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The mission of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is to develop "leaders in service": individuals who are dedicated and skilled in addressing the health needs of underserved communities, and whose example influences and inspires others.
The Fellowship achieves this through an interdisciplinary, service-learning model that fosters moral and professional development. This model combines:
- mentored, entrepreneurial, community-based service projects
- a curriculum that emphasizes values and leadership
- structured opportunities for individual and group reflection
- lifelong fellowship with service-oriented colleagues
Each year, the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program competitively selects approximately 250 exceptional students from the nation's top health and human service schools to follow in Dr. Albert Schweitzer's footsteps.
These 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.
Since its launch in 1992, the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program has grown to include thirteen program sites (Baltimore, Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Greater Philadelphia, Houston-Galveston, Indiana, Los Angeles, New Hampshire/Vermont, New Orleans, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh).
One of thirteen Schweitzer program sites across the U.S., the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program was established in 2006 under the leadership of David B. Nash, MD, MBA and colleagues at Jefferson School of Population Health of Thomas Jefferson University.
Since then, Schweitzer Fellows in Greater Philadelphia--competitively chosen from health-focused graduate student applicants in a variety of fields--have worked tirelessly to reduce health disparities in Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey.
Nearly 40 Schweitzer Fellows in Greater Philadelphia have provided over 7,000 hours of service to vulnerable communities. Partnering with area community-based organizations, these Fellows have conceptualized and carried out yearlong service projects directly addressing issues including:• Childhood obesity in Philadelphia’s low-income communities (Alesia Mitchell, Temple University)
• The lack of Hepatitis B education and screenings available to Philadelphia’s Asian communities (Betty Chung, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey)
• Homophobia experienced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Philadelphia area’s school systems and workforce (Noel Ramierez, University of Pennsylvania)
• The prevalence of SIDS among infants of Philadelphia-area homeless women (Alana Wright Benton, St. Joseph’s University)
• The Delaware Haitian community’s access to cardiovascular disease education, prevention and treatment (Sheila Salwant-Valentine, Widener University School of Law)
Please see Fellows and Projects for a complete listing of Fellows’ service projects, which are made possible by our generous sponsors. When Fellows’ initial year of service ends, they carry their commitment to meeting the health needs of underserved people forward as members of the Schweitzer Fellows for Life alumni network, now more than 2,000 strong.
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