Previous MGH Institute Schweitzer Fellows

Since the U.S. Schweitzer Fellowship program began in 1992, 43 students from MGH Institute of Health Professions have been named Fellows.

Schweitzer Fellows – mostly university graduate students – partner with community-based organizations to identify an unmet health need, design a year-long 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 project, they join 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 programs across the United States 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 Schweitzer program site in the country.

NOTE: The Boston chapter of the Schweitzer Fellows program is not choosing awardees for the 2018-2019 academic year.


Maggie Conners, a student in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, is addressing health and wellness in the indigenous community in Boston by developing a Youth Health and Wellness program and recruiting adult volunteers to be seen in the MGH Institute's free OT Clinical Center for Learning, Participation and Rehabilitation (OT CLiPR). The adults, seen at the OT CLiPR for a variety of reasons, will learn how to manage their health and daily routines. Conners will collaborate with nursing students at the Institute to educate Native students on strategies for managing stress and improving health, what to expect at a doctor’s visit, and health professions that they may pursue as a career. Conners will gather data and develop a model that is easily replicable and scalable to other urban or reservation settings. 

A student in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program, Dan McGuire is addressing continuity of care in Boston by piloting a discharge planning program for detainees at the Nashua Street Jail, a Boston city jail administered by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department. Currently, detainees leaving the jail do not receive this type of service.  Entry into the criminal justice system could be an opportunity for these patients to be connected with health care and social support services that can empower them.  Similar work in this field has demonstrated that robust continuity of care can lead to better engagement with the health care system and improved health outcomes, including reduced rates of recidivism. Detention or incarceration has been shown to be an independent health risk factor; additionally, roughly half the incarcerated population in the United States has a currently diagnosed mental health condition, and within the first two weeks of release from a prison or jail, the mortality rate of the justice-involved population is 12.7 times that of the general population.  An intervention that impacts this population during that critical first two weeks after their release can dramatically affect not only their quality of life, but also their quantity of life.  


Stephanie Campbell, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy student, addressed  health care management and communication skills among at-risk students. Her project at the MGH School Based Health Center at Chelsea High School empowered adolescents as partners in their health care and self-advocates as they transition into adult care services. The project also created 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, addressed 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 included Tai Chi, meditation, and psychoeducation. The goal was to develop a model that could 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 helped 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, addressed 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 engaged 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 had the opportunity to showcase their original choreography. This program increased physical activity levels of youth, expose participants to different forms of dance and movement, and encourage individualism, leadership, self-expression, and creativity, thereby addressing both the physical and psychosocial components of health.


Jennifer Lettsome: This Master of Science in Nursing student worked with Boston ABCD Health Services to address the prevalence of unsafe sex practices for Black and Latina women and their partners in Boston. She provided workshops that included sharing the responsibility of making sexual health choices, negotiating skills around relationships and condom usage, and positive messages around the female condom.  In addition, she addressed the stigma attached to these conversations in communities of color through the implementation of creative outreach programs in non-traditional environments such as fashion shows, basketball games, natural hair meet-ups and other social events. In addition to empowering Black and Latina women and their partners to share responsibility of making sexual health choices, Lettsome worked to ensure her participants felt better able to talk about safe sex between partners.

Kristin M. Smith: This Doctor of Physical Therapy student partnered with Adaptive Climbing Group, where at  Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville she addressed the lack of inclusive recreational opportunities for children with disabilities in greater Boston by establishing a youth adaptive climbing program at the indoor rock climbing facility. In addition to encouraging youth attendance at weekly adaptive climbing clinics, the program integrated adaptive climbers into BKB youth programs, Kid's Academy, and Adventure Days. The program aimed to benefit its participants by reducing isolation, fostering healthy habits and attitudes towards physical activities, developing positive social skills, and building self-confidence. The program also benefited the greater climbing community by promoting awareness of capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Hayley Younkin: This Doctor of Occupational Therapy student worked a t St. Mary’s Bridge Home in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, where she addressed the mental health needs and social-emotional wellbeing of children who have experienced trauma or witnessed violence and were currently residing in a short-term crisis intervention center in Upham’s Corner, Dorchester. She developed and implemented a program of social-emotional learning groups based on a trauma-informed approach. The program assisted the Bridge Home in helping these children continue to build resiliency and emotional intelligence so they felt empowered to develop healthier coping strategies.


Jie (Kingsley) Yang: This Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology student worked at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and the Speech Language and Literacy Center at the Institute, addressing rehabilitation service needs of people suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) who have lost access to insurance coverage by providing them free extended therapy services in the Greater Boston Area.

Through the Extended Cognitive and Psycho-social Enhancement Program (ECPEP), the therapy focused the training on three core components: cognitive skills, psycho-social strategies, and self-reflection approaches. The ultimate goal was not only to alleviate the financial burdens of continued rehabilitation service for this underserved population, but also to help people with TBI develop community and vocational skills and enhance their quality of life.


Naira Arellano: This Master of Science in Nursing student in the School of Nursing worked at the Barbara McInnis House, for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program addressing health disparities affecting homeless Spanish-speaking Hispanics through culturally sensitive and language-appropriate patient advocacy.

In addition to patient advocacy, her project will include a chart review that creates a deepened understanding of the characteristics and needs of Hispanic patients served by the Barbara McInnis House. She hopes to establish the patient advocate role as a permanent volunteer opportunity.


Sophie Forte: Working at the Lynn Community Health Center, this Master of Science in Nursing student in the School of Nursing assisted pregnant adolescents and adolescent mothers overcome perceived barriers and benefits to breastfeeding.

Katie Seamon: This Master of Science in Nursing student worked with the Chelsea-based non-profit Roca developing a class on infant health and well being for young-mothers. The class will be incorporated into YouthStar, a program that trains young people to become mentors, educators and outreach workers in the community. 

Ricardo Sedan: Working at the MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center, this Master of Science in Nursing student  addressed nutrition and obesity with the neighborhood’s Spanish-speaking population by administering a program that will allow them to make healthy lifestyle choices. 

Alexis Smith. This Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology student addressed early literacy skills in pre-school classrooms through the Head Start program at Community Action Programs, Inter City, Inc. in Chelsea.


Cecilia Jiang, PT '12: This Doctor of Physical Therapy student  improved quality of life for Asian families affected by disabilities by partnering with Joni and Friends (JAF) of Greater Boston to establish a targeted support group.

Jiang’s project connected these families with suitable respite care resources, and connected the mothers with bi-monthly support groups through JAF. Additionally, within the Institute's  community, Jiang facilitated discussions about health care disparities, cross-cultural sensitivity, and the spiritual aspects of caring for individuals with disabilities. 


Stephanie Baldwin, CSD '09: Collaborating with administrators and teachers at the Somerville Community Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE), this Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology student provided services, including diagnostic testing and direct literacy instruction, which would not normally be available for immigrants learning English in this setting.

The project was part of a larger attempt to improve the educational, economic, and health-related opportunities available to these students. Stephanie also recruited volunteers from the MGH Institute of Health Professions to provide diagnostic testing services to additional students at SCALE.

Catherine Silva, NS '09: This Master of Science in Nursing student worked with the MGH professional and academic community through the MGH LGBT Employee Resource Group and MGH IHP KinsIHP Club to develop an LGBTIQ-friendly health care provider training program, particularly for nursing and medical students.

The training program was presented at five universities and teaching hospitals, with both students and current health care providers across a variety of disciplines.

Additionally, Catherine served on the planning committee for the second annual MGH LGBT Health Week, designing both guest speaker topics as well as arranging tabling events. These projects were part of a comprehensive approach to reduce health disparities in the LGBTIQ community and promote fair and appropriate access to health care.


Mary Higgins, NS '12: This Master of Science in Nursing  student worked with Wellspring Cape Ann Families (WCAF), a community-based program in Gloucester, MA, which provides support and education to parents and children living in stressful situations and experiencing isolation. 

Mary's project focused primarily on nutrition, positive parenting and family safety. She co-created "Recipes for Success," an insert that appeared in the Gloucester Daily Times, co-facilitated the Nurturing Program and Parent Connection, and helped develop a new initiative, "Home Alone," geared towards parents and youths aged 11-14.

Laura Little-Foley, PT '09: Working with the Boys and Girls Club in Charlestown, this Doctor of Physical Therapy student developed a health and fitness program for pre-teen girls. Each week she introduced the girls to a new physical activity such as yoga, tumbling and kung fu. Each session integrated brief physiological lessons, such as taking heart rate before during and after an activity and ended with a healthy snack.


David Nawrocki, NS '07: This Master of Science in Nursing student worked with the Kit Clark Senior Services Center to improve local community access for Alzheimer's patient and caregiver information through the organization and facilitation of patient and caregiver support group meetings in underserved Boston communities.

David’s project also included program advocacy with the Massachusetts Alzheimer's organization addressing local community health care access for Alzheimer's patients.


Jamie Levine Davis, NS '07: Working with the Boston Living Center and Cambridge Cares about AIDS (which has now merged with the AIDS Action Committee), this Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing student provided services to African American women in the Boston area who are affected by HIV/AIDS.  She provided prevention and health-promotion services to women who are HIV-positive or at high risk for HIV.

John Reyes, NS '07: This Master of Science in Nursing student worked with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center to evaluate the community's need for a literacy and health education class for new immigrant community members. He also acted as a Spanish interpreter and an assistant in the Urgent Care unit.


Nikora Downey, NS '05: Working with the Cambridge Women’s Center, this Master of Science in Nursing student provided childcare services at the center and introduced these groups of hearing children to Deaf culture and American Sign Language.

She also volunteered at DEAF Inc. to assist with their role in Project Hope, a program that provides education and outreach on HIV/AIDS in the community. 

Eileen Wu, PT '06: This Doctor of Physical Therapy student worked with the staff of a not-for-profit gym, Healthworks Foundation Fitness Center, to create physical activity education materials and a strength training instructional DVD. Additionally she provided staff training based on the Transtheoretical Model of Behavioral Change to help introduce these materials. 

This 3,500 square foot facility provides free gym membership for single mothers and low-income women in the greater Boston area and is fully equipped with a complete line of cardiovascular machines, strength training equipment, and a group exercise studio.


Tonya Fogelman NS '04: This post-professional Master of Science in Nursing student developed a self-esteem program at The Home for Little Wanderers for children at risk that discussed self-image, identifying problems, and planning means of overcoming problems.

Carolyn Hyson, PT '05: Working with the Jamaica Plain Asthma Environmental Initiative, the Doctor of Physical Therapy student developed an asthma management and environmental health advocacy program.

Robert Wall, NS '05: Working with Health & Educational Services, Inc & Transformational Assistance for Offenders (TAO), this Master of Science in Nursing student taught mindfulness skills to homeless, mentally ill, and incarcerated individuals to help decrease levels of self-violence and regulate emotional stress.


Kevin Fairley, NS '04: This Master of Science in Nursing student assisted the strategic development of T.H.E. Brain Trust, and led focus groups of people with brain injuries on using computer-based consumer health information systems and improving provider-patient health care interactions.

Todd Hultman, NS '04: Working with the Cambridge Health Alliance, this Master of Science in Nursing student provided Hepatitis C prevention education to injection drug users and helped develop materials appropriate to the literacy levels of clients.


Lauren McTeague, NS '03: This Master of Science in Nursing student worked with Jackson Mann Elementary School in Allston to create a health education curriculum for elementary school children.


Lisa Delgrosso Wagnes, NS' 01: Working with the Women’s Lunch Place, this Master of Science in Nursing student conducted health education workshops on HIV, menopause, and sexual assault. 


Jillian Martin, NS '01: This Master of Science in Nursing student developed nutritional education programs at Rosie's Place.


Lisa Doherty Watt, NS '99: Working with the Epilepsy Foundation of America, this Master of Science in Nursing student conducted plans on epilepsy for children and families across Massachusetts to raise awareness of the disease.


Michelle Freshman, NS '97: This Master of Science in Nursing student worked with the Somerville Parent Information Center assisting with immunizations for children at the center. She also taught a class on health education at the Somerville Head Start program.

Alyce Kuklinski, NS, '97: This Master of Science in Nursing student organized discussion groups among he residents on stress management, parenting, and violence prevention at the Coolidge House.

Jessica Richard, PT '97: Working with the Freedom House, this Doctor of Physical Therapy student continued a weekly exercise program for seniors started by fellow Louisa Bray. She provided these individuals with knowledge and skill to incorporate regular exercise into their lifestyle.


Beth Coleman Russet, NS '95: Working with Peace at Home, this Master of Science in Nursing student helped complete a curriculum on domestic violence and presented it at workshops to adolescents. She also facilitated and attended community group meetings on domestic violence.

Jessica Brown McCarthy, CSD '95: This Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology student provided literacy instruction to guests at Rosie's Place. Her project also consisted of the design and implementation of a language stimulation group for the children at Rosie's Place. She also assisted serving meals to the guests.


Alexa Arlos, NS '93: Working at Cambridge Hospital, this Master of Science in Nursing student created a breast cancer-screening project. She worked with Haitian-Creole speaking patients on breast exams and mammography, however her plans to complete the project were unsuccessful. 

Laure Liverman, NS '95: This Master of Science in Nursing student provided perinatal education to homeless pregnant women in outpatient treatment services at Perrin House. The intake consisted of gathering important health-related data so that appropriate services through Boston Health Care for the Homeless could be provided.


Ann Eldridge Malone, NS '93: This Master of Science in Nursing student was one of the first ten selected as a Schweitzer Fellow in the inaugural year of the program.

Working with Boston Health Care for the Homeless,  Ann provided nursing care and health education to homeless people with HIV, AIDS, and substance abuse problems. Her project also included the research of what is needed to support high quality, multidisciplinary approach to providing quality care to this patient population.