New Class of NC Schweitzer Fellows Named

28 Graduate Students Will Spend Next Year Improving Community Health and Developing Lifelong Leadership Skills

Davidson, NC, April 23, 2019—The North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (NCASF) announced the selection of its 2019-20 class of Schweitzer Fellows. Twenty-eight graduate students will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.

“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. “Now more than ever, it is essential that we focus on developing a multidisciplinary pipeline of health professionals who have the dedication, skills, and cultural humility to effectively meet the health needs of these and other underserved people.”

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 led a multitude of service initiatives including sexual assault prevention, support services for women giving birth, connect vulnerable populations to community resources, help patients achieve personalized health goals, provide free dentures and root canals, and much more.

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.

“Many of our Fellows go on to inspiring careers of service to vulnerable individuals and populations.  Our support for them as they learn how to translate their Fellowship projects from an initial concept to actual, enduring impact is crucial to their future effectiveness in working with the underserved,” said Lachlan Forrow, MD, Chair of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Board of Directors. “The rapidly-growing network of our alumni – now thousands of “Schweitzer Fellows for Life” working across the country and the world – is already contributing to major improvements in the care of countless people.”

The 28 NC Fellows will join approximately 250 other 2019-20 Schweitzer Fellows working at program sites around the United States, as well as one in Lambaréné, Gabon at the site of The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded by Dr. Schweitzer in 1913. Upon completion of their Fellowship year, the 2019-20 NC Schweitzer 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.

Some of NCASF’s Fellows for Life include Dr. Billy Fischer, part of the first physician teams to address the Ebola crisis and who is on the NCASF board and honored with the 2019 Schweitzer Leadership awad,  Dr. Benjamin Gilmer, who is also the NCASF board and was featured on This American Life’s Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde, and Jessica Lahey, JD, author of the bestseller The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn To Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed.

The NC Schweitzer Fellowship is funded through the generosity of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Duke University School of Medicine, ECU Brody School of Medicine, NCCU School of Graduate Studies, Pitt County Memorial Hospital University Health Systems of Eastern NC, UNC School of Medicine, Wake Forest University Health Sciences and individual donors. Other US-based ASF programs are located in Alabama, Chicago, Columbus-Athens, Oh.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; New Hampshire/Vermont; New Orleans; Pittsburgh; San Francisco and Tulsa.

2019-20 NC Albert Schweitzer Fellows

Duke School of Medicine
Sachiko Oshima and Thomas Bunning
Site: Duke Outpatient Clinic
Oshima and Bunning are leading teams of medical and social work students who partner with underserved patients at the Duke Outpatient Clinic to achieve personal health goals and improve access to healthcare resources. This is an expansion of a 2017 Schweitzer project.

Duke School of Medicine
Elisabeth Seyferth and Spencer Chang
Site: Freemont Clinic
Seyferth and Chang are partnering with patients of a rural clinic to achieve their health goals with a focus on chronic disease management. They are also targeting challenges with consistency and continuity of care, improving medical student readiness for clinic, and expanding patient resources.

ECU School of Dental Medicine
Monique Duru and Brittanie Height
J Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows
Site: ECU SODM and ECU Family Medicine
Height and Duru are helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing oral health education and increasing access to dental services. 

ECU School of Dental Medicine
Scarlett Walston and William Grine
J Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows
Site: Food-based Early Education Lab and Head Start
Walston and Grine are improving the nutrition and oral health of the children and families who attend Head Start Programs in Pitt County and the surrounding areas.

ECU School of Dental Medicine and ECU Brody School of Medicine
Julianne Yuziuk and Helina Gan
J Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows
Site: Bernstein Clinic
Gan and Yuziuk are helping uninsured patients to local service resources as part of their medical care management at the Bernstein Dental Clinic.

ECU School of Medicine
Olivia Campbell and Camille Bauer
Site: Boys & Girls Clubs of Pitt County
Campbell and Bauer are leading PREP: Promoting Reproductive Health Education in Pitt County which uses interactive sessions to teach a variety of topics including the following: healthy dating, contraception, and sexually transmitted infection, and domestic violence prevention that emphasizes healthy relationships to empower middle and high school youth. This is an expansion of a 2018 Schweitzer project.

ECU School of Medicine
Duy Huynh and Ryan Hatfield
Site: Greenville Community Shelter Clinic, Vidant Family Medicine Behavioral Health Division, Pitt County Health Department
Huynh and Hatfield are linking homeless community members with the resources they need to achieve health and wellness with an emphasis on mental health services. A care manager position is being reestablished using Behavioral Health Science doctoral students. This is an expansion of a 2017 Schweitzer project.

ECU School of Medicine – Public Health/Environmental Health
Constantine Unanka
J Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellow
Site: Medical-Legal Partnership of Eastern North Carolina
Unanka is helping rural, low-income families who have children with asthma, gain control by reducing asthma attacks, asthma-related emergency department visits and asthma hospitalizations by addressing the complex social, economic, and environmental factors that influence their health and well-being. This is an expansion of a 2018 Schweitzer project.

NCCU Social Work
Stacie Phillips
Site: NC Sexual Assault Coalition and NCCU
Phillips is raising public awareness about sexual violence and prevention, creating a safe campus culture, and launching a support group for survivors of sexual assault.

UNC School of Dentistry
Damian Slaczka and Dani Fox    
J Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows
Site: Student Action Health Coalition
Slaczka and Fox are helping low income with dental pain save the permanent tooth from extraction by providing free root canal services.

UNC School of Dentistry
Samantha Sloand and Trenton Bottoms
J Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows
Site: Samaritan Health Center
Sloand and Bottoms are providing free dentures and oral health education for homeless patients.

UNC School of Medicine
Megan Barnes and Katherine Miller
J Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows
Barnes and Miller are aiming to reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations by helping patients achieve personal health goals with an emphasis on mental health.

UNC School of Medicine
Michael Batres and Emma Astrike-Davis 
Site:  Prospect Hill Community Health Center and the Benson Area Medical Center, North Carolina Farmworker Health Program
Batres and Astrike-Davis are helping migrant farmworkers enroll in eligible health insurance plans and are providing interpreter services in a rural clinic in order to improve their access to healthcare.

UNC School of Medicine
Margo Faulk and Noa Nessim
Site: Student Health Action Coalition
Faulk and Nessim are improving the health of the low-income transgender community by providing free, culturally competent, gender-affirming care at a free clinic and creating opportunities for health professions students to gain experience in serving this vulnerable population.

Wake Forest School of Medicine
Abby Peoples
Site: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Peoples is providing physical and emotional support during childbirth for Medicaid insured patients through a volunteer doula program.

Wake Forest School of Medicine
Jeffrey Powell   
Site: Community Care Clinic of Forsyth County, Winston-Salem State University Occupational Therapy Program, The Helping Hand Project
Powell is improving occupational therapy patient outcomes at a charitable clinic through access to 3D printed tools and developing occupational therapy guidelines for children with upper-limb differences who use 3D printed prosthetic devices.