July 14, 2020

Three School of Medicine students named Schweitzer Fellows

Wayne State University School of Medicine students Nona Bhatia, Sean Jones and Ashleigh Peoples have received three of the four Albert Schweitzer Fellowships awarded for 2020-2021 by the organization’s Detroit chapter, sponsored by Authority Health.

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a national initiative designed to promote humanitarian values and leadership among health and human service graduate students. Detroit is one of 14 chapters in the United States, with one in Lambaréné, Africa. Its national office is in Boston.  Fellows are required to identify a problem or opportunity impacting population health, design a sustainable project to provide a positive intervention, and provide a measurement method. There are about 4,000 health and human service professionals nationwide who have successfully completed the fellowship.

The School of Medicine's Director of Community Engagement Jennifer Mendez, Ph.D., wrote the trio's recommendation letters, and will serve as faculty advisor for the trio.

Fourth-year medical student Peoples’ project targets identifying and remediating features of the home environment that can cause or contribute to falls and injury, and to promote safe, independent living among aging adults. The project will improve home hazard assessment scores, reduce falls and improve functional outcomes through reduced expenditures for institutional care and case manager visits.

Jones will address the specific health needs of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. He completed his second year of medical school, and is now earning his master of Business Administration degree from the WSU at Mike Ilitch School of Business, majoring in Information Systems Management and Finance. His project involves the creation of a student-run clinic that promotes the overall quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their families. Follow-up consultations will be initiated to ensure the individual has assistance navigating the health care system.

Bhatia’s project will develop a conflict resolution/violence prevention program for young people in the Nardin Park area of Detroit. The third-year medical student’s project will be based in a neighborhood redevelopment project known as Auntie Na’s Village and involve the nearby Hope Academy school.

“We admire the commitment to humanitarian work that our Schweitzer Fellows bring to the Detroit community; even more so during this stressful time of recovering from the coronavirus and the need to instill, in young people, the values and core competencies of this fellowship to address the health disparities our African American and minority communities experience through structural and systemic racism, and the social determinants of health,” said Authority Health, president, and Chief Executive Officer Loretta Bush. “Authority Health and the national Schweitzer Fellowship share common values. We work to improve health, develop leaders and create change. We believe our new cohort of fellows will do an excellent job to advance this shared mission.”

The Schweitzer Fellowship is supported by a grant from the Metro Health Foundation.

Authority Health is engaged with community health centers, governmental and non-governmental organizations to strengthen the health care safety net of Detroit and Wayne County. It manages the nation’s second-largest primary care graduate medical education teaching health center program, an extensive health insurance enrollment and navigation service, community-based primary care services, and a health data portal for consumer, provider and academic users.

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