Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Graduate News

Dedman College’s Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellowship Program Names SMU Student to Inaugural Class

Dallas, TX, May 11, 2015—The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its first class of Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows, and Ena Janet Saavedra, MLS student in SMU’s Simmons School of Education, has been awarded this prestigious Fellowship and will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, she will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.

Saavedra plans to develop a wellness program for teenagers living in East Dallas that helps the participants increase their physical fitness and nutritional knowledge as well as leadership development and personal growth.

Saavedra will join nine other Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellows from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center as they 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 DFW Schweitzer Fellowship, allows the Fellows to not only learn how to innovate and lead, but also gives them the opportunity to learn from the community they work with as well as the rest of the Fellows in their class,” said Courtney Roy, Program Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellowship. “These students will have the chance to create positive change with the people they serve through their Fellowship projects, truly embodying Dedman College’s goal of ‘minds moving the world.’”

The Dallas-Fort Worth Fellows will join over 200 other 2015-2016 Schweitzer Fellows working at 13 program sites, 12 in the US and 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 2015-2016 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of nearly 3,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers. Fellows for Life routinely report that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving people in need.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program is the newest chapter for the organization, and also marks a unique collaboration between eight Dallas-Fort Worth universities. Housed at Southern Methodist University, supporting universities include the Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Texas Christian University, Texas Woman’s University, University of Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center.

2015-2016 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows

Paul Abraham, UT Southwestern Medical School

Abraham is addressing nicotine dependence among men experiencing homelessness in Dallas by establishing a smoking cessation program at a local men’s shelter. The program will provide information about the long-term effects of smoking, group therapy for those seeking to quit, and follow-up resources and tools for further support. Men who attend the classes will be encouraged to set a “quit date” when they will stop smoking and will be guided through a process of mentally preparing for withdrawal and relapse. Community Site: Union Gospel Mission, Calvert Place Men’s Shelter

Whitnee D. Boyd, Texas Christian University, College of Education

Boyd is working in the Morningside community in Fort Worth, Texas to increase knowledge of college access and planning by partnering with the Morningside Children’s Partnership. Boyd’s project will focus on building a focus on college in the community through outreach to parents, students, and the entire community. She will work with churches, schools, community partners, and leaders to provide information on resources to make college possible. Additionally, she will work with parents and students to begin planning for college earlier and raise awareness about available resources. Ultimately, the project will help to build a “cradle to career” environment in the Morningside community. Community Site: Morningside Children’s Partnership

Jamila Hokanson, UT Southwestern Medical School

Hokanson is working with East Dallas parents to improve the health of their families by partnering parents with local resources to address their healthcare needs. This project will utilize surveys and focus groups to identify the most important resources and information that parents require to effectively manage their family’s health. In addition, she will collaborate with parents and community resources to implement intervention plans focused on the top need areas. Community Site: Lumin Education.

Neha Gaddam, UT Southwestern Medical School

Gaddam is addressing food insecurity in Dallas, Texas amongst people who are HIV-positive and living significantly below the poverty line. As a supplement to existing case management resources, this program will provide individualized nutritional information for clients at the Resource Center, a local clinic. The focus of the project will be a series of workshops to increase access to food assistance programs and educate on food selection and budgeting, meal preparation, and the interaction between health, prescriptions, and diet. Community Site: Resource Center.

Antoinette Moore, UT Southwestern Medical School

Moore is addressing the pervasive mental and physical health disparities found among survivors of family violence living in a temporary emergency shelter environment. This project, based in an established clinic within a Dallas County shelter, aims to work in partnership with the families, through identifying and receiving the health education opportunities most pertinent to their transition into a life free from violence. The project will also identify community partnerships to help bridge medical care received in shelter into a medical home, with the goal of creating continuity of care during this pivotal moment in their lives. Community Site: The Family Place

Jamie Pfaff, UT Southwestern Medical School

Pfaff is addressing sickle cell anemia in Dallas by creating a leadership program for teenagers aged 13-14 attending Camp Jubilee. This leadership program will help adolescents at Camp Jubilee feel empowered and provide them an opportunity to give back to their own community, acknowledging that they are living with a chronic illness but that it does not have to define them. The program will continue during the school year through monthly meetings where teenagers will assist in preparing materials and ultimately advocating for their community through volunteer recruitment and improved educational awareness of sickle cell anemia at local universities. Community Site: Camp John Marc

Priya Raja, UT Southwestern Medical School

Raja is focusing on disparities in cervical cancer incidence and mortality by creating a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine counseling and case management program for adolescents. Given the paradigm shift in cervical cancer prevention, the HPV vaccine has become an increasingly important factor in ensuring that women are adequately protected against developing cervical cancer. This program hopes to address the challenge of vaccine completion and the cultural and social factors surrounding HPV vaccine uptake by ultimately allowing adolescents to make empowered decisions that comport with their needs and their health. Community Site: TBD

Ena Janet Saavedra, Southern Methodist University Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development

Saavedra is addressing teenage obesity and culture identity in East Dallas by establishing a holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle. Addressing behavioral change is one aspect of this program; another component will be incorporating leadership development and parental engagement by encouraging a focus on growth for all students who will participate. Physical fitness, nutritional knowledge, and personal discipline will all be addressed. Community Site: Jubilee Community Center

Brandy Schwarz, Texas Christian University College of Education

Schwarz is addressing health literacy in pregnant women and new mothers in Tarrant County by creating a program to increase access to and understanding of health information. In addition, the program will provide the women with the encouragement and knowledge to become an advocate for their own health and the health of their children. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to help mothers to get the healthcare they need, lead healthier lifestyles, and to set a positive role model for their children. Community Site: The Parenting Center

Vivian Zhu, UT Southwestern Medical School

Zhu is addressing Diabetes Mellitus in West Dallas by establishing a diabetes workshop for the people who receive medical care at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic. This workshop will help the people who attend feel empowered in the context of managing their disease. In addition to weekly workshops on diabetes education, the program will also incorporate health screening methods and one-on-one counseling to the patients, helping bridge language and cultural barriers so that the patients can adequately utilize the information to form their own healthy practices. Zhu’s program will foster community awareness about diabetes management, as well as how to avoid the devastating complications of uncontrolled diabetes through a mentoring and positive relationship with the patients. Community Site: Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic




About The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is improving the health of vulnerable people now and for the future by developing a corps of Leaders in Service—professionals skilled in creating positive change with and in our communities, our health and human service systems, and our world.

Through community-based, mentored direct service and a multidisciplinary, reflective leadership development program, ASF is building community capacity and training a professional workforce that is:

  • skilled in addressing the underlying causes of health inequities;
  • committed to improving the health outcomes of underserved communities; and
  • prepared for a life of continued service.

To date, nearly 3,000 Schweitzer Fellows have delivered nearly 500,000 hours of service to nearly 300,000 people in need.  Additionally, more than 100 Fellows have provided care at the 100-year-old Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Africa. Through this work and through the contributions of Fellows whose professional careers serve their communities, ASF perpetuates the legacy and philosophy of physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer. ASF has 13 program locations in the U.S. and one in Lambaréné, Africa. Its national office is located in Boston, MA and hosted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.