TU students Schweitzer scholars

By Anissa L. Riley, TU School of Nursing and Allie Health —

Occupational Therapy (OT) students
Tuskegee University Occupational Therapy (OT) students have been named as 2017-18 Alabama Schweitzer Fellows. From left are: OT student Jasmine Grayson; OT program interim director Dr. Jannett Lewis-Clark; and OT student Micah Thomas.

Congratulations to two new occupational therapy (OT) major students from the Tuskegee University School of Nursing and Allied Health recently selected as recipients of the Alabama Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF), a competitive state-wide program for graduate students to address unmet health needs of vulnerable populations. 

As ASF fellows, the two Tuskegee University students will be among 16 graduate students that will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills — following the example set by famed physician and humanitarian, Albert Schweitzer, for whom the Fellowship is named.

The Tuskegee University 2017-18 ASF fellows are Jasmine Grayson and Micah Thomas. Tuskegee University was also represented last year with two OT students named to the inaugural class of ASF fellows who spent over 200 hours initiating a service project.

OT students Grayson’s and Thomas’ project encourages healthy behavior and promotes health education among children in the Macon County using the community site: Tuskegee Youth Safe Haven.

They are addressing health education, physical activity, and gardening for underprivileged and low socioeconomic status children in Macon County through various activities including bicycling and gardening. These activities are intended to capture and maintain the attention of the children, while also providing them with an opportunity to lead healthy lifestyles.

Overall, the program will promote physical activities, healthy food choices, and proper gardening techniques with the goal of establishing sustainable health behaviors for the rest of the children’s lives.

The children will develop positive relationships with role models, and congenial relationships with peers in attempts to build a closer-knit community. Jannett Lewis-Clark, Allied Health department head and interim director for the Occupational Therapy Program at Tuskegee University, is serving as the student’s academic mentor for their community service project.

“The Department of Allied Health is very proud of Jasmine and Micah for selecting to compete for the ASF fellowships. Our students are among not only 16 Alabama fellows but joining approximately 240 other ASF fellows working at program sites around the United States,” Lewis-Clark said.

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.

Other US-based ASF programs are located in Boston, Chicago, Columbus-Athens, Oh.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New Hampshire/Vermont; North Carolina; Pittsburgh; San Francisco and Tulsa. Kristin Boggs serves as the director of the Alabama chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

Upon completion of the Fellowship year, the 2017-18 Alabama Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 3,400 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.

Future plans are also being discussed to have Tuskegee University join the Academic Consortium which is the governing body for the Alabama Chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. The Schweitzer Fellowship is a national organization with 15 chapters whose mission is to prepare the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities.