The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship: Creating Change & Improving Health

March 16, 2020; Taken from the CCTS Digest

Since its founding in 1940, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) has helped “prepare the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities.” The fellowship provides graduate students the opportunity to design and implement a plan aiming to improve health outcomes through community-based prevention and intervention. The ASF projects include a wide range of subjects and disciplines.

The CCTS is proud to support and align with the ASF Alabama Fellows Program’s mission. Here are three of the ASF projects and their inspiring results:

Josh Bruce and Alison Footman, UAB School of Public Health

Academic Mentor: Dr. Robin Lanzi 
Site Mentor: Karen Musgrove 
Site: Birmingham AIDS Outreach (BAO)

Josh and Alison provided free HIV tests to over 1400 people in 6 different communities across Jefferson County using BAO’s mobile testing unit. By using the unit, they were able to provide confidential HIV counseling and education while testing. They were able to expand outreach measures to include women’s shelters, bus stations, comedy clubs, universities, community events, adult bookstores, and local businesses, forming new relationships with other community organizations.  

As a result of their efforts: 

  • Increased HIV testing
  • Linked 4 HIV positive cases to care
  • Developed questionnaires to evaluate user’s experiences and preferences invisiting the mobile testing unit.
  • Created protocols for other BAO staff when using the mobile testing unit

Birmingham AIDS Outreach will continue to utilize the mobile testing unit in providing free HIV tests across Jefferson County with the goal of expanding outreach to surrounding counties. 

Jasmine B. Grayson & Micah Thomas, Tuskegee University

Academic Mentor: Dr. Jannette Lewis-Clark
Site Mentor: Mr. Guy Trammel
Site: Tuskegee Youth Safe Haven

Micah and Jasmine increased the physical activity and decreased unhealthy eating habits of 9 children in the Macon County area. This was an expansion of a 2016-2017 Schweitzer project. The Fellows hosted weekly sessions, where they educated the children on healthy food options, gardening, and engaged the participants in weekly physical activity. The participants were also involved in a gardening competition, where they received 2nd place for their crops and knowledge about how they were grown. Micah and Jasmine also worked with the participants’ families to deliver healthy food options for them to try.

As a result of the program:

  • 8 out of 9 children showed an improvement in fruit and vegetable recognition via a pre- and post-test. (One child was unable to be re-evaluated due to unavailability.)
  • 9 out of 9 children showed a 100% increase in their physical activity levels via pedometer scores.

This project will be sustained by upcoming 5th Year students in the Occupational Therapy Department. These students plan to shift the focus of the project to healthy meal preparation.

Adam Archer and Carl Okerberg, Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy

Academic Mentors: Dr. Jeanna Sewell and Dr. Bernie Olin
Site Mentor: Laura Bell
Site: Mercy Medical Clinic

Mercy Medical Clinic is a free and charitable clinic providing primary health care services to uninsured community members in and around Lee County. After some initial fundraising and piloting, Archer and Okerberg invested in a strategically planned vaccine inventory renewable in perpetuity by generous manufacturer vaccine patient assistance programs. Working with the devoted nursing, office, and pharmacy staff at Mercy, they developed and implemented a vaccination service for their patients.

As a result of the program:

  • 200+ patients have been screened for vaccine indication to date
  • 6 vaccines have been administered to date

The staff at Mercy Medical Clinic is sustaining the vaccination service with its successful integration into normal clinic operations.

Following their initial year of service, Fellows become “Fellows for Life” and then join a group of professionals united by a common experience and commitment to serving vulnerable populations, thereby continuing the philosophy of famed physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Learn more about all of the current and past fellows here, on the ASF website.

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