The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has a wide network of program sites all across the US and this post will focus on the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program. The organization recognizes that there is a huge disparity between the “haves” and the “have-nots” when it comes to health and healthcare. This is the reason why they aim to lessen this disparity by improving the health of those who need help most. Check out this post to know more about them.
What is your organization’s name?
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF)’s Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program
What is your name and what is your affiliation with the organization?
Nicole M. Cobb-Moore, MA, Greater Philadelphia Program Director
Please tell us a little bit about you.
I started working for ASF in 2006, while working at Thomas Jefferson University School of Population Health (JSPH) as the Assistant Director of Academic and Student Services. I have a BS in Public Affairs and an MA in Organizational Management. Since the inception of the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program in 2006, I have been hands-on in all aspects of the Fellowship’s programming, fundraising, mentoring, and advisory board cultivation. With a strong sense of Philadelphia, I am happy to encourage graduate students to reach their full potential by finding ways to serve our community.
How / why did your organization start? (Background, History)
One of thirteen Schweitzer program sites across the U.S., the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program was established in 2006 under the leadership of David B. Nash, MD, MBA and colleagues at Jefferson School of Population Health of Thomas Jefferson University. Since then, Schweitzer Fellows in Greater Philadelphia—competitively chosen from health-focused graduate student applicants in a variety of fields—have worked tirelessly to reduce health disparities in Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey.
Over 50 Schweitzer Fellows in Greater Philadelphia have provided nearly 10,000 hours of service to vulnerable communities. Partnering with nearly 40 area community-based organizations, these Fellows have conceptualized and carried out yearlong service projects directly addressing issues including:
• Childhood obesity in Philadelphia’s low-income communities (Alesia Mitchell, Temple University)
• The lack of Hepatitis B education and screenings available to Philadelphia’s Asian communities (Betty Chung, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey)
• Homophobia experienced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Philadelphia area’s school systems and workforce (Noel Ramirez, University of Pennsylvania)
• The prevalence of SIDS among infants of Philadelphia-area homeless women (Alana Wright Benton, St. Joseph’s University)
• The Delaware Haitian community’s access to cardiovascular disease education, prevention, and treatment (Sheila Salvant-Valentine, Widener University School of Law)
What is your organization’s objective? (What does it do?)
ASF’s mission is to develop “Leaders in Service”: individuals who are dedicated to and skilled in addressing the health needs of underserved communities, and whose example influences and inspires others.
ASF achieves this through an interdisciplinary, service-learning model that fosters moral and professional development. This model combines:
- mentored, entrepreneurial, community-based service projects
- a curriculum that emphasizes values and leadership
- structured opportunities for individual and group reflection
- lifelong fellowship with service-oriented colleagues
Each year, the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program® competitively selects approximately 250 exceptional students from the nation’s top health and human service schools to follow in Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s footsteps.
These Schweitzer Fellows — mostly university graduate students – partner with community-based organizations to identify an unmet health need, design a yearlong service project with a demonstrable impact on that need, and bring that project from idea to implementation and impact — all on top of their usual graduate school responsibilities.
After successfully completing their initial year, they become members of the Schweitzer Fellows for Life alumni network of over 2,000 Leaders in Service who are dedicated and skilled in meeting the health needs of underserved communities.
How long has the organization been around?
In 1940, ASF was founded in the United States to support Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s medical work in Africa during World War II. Since Dr. Schweitzer’s death in 1965, ASF has continued to provide direct assistance to the Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné.
In 1979, ASF began sending senior U.S. medical students to work at the hospital. These Lambaréné Schweitzer Fellows work together with an international staff of Gabonese and expatriate professionals, providing skilled care through over 35,000 outpatient visits and more than 6,000 hospitalizations annually for patients from all parts of Gabon.
But ASF’s management soon realized that the same health disparities Fellows were traveling to Africa to address also exist in abundance right here in the U.S. So in 1992, they launched the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program. Now, nearly 20 years later, ASF runs 13 program sites across the country.
What kind of events / activities does your organization do?
Leadership development for graduate and professional students; public outreach through symposia and health fairs; direct service to people and communities in need; professional development opportunities for individuals seeking to cultivate a life of service.
How can people get in touch with your organization (or you)?
They can visit our website at www.schweitzerfellowship.org/philadelphia. We are now accepting applications for the 2012-13 class of Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows.
Any messages to Philadelphia?
To learn more about the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellowship Program attend one of our remaining information sessions January 9th or January 19th. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Final Quote: Do something wonderful, people may imitate it. – Albert Schweitzer