Join Over 4,000 Fellows For Life

Schweitzer Fellows for Life form a powerful alumni network that extends the impact and influence on community and clinical health in the United States and across the globe. They are committed to creating systemic change in health care services and policies that will promote health equity and treat all people with dignity and compassion.

Become a Schweitzer Fellow

The NC Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program focused on health-related community service and leadership development. The mission of the US Schweitzer Fellows program is to prepare the next generation of professionals to serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. To accomplish this, the Fellows learn how to:
  • Use their skills and knowledge in real-life situations;
  • Practice culturally sensitive and compassionate care;
  • Address the impact of social and environmental determinants of health;
  • Build capacity for and commitment to improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities as well as contribute to social change;
  • Understand the importance of interdisciplinary team approaches to care;
  • Exercise leadership skills to work with and influence community-based organizations, community leaders, and academic institutions to embrace holistic, service-oriented approaches to health.
$3000 Stipend: Fellows receive a $3,000 stipend as specific responsibilities are met and may be used in any way the Fellow wishes, including project related costs and personal expenses. Fellows may lead a project on their own or pair with another graduate professional student (either within or outside their discipline). Fellows who conduct a paired project split the stipend and the hours requirement. Upon successful competition of the initial Fellowship year, Fellows become part of an alumni network of Fellows for Life – an interdisciplinary pipeline of professionals who are dedicated to and skilled in meeting the health needs of vulnerable communities.

Schweitzer Fellows focus on health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO): a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Rooted in this holistic understanding of health, Schweitzer projects address not only clinical health issues, but also the social determinants of health-defined by the WHO as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, and which are mostly responsible for health inequities.

Students enrolled in a NC degree-granting graduate program in a health professional field may apply. Past Fellows have been students in medicine, dentistry, education, social work, public health and physical therapy. Fellows may lead a project on their own or pair with another graduate health professional student (either within or outside their discipline). Applicants must be enrolled at the time of application in February through the close of the Fellowship year the following May.

Fellows design and carry out a health-related direct service project of at least 200 hours in collaboration with a local community agency under the leadership of a site supervisor and academic mentor of the student’s choice. Fellows receive guidance in project development and evaluation. A minimum of 150 hours will be spent in face to face direct contact with the population they are trying to reach. The remaining 50 hours can be spent for planning time, and other project activities. The 200 hours is separate from any school course requirement. Fellows who conduct a paired project split the hours and the $3000 stipend.

Fellows can choose to propose new projects that are of interest to an agency and community, or to continue an existing project. You may build upon, but not simply duplicate, a past project. For inspiration, visit www.ncschweitzerfellowship.org/fellows to see the diverse projects Fellows have conducted. To learn more, click on “Fellows Video Clips.”

Students are encouraged to contact the Program Director to discuss potential project ideas prior to formally submitting their application.

In the event public health guidelines do not permit in person events, events will be held virtually.

Service Project:  Fellows design and carry out a health-related direct service project of at least 200 hours in collaboration with a local community agency under the leadership of a site supervisor and academic mentor of the student’s choice. The 200 hours is separate from any school course requirement. Fellows who conduct a paired project split the hours and the stipend proportionately.

Retreats: Fellows attend an overnight orientation April 10-11, 2021 in Davidson, NC which is a mandatory requirement. Fellows attend two in person half-day retreats and virtual webinars throughout the year. Partners in a paired project are both required to be present at all the events.

Celebration of Service: Fellows attend a Celebration of Service Luncheon honoring current Fellows and introducing new Fellows April 18, 2021 in Raleigh. Fellows also attend the event in March/April 2022. Partners in paired projects are both required to be present at the events.

Reports & Evaluations:  Fellows submit monthly one-page reports and reflections about their activities; a written final report; a 2-minute video summarizing their project; and an evaluation about the Fellowship experience. Fellows also need to develop a verification strategy into their project design to determine if their project is successful and on target in meeting goals.

Recruitment: In the fall of 2021, Fellows organize an information session on their Fellowship experience at their school.

Op-Ed: Fellows are required to write an op-ed article to hone their skills as a health care advocate for vulnerable populations.

Video: At the end of the Fellowship year, Fellows are to create a 90-second video of their project.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information session before completing an application and contact the Program Director to get feedback on their proposal. Contact the Program Director for the date of the session at your university.

Upcoming Sessions

no event

Interviews will be conducted virtually February 19 and 20.

Application Deadline: February 1, 2021, 5pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is an interdisciplinary program and diversity of thought and perspectives will enrich the experience for each class of Fellows. In addition to medicine, past Fellows have been students in such fields as dentistry, education, law, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, divinity, psychology, pharmacy, engineering, business, the arts and more.  We think expansively about health and realize that there are so many factors that contribute to the health and well-being of our communities.

Schweitzer Fellows focus on health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO): a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Rooted in this holistic understanding of health, Schweitzer projects address not only clinical health issues, but also the social determinants of health—defined by the WHO as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, and which are mostly responsible for health inequities.  The options are broad to allow your interests and creativity to lead you to a project that will have impact.

Take a look at U.S. Fellows page on the national website, and click any of the cities listed, then “Fellows & Projects,” and read the project descriptions. The Beyond Boulders blog is another great resource for reading more about current and past Schweitzer projects.

“Underserved” is any group that is at risk for or is experiencing compromised health or physical, social, or well-being. Any group of people that you can conceive of who has difficulty receiving quality health care and other needs that impact their health and wellbeing could be considered underserved.

“Direct service” means working directly with any group that is at risk for or is experiencing compromised health.

You can complete your 200 hours of service during the Fellowship year that fits your academic schedule. The 50 hours of planning time can begin once you are awarded the Fellowship. The 150 direct service hours can begin once you have a project description form approved by the Fellowship, the community supervisor and the academic mentor. Some Fellows complete all of their direct service hours over several months and some spread them out over the entire year.  It is up to you and what your project entails. We do encourage spreading the hours as much as possible to have enough time to overcome any unforeseen roadblocks or delays.

Yes, paired Fellows split the stipend and the hours proportionately. If you partner with another student, you both have to fulfill all the program requirements and participate in all of the fellowship activities.

Yes, the orientation is a firm requirement.  If you already know you cannot make it, please do not apply for the Fellowship.  

A hallmark of the Schweitzer Fellows Program is the regular contact with other Fellows. In addition to the orientation retreat, all Fellows are required to attend the Celebration of Service Luncheon at the beginning and the end of the year, and two meetings in the Triangle (August/September and November).

We view the Fellowship experience as an important opportunity for learning, whether someone has already done a lot of community work or very little. Experience is not a requirement for the Fellowship, but in your personal statement we’d like for you to explain how your background and skills have helped prepare you to do community outreach work, and what motivates you to make such a serious commitment.  The Program’s mentors and Program staff provide ample support to Fellows so that everyone who is passionate about providing service can do so.

No, we do not allow Fellows to use their Schweitzer project for credit within their curriculum.  The Fellowship is really meant to be an added component to your educational experience that enables you to develop your abilities as a leader in community service.  The Fellowship is an opportunity to complete a service project and to become part of a community of Fellows who are dedicated to similar work and hold similar values. Although it may take a lot of time to participate in both the Fellowship and your school internship or practicum, it is a very enriching and rewarding experience to be part of the Fellowship separate from your academic requirements. It’s your opportunity to follow your passion.