A grant was awarded to the Alabama Chapter of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship program for $10,000. The fellowship program is designed to prepare the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. The program model combines learning from experts in health and human services and completing a year-long project to address an unmet need for a vulnerable population. Fellows identify a need in collaboration with a community based organization, then spend 200+ hours towards planning, implementing and evaluating a program to meet this need, all while using a results-framework to ensure that the interventions will improve health behaviors and build community capacity.
Graduate students from any Alabama college are eligible to apply. Prospective fellows go through an application and interview process. Most are in health related fields such as medical, dental, occupational therapy, public health, pharmaceutical, nursing and counseling. While these students get the technical mastery in their classes, many of them have not had life experiences that put them in contact with people in dire need. This program creates community engagement and collaboration. They learn to be more empathetic and understand that situations, pressures, and challenges can impact what is going on with their patient.