Albert Schweitzer Fellowship medical students serve Cooper Green patients and the community

Re-posted with permission from:

Cooper Green patients have an opportunity that few U.S. health care facilities offer: the chance to interact with Albert Schweitzer Fellowship participants. The UAB Heersink School of Medicine is one of just 14 national chapters that has an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship program, and two of the 2023-24 participants are second-year UAB medical students Josiah Perry and Paul Jones.

Fellows must commit to a yearlong service project, completing more than 200 hours of work in the community, while engaging in an academic mentorship program to help meet an unmet need among the local population. For Perry and Jones, that need is health literacy, efficacy, and advocacy for patients with COPD and heart failure at Cooper Green, which serves the most vulnerable in Jefferson County.

“We both have a background in education, working specifically with people in settings where they might not have had the assistance they needed early on,” Perry said. “That was the original inspiration for this project.”

Education for managing chronic conditions

As part of their project, Perry and Jones give patients who come into the resident-run clinic a Single-Item Literacy Screener, or SILS, to determine if they are considered baseline literate. From there, the students go into deeper detail with patients who have chronic health issues to gauge how confident they feel about managing their conditions on their own. They also encourage patients to attend a workshop about managing their conditions.

“One of the cool things about our project is that it we’re talking to patients one-on-one and doing the screenings with them, allowing us to be better positioned to appreciate their particular needs and concerns and understand the background they come from,” Jones said. “I think by understanding the specific needs of the patients, we’ll be better suited to hopefully convince them that we can make a difference for them.” [article continues at link below]