Health & Medicine Welcomes 2020-21 Schweitzer Fellows

Twenty-eight passionate health professions graduate students have been selected for the distinguished Schweitzer Fellowship – a year-long service learning program that helps Fellows design and implement innovative projects that help address the health needs of underserved Chicago communities.

Named in honor of famed humanitarian and Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program encourages students to become lifelong leaders in service by helping to address unmet health needs among vulnerable Chicagoland residents. In collaboration with existing community organizations, each Schweitzer Fellow will launch a community-based project, providing 200 hours of service. Using a broad public health lens, the new Fellows will work to improve community well-being and target the social determinants of health—the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age that have a profound impact on health and quality of life. Projects include:

  • Initiating community support and empowerment classes for formerly incarcerated Black people living in Englewood
  • Providing educational presentations and basic healthcare screenings for women and children at the Arab American Family Services
  • Implementing economic empowerment and health classes for people of low-income and people of color at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition
  • Click here to learn more about the Fellows and their service projects.

Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, the Fellowship exposes students to real-world inter-professional, collaborative care and aims to develop lifelong leaders in service. The 2020-2021 Fellows include students from 11 schools, 13 disciplines, and 18 academic programs, ranging from nursing to law and public health. The exceptional class of Fellows was selected from a pool of almost 100 applicants through a competitive process.

“I was moved after watching a video about Albert Schweitzer’s life, specifically seeing his determination to advocate for a more just world and his love of all living creatures,” shared Fellow Kelly Moore. “My similar desire to turn passion into action, and to learn from fellow students along the way, motivated me to apply for the Fellowship. As the saying goes: Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

In addition to their service projects, Moore and their peers will also participate in a thirteen-month Program that includes monthly meetings, trainings, and ongoing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration as well as support from a team of mentors from their schools, project sites, alumni network, and staff. The new Fellows join a network of over 600 Chicago Program alumni who have provided over 120,000 hours of community service to more than 150 community groups over the course of the Program’s twenty plus year history.

“My experience as a Schweitzer Fellow was transformational and impactful. I learned tangible skills, which were both critical for my understanding of the ongoing transformation of the healthcare system, but more importantly my personal growth. The interdisciplinary collaboration and mentorship enabled us to grow as individuals, but more importantly as a group,” shared former Fellow Kelli Bozak LCSW, CADC. “The network of Fellows and mentors supported us and held us accountable to our projects, programs, and disciplines in an effort to create a more equitable society. While my graduate program in social work guided my professional abilities and licensure, the structure of the fellowship allowed me space and time to cocreate and grow with other aspiring, caring, and brave healthcare individuals.” Bozak currently works as a Behavioral Health Consultant in Chicago and Oregon.

The new Fellows join a network of over 600 Chicago Program alumni who have provided over 120,000 hours of community service to more than 150 community groups over the course of the Program’s twenty plus year history.

“Every year, our Schweitzer Fellows help Health & Medicine live out our mission of addressing health inequities and supporting the next generation of healthcare providers,” said Margie Schaps, Executive Director of Health & Medicine. “This sort of community impact is only possible through the steadfast commitment of the many individuals, academic institutions, and local foundations that support this program including the Baxter International Foundation, the Michael Reese Health Trust, and the VNA Foundation. We are deeply grateful for their generosity as we welcome this dynamic group of Fellows to the Schweitzer community.”