The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) announced today the selection of its second class of Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows—nine 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.
“The Schweitzer Fellowship changes the lives of not just the Fellows themselves, but also the lives of the community members they serve through their Fellowship projects,” said Courtney Roy, Program Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellowship. “Our Fellows will learn to lead and innovate as they take on complex issues, and will also have the opportunity to learn from one another, sharing their strengths and knowledge, preparing them for professional careers in an ever-changing world. Meanwhile, their project participants will gain 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 also fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. This year’s Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, including a college readiness and preparation program to a diabetes counseling and education program in West Dallas.
“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 nine Dallas-Fort Worth Fellows will join over 200 other 2016-2017 Schweitzer Fellows working at 15 program sites, 14 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 2016-17 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert 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.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program marks a unique collaboration between eight Dallas-Fort Worth universities. Housed at Southern Methodist University, supporting universities include the Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Texas Christian University, Texas Woman’s University, University of Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center.
2016-2017 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows
Tochi Ajiwe, UT Southwestern Medical School
Ajiwe is addressing nicotine dependence among homeless populations in Dallas by expanding a smoking cessation program for men at a local men’s homeless shelter to include relaxation techniques. The program will educate men on the long-term effects of smoking, provide group therapy and relaxation classes for those seeking to quit, and provide follow-up resources and tools for further support. Men who attend the classes will be encouraged to set a “quit date” when they will stop smoking and will be guided through a process of mentally preparing for withdrawal and relapse.
Community Site: Union Gospel Mission, Calvert Place Men’s Shelter
Joyce Brooks, Southern Methodist University
Brooks is addressing the issue of unemployment in the city of Conroe, Texas. Special emphasis will be placed on developing job readiness skills for unemployed persons and connecting them with employers in the area for job placement.
Community Site: Community Development Program, Union Center African Methodist Episcopal Church
Athena Davies, Texas Woman’s University
Davies is addressing skin cancer and other skin disorders in Dallas by providing education and awareness on skin cancer and other skin disorders in the homeless and underserved of Dallas. In addition to education, the project will also provide skin cancer screenings and assist with referrals when needed. The main focus of the project will be to enhance the understanding of general risk factors of skin cancer and promote behavioral changes to prevent skin cancer in the future.
Community Site: The Salvation Army
Hillary Evans, UT Southwestern Medical School
Evans is addressing college and career readiness through a summer program preparing high school sophomores-seniors for undergraduate (4 year) education, community college, post-school occupations, and trainings. The program will last for 8 weeks throughout the summer and be open to a group of 30 students within the zip code served by Brother Bills. During the school year, she will have monthly meetings with the students to discuss where they are with their plans and how they want to proceed.
Community Site: Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic
Krystal McDaniel, Texas Christian University
McDaniel is addressing diminished school readiness in Central Fort Worth, Texas by establishing a parent training program for preschool through kindergarten aged children in the Morningside community. Parent trainings will emphasize communication strategies that enrich parent-child interactions and will incorporate ways to embed these strategies into everyday activities. Additionally, the program will offer free hearing screenings for all child participants. Ultimately, the project will educate families on the importance of hearing health and promote how the quality of parent-child interactions facilitates childhood language development, which can influence future literacy skills among the children who participate.
Community Site: Miller Speech and Hearing Clinic and Morningside Children’s Partnership
Haley Mowdy, Texas Woman’s University
Mowdy is addressing rhetorical self-advocacy, long-term financial security, and health care access by providing free, one-on-one writing tutoring to Denton students grades 6-12 in the areas of academic, professional, and creative writing, geared towards setting students up for lifelong academic and professional success. This program aims to give students the academic confidence to succeed in their work for school while preparing them for college through assistance with admissions essays and standardized testing help through the guidance of trained collegiate tutors who also benefit in their learning outcomes. Most importantly, the free services can help to bridge the resource gap that currently makes it significantly more difficult for low income and minority students to achieve the same levels of long-term success.
Community Site: The Koan School
Elesha Roberts, University of Texas, Arlington
Roberts is addressing hypertension among community dwelling African American older adults living on the east side of San Antonio by establishing a health program to improve blood pressure and promote healthy lifestyle practices. This program will help individuals build lasting relationships, increase their knowledge about hypertension, and teach methods that can be used to promote healthy lifestyle practices. Participants will be assigned a peer mentor, also known as a health accountability partner, that will encourage them to participate in activities that promote healthy lifestyles and workshops designed to improve blood pressure.
Community Site: Dellcrest Church of Christ
Chloe Rogers, Texas Woman’s University
Rogers is addressing colorectal cancer in the Oak Cliff region of Dallas, Texas by implementing the “Make Your Bottom a Top Priority” program for men and women ages 40-75. The program intends to address the community need for access to adequate health information and health resources to prevent colorectal cancer within their community. Equally, the program aims to promote proper physical activity and nutritional practices to reduce the risks of colorectal cancer. Additionally, in providing community awareness and working with prominent non-profits focused on colon cancer, the program will not only strive to build a network of community support and resources for colon cancer, but also create a sense of empowerment among all who are impacted by the disease.
Community Site: Oak Cliff Family YMCA
Margaret Tolman, Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing
Tolman will be implementing a volunteer doula program for underserved pregnant women in Dallas, TX. The program aim is for volunteer doulas to provide emotional and physical comfort to women throughout their labor and delivery process. Doulas have immense documented benefits of decrease length of labor, decrease rates of cesarean delivery, decreasing need for pain medicine, and increasing childbirth satisfaction.
Community Site: Lover’s Lane Birth Center