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Two OU-COM students selected for Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

(ATHENS, Ohio, May 5, 2011) The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) announced the selection of its inaugural class of Columbus Schweitzer Fellows, two of whom are students at OU-COM.

During the upcoming year, these OU-COM students will join approximately 260 other 2011-12 Schweitzer Fellows across the country in conceptualizing and carrying out service projects that address the health needs of underserved individuals and communities.

Heather Datsko, OMS I, will address health disparities in Appalachian Ohio by expanding the health education programming of Good Works, an organization that conducts outreach that supports people experiencing poverty. Her project will add a health day to Good Works’ summer kids’ camp, as well as launch a Saturday-morning health class that addresses common health concerns. Datsko hopes to make good health more accessible for program participants, and to inspire them towards personal growth.

Kimberly Herrmann, OMS I, will conduct an infectious disease intervention in Athens and surrounding Appalachian counties. Collaborating with the Athens AIDS Task Force, she is creating a Hepatitis C health education curriculum and conducting educational sessions with community members from underserved and uninsured populations. Herrmann will implement the curriculum, as well as provide referrals for testing and other support in prevention and reducing transmission. Ultimately, Herrmann hopes to expand this health education program to other agencies to be taught by local high school and medical students in a health-career mentorship program.

“All congratulations to Heather and Kimberly on earning this prestigious national award,” said Jack Brose, D.O., dean of OU-COM and executive dean for health affairs at Ohio University. “They competed against many talented applicants and worthy projects.”

OU-COM joined the Ohio State University College of Medicine as academic partners and sponsors in the newest site for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, the 12th such program in the nation, and which was announced in the fall of 2010. Funding from Anthem Blue Cross and the Blue Shield Foundation helped make possible the program's expansion to Columbus and Athens.

“We have long been partners with the Ohio State University School of Medicine, and this is a great example of a service program that, by working together, helps strengthen Ohio and its residents,” Brose said. "Kimberly's and Heather's participation as Schweitzer fellows fits perfectly with our efforts and our commitment to service in underserved communities, particularly in rural areas."

Upon completion of their initial year, Datsko and Herrmann will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life—and join a vibrant network of over 2,000 individuals who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers as professionals. Nearly all the Fellows for Life say that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serve the underserved.

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.

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. Annually, approximately 250 Schweitzer Fellows deliver more than 40,000 hours of health-related community service at thirteen locations across the U.S.

For information about the Columbus Schweitzer Fellows program, go to


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