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Nine Geisel Students Named 2017-2018 NH/VT Schweitzer Fellows

Nine first-year medical students at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth have been selected as 2017-18 New Hampshire/Vermont Schweitzer Fellows by the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. The fellows will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.

Physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer

“Community service is an integral part of the medical education experience at Geisel, so it is heartening to see our students leading innovative programs to reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations in our communities,” said Duane Compton, PhD, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine.

Geisel’s Schweitzer fellows will join the approximately 240 other 2017-18 Schweitzer Fellows across the nation in developing and implementing service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, while at the same time fulfilling their academic responsibilities as full-time students. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based organization.

“This is a talented and hard-working group of students who are passionate about addressing social determinants of health to improve the health and wellbeing of populations that are often overlooked, such people who are homeless, children who are living in poverty, older adults, LGBTQ people, and refugees and immigrants,” said Nancy Gabriel, director of the New Hampshire/Vermont chapter of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “They’ve partnered with an impressive range of community-based groups that are working to help vulnerable people live healthier lives, and it will be very exciting to see their projects have measurable impact.”

This year’s Schweitzer Fellows from the Geisel School of Medicine are:

Nasim Azizgolshani and Louisa Chen
Nasim and Louisa will initiate a harm reduction program at the Claremont Soup Kitchen. They will distribute naloxone, sharps containers, and clean syringe kits while educating the community about overdose protocol and prevention of blood-borne disease transmission. They aim to provide a safe space for individuals with substance use disorders to seek resources and reduce overdose deaths in the state. Community site: Claremont Soup Kitchen

Sarah Bennett and Melissa Cantave
Adopting principles from the Telling My Story program at Dartmouth College, Sarah and Missy will use writing and reflection as mediums for creative processing and empowerment for teens surrounding their own life stories. They aim to build a community for a protective effect for mental health, substance use prevention, and helping teens utilize their own tools to unlock whatever future paths they choose. Community site: Stevens High School, Claremont, NH

Frederik Burton III and Trenika Williams
Fred and Trenika will provide in-home healthcare checkups and delivered meals to homebound seniors. They will hold monthly community engagement events promoting health education. Their project aims to decrease the isolation seniors may experience while increasing access to health care and nutritious food. Community Site: Grafton County Senior Citizens Council

Lucas Mayer and Chad Lewis
Luke and Chad are implementing a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education program that will work to build students' interest and expose them to potential career options in STEM. Students will participate in hands-on biotechnology-based lab projects, meet exciting guest speakers, interact regularly with potential role models from local graduate schools, and visit nearby STEM facilities including research labs, operating rooms, and technology companies. Community Site: Hartford High School

Jacob Perlson
Partnering with New Hampshire HIV prevention stakeholders and AIDS service organizations, Jake will design and implement a peer navigation program to raise awareness and expand access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). His program aims to increase awareness of PrEP, facilitate linkage to providers, and encourage adherence for those engaged in care. Community Site: Dartmouth-Hitchcock HIV Program