Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Graduate News

Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellows Named

Dedman College News
Originally Posted: May 29, 2019

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF), housed in Southern Methodist University’s Dedman College, announced the selection of its fifth cohort of Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows. Ten graduate and medical students from Texas Christian University, Texas Woman’s University, and UT Southwestern Medical Center will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.

“This is a talented and hard-working group of students who are passionate about access to healthcare, literacy, and meeting basic community needs,” said Courtney Roy, Program Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellowship. “They’ve partnered with an impressive range of community-based groups that are working to help vulnerable people live healthier lives, and it will be very exciting to see how their projects progress over the next year.”

Schweitzer Fellows 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. This year’s Fellows will address an array of health and wellbeing issues affecting a range of populations, including programs to improve health literacy and healthcare access, technology training to improve patient experience at clinics treating HIV, and college access and readiness.

In keeping with Dedman College’s interdisciplinary emphasis, Fellows collaborate with one another to address

“Many of our Fellows go on to build impressive professional careers. The process of moving their Fellowship projects from an initial concept to completion teaches them valuable skills in working with others in allied fields,” said Lachlan Forrow, MD, chairman of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Board of Directors. “As Schweitzer Fellows develop professionally, this skill is critical to their ability to effect larger-scale change among vulnerable populations.”

The ten Dallas-Fort Worth Fellows will join approximately 200 other 2019-2020 Schweitzer Fellows working at 12 program sites around the United States, as well as 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 2019-2020 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 3,600 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program 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, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Other US-based ASF programs are located in Alabama, Chicago, Columbus-Athens, Oh., Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, New Hampshire-Vermont, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Tulsa.

2019-2020 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows

Leah Carter, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Carteris addressing childhood and adolescent health in West Dallas by expanding summer camp programming to include nutrition and exercise education as well as academic and leadership training.  Outside of summer camps, her project will address the need for additional women’s health education for all ages at the Brother Bill’s Helping Hand community center. Overall, the project is aiming to engage and encourage the community in West Dallas to become more informed about their health and more involved in community activities that support their health, and to determine additional resources needed to improve health outcomes for West Dallas residents.

Community Site: Brother Bill’s Helping Hand

Isabel Garcia, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Garcia is addressing access to healthcare in the Dallas community by implementing workshops and bringing together resources to educate the undocumented, uninsured population on access to health care in their local community. The program will focus on providing health literacy and education to immigrants in order to build trust and confidence in the community. Ultimately this program will serve as preventative health care and aims to decrease the amount of emergency room visits by undocumented/uninsured immigrants. By educating the community on their rights within the healthcare system, this project will empower and bring confidence to the community as well as increase their trust and feeling of safety in health care.

Community Site: RAICES

Eric Gobel, Texas Christian University

Gobel is addressing postsecondary literacy and preparedness in Fort Worth through presentations and individualized educational plans with local middle and high schoolers. By centering the conversations on goals and aspirations, the program will emphasize the empowering nature of education. Presentations will focus on explaining the costs and opportunities of different higher education options in the Fort Worth area to demystify the process and consequences of seeking a postsecondary degree.

Community Site: Fort Worth Children’s Partnership

Morgan Grant, Texas Woman’s University

Grant is addressing HIV/STD prevention in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex by creating a sexual health empowerment and education program for minority and at-risk populations who identify as a member of the LGBTQIA community. The provide will provide participants with a basic and fundamental overview of HIV/AIDS, means of contraction, and ways to keep oneself safe while also protecting the sexual health of others. Additionally, the program will feature an interactive exchange of health information between participants that signifies the importance of safety, routine testing for those who are sexually active, and protection of others while empowering the participants in areas of self-efficacy, decisional balancing, and sustainability of specific sexual lifestyle modifications.

Community Site: Resource Center

Esha Hansoti, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Hansoti is addressing the needs of HIV/AIDS and transgender patients in North Texas by establishing a case management and referral program for incoming patients at a nonprofit clinic. Along with helping HIV/AIDS and transgender patients connect with resources in the community based on their needs, the program will provide confidential emotion support, advocacy, and health education. Overall, the program will aid patients in organizing and game planning the next steps of their health driven by their financial, cultural, and geographic accessibility and needs.

Community Site: Resource Center Community Clinic

 Michael Hernandez, Texas Christian University

Hernandez plans to work with men and women living in the Como neighborhood of Fort Worth to help them gain steady employment. In addition to providing workshops and coaching on topics to help them with the application process and develop strong job skills, Hernandez also plans to provide information about practical tools such as budget management and other financial skills. He also plans to reach out to neighborhood businesses to encourage more hiring of people who live within the community and help create additional job opportunities.

Community Site: Opening Doors for Women in Need

Merin John, UT Southwestern Medical Center

John is addressing smoking-related morbidities among the homeless in Dallas by establishing a smoking cessation program for women living in homeless shelter with their children. In addition to helping the mothers with quit strategies through support groups and individual coaching sessions, the program will seek to educate the population about the harmful effects of second-hand smoke exposure and nicotine addiction.

Community Site: UGM Center of Hope

Rosalind Ma, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Rosalind Ma is addressing healthcare disparities, specifically in regards to transportation and healthcare navigation, for the male homeless population in Dallas. The project focuses on developing a Linkage to Care program for the ongoing Hepatitis C screening project by creating a patient navigator program where patients are assisted with the transportation and scheduling of their healthcare appointments. Some barriers that will be addressed include lack of funds for transportation, lack of ability to schedule appointments, and difficult navigation to Parkland Hepatology Clinic. In addition to helping patients navigate through the healthcare system, the program will continue hosting Hepatitis C screenings and provide educational information about Hepatitis C.

Community Site: UGM Calvert Place Men’s Shelter

Hasan Seede, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Seede is addressing high smoking rates among homeless men by establishing a support group in coordination with a smoking cessation class at Union Gospel Mission’s Calvert Place Shelter. The project aims to address the use of smoking as a stress-relief mechanism by introducing healthy coping habits and encouraging supportive peer relationships through client-led group sessions. Ultimately the program will help foster direct relationships between the medical community of a premier institution and an at-risk population in need of preventative health intervention. The goal is to address the epidemic of smoking among the homeless.

Community Site: UGM Calvert Place Men’s Shelter

Gabriele Slaughter, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Slaughter is addressing digital and health literacy in Dallas by increasing enrollment and engagement in an online patient portal for people living with HIV. This portal allows access to lab results, health measurements, and clinic communication so patients can be more knowledgeable about their diagnoses and treatments. Ideally, reminders sent via the portal will be an effective way to inform patients of upcoming appointments, preventative screenings, and health education. Ultimately, the project’s hope is that easy access to health measurements will empower patients to be more proactive in their own healthcare and management of their disease.

Community Site: Prism Health North Texas