The Schweitzer Fellows Program supports and trains emerging health-focused graduate and professional students in creating and carrying out service projects to address unmet community needs. The Fellows carry out an April-to-April community service project of at least 200 service hours, with at least 100 hours involving direct client contact. Fellows partner with an existing community agency in the Columbus or Athens area and have both an academic and a community-based mentor.
A College of Nursing graduate student is among 18 selected for the 2015-16 class of Albert Schweitzer Fellows from Columbus and Athens. The Fellows will spend the next year learning to effectively address social factors that impact health and developing lifelong leadership skills, following the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, the fellowship’s namesake.
Janet Masters, traditional master’s student in the adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner specialty, is addressing infant mortality in the south side of Columbus through one-on-one health-coaching sessions with women of child-bearing age. Working with Church for All People, she is developing sustainable engagement and intervention strategies that will improve the health and well-being of women and positively impact the health of their children.
“Despite the demands of graduate programs, Albert Schweitzer Fellows are committed to service and to tackling complex health needs,” said Terry “Chip” Bahn, program director of the Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows Program. “Our program is dedicated to improving the health of communities by preparing health and human service professionals to serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives.”
Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in underserved communities, while at the same time fulfilling their academic responsibilities. The 18 Fellows in the Columbus-Athens class join approximately 220 others working in 12 program sites — 11 in the U.S. and one in Gabon, at the site of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded in 1913.
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) announced the selection of its 2012-13 class of Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows—16 graduate students who will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, developing lifelong leadership skills and living famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer’s message of service.
Nikki Skrinak, one of the recipients, is a College of Nursing graduate student at The Ohio State University. Over the next year, Skrinak will join approximately 250 other 2012-13 Schweitzer Fellows across the country in conceptualizing and carrying out service projects that address the social determinants of health in underserved communities. Skrinak will develop and implement a sexual assault prevention program. Her community site is called The Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO).
Upon completion of her initial year, Skrinak will become a Schweitzer Fellow for Life and join a vibrant network of over 2,000 individuals who are skilled in and committed to addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers as professionals. Ninety-nine percent of Fellows for Life say that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving those in need.
“The Schweitzer Fellowship simultaneously promotes Schweitzer’s legacy and addresses a critical gap in today’s healthcare landscape by equipping emerging professionals with the tools to address not only clinical health issues, but the social determinants of health,” said ASF President Lachlan Forrow, MD, director of ethics and palliative care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
Joining approximately 230 other 2012-13 Schweitzer Fellows at 12 program sites throughout the U.S., the newly selected Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows represent 10 academic disciplines. They will partner with local community-based organizations to develop and implement yearlong, mentored service projects that improve the health and well-being of underserved people—all on top of their regular graduate school responsibilities.
Launched in 2012, the Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows Program is hosted and sponsored by The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Other generous sponsors include Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Ohio Health, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, The Ohio State Office of Outreach and Engagement and The Ohio State University Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Dentistry, Nursing, Optometry, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social Work and Veterinary Medicine. More information is available at engage.osu.edu/columbus-athens-schweitzer-fellows-program.