad Lewis, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College
Luke and Chad are implementing a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education program that will work to build students’ interest and expose them to potential career options in STEM. Students will participate in hands-on biotechnology-based lab projects, meet exciting guest speakers, interact regularly with potential role models from local graduate schools, and visit nearby STEM facilities including research labs, operating rooms, and technology companies.
Community Site: Hartford High School
Jacob Perlson, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College
Partnering with statewide HIV prevention stakeholders and AIDS service organizations, Jake will design and implement a peer navigation program to raise awareness and expand access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). His program aims to increase awareness of PrEP, facilitate linkage to providers, and encourage adherence for those engaged in care.
Community Site: Dartmouth-Hitchcock HIV Program
Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Lauren Donnelly and Kirsten Martin, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Lauren and Kirsten are developing a twelve-week weight management program for cancer survivors. The behaviorally based intervention will focus on calorie reduction, an increase in exercise and behaviors to support diet change. Nutrition and weight loss training materials will also be created to enhance Larner College of Medicine students’ knowledge on these topics.
Community site: University of Vermont Cancer Center
Eli Goldberg, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Eli will work on the development of the TransForm Project, which supports the health, and wellbeing of transgender Vermonters through peer mentoring, community skill shares, and online resources.
Community site: Pride Center of Vermont
Rachael Munoz and Erin Hunt, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Rachel and Erin will organize monthly Here to Help clinics to serve the homeless population of Burlington, Vermont. At the clinics, those in need can speak directly with organizations offering in-depth services and receive necessities such as a meal, shower, haircut and clothing. The end goal is a sustainable and dependable monthly program that will continue beyond their project.
Community Site: Chittenden County Homeless Alliance
Conner Soderquist, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Conner’s project aims to increase access to healthy food and improve culinary skills among adolescents faced with economic hardship and impacted by social, emotional, learning and/or mental health challenges. Nutrition education will be paired with site visits to local farms and cooking classes to deepen our understanding of where food comes from, to learn to cook healthy and delicious meals, and to work to build a positive relationship with food.
Community site: Center Point School
Alejandra Vivas Carbo and Ashley Aiken, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Alejandra and Ashley will implement a program where New American teenage girls and low income families establish a wellness environment in their lives through the development of healthy habits based on four pillars: nutrition, fitness, wellness and mentorship. Their intention is to empower and allow these populations to become the agents of change in their lives.
Community site: King Street Youth Center and The Family Room
Vermont Law School
Yasin Alsaidi, Vermont Law School
Using play, music, and art therapy, Yasin will develop tools that can be used by those who support children of refugees such as case workers and guidance counselors. These tools will be incorporated into everyday activities like playing, making art, and listening to or playing music to help refugee children better cope with trauma from living in war conditions and/or refugee camps.
Community site: TBD
Zachary Dayno and Scott Rowland, Vermont Law School
Zach and Scott will devise an automated notification system to help individuals get to court on the correct day, at the correct time, and prepared to face a judge. Their project addresses the recurring cycle of pre-conviction imprisonment that besets Vermont’s most at risk citizens.
Community Site: Windsor County Pretrial Services
Giselle Lopez, Vermont Law School
Giselle will help migrant dairy workers to create emergency family plans in case guardians of children are detained or deported.
Community Site: Bridges to Health
Nicholette Lustig and Serena Tang, Vermont Law School
Nico and Serena will expand Tiny Tastes, an early education curriculum that exposes young toddlers to the tastes and textures of a variety of whole foods. They will create additional educational resources for childcare centers, schools, partner organizations and parents and connect with farmers and CSAs to feature locality and seasonality in the foods served.
Community site: Hunger Free Vermont
Sherri White-Williamson, Vermont Law School
Sherri will work with Cover Home Repair, a nonprofit that provides urgently needed home repairs to low income families living in unsafe and/ or unhealthy conditions. Sherri will organize VLS students to provide volunteers to help Cover to improve housing conditions as well as identify sources of assistance for this most vulnerable population.
Community site: Cover Home Repair
University of New Hampshire, School of Law
Christina Kataoka, University of New Hampshire, School of Law
Christina will develop an art meditation program for at-risk adolescent students. She will design the curriculum to address the emotional and mental difficulties of those facing life challenges caused by personal family history, trauma, or other disadvantages. She would eventually like to expand the project to include immigrants and low-income families.
Community site: Second Start Alternative High School
Katherine McDonough and Emma Stilson, University of New Hampshire, School of Law
Working with NH Gleans, Katie and Emma will help expand access to healthy food for underprivileged communities through local farmer’s markets and shelters. Additionally, they will teach cooking classes to homeless and underprivileged populations about how best to utilize healthier options.
Community site: Merrimack County Conservation District Local Foods Initiative