Campus & Community

Community outreach efforts of Schweitzer Fellows target those in need

4 min read

2006-07 projects list

Honoring the legacy of Albert Schweitzer, area graduate students are committing to a year of service with a community agency. In a competitive selection process, 35 students – five of which are Harvard students – have been selected as 2006-07 Boston Schweitzer Fellows. Each fellow will devote more than 200 hours of service to local communities lacking access to adequate health services. The projects include tobacco education, teaching new immigrants how to shop for nutritious foods, diabetes counseling with Haitian immigrants, educating children in residential treatment centers on oral health, and publishing a community health newspaper.

Established in 1991, the Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program annually selects a new class of fellows. In addition to their direct community service, the fellows meet monthly to share ideas and experiences. Once the Boston fellows have completed their year of service, they join a network of more than 1,300 Schweitzer “Fellows for Life” across the United States and abroad. Virtually all continue to support and inspire each other through continuing commitment to lives of service.

2006-07 projects list

Manasa Basavapatna/Harvard Medical School

Children’s Hospital Boston, Connect to Protect (C2P): Basavapatna will work directly at one of Children’s Hospital Boston’s partner sites, A Way Back. She will assist A Way Back with a needs assessment to identify potential gaps in reproductive (STD/HIV) and other health services offered to female sex workers ranging from 12-24 years in age. Based on the lessons learned from the assessment, Basavapatna will work toward implementing viable structural and local interventions to improve the health services available to this vulnerable population. Basavapatna will also work with researchers of the C2P project at Children’s Hospital Boston in their efforts to improve community partnerships, especially with A Way Back, through workshops, capacity building, and outreach.

Dustin Duncan/Harvard School of Public Health

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative: Duncan is creating a chronic disease health promotion/disease prevention program to increase physical activity among low-income racial/ethnic minorities in Roxbury and North Dorchester. This program addresses environmental barriers to health through organizing efforts to clean community parks as well as through educational activities for community residents demonstrating strategies for using their existing environment in order to be physically active.

Shennen Floy/Harvard Medical School

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center: Floy is the program and volunteer coordinator for the asthma swim program for Chinatown youth at the South Cove Community Health Center. In addition to recruiting new participants, program goals include developing a second classroom curriculum targeted to multiyear participants in the fifth and sixth grades, increasing parental involvement through parent meetings and monthly newsletters, and elevating community involvement and ownership in the program, including but not limited to recruiting additional high school volunteers from the Chinatown area. Floy also plans to design and execute the first phase of a multiyear assessment evaluating the Boston asthma swim program’s impact on pediatric asthmatic participants.

Guibenson Hyppolite/Harvard Medical School

Riverside Health Center of Cambridge Hospital: Hyppolite is creating and conducting an educational program for Haitian patients with diabetes. The goal of this project is to improve the health end points of diabetic patients among the Haitian immigrant population. The classes will cover the biology of diabetes, potential effects of uncontrolled diabetes, specific exercise routines that patients can use, and nutritional modifications that cater to patients’ unique diets.

Vaishali Patel/Harvard Medical School

Citizen Schools: Patel is volunteering with Citizen Schools of Boston to design and develop an anti-tobacco education curriculum to incorporate into an after-school program for middle school and high school students. Using activities that strengthen academic and leadership skills such as writing, debate, performance, and arithmetic, the curriculum will spotlight issues such as the negative health impacts of tobacco, tobacco influences in the media, and the global consequences of tobacco use. The modules will culminate in creative and inventive anti-tobacco projects that the students will design in groups to educate their peers.