WORCESTER, Mass.—April 6, 2010—The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship announced this week that four University of Massachusetts Medical School and Graduate School of Nursing students have been selected as 2010-11 Boston Schweitzer Fellows, joining almost 200 other individuals across the country whose service projects address the unmet, health-related needs of underserved communities. The highly sought-after fellowships are awarded each year to individuals who show potential as “Leaders in Service” and use their dedication and skills to influence and inspire others. For decades, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) has supported emerging professionals in translating their idealism into effective action that addresses health disparities in the United States and Africa.

The four UMMS students are:
Timothy Gleeson, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Gleeson aims to reduce preventable oral diseases in underserved areas of Worcester by establishing a program that explores population-specific oral health beliefs and needs, and delivers culturally appropriate education and skill-building sessions. In addition to promoting oral health awareness and self-efficacy, the program will provide oral health service-learning opportunities for medical and nursing students.

Toy Lim, University of Massachusetts, Graduate School of Nursing
Lim aims to address refugee health by partnering with African Community Education in Worcester to create a dynamic parents’ group that empowers newly arrived African refugees to play an active role in meeting their health and education needs. Through participation in the group, parents will have opportunities to share their experiences, identify needs within their communities, and work to identify and develop resources to meet those needs. Lim’s overall goal in carrying out this project is to improve the mental, physical and social well-being of African refugees.

Katherine Riva, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Riva aims to support adolescent women in their recovery from substance abuse by coordinating a collaborative wellness and development program at Grace House in Worcester. The overarching goal of Riva’s Grace House project is to promote stress reduction, teach life skills and connect young women in recovery with student mentors at UMass Medical School. Through workshops, classes and open discussion, this project aims to address the diverse needs of adolescent women by supplementing their focused substance abuse recovery program.

Meredith Walsh, University of Massachusetts, Graduate School of Nursing
Walsh aims to improve the overall health of refugee youth in Worcester by developing a forum focusing on life skills, health literacy and job training. Walsh’s project will address refugee youths’ concerns about adjusting to life in the United States, and will establish a peer-led social support network.

Following the one-year fellowship, the students will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and will be part of a nationwide network of more than 2,000 professionals who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers as professionals.

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