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For Release: April 8, 2010
David Corriveau, Media Relations Officer, Dartmouth Medical School, at or 603-653-0771

Nine Schweitzer fellows from DMS

Hanover, N.H.—Nine students from Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) will lead health-related service projects for underserved individuals and communities during 2010-2011, under the New Hampshire-Vermont Schweitzer Fellows Program (NH-VT SFP).

Some 120 Dartmouth medical students have done the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) since Joseph F. O'Donnell, M.D., founded the NH-VT program in 1996, program director Rebecca B. Torrey estimates. Each year, about one-third of applicants -- from professional schools around the two states -- typically are awarded Schweitzer fellowships.

"We try to select the folks who we think have the greatest potential to make a difference," says O'Donnell, a professor of medicine and of psychiatry, and DMS's senior advising dean and director of community programs. "One of the initial DMS fellows helped start the Red Logan Dental Clinic. Another started the Mascoma Clinic branch of the Good Neighbor Health Clinic that is thriving -- a recipient of a Caring for Community Grant from the Association of American Medical Colleges."

This coming year's crop of fellows and their projects follow:

  • Karl Dietrich and Holly Schroeder will work with Upper Valley dairy farmers and the professional staff of the Little Rivers Health Care clinics in east-central Vermont to improve access to health care for migrant farm workers at the dairies.

  • Sarah Durante aims to develop an elective course at DMS that will teach future medical practitioners how to care for patients with physical and intellectual disabilities. She will work with the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) and with The Special Needs Support Center of the Upper Valley.

  • With the long-term goal of developing and integrating a mental-health segment into DMS's On Doctoring curriculum for first-year students, Naveen Krishnan and Evan Lebovitz will join psychiatrists from the Good Neighbor Health Clinic and from West Central Behavioral Health in training medical students to screen and interview mental-health patients in several different settings.

  • Suzannah Luft will collaborate with the AVA Gallery and Art Center on an outdoor summer-arts program for children and adults with special needs, culminating with a community-arts festival at Colburn Park in Lebanon, N.H. Also, Luft will work with Voices of Children at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) to incorporate reflection through art into children's hospital experiences during clinic days.

  • Stephanie Pan plans to expand the dental education program at the Red Logan Dental Clinic in White River Junction, Vt., about 10 minutes from Dartmouth. The program will help uninsured and underinsured clients improve their dental hygiene and eating habits, and quit cigarettes and other tobacco products, after their treatment.

  • Emily Rumora and Amy Thomas aim to help pregnant women deal with depression, domestic violence, and substance abuse with a sustainable screening program at the Little Rivers Health Care clinics in east-central Vermont and at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, N.H., about 40 minutes from Dartmouth. In the process, the fellows will examine how well the screenings work for providers and patients, and will help at-risk women gain access to community services.

Joining the DMS students in serving fellowships will be graduate students Claire McKenna and Broc Burke from Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. McKenna will create cooking classes and provide nutritional information for clients of the Upper Valley Haven's homeless shelters and food shelf and the Willing Hands food-recovery and distribution service. Burke will recruit fellow Thayer students and varsity athletes from Dartmouth College to serve as mentors to patients of the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) and to their siblings staying at David's House, the home-away-from home for families of CHaD patients.

Upon completion of their initial year, these Schweitzer Fellows will join a network of more than 2,000 Schweitzer Fellows for Life, among them DMS '10 Cindy Nu Chai. In 2007-2008, Chai started the Dartmouth Arts for Kids program at the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, N.H. The project continues to thrive with DMS-student volunteers.

"The project helped me in learning to be flexible," Chai says. "Not everything turned out the way I had envisioned, but with an open mind and the willingness for change, the project turned out to be even better in reality. Working on this project also taught me the importance of collaboration. I couldn't have done this without the help of many others in the community."

Information about other 2010-2011 recipients from around the Twin States, and about recipients from previous years, is available here. To learn more about the national program visit the Schweitzer Fellowship Blog.


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