From Staff Reports
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) has announced the selection of its inaugural class of Alabama Schweitzer Fellows. Caitlyn Cleghorn of Pinson is one of 16 graduate students working in the field of health who 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.
“We are extremely proud of our inaugural class of Schweitzer Fellows. There was great interest in the program, and we are excited to see what our talented students accomplish over the next 12 months,” said Kristin Boggs, Director of the Alabama chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “We are confident that the Alabama Schweitzer program will make a lasting impact on the health of communities in and around Birmingham, as our Fellows first learn to serve and support vulnerable people in living healthier lives, and then take those skills with them when they establish themselves professionally as leaders in their field.”
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 Alabama Schweitzer program’s inaugural class of Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, from a health promotion program for at-risk youth that employs reading and bicycling to an oral health promotion program for Hispanic and Latin adults to addressing food insecurity among low-income residents of Birmingham.
Working with another Schweitzer Fellow, Cleghorn, a student at Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy, will implement a medication review system for St. Vincent’s Birmingham Access to Care clinic that includes health education for patients and a comprehensive clinical review of each patient’s medications.
Schweitzer Fellowships have an intensive leadership component, so that Fellows can go on to 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.
“We are so pleased to bring The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to Alabama. Our program has a ripple effect in communities as Schweitzer Fellows improve the lives not only of those they are directly serving, but their circle of family and friends as well. So there is a lasting community impact,” said Sylvia Stevens-Edouard, Executive Director of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “Additionally, the process of moving their Fellowship projects from an initial concept to completion teaches Schweitzer Fellows valuable skills in working with others in allied fields. As Schweitzer Fellows develop professionally, this skill is critical to their ability to effect larger-scale change among vulnerable populations.”
The 16 Alabama Fellows will join approximately 240 other 2016-17 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 2016-17 Alabama Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 3,200 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.
The Alabama Schweitzer program is housed in the School of Medicine, in partnership with The University of Alabama at Birmingham Schools of Dentistry, Health Professions, Nursing, and Public Health.