2016-2017 Class of New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Named

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16 Graduate Students Will Spend Next Year Improving Community Health and Developing Lifelong Leadership Skills

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its 2016-2017 class of New Orleans Fellows. Sixteen 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 Sofia Curdumi Pendley, Director of the New Orleans chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “Our program is making a lasting impact on the health of communities in Greater New Orleans 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 Orleans program’s 2016-2017 Fellows will address an array of health, wellness, and awareness issues and initiatives aimed at high school students; formerly incarcerated individuals; people who utilize emergency departments for healthcare issues that could be more efficiently addressed in primary care settings; and immigrants and refugees.

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 Orleans 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 Orleans 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 Hampshire/Vermont; 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 New Orleans Chapter of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

Louisiana State University School of Allied Health Professions

Victoria Chester, Louisiana State University School of Allied Health Professions

Victoria seeks to promote independent healthy lifestyle choices among high school juniors and seniors. This will be completed through an educational program as well as engaging in various health promotion activities.
Community Site: TBD

Louisiana State University School of Dentistry

Edward Starr and Rebecca Stith, Louisiana State University School of Dentistry

Edward and Rebecca seek to bring oral health awareness and autonomy to formerly incarcerated individuals in the Greater New Orleans area. They plan to do this by providing both oral health education and increased access to care.
Community Site: Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE)

Louisiana State University School of Medicine

Katherine Davidson and Kathryn DiLosa, Louisiana State University School of Medicine

Katherine and Kathryn seek to provide health education & increased clinic access to the families of the New Orleans Women’s Shelter.
Community Site: New Orleans Women and Children’s Shelter

Edward-Michael Dussom and Kelsey Ward, Louisiana State University School of Medicine

Edward-Michael and Kelsey’s program, NOLA HotSpotters, is an inter-professional group of student, faculty and resident volunteers tasked with care management and patient advocacy for ‘super utilizers’ – patients who frequently use emergency and inpatient care to treat conditions that could be better-managed through improved care coordination in a primary care outpatient setting.
Community Site: University Medical Center

Louisiana State University School of Public Health

Amelia Robert, Louisiana State University School of Public Health

Amelia seeks to prevent eating disordered behaviors in active seniors over 60 by helping them overcome barriers to healthy eating.
Community Site: The New Orleans People Program

Tulane University School of Medicine

Jon Garen and Theresia Sutherlin, Tulane University School of Medicine

Jon and Theresia aim to promote healthy lifestyle choices among individuals with intellectual disabilities through participation in track and field activities, nutritional education, and health promotion events.
Community Site: Special Olympics of New Orleans (SONOLA)

Kristen Whalen and Katelyn Yoder, Tulane University School of Medicine

Kristen and Katelyn seek to facilitate the delivery of health care and health education to formerly incarcerated individuals who are transitioning back into the New Orleans community.
Community Site: Formerly Incarcerated Transitional (FIT) Clinic

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy

Lidia Arikat and Uyen Vu, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy

Uyen and Lidia believe in empowering community members in low socioeconomic neighborhoods through providing community-based classes in healthy lifestyle practices in order to combat the overwhelming effect of hypertension and diabetes among residents in New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood.
Community Site: Harmony Oaks Community Center

Tulane University School of Social Work

Ryan Durand and Victoria Vasquez, Tulane University School of Social Work

Ryan and Victoria aim to reduce acculturation stress in the Hispanic/Latino immigrant community and Middle Eastern refugee community by providing education to increase recognition of emotions and physical responses, increasing coping, encourage engagement in their new community as well as establishing a support network within their own community and empowering individuals to alter their environment in a way that better fits their own needs.
Community Site: Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans

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About The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is preparing the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. To date, more than 3,200 Schweitzer Fellows have delivered nearly 500,000 hours of service to nearly 300,000 people in need. Additionally, more than 100 Fellows have provided care at the 100-year-old Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Africa. Through this work and through the contributions of Fellows whose professional careers serve their communities, ASF perpetuates the legacy and philosophy of physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer. ASF has 14 program locations in the U.S. and one in Lambaréné, Africa. Its national office is located in Boston, MA and hosted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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