Eleven UIC Students Named Schweitzer Fellows

Schweitzer-Logo-without-Tagling-387x258Eleven University of Illinois at Chicago students have been awarded Schweitzer fellowships, a service learning program for health professional students committed to helping Chicago’s underserved.

The students will each design and implement year-long projects to improve health and access to care. Named in honor of humanitarian and Nobel Laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the fellowship encourages exceptional students in health and human service fields to serve the most vulnerable members of society, including the uninsured, immigrants, the homeless, returning veterans, minorities and the working poor.

The 11 UIC award winners will each receive a $2,000 honorarium and perform 200 hours of direct service in a community setting during their year-long project. Since 1996, 524 Schweitzer Fellows have provided more than 104,000 hours of service to Chicago’s vulnerable communities. Thirty-one students were honored for 2016-17.

Karen Aguirre will develop a pipeline program to promote healthcare careers among low income Latinx high school students from the Back of the Yards neighborhood. A student in the School of Public Health, Aguirre will provide education on current health disparities in communities of color within Chicago, professional development, and healthy behaviors, with the goal of empowering minority students to pursue higher education.

A student in the College of Medicine, Andrew Florin proposes to address early childhood literacy with an after-school program for first, second and third grade children of low-income Latinx families in West Town. The program, to be held in the Erie Neighborhood House, will serve to strengthen reading skills, foster a lifelong passion for reading and provide a positive impact through guidance and mentorship.

Madison Hammett proposes to create a support program for both incarcerated mothers and their children’s caregivers. The program, to be held at the Cabrini Green Legal Aid, will be coupled with referrals to social services and serve to strengthen the communication and relationships between mothers and families, as well as help to prevent recidivism in the criminal legal system. Hammett is a student in the Jane Addams College of Social Work/School of Public Health.

Amy Krischer will implement joint parent-child programming at Family Rescue, an organization dedicated to eliminating domestic violence. The programming will introduce parents and children to meaningful activities they can participate in together to form healthy attachments, as well as create a safe space for parent and child survivors of domestic violence. Krischer is a student in the department of occupational therapy.

College of Medicine student JJ Locquiao will co-direct the Young Doctors Program, a health care pipeline program for children in the Lawndale Christian Family Health Center originally created in 2010 by a Schweitzer Fellow and sustained and expanded by subsequent Schweitzer Fellows and UIC medical students. Locquiao plans to further expand the program to include academic and ACT/SAT tutoring for high school students, as well as advising them with their college application and interviewing process.

Nursing student Wendy Mironov will partner with the grass roots group Salud Sin Papeles to improve health and access to health care for undocumented immigrants, their families and their communities. She will collaborate on educational materials and workshops for undocumented patients and providers based on the experiences, insights, and challenges encountered by undocumented patients in Chicago.

Alyson Moser plans to create and implement an adult literacy and job readiness program at Oakley Square Apartments. The program will focus on helping participants prepare for the GED test, writing resumes and cover letters, and developing career goals. Moser is a student in the School of Public Health and the Jane Addams College of Social Work.

A student in the College of Dentistry and School of Public Health, Gabija Revis will create an oral health component for the extensive training program used to teach caregivers of medically-complex children and health professionals at Almost Home Kids, a facility for children being moved out of a hospital’s intensive care unit.

Alisa Jordan Sheth, a student in disability studies, will work with older adults with intellectual disabilities to collaboratively develop an accessible curriculum and group format to help participants define successful aging for themselves and address future planning needs. The sessions, to be held at Misericordia Heart of Mercy, aims to provide social learning and self-advocacy opportunities around health literacy, aging and other member-identified needs.

College of Nursing student Karie Elizabeth Stewart proposes to initiate prenatal classes and education for pregnant African-American and Hispanic mothers at PCC Wellness Austin Family Health Clinic in the Austin neighborhood. The classes and education will be initiated through the utilization of Centering Pregnancy. Her goal is to increase the number of patients that seek prenatal care earlier in their pregnancy.

Dental student Jessica Williams will work with underserved adults at free medical clinic Ravenswood Community Services to develop a curriculum that promotes oral health literacy. She will host educational seminars in an effort to address the oral health knowledge gaps of the local senior community.

By Sam Hostettler
samhos@uic.edu