2016-2017 Albert Schweitzer Fellows
Since its launch in 1992, 39 students from MGH Institute of Health Professions have been named a U.S. Schweitzer Fellow. They have joined the more than 250 students chosen annually from the nation's top health and human services schools in becoming a part of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program.
Schweitzer Fellows – mostly university graduate students – partner with community-based organizations to identify an unmet health need, design a yearlong service project with a demonstrable impact on that need, and bring that project from idea to implementation and impact – all on top of their usual graduate school responsibilities.
After successfully completing their initial year, they become members of the Schweitzer Fellows for Life alumni network of over 2,000 Leaders in Service who are dedicated and skilled in meeting the health needs of underserved communities.
The 14 US. programs annually serve more than 25,000 people and offer prevention, wellness and access programs that address the underlying causes of health inequities, such as poverty, the environment, and education. In doing so, the Schweitzer Fellowship works to improve health outcomes in underserved communities. The Boston program is the oldest of the Schweitzer program sites in the U.S.
Here are the Institute’s Schweitzer Fellows for 2016-2017:
Stephanie Campbell, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy student, is addressing health care management and communication skills among at-risk students. Her project at the MGH School Based Health Center at Chelsea High School will empower adolescents as partners in their healthcare and self-advocates as they transition into adult care services. It will also create a framework for teaching health literacy and communication skills that can be incorporated into the curriculum of the existing school-based programs.
Esther Jarvis, a Master of Science in Nursing student, is addressing the mental health needs of Boston’s Chinese community by establishing a mind body program for patients with depression. The program at the South Cove Community Center in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood, will include Tai Chi, meditation, and psychoeducation. The goal is to develop a model that can be easily replicable and scalable to other community settings such as nursing homes and senior centers. Currently, major challenges exist in promoting mental wellbeing in the Asian community due to stigma and shame, immigration and assimilation stress, and cultural and language barriers. Ultimately, this project aims to help bridge the different understandings and approaches to mental illness between providers and patients in the community while also increasing access to mental health services.
Valerie Rucker, a Doctor of Physical Therapy student, is addressing health, wellness, and fitness of children who attend the Boys and Girls Club of Charlestown by implementing a weekly dance program. This exercise/physical activity program seeks to engage the youth by highlighting dances that represent different cultures throughout the world, as well as note different dynamics of choreography. At the end of the program, participants will have the opportunity to showcase their original choreography. The goals of this program are to increase physical activity levels of youth, expose participants to different forms of dance and movement, and encourage individualism, leadership, and self-expression, and creativity, thereby addressing both the physical and psychosocial components of health.