ECU dental, medical students named NC Schweitzer Fellows


Seven students from East Carolina University’s Division of Health Sciences have been named to the 2020-21 class of North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows, including four students from the School of Dental Medicine and three from the Brody School of Medicine.

Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. The NC Schweitzer Fellowship’s new class of Fellows will lead a multitude of service initiatives including care for the homeless, low income new moms, those who are food insecure, cancer patients, people struggling with chronic health conditions, and more.

“This is a passionate and dedicated group of students who are seeking to improve health care and access to care,” said Barbara Heffner, director of the NC Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “During these extraordinary times of the pandemic, it is essential that we focus on giving the Fellows the skills and ingenuity needed to meet the changing landscape of health needs of vulnerable communities. I am impressed with the way they are working with their academic and community site mentors adapting their projects in light of current social distancing guidelines.”

Schweitzer Fellows from the ECU School of Dental Medicine include Rachel Cantrell, Ashley Huff, Josh Stewart and Victoria Long.

Cantrell and Huff are J. Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows and will work together on a project educating women about the systems of autoimmune diseases to streamline diagnosis and treatment. They will complete their fellowship requirements in campus clinics and in some of those in the school’s community service learning centers located across the state. They will complete their project under the guidance of faculty mentors Dr. Ramiro Murata and Dr. Iquebal Hasan.

Stewart and Long will team up as J. Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows working to accelerate the dental clearance process for cancer patients, so that they can begin treatment earlier. They will also lead student and provider education to improve the delivery of medical and dental care to these patients. They will complete project requirements at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, and the ECU Department of Radiation Oncology. They will complete their project under the guidance of faculty mentors Dr. Stevan H. Thompson and Dr. Iquebal Hasan.

“The School of Dental Medicine’s unique model addresses the state’s oral health care needs from every angle—preparing students who are advocates for patients, special populations and communities,” said Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine. “The Schweitzer Fellows program opens doors to student experiences that promote our social mission and provide healthier lives for North Carolinians.”

ECU Brody School of Medicine Schweitzer Fellows include Joshua Parke, Anna Robertson and Grant O’Brien.

Parke will complete a project aimed at increasing access of harm reduction supplies to help decrease transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases and foster a safer community environment. Parke’s partner site is the ekiM Syringe Exchange Program in Greenville. Parke will complete the project under the guidance of mentors Dr. Tom Irons and Diannee Carden-Glenn.

Robertson and O’Brien will work at the Greenville Community Shelter Clinic, Pitt Community Care Clinic, Oakmont Medical Clinic and AccessEast in Greenville to connect homeless community members with the resources they need to achieve health and wellness and launching a vaccination program. They are also implementing a shared electronic health record for the free community clinics in Greenville. This is an expansion of a 2019 Schweitzer project. They will complete their project under the guidance of mentors Dr. Marissa Carraway and Shantell Cheek.

“The NC Schweitzer Fellows Program provides our students hands-on experience in working toward solutions to some of our communities’ most persistent health challenges,” said Dr. Mark Stacy, dean of the Brody School of Medicine and vice chancellor for ECU’s Division of Health Sciences. “These students make real differences for the people of our community and region through their commitment to the mission of the Brody School of Medicine.”

Schweitzer Fellowships have an intensive leadership component so Fellows can inspire others to improve the health of those who experience barriers to care. Fellows work under the close guidance of community and academic mentors during their fellowship year. The class of 25 graduate students will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health and developing lifelong leadership skills, following the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom the fellowship is named.

The NC Fellows will join approximately 250 other 2020-21 Schweitzer Fellows working at program sites across the country: Alabama, Chicago, Columbus-Athens, Oh.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New Hampshire/Vermont; Pittsburgh; San Francisco and Tulsa. Upon completion of their Fellowship year, the Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 3,600 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.

The NC Schweitzer Fellowship is funded through the generosity of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Duke University School of Medicine, ECU Brody School of Medicine, North Carolina Central University School of Graduate Studies, Pitt County Memorial Hospital University Health Systems of Eastern NC, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Wake Forest University Health Sciences and individual donors.

About The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

TheAlbert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is preparing the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. To date, more than 3,600 Schweitzer Fellows have delivered nearly 500,000 hours of service to nearly 300,000 people in need.  Additionally, more than 100 Fellows have provided care at the 100-year-old Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Africa. Through this work and through the contributions of Fellows whose professional careers serve their communities, ASF perpetuates the legacy and philosophy of physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer. ASF has 13 program locations in the U.S. and one in Lambaréné, Africa.

About East Carolina University

East Carolina University, or ECU as it’s best known, offers more than 85 bachelor’s, 72 master’s and 19 doctoral degrees to nearly 29,000 students on its Greenville, North Carolina, campus and through an acclaimed online learning program. The university’s school of medicine is recognized nationally for producing primary care physicians, cardiovascular research, advanced robotic surgery as well as obesity and diabetes breakthroughs. ECU also boasts the largest business school enrollment and largest number of new nurses and education professionals produced by a four-year North Carolina university, in addition to the largest studio art program in the state.

Located near Atlantic coast harbors where pirates once roamed, ECU adopted the “Pirates” mascot in 1934 for its NCAA Division 1 athletics program. The university has a globally recognized academic underwater archaeology program and enjoys a supportive relationship with the U.S. military services.


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Contact: Spaine Stephens, Health Sciences Communications,

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