29 Graduate Students Are Addressing Health Disparities Throughout North Carolina

Davidson, NC. March 18, 2024. – The North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (NCASF) announced the selection of its 2024-25 class of Schweitzer Fellows. Twenty-nine graduate students will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health as they develop lifelong leadership skills. This year’s class represents Fellows from medicine, dentistry, nursing, occupational therapy, and business. Go here to see the Fellows and the work they are doing.

“Schweitzer Fellows are not given a project or told to address a specific health need,” said Barbara Heffner, Executive Director of the NC Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “They follow their passion and the needs of the community to develop innovative approaches which fill gaps in our health care system.”

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 organization. The NC Schweitzer Fellowship’s new class of Fellows will lead several free clinics providing comprehensive cardiology services, oral health clinical care, connections to a dental home, vision services and eyewear, and a foot clinic. In addition, they will provide a multitude of services including medical respite and employability program for patients experiencing homelessness, diagnostic services for women with autoimmune diseases, post operative support for veterans, diabetes education for farmworkers, patient navigator program for people with metastatic spine disease, a wellness initiative for postpartum mothers, a fall prevention program for seniors, custom mouthguards for student athletes, and health literacy workshops for refugees. They will be launching their projects in vulnerable communities throughout the state.

Schweitzer Fellowships have an intensive leadership component with Fellows working closely with community and academic mentors during their fellowship year. They often serve as role models for their peers inspiring others to improve the health of those who experience barriers to care.

The NC Schweitzer Fellowship is funded through the generosity of BlueCross and BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation, Delta Dental of North Carolina, Duke University School of Medicine, ECU Brody School of Medicine, ECU Health, North Carolina AHEC, North Carolina Central University School of Graduate Studies, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative, Wake Forest University Health Sciences and individual donors.

The North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (NCASF) is preparing the next generation of professionals who have a passion for community service and innovation in addressing health disparities. NCASF began in 1994 as a local chapter of the national nonprofit, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and has trained more than 634 leaders in healthcare. Nationally, more than 4,000 U.S Schweitzer Fellows served individuals and communities in need and are continuing to shape health care policy and provide direct service. ASF currently has 13 active program locations in the U.S. who select 200+ Fellows each year: Alabama, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit; Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New Hampshire/Vermont, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, San Francisco Bay Area, and Tulsa.