The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its inaugural class of Tulsa Schweitzer Fellows. Eleven graduate students from The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State University, and The University of Oklahoma 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 could not be more proud of our inaugural class of Schweitzer Fellows. There was great interest in the program, and we are excited to see what our talented students accomplish over the next 12 months,” said Rachel Gold, Director of the Tulsa chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “We are confident that the Tulsa Schweitzer program will make a lasting impact on the health of communities in Tulsa as our Fellows 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 Tulsa Schweitzer program’s inaugural class of Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, from a parenting program for veterans to community building for teens who are deaf or hard of hearing to a wellness program for Tulsa-area Latinos living with chronic disease. Fellows come from many academic disciplines – medicine, occupational therapy, social work, psychology, 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.
“We are so pleased to bring The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to Oklahoma. Our program 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 11 Tulsa Fellows will join approximately 240 other 2016-17 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 2016-17 Tulsa 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.
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.
The Tulsa Schweitzer program is based at The University of Tulsa and also supported by the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. The Tulsa chapter is ASF’s 14th U.S.-based program. The others are in Alabama; Boston; Chicago; Columbus-Athens, Oh.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Houston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New Hampshire/Vermont; North Carolina; Pittsburgh; and San Francisco. Additionally, ASF also has a program chapter based in Lambaréné, Gabon, at The Albert Schweitzer Hospital.
2016-2017 Tulsa Fellows – Projects
University of Tulsa
Danielle Zanotti, Clinical Psychology
Danielle will create and implement a program to help veterans strengthen parenting skills and gain developmentally appropriate knowledge about what to expect from their children.
Community Site: The Coffee Bunker: A place for veterans to connect
James Scholl, Clinical Psychology
James will coordinate care for the medical and behavioral health concerns of underserved patients in Kendall-Whittier and surrounding areas.
Community Site: True Blue Neighbors Behavioral Health Clinic, OU Bedlam Longitudinal Clinic
Oklahoma State University (OSU) – Center for Health Sciences
Shannon McBeath, OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine
Shannon will develop and run a Deaf Teen Club that addresses isolationism among participants, as well increase self-esteem, community involvement, leadership, and hope for the future.
Community Site: Total Source for Hearing-loss and Access (TSHA)
Michael Sutton, OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine
Michael will establish a medical education program focused on diabetes and tobacco addiction to provide education on disease management and prevention, and provide an outlet for the clients to discuss and address their challenges and obstacles.
Community Site: Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless
Tim Nissen, OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine
Tim will bring OSU Center for Health Sciences into fourth- and fifth-grade Tulsa Public Schools after-school programs to teach health literacy through weekly lessons in math, language arts, science, and physical education using a curriculum developed by the Harvard School of Public Health, Eat Well & Keep Moving.
Community Site: Eugene Field Elementary School/YMCA Tulsa
Oklahoma State University (OSU) – Tulsa
Zach Giano, OSU Department of Human Development and Family Science
Zach’s project, called S.T.E.P. (Support and Tutoring Enrichment Program), provides families living in transitional housing with 1:1 tutoring services for adolescents and monthly enrichment seminars for older teens and adults, addressing topics such as budget management, parenting support, and resume building.
Community Site: Circle of Care – Pearl’s Hope
University of Oklahoma (OU) – Tulsa, Schusterman Center
Olivia Shadid, OU School of Community Medicine
Olivia will connect patients with community resources, wellness tools, and the healthcare system in order to compel families to be more active participants in their health.
Community Site: Educare Family Health Project
Vanessa Garcia Luzuriaga, OU College of Public Health
Vanessa will establish a chronic disease self-management program for Latinos that focuses on the patients’ central role in managing their health.
Community Site: Community Health Connection, Inc.
LaTashas Lucas, OU School of Social Work
LaTasha will contribute to the local and national efforts toward reducing the rate of obesity by promoting good nutrition and increasing the rate of physical activity among minority youth and families.
Community Site: KIPP Tulsa
Meredith Wyatt and Paul Abbey, OU College of Allied Health, Occupational Therapy
Meredith and Paul will create and teach student leadership workshops and student-identified and directed civic projects to reduce truancy behaviors, increase conflict avoidance and resolution skills, and enhance well-being among vulnerable youth.
Community Site: Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program at Union Public Schools