Nine UIC students named Schweitzer fellows

Nine 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.Health & Medicine Policy Research Group & Schewitzer Fellowship logos

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 nine UIC award winners will each receive a $2,500 honorarium and perform 200 hours of direct service in a community setting during their year-long project.

Mariam Aejaz will design and conduct holistic workshops and forums at the Rohingya Cultural Center (RCC) focusing on personal and communal psycho-social well-being, particularly with women and youth. She also tentatively plans to begin an inter-generational cookbook project with center members. Aejaz is a student in UIC’s School of Public Health.

Dental student Joseph Deek will conduct oral health classes and screening events at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center to provide dental care for Chicago’s underserved veteran population.

Alexandra Johnson will partner with Heartland Alliance to initiate a health promotion program for low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The program will use hypertension screening and education to help Heartland Alliance clients make healthy choices and develop healthy lifestyles. Johnson is a student in the College of Nursing.

Elizabeth Kaminsky will design and implement an oral health resource program for at-risk, homeless, and LGBTQ teens and young adults at the Broadway Youth Center of Howard Brown Health. Kaminsky is a student in the College of Dentistry and School of Public Health.

Jonathan Lee and Andrew Ta in the College of Medicine will continue and expand READS+ for Latinx children and youth at the Erie Neighborhood House. The program provides literacy improvement programs through multidimensional learning, one-on-one tutoring and engaging activities.

Molly MacInnes will work to increase access to harm reduction services and supportive living resources for people who inject drugs. These services and resources will be provided through street outreach with the Community Outreach Intervention Project. MacInnes is a student in the College of Medicine.

Vidya Visvabharathy in the School of Public Health will begin an expressional dance workshop at Apna Ghar, an organization that serves South Asian survivors of domestic violence. The workshops will focus on free-flowing movement and creativity, and will highlight the intersection of mind, body and spirit.

Nursing student Erin Wright will design and implement a STEM-exploration and health education program for middle school aged youth in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. The curriculum will focus on opportunities for team-learning and exploration in science, technology, engineering and math, and age-relevant health and wellness information.

The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship Program is one of 14 nationwide, and is wholly administered by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, a Chicago-based non-profit working to improve the health of all people in Illinois by promoting health equity. The new UIC fellows join a network of more than 550 Chicago program alumni who have provided more than 110,000 hours of community service to more than 150 community groups over the course of the program’s 22-year history.


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