The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its first class of Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows—10 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 10 Dallas-Fort Worth Fellows will join over 200 other 2015-16 Schweitzer Fellows working at 13 program sites, 12 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 2015-16 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 is the newest chapter for the organization, and also 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.
2015-2016 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows
Paul Abraham, UT Southwestern Medical School
Abraham is addressing nicotine dependence among men experiencing homelessness in Dallas by establishing a smoking cessation program at a local men’s shelter. The program will educate men on the long-term effects of smoking, provide group therapy 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
Whitnee D. Boyd, Texas Christian University, College of Education
Boyd is working in the Morningside community in Fort Worth, Texas to increase knowledge of college access and planning by partnering with the Morningside Children’s Partnership. Boyd’s project will focus on building a college-going culture in the community through outreach to parents, students, and the entire community. She will work with churches, schools, community partners, and leaders to educate the community on how to make college possible. Additionally, she will work with parents and students to begin planning for college earlier and raise awareness about available resources. Ultimately, the project will help to build a “cradle to career” environment in the Morningside community. Community Site: Morningside Children’s Partnership
Jamila Hokanson, UT Southwestern Medical School
Hokanson is working with East Dallas parents to improve the health of their families by partnering parents with local resources to address their healthcare needs. This project will utilize surveys and focus groups to identify the most important resources and information that parents require to effectively manage their family’s health. As well as collaborate with parents and community resources to implement intervention plans focused on the top need areas. Community Site: Lumin Education.
Neha Gaddam, UT Southwestern Medical School
Gaddam is addressing food insecurity in Dallas, Texas amongst people who are HIV-positive and living significantly below the poverty line. As a supplement to existing case management resources, this program will provide individualized nutritional information for clients at the Resource Center, a local clinic. The focus of the project will be a series of workshops to increase access to food assistance programs and educate on food selection and budgeting, meal preparation, and the interaction between health, prescriptions, and diet. Community Site: Resource Center.
Antoinette Moore, UT Southwestern Medical School
Moore is addressing the pervasive mental and physical health disparities found among domestic violence survivors living in a temporary emergency shelter environment. This project, based in an established clinic within a Dallas County shelter, aims to work in partnership with survivors, through identifying and receiving the health education opportunities most pertinent to their transition into a life free from violence. The project will also identify community partnerships to help bridge survivors’ medical care received in shelter into a medical home, with the goal of creating continuity of care during this pivotal moment in the survivors’ lives. Community Site: The Family Place
Jamie Pfaff, UT Southwestern Medical School
Pfaff is addressing sickle cell anemia in Dallas by creating a leadership program for teenagers aged 13-14 attending Camp Jubilee. This leadership program will help adolescents at Camp Jubilee feel empowered and provide them an opportunity to give back to their own community, acknowledging that they are living with a chronic illness but that it does not have to define them. The program will continue during the school year through monthly meetings where teenagers will assist in preparing materials and ultimately advocating for their community through volunteer recruitment and improved educational awareness of sickle cell anemia at local universities. Community Site: Camp John Marc
Priya Raja, UT Southwestern Medical School
Raja is focusing on disparities in cervical cancer incidence and mortality by creating a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine counseling and case management program for adolescents. Given the paradigm shift in cervical cancer prevention, the HPV vaccine has become an increasingly important factor in ensuring that women are adequately protected against developing cervical cancer. This program hopes to address the challenge of vaccine completion and the cultural and social factors surrounding HPV vaccine uptake by ultimately allowing adolescents to make empowered decisions that comport with their needs and their health. Community Site: TBD
Ena Janet Saavedra, Southern Methodist University Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development
Saavedra is addressing teenage obesity and culture identity in East Dallas by establishing a holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle. Addressing behavioral change is one aspect of this program; another component will be incorporating leadership development and parental engagement by encouraging a focus on growth for all students who will participate. Physical fitness, nutritional knowledge, and personal discipline will all be addressed. Community Site: TBD
Brandy Schwarz, Texas Christian University College of Education
Schwarz is addressing health literacy in pregnant women and new mothers in Tarrant County by creating a program to increase access to and understanding of health information. In addition, the program will provide the women with the encouragement and knowledge to become an advocate for their own health and the health of their children. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to help mothers to get the healthcare they need, lead healthier lifestyles, and to set a positive role model for their children. Community Site: The Parenting Center
Vivian Zhu, UT Southwestern Medical School
Zhu is addressing Diabetes Mellitus in West Dallas by establishing a diabetes workshop for the people who receive medical care at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic. This workshop will help the people who attend feel empowered in the context of managing their disease. In addition to weekly lectures on diabetes education, the program will also incorporate health screening methods and one-on-one counseling to the patients, helping bridge language and cultural barriers so that the patients can adequately utilize the information to form their own healthy practices. Zhu’s program will foster community awareness about diabetes management, as well as how to avoid the devastating complications of uncontrolled diabetes through a mentoring and positive relationship with the patients.
Community Site: Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic