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Second class of Tulsa Schweitzer Fellows named

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The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has announced the selection of its second cohort of Tulsa Schweitzer Fellows. Fourteen graduate and professional degree students from The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and Langston University will spend the next year learning to effectively address the factors that impact health and develop lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their fellowship is named.

The inaugural class completes its fellowship next month. Fellows contributed more than 2,000 hours to projects they designed to address health gaps in Tulsa. Highlights include the launch of a diabetes education program at the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, Tulsa’s first-ever parenting class for veterans at the Coffee Bunker and nutrition and obesity prevention workshops for fifth-graders in four Tulsa Public Schools. In addition, fellows are reporting increased connection to Tulsa and a deep desire to continue their leadership to address the community’s health needs. Most of the projects have sustainability plans in place.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our inaugural class of Schweitzer Fellows, and we are thrilled to add 14 fellows to the Tulsa Schweitzer family,” said Rachel Gold, director of the Tulsa chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “We are confident that the Tulsa Schweitzer Fellowship will have a positive lasting effect on the health of communities in and around Tulsa as our Fellows learn to implement innovative projects that address health disparities. Fellows will then take the skills they learn with them when they establish themselves professionally as leaders in their fields.”

As a sign of the program’s growing appeal to emerging leaders in health, applications for fellowships increased 30 percent this year over last year.

Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities while fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based organization. The local Schweitzer Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, from health and nutrition among at-risk teens in North Tulsa to speech and language development workshops for parents with children in foster care to a psychoeducational diabetes intervention program for adults living with physical challenges. Fellows come from many academic disciplines including medicine, physical therapy, law, art, speech-language pathology and human development.

The Schweitzer Fellowship has an intensive leadership component, so that fellows can go on to inspire others to improve the health of those who experience barriers to care. Fellows work under the close guidance of community and academic mentors during their fellowship year.

“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 Dr. Bruce Auerbach, 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 14 new Tulsa fellows will join approximately 260 other 2017-18 Schweitzer Fellows working at 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. The inaugural Tulsa class with join the international Schweitzer Fellows for Life network, comprised of more than 3,400 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.

The Tulsa Schweitzer program is based at The University of Tulsa and is supported by the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. The Tulsa chapter is one of 15 U.S.-based sites. The others are in Alabama; Boston; Chicago; Columbus-Athens, Ohio; Dallas-Fort Worth; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New Hampshire/Vermont; North Carolina; Pittsburgh; and San Francisco. Additionally, ASF also has a program chapter based in Lambaréné, Gabon, at The Albert Schweitzer Hospital.

University of Tulsa Schweitzer Fellows, 2017-18

Leslie Briggs
College of Law
Communities in Schools
Briggs’ project will introduce restorative justice practices to public high school students in Tulsa who have been involved in school-based conflicts. The project will introduce stress and anger management tools and enable students to re-focus on restoring the harm caused. The goal of the project is to lower rates of school suspension, dropouts and incarceration.

Mary Clancy
Speech-Language Pathology
Lindsey House
Clancy’s project will enable homeless women living in transitional housing to gain the skills and confidence to be active in their children’s learning and education. The project will involve classes on language development, language stimulation and parental involvement in homework.

Devin Howell
School of Art
Resonance Center for Women
Howell’s project will be an art program that coincides with group therapy for women who are working through addiction. The goals of the project are to empower women through learning new skills, help foster a sense of community and support and provide an environment where the participants feel free to explore their creative expression.

Emily Kibler
Speech-Language Pathology
The Parent Child Center of Tulsa
Kibler’s project will provide foster parents and parents with children in the foster care system with the education, resources and support to create a healthy home environment that supports early prevention and intervention of speech, language and literacy development in their children.

Fellows from other universities

Oklahoma State University

Athena Chatzigiannidis
Ashley Harvey and Brooke Tuttle
Christopher McNeil
Mayra Salazar-Valdivia

University of Oklahoma

MacGyver Norris and Kristen Faucett
Ekene Ezenwa and TU alumna Raye Reeder (BS ’14, biology)

Langston University

Sunshine Graham