Three first-year students at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have been chosen as 2005-2006 N.C. Schweitzer Fellows::
• Nicholas E. Crosby, who will provide an exercise program for African-American senior citizens at a health and wellness center in Winston-Salem.
• David B. Mann and Daniel I. Dison, who will conduct a healthy lifestyles education program for fourth and fifth graders and their parents at Easton Elementary School at 734 E. Clemmonsville Circle in Winston-Salem.
The three are among 22 N.C. Schweitzer Fellows conducting 16 service projects across the state. Fellows work with a local community agency to carry out a project that contributes at least 200 hours of direct service. Fellows also plan symposia highlighting health issues of concern to communities.
Crosby, from Sandy, Utah, graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in exercise and sports science. He said his project is part of a larger study called Health and Spiritual Healing in African-American Congregations. “The ultimate goal of the project is to promote physical activity among elderly people in Winston-Salem,” he said. “My main goal is to keep them active and help them maintain their independence.”
Dison, from Auburn, Calif., and Mann, from Salt Lake City, Utah, are both graduates of Brigham Young University. “We will be working together as a team to promote health at the mostly minority school,” said Dison, who is Hispanic and speaks Spanish and whose wife, Emma, is a kindergarten teacher at Easton Elementary. He said that many of the students are bilingual.
“We hope to begin this summer and work through the school year,” Dison said. “We want to promote health and health access among the community.”
According to the N.C. Schweitzer Fellowship office, the mission is to develop “leaders in service” – individuals who are dedicated and skilled in addressing the health needs of underserved communities, and whose example influences and inspires others.
“Like Albert Schweitzer himself, who said, ‘I decided to make my life my argument,’ we believe that the true power of ideals is both found and reinforced in action,” said Barbara Heffner, North Carolina director of the fellowship. “Therefore, direct service is an integral part of the Fellowship experience.”
Schweitzer Fellows are chosen on a competitive basis from student applicants in a variety of health related fields, including medicine, nursing, public health, social work, and law, and they continue their conventional professional training while participating in the entry-year of the Schweitzer Fellows Program. Each newly selected group enlarges a network of Schweitzer Fellows who are committed to supporting each other on lifelong paths of service.
Fellows receive a stipend of $2,000, both to underscore the seriousness of their work and to ensure that students who are already struggling financially are not discouraged from participating. Fellows who share a project, share a stipend and the hours requirements proportionally.
The N.C. program, begun in 1994, is one of six such programs in the country
There are now a total of 191 N.C. Schweitzer Fellows. The majority work at least part-time in underserved communities, including at the agencies they served during their entry year.
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About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,298 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.
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