New Class of North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows Named

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its 2017-18 class of North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows. Twenty-three graduate students from Duke School of Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine; NCCU School of Education; the School of Dental Medicine and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University; and the School of Dentistry and the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina 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 talented and hard-working group of students who are passionate about making health care more responsive to populations that are often overlooked, such people who are homeless, children who are living in poverty, and refugees and immigrants,” said Barbara Heffner, Director of the North Carolina chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “They’ve partnered with an impressive range of community-based groups that are working to help vulnerable people live healthier lives, and it will be very exciting to see their projects have measurable impact.”

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 North Carolina Albert Schweitzer program’s new class of Fellows will provide free oral health services, link to medical and dental homes, and empower vulnerable community members to improve their health and well-being.

Fellows work under the close guidance of community and academic mentors during their fellowship year. Schweitzer Fellowships have an intensive leadership component, so that Fellows in turn serve as an inspiration to their peers and others to improve the health of those who experience barriers to care.

“Many of our Fellows go on to build impressive professional careers. The process of moving their Fellowship projects from an initial concept to completion teaches them valuable skills in working with others in allied fields,” said Bruce Auerbach, MD, chairman of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Board of Directors. “As Schweitzer Fellows develop professionally, this skill is critical to their ability to effect larger-scale change among vulnerable populations.”

The 23 North Carolina Fellows will join approximately 240 other 2017-18 Schweitzer Fellows working at 14 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 2017-18 North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 3,400 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.

Nationally, some of ASF’s Fellows for Life include William Fischer II, MD, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at University of North Carolina Health Care and UNC School of Medicine who participated in efforts to fight the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in 2014; Rishi Manchanda, MD, author of the TED book The Upstream Doctors: Medical Innovators Track Sickness To Its Source; Jessica Lahey, JD, author of the bestseller The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn To Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed; and Robert Satcher, Jr., MD, PhD, assistant professor, Anderson Cancer Center and NASA mission specialist.

Other US-based ASF programs are located in Alabama; Boston; Chicago; Columbus-Athens, Oh.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New Hampshire/Vermont; Pittsburgh; San Francisco and Tulsa.


2017-18 North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows

Cierra Hong and Kristen Rhodin, Duke School of Medicine
Community Site: Duke Cancer Institute
Provide support to surgical cancer patients who are from a low socioeconomic background to increase their chance of having a complication free recovery.

Aarti Thakkar, Duke School of Medicine
Community Site: Duke Outpatient Clinic and Lincoln Community Center
Expand the Duke Hotspotting Initiative (a 2015 Schweitzer project) to include another community clinic’s patients.

Allen Bunch and Morgan Stroud, ECU School of Dental Medicine
BCBSNC Foundation Fellows
Community Site: ECU School of Dental Medicine Pediatric Dentistry Clinic and the ECU Department of Pediatrics
Link ECU pediatric patients to a dental home at ECU SoDM.

Samantha Forlenza, ECU Brody School of Medicine
Kiersten Bethea, ECU School of Dental Medicine
BCBSNC Foundation Fellows
Community Site: James D. Bernstein Community Health Center, East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine Emergency Dental Clinic, Community Crossroads Center, and Greenville Homeless Shelter Clinic
Provide no cost dental emergency treatment for homeless patients and link to a medical/dental home.

Kevin Holley and Trevor Staton, ECU School of Dental Medicine
BCBSNC Foundation Fellows
Community Site: Greene County Health Care and Pitt County Public Schools
Increase enrollment in a school based dental sealant program and lead an education outreach in Pitt County Elementary Schools.

Katherine Mulligan and Yasamin Sanii, ECU Brody School of Medicine
Community Site: Greenville Community Shelter Clinic
Provide continuity of care for chronic disease patients and connect them to a permanent medical home.

Reena Patel and Rebecca Jones, ECU Brody School of Medicine
Community Site: ECU Women’s Health Clinic at Brody Outpatient Center and ECU Pediatric Clinic
Provide prenatal and postpartum education to low income mothers to facilitate healthy outcomes.

Shian Williams, NCCU School of Education
Community Site: National Stuttering Association chapter in Raleigh and Chapel Hill
Initiate a support and skill building outreach for children who stutter.

Keyachtta Hawkins and Tariq Jah, UNC School of Dentistry
BCBSNC Foundation Fellows
Community Site: SNDA CAARE Clinic
Expand the oral health services at the CAARE clinic to include routine cleanings and an oral health workshop component.

Nicholas Lenze and Molly Crenshow, UNC School of Medicine
Community Site: Piedmont Health Services in Carrboro
Expand a group appointment and education outreach (2016 Schweitzer project) for diabetic patients to include home visits.

Vinayak Subramanian, UNC School of Medicine
Site: UNC REX Heart and Vascular Clinic
Academic and Site Mentor: Dr. George Adams
Lead an endovascular/surgical intervention for critical limb ischemia patients.

Mustafa Abid and Ziyad Knio, Wake Forest School of Medicine
Community Site: Annoor Islamic Center (Clemmons Mosque) and World Relief Organization
Initiate a health education outreach for refugees and immigrants and help them navigate the health care system.

Kwone Ingram and Brandon Sowell, Wake School of Medicine
Site: Petree Elementary School
Lead a mentoring program for fourth and fifth grade minority African American males.