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Three OU students selected as 2013 Albert Schweitzer Fellows

ATHENS, Ohio (May 9, 2013) - The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) announced that three Ohio University students, two from the Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM), and one from the College of Health Sciences and Professions, are among the next class of 13 Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows. 

During the upcoming year, these students will join approximately 220 other 2013-14 Schweitzer Fellows across the country in conceptualizing and carrying out service projects that address the social factors that affect health in underserved communities:

         Lauren Bacon, OU-HCOM, will educate at-risk populations of the health consequences of smoking and promoting healthy behavioral changes, including diet and exercise, with the primary goal of reduction or cessation of smoking and smokeless tobacco. 

Community Site: Good Works, Inc.


Nathaniel Overmire, OU-HCOM,
will apply the Food is Elementary program to teach high school students basic nutrition and cooking skills with the goal of reducing obesity and associated chronic disease.

Community Site: Live Healthy Appalachia


Katherine Middleton, Ohio University Health Sciences and Professions, plans to implement a literacy program to increase reading skills in children grades K-5.

Community Site: Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center

Since 2010, the Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellowship Program has supported 44 Schweitzer Fellows in delivering nearly 5,000 hours of service. Annually, approximately 250 Schweitzer Fellows deliver more than 40,000 hours of health-related community service at thirteen locations across the U.S. 

These Fellows, primarily university graduate students, partner with community-based organizations to identify an unmet health need, design a yearlong 200-hour service project with a demonstrable impact on that need, and bring that project from idea to implementation and impact. Rooted in a holistic understanding of health, Schweitzer projects address not only clinical issues, but also the social determinants of health.

“The Schweitzer Fellowship provides a learning and service opportunity for our entire community, for both Ohio University and Athens County,” said Kathy Trace, director of the OU-HCOM Area Health Education Center and Community Health Programs, which administers the Schweitzer program in Athens. “These remarkable medical students are using this experience as Schweitzer Fellows to better our neighbors and community members.”

“Schweitzer Fellows are passionate about improving the health of those living in underserved communities, and they are committed to improving their own skills to do so,” said ASF Executive Director Sylvia Stevens-Edouard. “They come from all academic disciplines—medicine, law, art, policy, and research, and they are pursuing work that improves lives. Over the next 12 months, they will also learn how to be effective leaders so they can inspire others to increase the health of those who experience barriers to care. They will carry these lessons into their professional careers, and further promote Dr. Schweitzer’s legacy to show reverence for life.”

“Our Fellows were selected after a competitive process, and they have signed up for a demanding year. They are expected to design and implement projects that will address the root causes of health inequities, and they will be doing this while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities,” said Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellowship Program Director Terry Bahn, EdD. “Under the close guidance of community mentors, their projects—each of which is set in a community-based organization that serves vulnerable populations— are expected to make measurable differences on issues ranging from childhood literacy to diabetes to behavioral health.”

Upon completion of their initial year, Bacon, Middleton and Overmire will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of over 2,700 individuals who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.

Originally founded in 1940 to support Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s medical work in Africa, ASF is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop Leaders in Service: individuals who are dedicated and skilled in meeting the health needs of underserved communities, and whose example influences and inspires others.

Launched in 2012, the Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows Program is funded entirely through charitable donations and grants. Major institutional sponsors include: OhioHealth; Nationwide Children’s Hospital; OU-HCOM; Trinity Lutheran Seminary; The Ohio State University Office of Outreach & Engagement; The Ohio State University Colleges of Medicine, Arts & Sciences, Dentistry, , Nursing, Optometry, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social Work, and Veterinary Medicine, and The Fisher College of Business.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016