Five students from McGovern Medical School have been selected as part of the 2018-19 class of Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Houston Galveston (ASFHG), joining approximately 300 other fellows nationwide.
Students chosen by the ASFHG will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health and wellness in the local community with a focus on the underserved and less privileged. Originally established in 1992, fellows enrolled in the program commit to 200 hours of service work during their Fellowship year by partnering with a local non-profit agency where they develop and implement a sustainable project that provides a minimum of 100 hours of direct service to a target group. The Fellowship also provides mentoring to develop leadership skills and advancing Albert Schweitzer’s message of service.
This year’s Fellows from McGovern Medical School and their projects include: Andrea Pinto, working with residents of New Hope Housing to address preventable illnesses and promote wellness through healthy habits; Stephanie Ihezie, working with Interfaith Ministries and recently discharged hospital patients to address transitional care and post-discharge recovery to prevent adverse outcomes, promote healing, and decrease hospital readmission rates; Brina Bui, working with Alzheimer’s patients through the Alzheimer’s Association to promote their quality of life and painting with them to give them a creative outlet to express themselves; Rishi Goel, working with the Montrose Center and LGBTQ+ homeless youth to address health disparities through a mutually developed health literacy curriculum for themselves and for healthcare providers; and Kimberly Nguyen, working with Blind Buddies and the low-vision community of Houston by assisting them in using accessibility features on their smartphones to enable them to become more connected, technologically capable, and independent, thus improving their quality of life.
Ihezie said she has long desired to complete a service project under the ASFHG and being among the Fellows network means she will be more motivated to constantly advocate for patient health.
“To me, the Schweitzer Fellowship is an all-encompassing opportunity to make a positive difference in the community, a chance to build with a supportive team, and a formative experience for me to grow,” Ihezie said. “Without a doubt it is a badge of honor I will be proud to wear into my personal and professional future.”
Bui sees the fellowship as way to better the world and successfully follow through with her ideas.
“I am creating an art program for Alzheimer’s patients, and the people that I have met through this organization have supported and encouraged me during this process,” Bui said. “This fellowship is more than just a one-year volunteering opportunity, it’s an avenue to transform ideas into a sustainable reality.”
Launched in 2008, the ASFHG is funded by private donations, the support of charitable foundations, and academic institution sponsorships. Foundation support include the Baxter Trust, The Simmons Foundation, the Frees Foundation, the Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation, Fondren Foundation, and The Albert & Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation. For more information, visit www.asfhg.org.